dan lasota's masters in education portfolio for online innovation and design

onidan

Six Photographs

23 June 2012

The basics of this assignment include taking six well-composed photos that share a common theme and manipulating your photos as necessary for contrast, white balance, etc. Work with photography concepts such as composition, framing, exposure, rule of thirds, etc. Prepare two for proper use in printing, two for monitor display and two for web publication. A description of how and why you did the manipulations is required.

I think I'm very lucky to be living in a birch forest. There are lots of neat things right around my house, so when the wild roses came into bloom, I knew where I would be taking photos for this assignment. Please consider this theme as Rose Walk under Heavy Mosquito Siege.

In general I would make the following choices for print, monitor display and web images:

  • For printed images one would desire a lossless format with a high dot per inch (dpi) density. I was aiming for 300 dpi TIFF.
  • Monitor displays come in discrete resolutions. Although most can be adjusted to various sizes, I usually look at mine in the largest resolution, the exact dimensions are noted below. File size is not an issue, so I will chose PNG as the format.
  • My web images will also need to be a set size in pixels, but be a much smaller file size. I will pretend that I am working with a client who has asked for images to be 500 × 375. The JPEG format will work for this. I’ll visually inspect the compression setting but experience has shown that something around 89% reduces the file size substantially without degrading the image quality.

Spring Fern (print)

I cropped out the right edge to get an 8 in. × 12 in. image (its at 300 dpi). I used Photoshop to auto balance contrast, color and tone.

close up of fern with dead leaves underneath. bonus botany: dogwood flower to the left

original photo, shown here without modifications, other than proportional size reduction for comparison purposes

close up of fern with dead leaves underneath. bonus botany: dogwood flower to the left

edited photo, cropped, contrast, color and tone adjusted

download (8 in. × 12 in. 304 dpi 25.4 MB TIFF) for printing.

Birch Silhouettes (print)

When I took this picture I purposely aimed the camera towards the shadow side of the street to get a silhouette of the birch trees. I also lined up the top of the trees along the bottom third of the image. I cropped out the very top portion of cloud and sky so the image would fit into a 12 in. x 8 in. format. I manipulated the resolution to 300 dpi. I used photoshop to auto adjust the contrast and save the image as TIFF.

cloud filled sky at twighlight with silhouetted birch trees on the bottom

original photo, shown here without modifications, other than proportional size reduction for comparison purposes

cloud filled sky at twighlight with silhouetted birch trees on the bottom

edited photo, cropped, contrast, color and tone adjusted

download (12 in. × 8 in. 300 dpi 25.4 MB TIFF) for printing.

Reflective Street Numbers (monitor)

I intended this picture to display on my laptop screen which has a resolution of 1680 × 1050, so it is sized for that. I had to crop out some of the original photo to achieve this ratio. It was important to me to give the brass numbers the context of being on a post fixed to the ground. This has the effect of bringing the eye closer to the six on the sign and highlights the reflection. I did not adjust anything else on the image.

photo looking down on vertical street sight so the numbers 693 are seen as 3 9 6 from the top of image (but upside down). The numbers are made of brass and are showing the reflection of green leaves in them. They are mounted on a pressure treated red-brown 4 x 6 beam

original photo, shown here without modifications, other than proportional size reduction for comparison purposes

photo looking down on vertical street sight so the numbers 693 are seen as 3 9 6 from the top of image (but upside down). The numbers are made of brass and are showing the reflection of green leaves in them. They are mounted on a pressure treated red-brown 4 x 6 beam

edited photo, cropped

download 1680 × 1050 px (2.4 MB) for desktop display.

Wild Rose (monitor)

This picture was slated to be on my larger desktop screen which is 2560 × 1440. Again, I had some choice on where to trim. The original picture was composed with focus on the rose's reproductive organs on the lower and left hand third of the photo. My cropping of the photo kept this placement straight on which forced the view to be magnified and zoomed in. The vibrant pink rose contrasts well against the unfocused green leaves in the background, exactly what I was trying to achieve. I made the featured rose as large as possible without showing most of the other roses in the original as they were distractions. I made no further adjustments.

close up of pink wild rose, stamen and pistils visible, green leaves in background, other roses are also

original photo, shown here without modifications, other than proportional size reduction for comparison purposes

close up of pink wild rose, stamen and pistils visible, green leaves in background

edited photo, cropped

download 2560 × 1440 px (4.9 MB) for desktop display.

Blue Bells (web)

For purposes of fast web page downloads, the 87% JPEG compression set the file size to 156KB. In terms of the composition, I wanted people to focus on the blue bells. They were blurred and the grass in the foreground was in focus. At the time the photo was taken the mosquitoes were swarming me and I was starting to lose it. So, back at the "photo" shop, I applied some sharpening to the flowers and blur to the rest of the photograph. After the photo was resized, this looks like the camera was actually focused on the blue bells.

close up of grass and blue bell flowers

original photo, shown here without modifications, other than proportional size reduction for comparison purposes

close up of grass and blue bell flowers

edited photo, resized, blue flowers sharpened, other areas of photo blurred.

Horsetails (web)

I thought this would look neat, sort of an Ewok eye view of a big forest. The "trees" are not as thick as they need to be, but that is ok. I did line up the ground leaves on the bottom third of the photo and set the focus a bit into the "forest". The JPEG compression setting was again set to 85% turning the file size to 105KB.

close up view of horsetail ferns with dead leaves in lower third of photo

original photo, shown here without modifications, other than proportional size reduction for comparison purposes

close up view of horsetails ferns with dead leaves in lower third of photo

edited photo, resized to 500 × 375 (shown at actual size), no other changes.

7 thoughts on “Six Photographs

  1. tatiana says:

    excellent! my favorite is also the one with numbers. I love the grass reflection off the numbers! and i really like the horsetails as well – they look like bamboo and because the green is so warm in that photo, they exude happiness 🙂 I think the camera you work with is very important because the better initial quality of the photo is the more room you have to play with it when you are editing. very well done!

  2. Jay Moroso says:

    Great theme and photos. Funny, I tried your Ewok view also when I was over at John’s. I trampled through his mosquito infested forrest to get a picture of some backlit plants. I know what you mean about fixing the photos later. It was hard to concentrate when I was being swarmed. Anyway, they didn’t come out as well as expected because his moose fence was in the background ruining the shot.

    My favorite was the numbers. Very creative. Also, I should have spent an hour or so w/you learning about lossless formats, compression settings and dpi’s.

    You’re on the right track: Shoot, shoot, shoot, delete delete delete! Took 750 photos in AK during the last trip. Just picked my favorite 91.

  3. Don says:

    Job well done! All of them are indeed photos…not snapshots. You used perspective, lighting, etc. to great effect. For me, the horsetail forest was the most interesting; I had never thought of that perspective…everything’s relative, I guess. That was a unique view of the street #s and certainly drew attention to the 6. I would be interested in a few details: what is your camera/lens setup, did you manipulate ISO, shutter speed and/or aperture to get those effects (esp. the wild rose which shows bokeh well). Thanks for posting these…and letting folks know the size in case of downloading. I sometimes miss film, but it is convenient to find the best 6 and deleting the other 144.

  4. Allison says:

    I have to agree with Jane – You have quite the photographic eye! I like your response to Jane’s comment. I too would rather get the photo right the first time and avoid hours of editing. My favorite photo is actually the house numbers because it is so unique. I wouldn’t have even thought to capture that from such an angle, but it turned out an awesome photo especially with the reflection. I really enjoyed your photos – great job!

  5. Jane Monahan says:

    Nice work, Dan! I’m impressed. You must have had a good command of your camera settings because your edited photos don’t seem very different from the originals. I like the bug’s eye view of your photos. Since all of them are like that the theme is carried through well. Wow, makes me want to start over…

    Favorite is the horsetails photo. It really does look like a forest.

    • dan.lasota says:

      Well, I did ditch about 150 photos for these 6. I really do find it easier to get the picture right through the lens than deal with it later. Just a few seconds of repositioning or recomposition beats hours of less than perfect photoshop work. Still, I think the Bluebell photo did get altered a bit. At the point he mosquitoes were hammering me and I just wanted to run back to the house. I think the sharpening and blurring show up more on a larger version of the picture.

      By the way, your picture of the purple Iris in your yard was very nice. No sense in starting over there!

      Dan

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