An Exploration of the Power Behind Emotion & Expression

2011 Photo Challenge

Week 4: Colorful

The image that I submitted for this week’s theme of “colorful” is an HDR image. This was very experimental for me because I have never really attempted HDR before, I had tried a few times in the past but it always turned out looking really bad. After some more reading and experimenting, I was able to figure it out and ended up with an interesting result!

HDR stands for High-Dynamic Range. With HDR shots you basically take three different exposure readings of the same shot (super bright, medium, and super dark) and then merge the three together in some post-processing software. I use Photoshop CS5 or Photomatix Pro. Photomatix is specifically for generating HDR images.

Anyways, here are what the three exposures look like:

Super Bright (Overexposed)

Medium (somewhat of a normal exposure)

Super Dark (Underexposed)

By combining these three exposures you get a super detailed image with somewhat of a surreal look to it:

Final HDR Image

Pretty sweet effect. I especially love how the clouds turned out. But like I said, this is my first time messing around with HDR. It is definitely a lot of fun and I will probably be learning a little more about the technique and making some more HDR images later on.

If you’d like to learn more about HDR check out some of these excellent articles:


HDR Photography


Part 1: Setting Up Your Camera

Part 2: From the Field to Your Computer

Part 3: Post-Processing Work




Week 3: Control

“Procrastination is like masturbation. At first it feels good, but in the end you’re only screwing yourself.” ~Author Unknown

Well…spring semester has definitely kicked in and is in full swing. Sadly, the procrastination has already taken control (there goes that New Years resolution). So here is LAST weeks photo challenge submission for “Control”:

This is a picture of the soundboard at the university I go to, a buddy of mine was showing me all the sweet effects it has and the limitless options you have with it. The ISO on this one was cranked up pretty high (around 1600) so it definitely has some unwanted noise/grain…oh well.

Hopefully, I will stop screwing myself and will have week 4’s submission up by tomorrow, the theme for this week is “Colorful”.

If you want to join along, check out the flickr group below!


Week 2: Joy

Week 2’s theme of “Joy” failed to bring me any “Joy” whatsoever.

For me, Joy was definitely a tough topic to capture in a creative and thoughtful way…so I kinda cheated and just spealt the word out with straws.

I got the idea of using straws (keeping some in focus while others are out of focus) from this photography book I’ve been reading.

Once this assignment got posted, I had no idea what to do, but then I remembered this straw technique thing from the book and figured that I could write the word “JOY” with straws. It actually took a lot more effort than I had anticipated and I got frustrated several times.

In the book they had some fancy-shmancy equipment to use to get the shot, but working on a low budget  and very limited equipment I had to go about the shot ghetto style. Here is what I used to get the shot:

-A piece of glass from an outdoor table top

-Two trash cans to hold the glass up

-Two lights (a desk lamp and a lava lamp light: without the lava lamp on top of course) which I placed underneath the glass

-A shoe box and a pencil holder to hold the lights in place

-Kleenex tissue paper used as my “seamless” white backdrop

-And of course the subject…my straws spelling “JOY”

Below are a few pictures of the setup I used:

Lights Off

Lights On

Top View

Believe it or not, straws DO NOT make the best models. They are very uncooperative. It took me forever to get the word “JOY” spelled out in a way that looked somewhat pleasing.

Even now I do not like the final result…but I figured I would use it anyway since I put so much time in trying to get the shot and the fact that I probably will not be able to capture a scene of “Joy” anytime soon.

Anyways…below is the final shot for Week 2:


Week 1: Electricity

This is the first week of the 52 week photo challenge I will be doing for 2011! The theme was electricity.

Separation Anxiety (Week 1: Electricity)


If you’d like to join along…

Photo Challenge credit:

Flickr group to join:


I’m not really sure how this whole challenge is going to turn out for me, 51 more weeks is a long ways to go. But, I’m hoping that this challenge will keep me focused on taking pictures more consistently and that I will be able to learn from the experience.

“There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them” – Tom Krause

Whenever I get that feeling that I might fail at something, and start to think that I am not going to give something a try…I remind myself of this quote and look to the future with optimism, knowing that the worst result that I could possibly get is, simply, experience.