Flashing Roses

I’m better when I experiment with tools & processes, I think. It’s more fun, anyway. I don’t necessarily make good pictures when I experiment (see below), but I have more fun. I do plenty of experimenting, sorta, but I don’t quite have the time I would like for it.

The (too brief) experiment here involved the Toshiba 312 flash, a gobo I made some time ago from some bit of packaging, two Cactus v5 triggers, and some roses and lilies we picked up for Eid.

About the flash itself, not much info is available: there are some pictures of the flash and its instructions; as of this writing there is one available on ebay;  apparently the 312 designation also applies to hearing aid-type batteries, a netbook, and a solid state hard drive. But no reviews or user experience discussions… maybe an opportunity?

This little flash is plenty powerful enough for the purpose to which it was put: handheld, mere inches from the subject, with a gobo thing I made from an empty cardboard something taped to the front. A larger discussion of the flash will have to wait (if it ever happens at all…). This post is about other things.

So here are a couple of pictures I made this week, of the aforementioned roses. Fair warning: I’m not particularly happy with either of them:

So I remember some time ago, back during the 365, I went out with this same lens (the Vivitar 70-200mm f/3.5 Series 1) and shot some neighborhood flowers with the pop-up flash. I may or may not have had this in mind when I pulled out the Toshiba 312 and the cactus triggers and went over to start flashing the roses.

What did come to mind was some training video I watched about cookies and flags and gobos (GOes Before Optics)some years ago. The photographer stuck plants and grid things and whatnot in between the flash and the subject, and I tried to do that with some of the leaves in the bouquet.

As a first try, this wasn’t bad, I guess. This shot has a little bit of some Jeff Koons paintings in it, mostly in that little bit of green stem poking out near bottom center, and a bit in the color:

It’s grown on me a tiny bit since I started this, but it looks like something I could’ve shot in 2012, as if my vision/technical ability haven’t developed much in the last two years.

And this other one is abysmal. Other than the off-camera light, there’s not much in here:


Maybe some of the color is interesting, maybe. At least there are some ideas to work with, maybe, and at least I can see the stagnation. Maybe this is the kick I need to start finding a way forward? Given the time I’m enjoying at work, I’ve been looking for other opportunities and ways to earn the rizq that Allah has ordained for me.

I considered microstock for about 12 minutes, but 1) I’m not sure I want to contribute to the cheapening of creative labor and 2) I don’t really shoot the subjects microstock requires in the way it requires. 1) is a problem, and is the reason I likely won’t extend my photography hobby into the stock world any time soon. 2) is an opportunity to learn some things, maybe.

So between experimentation and trying to learn how to shoot for specific purposes and writing the occasional in-depth review on some old piece of photographic equipment that never really made it to the internets, I think I have some things to keep me busy for awhile.

Alhamdulillah. Continue reading “Flashing Roses”

Off my game a bit, part 1

Due to the Memorial Day Marathon Work Session, I ended up with a nice 5 day weekend: Alhamdulillah! I needed a break.

So Wednesday, I started up what I thought would be an quick-and-easy-enough project: refinishing the front door. Had I remembered the fun Mike Miller had when he refinished the front door of that house in Springfield back in 2003 or 2004, I might have reconsidered…

More on that in future posts.

Anyway, after a Wednesday of no-small-frustration, Hana and I headed off to the Dallas Arboretum after a leisurely Thursday morning of coffee and Quran. I hoped to have enough pictures to call it a photowalk and share a nice gallery (something like the one I shared a couple of years ago…), but I ended up with maybe 4 worth looking at again, and only two worth sharing.

Have my standards gotten higher? A look at my recent output suggests otherwise.

Was there something wrong with the place? Other than less-than-ideal light, nope.

So it must have been me… and it was, due partly to the aforementioned door project (though the frustration had yet to reach its peak), partly to still being hungover from the work project that got me the holiday, and mostly just worn down by time: we’re entering the part of the year where there is barely 7 hours between the Isha’a prayer and the Fajr prayer, which means it’s very difficult to get my six solid hours of sleep every night, and I have yet to find a good napping time in my schedule.

InshaAllah, I’ll get that sorted out soon. In the meantime, enjoy this first of two mediocre pictures for the first week of June, 2014.

Dallas Arboretum 20140529|51|©JamesECockroft-20140529

Continue reading “Off my game a bit, part 1”

Abstraktes Bilder

D7000. Vivitar 70-210mm f/3.5, in close focus mode. Not really a macro shot, but shot in macro mode, so…

Also, back to Lightroom 5 on the mbp for this (and for some upcoming days). I’m running short on time, and workflow is just too slow on the 1015px/Ubuntu/darktale setup. InshaAllah I’ll have more time after all the upcoming change happens, and I can get back to the experiment.