Monthly Archives: May 2008

Katie’s Left Foot

Katie's Left Foot

Katie’s Left Foot, photo by Harold Davis. View this photo larger.

This is a photo of Katie’s left foot. She’s lying on her back, and you can see her other leg out-of-focus in the background. Her left foot was the only limb I could see that wasn’t connected to an IV line or pinned up in some way, probably because the IV line in this foot infiltrated yesterday and formed a big blood blister, so they have to leave it alone for a while.

Posted in Katie Rose, Kids, Photography

Looking Deeper Book Cover

Looking Deeper

Looking Deeper, cover photo by Harold Davis.

I like this use of my photo of a staircase in the design of a cover of a sixth grade reading book. The original, uncropped photo is shown as the middle of three images in Dream Stairs.

Posted in Photography

Petals Unfolding

Petals Unfolding

Petals Unfolding, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This is a close-up view of the almost transparent petals of the Papaver rhoeas I photographed the other day.

[Nikon D300, 200mm f/4 macro lens (300mm in 35mm terms), 36mm extension tube, 4 seconds at f/36 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Scale

Scale

Scale, photo by Harold Davis. View this photo larger.

When we visited Katie Rose in the NICU the other day, the nurse let Phyllis put her hand in the isolette near Katie’s head to help give my photo a sense of scale.

[Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR zoom lens at 120mm (180mm in 35mm terms), 1/8 of a second at f/5.3 and ISO 640, handheld, image stabilization engaged.]

Posted in Katie Rose, Kids, Photography

Damask Rose

Damask Rose

Damask Rose, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

Obviously, roses have a special symbolic meaning for us right now because of Katie Rose. I photographed this small, but fragrant beauty yesterday morning in our garden.

[Nikon D300, 105mm f/2.8 macro lens (157.5mm in 35mm terms), 1/2 a second at f/40 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Flowers, Photography

First Look

First Look

First Look, photo by Harold Davis. View this photo larger.

Katie Rose Davis was born on Tuesday, May 13 at about 10PM. Her gestational age was roughly 24.5 weeks, and she weighed a little under two pounds.

So today Katie was three days old. Her eyes were still fused shut at birth, and we were lucky enough to be in the NICU when she opened her eye for a first peep at the world.

It’s hard to fully fathom how small she is, the photo below helps to give a sense of scale.

Phyllis and Katie

View this photo larger.

I feel a little funny discussing photography at a time like this. But Life (and life) goes on. And it is really amazing how digital technology makes it possible to take casual shots like this in a mixed, low light environment. Image stabilization, the ability to raise my ISO, and to tweak color balance makes this easily possible,

[Both photos: Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR zoom lens, ISO 640, handheld, image stabilization engaged. Far above: 200mm (300mm in 35mm terms), 1/10 of a second at f/5.6; immediately above: 24mm (36mm in 35mm terms), 1/25 of a second at f/3.8.]

Posted in Katie Rose, Kids, Photography

Katie Rose Davis

Papaver Rhoeas 'Dawn chorus'

Papaver Rhoeas ‘Dawn chorus’, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger

Katie Rose Davis was born on May 13, 2008 at about 10PM at about 24.5 weeks gestation. She weighes 1 pound 14 ounces, and is in the NICU at California Pacific Medical Center. In the circumstances, she is doing very, very well.

The photo should, of course, have shown a rose for Katie. But it’s a Papaver from my garden that I photographed yesterday, smiling for the beauty amid the tears.

[Nikon D300, 200mm f/4 macro lens (300mm in 35mm terms), 36mm extension tube, three exposures with shutter speeds from 1/4 of a second to one second, all exposures at f/36 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Flowers, Katie Rose, Photography

Wright Stair 2

Wright Stair 2

Wright Stair 2, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This is a photo looking down one of the Frank Lloyd Wright stairs in the Marin Center; a different view from a photo I posted earlier looking up one of the center’s stairs. The two stairs are in the same wing of building, but different stairs. It’s interesting to me how different it is to look down than up.

[Nikon D300, 10.5mm digital fisheye, 5 seconds at f/22 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Bemusements, Photography, San Francisco Area

Wright Stuff

Wright Stuff

Wright Stuff, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

Is this a mechanical dragonfly? A musical instrument?

Actually, the photo is looking up from the street level to one of the domes in the Marin Center that Frank Lloyd Wright designed.

Related image: Wright Stairs.

[Nikon D300, 10.5mm digital fisheye, 1/8 of a second at f/22 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Bemusements, Photography, San Francisco Area

In a What-If State of Mind

Iris and Motion

Iris and Motion, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

I like to work with my photography setups, equipment, and Photoshop in a what-if state of mind.

When I’m in a what-if state of mind, I don’t care what the documentation says, or what some Photoshop guru says to do. I want to see what happens if…I try this, or that, or something totally new. Wild and crazy is, of course, my hope.

Some of my best images have come when I’m in a what-if state of mind.

A fringe benefit: experimenting with “what if” develops the muscles I need to problem-solve when a client asks me to make specific images, often based on something I’ve already created, but a bit different. It’s important if you hope to use “what if” experimentation for this purpose to keep good records of what you’ve done so you can reproduce it.

This image started with a “what if”: What if I put a bunch of Iris flowers in a totally dark room, open the shutter long enough to get full depth of field at ISO 100, and “paint” the buds of the flowers in with a flash light?

I ran into all kinds of problems with this scheme. It was hard to accurately track the duration of the light painting, so therefore hard to be consistent with exposures. I ended up shooting 15 minute exposures, painting for about a minute, in some of them climbing up Nicky’s bunk bed and clamping the camera on to get a nice bird’s eye view down on the flowers.

The kicker is that I could tell even from the LCD that these photos just didn’t work. So I opened the room-darkening blinds. With the camera still on the tripod, and the flowers sitting on a black background, I zoomed and panned for some mid-length exposures to see what effects I could get.

This technique was partly inspired by some lovely panned images of trees by Robert Eckhardt, who attended my recent night photography workshop. I’ve also been looking at Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Shutter Speed, which is a great idea book for images along these lines (but please don’t rely on the Peterson book for accurate general information about digital photography concepts such as noise and ISO).

A technical note: If you look at the exposure information for this photo, you’ll see I used a circular polarizer. The point of the polarizer was primarily to make my exposure longer (so I had more time to play with the pan and zoom), and also to help saturate the colors.

[Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR zoom lens at focal lengths ranging from 200mm to 70mm (300mm to 105mm in 35mm terms), circular polarizer, 10 seconds at f/32 (comprised of 2 seconds at 200mm, 5 seconds zooming from 200mm to 70mm, and 3 seconds panning up and down on tripod at 70mm) and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Sometimes Simple Works

Pink Papaver

Pink Papaver, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

On a bright, but overcast, spring morning I saw this pink Papaver rhoeas in the morning dew. I photographed it head-on at f/16 for depth of field on the center, but a little less sharpness in the petals. Then I processed the photo to enhance the diaphanous feeling of the petals.

Sometimes simple works.

[Nikon D300, 200mm f/4 macro lens (300mm in 35mm terms), 1/6 of a second at f/16 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Iris on Black

Iris on Black

Iris on Black, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This is an Iris ensata ‘Azuma-kagami’, from the same planting as my photo of last spring. I used the same technique as Falling in Love and Gaillardia x grandiflora, combining three exposures and painting them together using layers and masks.

[Nikon D300, 200mm f/4 macro lens (300mm in 35mm terms), three exposures with shutter speeds from 1/4 of a second to 2 seconds, all exposures at f/36 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Port Oakland at Night

Wan Hai 505

Wan Hai 505, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

For our second night of shooting in my night photography workshop we left the dark hills and went down to Port Oakland. Oakland is one of the busiest industrial ports on the West coast, and even in the darkness a giant container ship (the Wan Hai 505 shown in this photo) was loading. Moist air and varied light sources combined to create eerie effects, and everyone came back with great photos and a different take on this photographically interesting area.

[Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR zoom lens at 200mm (300mm in 35mm terms), circular polarizer, 15 seconds at f/36 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Digital Night, Photography

Spirits of the Night

Spirits of the Night

Spirits of the Night, photo by David Joseph-Goteiner.

If you weren’t at the digital night photography workshop I gave over the weekend here in Berkeley and on location in nearby Port Oakland, then you’re like most of the world. This was a workshop attended by a small, select group of hardcore photographers dedicated to the pursuit of extreme darkness, heedless of wind, cold, and danger!

Proof of the talent, fun, and general wackiness of this event: on Friday night, socked in with fog on the top of Wildcat Peak, David, a gifted High School student, turned to painting with light using our flash lights, with the twenty second exposure above one of his results.

Posted in Bemusements, Digital Night, Photography

Gaillardia x grandiflora

Gaillardia x grandiflora

Gaillardia x grandiflora, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This flower is a Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Oranges and Lemons’. Gaillardias are native to North America, and are sometimes called Blanket Flowers because of their coloration.

I’m using an eight foot long raised bed in my protected side yard to grow flowers for photography, and this Gaillardia is the first subject. As models go, I think my flowers will prove to be very pretty and cooperative. Another benefit: they don’t seek modeling fees.

I photographed this flower on a black velvet background using diffuse natural sunlight. A previous experiment had convinced me that a single point of focus wouldn’t create an image that was sharp all over the flower. So I made twelve varying exposures at three focus points, and hand layered them together for an HDR and HFR image.

Some related stores: Falling in Love, Red Flowering Dogwood Blossom, Gaillardia, Digital Photograms.

[Nikon D300, 200mm f/4 macro lens (300mm in 35mm terms), 12 captures at shutter speeds from 1/2 of a second to 8 seconds, all at f/32 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Photoshop Techniques