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Theme: Tabletop Photography by Craig Roberts

Blue Light Leica

Our recent monthly theme for the local camera club was tabletop photography; I actually began my digital photography path cutting my teeth on a small 2ft square table set up in a utility room, amongst the furnace, hot water tank and various stored boxes, making images for my online auctions. Back then my setup consisted of a 24" x 36" piece of gray poster board that I fashioned into a sweep against one wall, two drafting lamps with articulating arms on either side, which allowed me to move them around for the best positioning of the shadows and my 3megapixel Kodak point and shoot positioned on the tripod.

Fast forward to this and the setup wasn't much more high-tech; since I no longer had any strobes, softboxes or even flashes available to use, I improvised with a combination of long exposures and LED lights to "paint" the subject camera. The base is simply a storage trunk I made use of while my background, again, was no more than a piece of black art board, this time swept against a roll of white seamless hung from a mini boom arm on a c-stand.

The first image file, with exposure lightened considerably and set to monochrome to illustrate the basic setup. Each subsequent layer was masked & painted in to strengthen areas of sharpness, color and focus.

The first image file, with exposure lightened considerably and set to monochrome to illustrate the basic setup. Each subsequent layer was masked & painted in to strengthen areas of sharpness, color and focus.

My idea for this image was to have the camera back-lit, and I had 4 acrylic ice cubes with blue LEDs that I lit and placed behind the model camera, to create the enveloping glow. I made a handful of images moving the cubes into different positions to broaden the glow, then used them in a couple of files to pain the front of the camera. Finally I used a small white LED light-pen to paint the front of the camera and focus highlight some specific areas. All in all, it took 15 minutes tops to set up and shoot. 

Once I had all of my files in Lightroom I exported them out as layers to Photoshop, then proceeded to adjust the individual exposure, mask each layer and then selectively apply them back to the base image. This allowed my to choose areas that had been selectively light-painted to create a stronger cohesive image. Some final adjustments to contrast and color gave me the completed image, however I noticed that when I printed the first time, the overall look was darker than I was looking for - two subsequent printings later, each incrementally lighter (and brighter) gave me the final printed image I was looking for.

Interlude - Presenting the Orpheum Theatre by Craig Roberts

2012-04-07 054

2012-04-07 054

While I have been embarrassingly slow to process and post any new images, both online here and at Google+, I thought I would upload this particular image from my last round of street photography in downtown Vancouver.  I wanted to capture an angle of a building and theatre sign that has been photographed and documented thousands of times, from a perspective that was unique (for me).  The pigeonon the lower left was not added in post production, it was honestly in flight and I believe it only adds a living component to this image. Processed in Lightroom and Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro 2 to really pop the textures in the brick and stone, and on the sign.

Chalk it up to Artistic Vision by Craig Roberts

As a father,  I am amazed that beyond the unyielding din of technology kids still can find enjoyment in some of the most simple items, for example sidewalk chalk.  Guided solely by their imagination, my pint-sized Picassos always seem to brighten our front walk with a vast interpretation of wild flowers, caricatures, Justin Bieber or imagery straight out of the Magical Mystery Tour. Keeping with that train of thought - I found this trio of youngsters gathered around an unusual Volkswagen bug at the recent Great Canadian VW Show (the 20th Annual) here locally - the car was painted flat black like a chalkboard, with a bucket of sidewalk chalk just beckoning these little ones to add their artistic flair. My inner 4 year old could not imagine anything cooler than this, and I was happy to have captured them at their creative best.

2011-08-28 032

2011-08-28 032

Create a Photographic Print Legacy by Craig Roberts

With the exploitation of the digital medium, many photographers have chosen to forego any semblance of a printed product as a nod towards their photographic legacy. How important is it to you that your photography lives on past this generation, with the possiblilty that digital-only portfolios could potentially be lost forever with no printed record of their existence?

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Olympic Torch Relay Tour, Day 102 by Craig Roberts

Took the day off so the kids could appreciate the Olympic Torch relay tour as it wound its way through Langley just outside of our home ... its been difficult getting into the 'Olympic spirit' just because of the enormity of it, but today marks just 4 days until its arrival at the opening ceremonies on Friday.

It was evident, at least here locally, that people are not getting into it, and in a big way!  Event the noon-time torch arrival at the Langley Events Center drew a crowd of several thousands, and I have to admit - the community involvement & entertainment and ramping anticipation sure were top-shelf.

2010 Olympic Torch Relay, Day 102

2010 Olympic Torch Relay, Day 102

2010 Olympic Torch Relay, Day 102

2010 Olympic Torch Relay, Day 102

2010 Olympic Torch Relay, Day 102, Festivities

2010 Olympic Torch Relay, Day 102, Festivities

Early Morning Visit to Steveston by Craig Roberts

Mermaid Out of Water at Finn Slough, Richmond BC

Mermaid Out of Water at Finn Slough, Richmond BC

Up early this morning and headed down to Steveston village, in the rain no-less ... then a side trip to an area called Finn Slough, near southeast Richmond.  Finn Slough is a unique area, first inhabited by Finnish fishermen towards the end of the 19th century; because of its proximity to the South Arm of the Fraser River and the (at that time) hand-built dyke, many times the area would be under water at flood tides.  Houses were constructed on top of pilings to escape the flood waters, and still stand that way today.  Punctuated within the overgrowth and buildings is an eclectic collection of salvage, boats and trinkets.  The area is a throwback to the early 20th century, ramshackle buildings seemingly waiting to slid into the water - the last such fishing village of the many that existed along the banks of the Fraser River.

House on Finn Slough, Richmond BC #4

House on Finn Slough, Richmond BC #4

House on Finn Slough, Richmond BC

House on Finn Slough, Richmond BC

House on Finn Slough, Richmond BC #3

House on Finn Slough, Richmond BC #3

House on Finn Slough, Richmond BC #2

House on Finn Slough, Richmond BC #2