Double Vision

Now, I happen to be a classic rock fan (in addition to other music) and one of my favorite groups has always been Foreigner, a name many others (classic rock fans and non-fans alike) are likely to have heard of. Some of my favorite songs by them include “Juke Box Hero,” “Hot Blooded,” “Cold as Ice,” and “Double Vision;” just  anything off the album Double Vision, to be honest. So, I decided to do a cover redesign for the album, inspired by the song’s title (not so much the lyrics) and what many might think of when the see “double vision.”

Above is the final result, after asking one of my friends to pose for me and some post-processing to give it a faux-stereoscopic 3D effect. My logic behind the design was simple: when I consider double vision, I picture someone, slightly disheveled, reeling around as the world spins by in colors. Unfortunately, I felt that reeling around in a bunch of colors wouldn’t really make a great concept for this album, so I decided to go with something a little simpler: double vision in the sense that seeing an older 3D movie is almost like having double vision. You get the kinda of mesmerized feeling from the red and cyan overlaid on the original image.

After much putzing and eventual Googling, I stumbled upon this tutorial at Photoshop Essentials that helped me get the adjustments just right. As for my image being actually 3D, I’m not certain, as I didn’t have a pair of glasses around to test it. If I happen to stumble upon some, though, I’ll hurriedly run to the computer and inspect the image to see if it truly works. I really enjoyed experimenting with 3D, and I plan to look into it more in the future as a possibility for my photography. Stay tuned for more updates, and until next time, thanks for reading.

Note: If you’d like to learn more about Foreigner, their website is a great place to start. Also, iTunes is a good place to preview some of their music (they’re also available on Spotify, if you prefer.)

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and veggies are really cool to take pictures of for two main reasons in my mind: their colors and their shapes. From reds and oranges to bright greens and deep purples, the vibrant colors of uncooked (and even sometimes cooked, if they’re super rich in color) vegetables always stand out, especially when coupled with their various shapes and textures. So, taking these into consideration, I decided to do a series of fruit and vegetable photographs focusing on the vegetables themselves, stark against a white background.

After looking at these, I decided to get extra artsy and take the camera off of the tripod and do some handheld close-ups with my macro lens (except for the broccoli, which was so large that I was able to get close like that on my tripod.)

My original idea was to do just slices of all of the fruits and vegetables, but the feasibility of that was something I didn’t really consider beforehand; namely, the fact that fruit and veggie slices don’t easily stand up on their own, and since they’re so thin, anything used to prop them up would likely be visible through them. So, I went with halves of fruits and veggies instead, which worked a little bit better.

I have to say that I actually really enjoyed taking these photos, and sometime in the future I will do another series, maybe this time with slices (or go for a more humorous route and put googly eyes on them – I sense some serious chopping going on for those photographs.) Really, the possibilities are endless.

Until next time, this is me, signing off.

Trains and Tracks

We all have them: toys we always will remember playing with from our early childhood. For myself, I remember quite a few, namely toys like Lincoln Logs, Legos, and of course the many video games made for the infamous Nintendo Gameboy (the Gameboy SP, to be specific in my case.) Another one of my favorite childhood toys was my train set, namely those from the train maker Brio (looking back on my trains now is when I finally was able to observe and pay attention to smaller details like the manufacturer; as a youngster, I had just wanted to build, tear down, and rebuild) which I still have sitting in a closet at home. I hadn’t pulled them out of their two boxes in a while, so I figured that they would make good subjects for photographing, not only from a technical perspective, but also because of the fact that I was due for a bit of nostalgia as a mid-to-late teenager. Below are my first series of photos on my childhood toys, which I thoroughly enjoyed photographing and intend to continue later on.

Why do we remember some toys so vibrantly? Maybe it’s because of the effects they have on us as children, the experiences we create with them. That’s why I think toys that I used to create things with (like trains) still have their images, sounds, and feel still lodged into the recesses of my mind. Growing up, I constantly played with my trains, and I still have all of the pieces I did when I was a lot younger. While not all picture here, there are quite a few that I remember playing with, building elaborate tracks around looping turns, over looming bridges, through mountainous jungle terrain, a modern metropolis, or the wild west. My sister also on occasion helped with construction, and we loved to run the trains around the track and imagine the little characters inside witnessing the grandeur of everything we had just created. For some reason, one piece really stuck with me, and that’s the one of the red bridge (a distant cousin, it seems, of San Francisco’s Golden Gate) pictured above.

Taking out the trains once again to photograph them, I have to say one thing – growing up doesn’t mean that I don’t need some time just to play with toys again. I don’t mean the modern definition of toys, which could be considered a game on my phone or a new lens for my camera (granted they are both fun as well, though.) I mean simple toys, those that force you to imagine, to dream, and to create. Building different layouts of train track was really fun – immensely, in fact – even at seventeen years old. It was also very interesting to notice some of the other aspects of my trains that I hadn’t noticed (or if I had, hadn’t been concerned with) earlier, ranging from all of the little minute details to something as prominent as the manufacturer, Brio.

I decided that Brio deserved a quick look-up to learn a bit more about them. I also just really wanted to look at some more trains. As it turns out, Brio’s from Sweden, and they still are very much in business. They have been since the late 1800s, according to their website, which proved to be a wealth of information about the company itself. Specializing in wooden toys, Brio doesn’t only make train tracks, but also makes a lot else as well, from toys for toddlers to the traditional wooden toys that get pulled along behind you with a string to a (very detailed) wooden stove. In my mind, however, Brio will also strike the memory of train tracks spread across the floor, which apparently also earned them a world record. Pretty cool. While perusing on their website, I also dug up the product pages of some of the pieces I have in my collection. If any are curious, they are still available for purchase, with some of my favorite including the Viaduct Bridge, the aforementioned Double Suspension Bridge, the Lifting Bridge, the Adventure Tunnel (though my version of it is green instead of grey), and the Collapsing Bridge.

For more about Brio, their website at www.brio.net is a wealth of information and where I got what I was talking about here. Also, as this is one of those formalities, all names, trademarks, etc. mentioned here are property of their respective owners.

That’s it for this initial series of photos, though there should be some more coming up soon. The next toy up on my photography roster: Lincoln Logs. Stay tuned!

1955 Cadillac Fleetwood

My Dad has a collection of small model cars that he uses to map out his plans for work (he drives cars and does stunts for a living) that he had sitting out a couple of days ago, so I decided to photograph his model 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood, the red and white beauty you can see below.

I actually had a little bit of inspiration for one of my photos, and that came from Kim Leuenberger’s photo, shown below next to the photo I took after being inspired by hers.


Take me home, to the place where I'm from by Kim Leuenberger on 500px.com

Take me home, to the place where I’m from by
Kim Leuenberger

As you can see, there are many similarities, though it wasn’t like I was trying to emulate the photo – in fact, I hadn’t realized it looked so much like it until after I had taken it, looked at it, and thought “Wow, this looks really familiar.” So I went on over to my 500px account and took a look at my favorites, and low and behold, found it to be the very first photo I had favorited on the site. So, I decided to share a little bit about the background of this photo on my blog, since my inspiration truly wasn’t mine to begin with.

I’d also like to give a really big shout out to Kim Leuenberger (the photographer of the original photo that inspired mine) for the awesome shot. A quick summary about Kim can be found on her website at http://kimleuenberger.com/about, where she also has a huge gallery of other photos of miniature objects she’s taken. While I wasn’t able to find out too much about her aside from what was on her website, Kim Leuenberger says of herself that she is “hungry to discover more of the world and be a real explorer,” which I feel is a great way to go through life (and results in a number of interesting photos, as well.)

I really enjoyed taking some macro shots of miniatures, and I’m going to have to look into trying to take some more of different model objects sometime in the near future. Until next time, this is me, signing off.

Note: For more about Kim Leuenberger, check out her website at www.kimleuenberger.com.

Casey

My dog Casey and I have grown up together – we got him as a puppy when I was six, and he’s been a member of our family ever since. Now, ten years down the line, we’re still best buds. Casey, like a typical Yellow Lab, is very mellow and friendly, and he’s always looking for something to eat. While Casey and I were hanging out outside today, I decided to take some pictures of him, which I then decided to share with you fine folks. Here are some of the shots from today.

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved dogs (Yellow Labs, mainly, and with good reason.) After all, they do say that a dog is a man’s best friend. Dogs being my favorite animal, I decided to do a little more research into the history and background of my favorite breed: Labrador Retrievers. Casey is a big dog, even by Labrador Retriever standards: he’s very tall, and weighs 120 pounds or so, while the average for most Labs is anywhere from 55 to 75 pounds, though he’s really friendly and gentle. According to the American Kennel Club, Labrador Retrievers are “outgoing and devoted companions,” which definitely stands true for Casey.

A Little History

Labs were originally from Newfoundland (not Labrador, which I found really surprising) and were (and still are) used for hunting and water dogs. While considered a sporting breed, Labs are also used for companion dogs, and are extremely popular as pets, being one of the most popular breeds in the United States.

A Brief Casey Story

When Casey and I were little, Casey had free roam of the garage, which was also the room where his food, toys, and treats were stored. One day, Dad went outside to feed Casey his dinner, but when he set down his bowl of kibble, Casey (who usually jumped at any opportunity to get food) sat staring at the bowl, not budging an inch. He looked like he “swallowed a cantaloupe,” according to my parents. It was then Dad noticed a chewed up box of Scooby-Snacks dog treats, previously filled nearly to the top and now completely empty. Needless to say, Casey, innocently guilty, didn’t want to eat his dinner that night.

I’ll be adding some more photos of Casey (and possibly another story or two) soon, but until then, that concludes this post.

For more information of Labrador Retrievers, check out a couple of these awesome web resources: http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/labrador.htmhttp://www.akc.org/breeds/labrador_retriever/index.cfm, and http://www.cc-labrescue.org/top_dog.html.