And so it’s over

The county fair that is. As promised in my last post I said I was going to shoot some photos at the county fair after it was over. It was, thankfully, another beautiful summer day and, although a bit hot walking around, I found the grounds to be a lot drier than they have been in the previous years. No slogging through mud. I did run into a gentlemen who asked why I was taking photos. I am surprised I was never asked by anyone in previous years. Anyhow, he said his family owns the rides and he pointed out a few that they own that are quite rare and old and gave me a bit of a background on them. Quite interesting.

I was planning to show a gallery of photos like I did in the last post but in the interest of time (as in, I have none to process the photos) I am just going to post one photo this evening. This is a photo of a simple, yet spectacularly beautiful ride that is full of color. The color image does, of course, look nice but, since I was planning on black and white images when I went out to shoot, I thought I would try something a little different and go with a split tone black and white image to better accentuate the lines in the photo. What do you think?

Hopefully I’ll have time to throw some more pics up during the week.

© David Guidas

© David Guidas

It’s just so vivid!

As someone who likes to work in black and white most of the time, I have a slight problem when it comes to shooting color. When I have photos where the subjects are all “colorful” I tend to take it to the extremes. I really want to jazz up the saturation, contrast, and vibrance to really make it COLORFUL. Of course I do know when too much is too much and I try not to push colors beyond the limits of my files, but I tend to go to that point and back it off a little from there. Like Jerry Seinfeld joked about “extra strength” and “maximum strength” aspirins, “I want to know how much can kill me and then just back it off a little from there”.

So with my annual visit to the county fairgrounds while the Country Fair was being setup, I decided to keep the color in check this time around. Fueled by the film simulations in my Fujifilm camera, I went with the “Classic Chrome” look when processing the images in LIghtroom. The colors are slightly muted and the contrast is slightly tweaked to give, I’m guessing, a Kodachrome-like slide film look to the photos. I like the look as it doesn’t look like I’m trying to be hip and giving my photos a “vintage” feel yet it does tone down the digital look.

As for the photos, I usually like to visit the fairgrounds a day before the fair starts, when things are being setup, and a day after, when they start to tear things down. I like the look of the rides, although they’re not making it easy on me as they get the same rides every year. I keep hoping for something different to mix up my photos a bit. That creates a challenge in itself but I try to push myself anyhow to look at things differently and to try new perspectives to keep it interesting. The “before’ photos I usually do in color and I try to shoot for black and white with the “after” photos. If all goes well, I’ll be able to shoot the “after” photos next Sunday and I’ll be sure to pass them along.

A quick checkup on the creepy factor

I had this post in draft for almost a week and couldn’t think of anything to say to add to the photo, so I just let it linger there for a while until I came up with something. Anything.

Since it’s been a week and I had no creative writing juices flowing, I’ll just have to put up something. I took this photo while walking around the city last weekend and I thought the scene looked borderline creepy, which I like. Which is to say I like creepy looking photos, especially when I get to take them, but I don’t like creepy things in general. I don’t like horror movies and about 90% of what qualifies for primetime television drama shows these days. Way too much gore for me. I don’t want to fill my head with that stuff before I head off to sleep. Those are more gore than creep, I guess, since things like spiders and old abandoned houses, which are usually classified as creepy, don’t bother me at all. Ok, if the spiders a re large, maybe. ;-)

This particular scene is actually through a window of a technical training school. I peered through the window to see if there was anything worthwhile to photograph and I spotted the “dummy” sitting in the chair. I had to go around to another window for a different perspective just to make sure it wasn’t a real person, as it looked quite lifelike. Again, the word creepy came to mind right away. I ended up taking a few sh0ots from various angles, some focusing on the patient a little more but I liked this overall scene the best. Black and white was a natural, of course.

© David Guidas

© David Guidas

Urban verticals

Finally, I was able to walk about and take some photos the other evening. It felt good to just “focus” on taking photos as I walked around the city of Pittsburgh on a beautiful summer evening. The sole purpose, besides taking photos, was to get the feel for my Fujifilm camera. I have been casually taking photos with it since I bought it but I haven’t really got to know how it and I get along. The image quality is great, no question there, but how a camera responds to my needs as I walk around looking for photos is a pretty big factor for me. I found it did well in that respect but there are a few niggling issues that I have with the handling, which I’ll expand on in the next post.

Being that most things are “tall” in the city, I found myself shooting a number of portrait oriented photos.

And it keeps going

So, I have been thinking of branching off into a new blog with more emphasis on specific gear. It’s going on five years for Whatipic and I’m kind of feeling like it’s time to try something different. How I am going to go about it, I don’t quite know yet. I may keep this blog going and just do the other one in addition, but I know I don’t want things to overlap. The other site will still have an emphasis on images and photography but, hopefully, in a different manner, if that makes any sense. The gear and how it was used top get the photo will be the central theme and maybe some gear reviews thrown in on occasion.

I originally thought of just having a full fledged website for my photography but the cost and maintenance is just not appealing to me at this time. I do have a normal job, a wife, and an old house that all keep me quite occupied. I’m thankful to do whatever photography I can fit in. But if anyone has any ideas on where I should go next feel free to chime in. I am aware of sites such as SmugMug and Zenfolio and when I get time I will seriously take a look into those as an alternative.

By the way, I do plan on paying up to get rid of those ads. I just keep forgetting because I don’t see them.

© David Guidas

© David Guidas

A first for Whatipic


This photo was transfered from my Fujifilm camera to my phone via wifi and, in turn, to my blog. I know it’s sort of old tech (old tech, of course, means over a year old), but it’s a first for me. I also rarely post unedited photos, usually prefering to shoot RAW, but this is the jpeg straight from the camera, after converting to black and white.  I can also count on one hand the number of times I have posted directly from a phone.

I spotted these sinks in front of a remodeling recycling center and thought they were interesting enough to shoot. Unfortunately I couldnt shoot them straight on as there was a truck parked in front of them. Not knowing if I would be able to visit the scene again I just shot them at a slight angle. I actually think the angle made for a better shot.

Mouintains or the beach?

No, I’m not asking where I should go on vacation, I’m wondering which one would have made a better foreground for a dramatic rainbow photo. But. since I was around neither, I have a nice rainbow over a pizza shop photo! They always say the best camera is the one you have with you, so I’m going to say the best foreground is the one you have in front of you!

This was the first time since I bought it that my new wide-angle zoom really came in handy!

© David Guidas

© David Guidas

Sorry for the long awkward pause.

Whew, I cant believe how long it has been since I last posted. I know why I haven’t posted but, man, does time fly. While time was flying by I really haven’t been doing much photography to speak of. A few grab shots here and there and a few test shots for new equipment that are totally boring, even for me. I haven’t set foot out to purposely take any photos in a while and I honestly haven’t been inspired to do so. I need to get back into it but like a diet and exercise, getting started is half the battle.

What I have been doing is re-evaluating my gear and I decided to make a change in equipment. I am not one who thinks that gear makes the photograph, I’m just seeing if there is something different I like from an operational standpoint. I have my sites set on much grander gear and have a vague idea of what I want but I decided to give Fujifilm cameras and lenses a try for now. I thought they started out with the X system with a great set of lenses and I like what I have been seeing out of them. Forgoing the top of the line X-T1 for now, I decided to try out the brand new X-T10 for a body and I currently have the 18-55 and 10-24 zooms for now. I’ll be adding a couple of their fast primes in the coming weeks to round out the kit. This camera is very small and I really haven’t had much chance to use it in a real world situation much, so I still need some practice.

I did however take it out yesterday for the annual visit of the Furries to downtown Pittsburgh. The Anthrocon convention always adds to the street life and I enjoy the challenge of photographing the “creatures” as they walk about the city.

© David Guidas

© David Guidas

There’s nothing furry about this guy but I like the photo and thought it worthy of a return to form shot. I’ll add a few more photos later in the week.

It feels good to be back and I know for sure that everybody missed something new from me ;-) , so I am sorry it took so long.

Getting to the Point in Pittsburgh

Trying to get my sea legs back and get out there to start shooting again. It’s amazing how rusty one can get being away from something too long. I know I need to brush up on my compositional skills a little, especially when shooting in wide angle, so I purposely sought out lines to practice with. I figured a nice walk around the Point State Park area in Pittsburgh be a good place to explore.


Mistake(n) indentity

The one thing I do almost constantly is to try and identify the mistakes in my photos. In turn I try NOT to do those same mistakes over (although I often do). It can range from simple Photography 101 stuff such as using the wrong shutter speed or aperture for the given subject, to composition errors, or choosing the wrong lens. I may not make technical mistakes too often but I know I make plenty of artistic ones.

Sometimes I only have one lens with me and I HAVE to choose it, so I have no choice if it’s the “wrong” lens. But when I carry limited gear I try to visualize photos that would work with what I have on me. There have been times when I was only carrying a wide angle lens and I saw plenty of opportunities for great telephoto shots and had no choice but to pass on the photo. But there have also been a number of times when the photo I took with the lens I had on me was the perfect photo and I couldn’t imagine taking those photos with any other lens. I have had two winning photographs published that were taken with an old Super-Takumar lens that I happened to have on my camera at the time I took the photos. In both cases I don’t think if I had a different lens, and especially a zoom lens, that I would have taken the photos the same way, and achieved the same output.

As for todays photo, I took it with a slow consumer zoom lens. The lens. like all consumer zooms, works best when stopped down a little from maximum aperture and I tend to use it that way, often with good results. In fact it is my used lens since it is so versatile. However, where I went wrong here was in not opening up the lens a little more (and slightly sacrificing quality) to lower my ISO a little. This was shot at ISO 3200 handheld and I could have gotten away with at least ISO 1600 which would have improved the overall quality greatly. If I had given myself maybe three extra seconds to think about what I was doing at the time, I could have upped the image quality with  ease. Say what you will about modern image sensors and how great they do high ISO’s, I’m still not a fan and I like to shoot as near to native ISO as possible.

It’s a done deal now but one that I will hopefully remember next time. But then, maybe I should just have faster lenses in the first place. I’m working on remedying that right now.

© David Guidas

© David Guidas


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