Thursday, May 26, 2016

Day 8: Quick Tour of San Fransico

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from parking area (Cell Phone)

Today was our last day in California, we fly home tomorrow.  We left Visalia around 7:30 AM and got to our hotel outside the San Francisco Airport around 11:00 AM, where our room was ready for us to check into.  After we checked into the hotel we drove down the road to In-N-Out Burger for lunch, then headed into San Francisco for stops at Pier 39 and the Golden Gate Bridge.  

We stopped at Pier 39 first, so I could see the seals and Jim could get a view of Alcatraz.  Pier 39 has turned very touristy compared to the last time I was there, which was about 10 years ago. We thought about taking a tour of Alcatraz, however, all the National Park Tours were booked. Yes, Alcatraz is now part of the National Park System.  After seeing the seals, we went to the aquarium, where I got a 50-percent discount on admission for being a National Zoo member. Which was a good thing since the aquarium is rather small.  After touring the aquarium, we headed back to car to go over the Golden Gate Bridge viewing and visitor’s center.   At the bridge visitor center I got my park passport stamped and then we walked to the first tower of the bridge.  We considered walking the whole span, but that would've taken a while and I only paid for an hour of parking.   After that we decided to head back to the hotel, thus concluding our vacation.

We need to get up very early tomorrow for our flight home.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Day 7: Clouds and Rain

Today we got up around 6:30AM and were on the road to Sequoia NP by 8:00 AM.  The plan was to drive through Tunnel Log, see Moro Rock, and hike in Giant Forest along the Congress Trail, then drive up Generals Highway to Kings Canyon and do some hiking there.  It was a good plan till the weather, made other plans for us.  (See Map)

Jim In Front of the Colonel Young Tree (Cell Phone)
The drive into Sequoia NP from the Ash Mountain/Foothills entrance was good, we made decent time to the turn off for Tunnel Log and Moro Rock.  We stopped at the Auto Log, which is a fallen tree with a cut out that cars used to park on, to give people an ideal of how massive the trees are. They no longer allow people to park or drive on the log.  We also took a short walk from the Auto Log parking area to see the Colonel Young Tree.  I really want to know why some trees get names and others don’t, what merits a name?  After our short detour to the Auto Log we continued on to Tunnel Log, as the name implies the log has a tunnel in it that you can drive a car through. We did it thrice.  We then continued onto Crescent Meadow, which wasn’t very interesting, then to Moro Rock. However we did not stop at Moro Rock because the clouds rolled in, causing fog conditions which obscured any useful view of the rock.  So we continued on to Sherman Tree parking area walk the Congress Trail.  The trail is about 2 miles and relatively flat.  We made it a little more than halfway around the trail before the clouds caught up to us, resulting in a misty forest walk.  By the time we got back to the parking area it was starting to rain a little bit with the cloud/fog thickening.  

Drive through Tunnel Log (ignore the commentary)

So we decided we would try to drive up to the Kings Canyon Visitor center before eating.  Normally that drive would take about 45 minutes, it took us much longer.  The cloud/fog was so thick we were driving at about 15 MPH with our hazards on along the winding mountain road.  The cloud/fog was so thick I felt like we might be in some horror movie or the video game Silent Hill. We thought we might be able to outrun the cloud/fog and the rain, it didn’t happen.

This was after the cloud/fog cleared (cell phone)
We stopped halfway to the Kings Canyon Visitor center at the Stony Creek Village to get gas, because it was cheap, pick up drinks, and use the restroom.  We then continued on our way, but  ended up stopping at a large pull off to eat lunch, which was the last two MRE’s we brought on the trip.  After lunch we continued on to Kings Canyon Visitor Center.  We were able to get out of the thick cloud/fog for a little bit; however, stopping at any of the overlooks along the road was pointless since all you would see was the top of cloud and about 20 - 50 feet in front of you.  When we finally made it to the visitor center, I stamped my park passport book, and looked around the gift shop.  In the amount of time it took us to do that it started raining, and not a nice gentle rain, but a good solid downpour, which concluded our adventure in the park.  We made the decision to drive back to hotel from Kings Canyon via the Big Stump entrance/exit.  This meant we did not have to drive back down the mountain via a buch of tight switchbacks in the cloud/fog and rain.  

Tomorrow we head to San Francisco for our last day in California, since it is about a four hour drive we probably won’t do a lot of sightseeing in the city.  However, we do plan to stop and see the Golden Gate Bridge and possibly the seals.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Day 6: Change of Plans

We intended to go into Yosemite Valley this morning to catch the early morning light; however there was dense  cloud cover and it started raining on our way to the park.  We were not that far to the park so we decided to turn around and go back to the hotel, catch another hour or so of sleep, then check out so we could make the drive down to Sequoia National Park. Yep, I was being spontaneous, not sure if I really like deviating from the original plan, but I did it.   

We checked out of the hotel around 6:30 AM from the hotel, but not until after a pair of wild turkeys strutted through the parking lot.  We noticed the turkeys because they were making loud gobble noises as they strutted, waking several people up.  We declined breakfast at the hotel and instead ate at Happy Burger for breakfast, they open at 6:00 AM. After breakfast we made the two hour drive down to Visalia,  which is about 30 minutes outside of Sequoia National Park.  We got there around 9:30 AM, and the desk manager tried to check us in but he had no clean rooms with a king available, but he did store our luggage for us.  I’m actually impressed desk manager made an effort to get us a room that early in the morning.   So after dropping off our luggage we drove to Sequoia NP,  so I could see the big trees, because in America even the trees are fat.

Big Sequoias in Giant Forest - SUV for scale (Cell Phone through car widow)

The drive to the park was ok, rather flat and not very curvy, however that changed once we entered the park.  To get out of the foot hills and up the Giant Forest, where the big sequoia’s are, you must drive up to an elevation of approximately 6,500 feet, going about 25 mph through several tight switchbacks at an 8% grade.  Jim was having fun making a bunch of “U-turns” up the mountain.  It is not a fast drive.  We stopped at a few pull offs and viewpoints along the road up the mountain to see the tree named “General Sherman”.   We stopped at tunnel rock, which you used to be able to drive through, and the overlook before making it up to the General Sherman parking area.  From the parking area you walk down approximately 200 feet to the base of the tree.  It is a big tree, it is apparently the largest tree in the park by volume.  Lets just say I needed a wider lens to get the whole tree in the picture, Jim got the whole thing with the fisheye lens. I did not wait in line to get my picture in front of it, but took a some pictures of other people standing in front of it.   From there we further up the road to Wuksachi Lodge to get  lunch.  On the way back down we stopped at Beetle Rock, the Giant Forest Museum, and most of the way down the mountain, at Hospital Rock which had Native American paintings on the side of it.

Bottom of General Sherman Tree (Cell Phone)

Tomorrow, we will be going back to Sequoia NP to do some of the hike in the Giant Forest area. We may also drive all the way over to Kings Canyon.   I think we will at least drive up to Kings Canyon Visitor Center so we can see the “General Grant” tree which is the second largest tree in the park.  The only potential problem tomorrow is the need for tire chains above 8,000 feet due to possible snow showers, it shouldn’t be a problem if we  stay below 8,000 feet and most of the places are around 6,000 feet.  

Because I was spontaneous, the new plan is to stay in Visalia until we need to drive up back up to San Francisco on Thursday, giving us only a half day in San Francisco.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Day 5: Not A Lot of Hiking Today


Part of Tenaya Lake, notice the snow (Cell Phone)

Today we woke up a bit later than yesterday, we slept in till 6:30 AM.  We had breakfast at the hotel, which was well below the average hotel breakfast buffet and not very appetizing.  After breakfast we drove to the park, and got there around 8:30 AM, and were informed Tioga Road was open, so we made the 2 hour drive up to Tuolumne Meadows.  We made the drive quickly because we were racing weather. A storm was supposed to come in later in the afternoon, which could force them to reclose the road and we did not want to get stuck on the wrong side.  The meadow itself was not very interesting, which I should have expected at this time of year since there was still a fair bit of snow on the ground in some places heading up to the meadows, and the meadows itself was still brown.  It also didn’t help that most areas along that road are only open in the summer, and this is one of the few times this May the road has been open.    We did get a few pictures, and stopped at the Tenaya Lake and Olmstead Point pull offs to get some pictures of the lake and half dome respectively.  We then continued back down to the valley.

View from Olmsted Point (Cell Phone)

Jim and I at Olmsted Point (Cell Phone)

Once back in the main valley we took Wawona Road up to Tunnel View, where you have a beautiful overview of Yosemite Valley with views of Half Dome, El Capitan, and Bridalveil Falls.  We took several photos in that area, but did not make the hike up to “Inspiration Point” or “Old Inspiration Point” because Jim’s knee was bothering him from yesterday's hike.  We then drove over to the Bridalveil Falls trail head to hike over to the falls viewing point.  The hike really wasn’t a hike it was more like a short, walk since the viewing area was 1000 ft from the parking lot.   After getting a few pictures there, we determined it was time to head back to the hotel because the clouds were starting to look ominous and the sky was starting to darken.  We determined we did not want to be stuck in any rain storms.

View from Tunnel View (Cell Phone)

After dropping our stuff off at the hotel we went to get dinner.  We were originally going to eat at Happy Burger Diner (mostly because I keep seeing signs for it) but they actually had  substantial wait.  Who knew a restaurant in this tiny town could have a wait.  So we went over to 1850 to eat.  I had the pulled pork which was good,  and Jim had the ninja burger.  He said the burger was different, but it was not the flavor explosion he was expecting based on the description.  After that it was back to the hotel to call it a day.

Tomorrow, we will be getting up extra early to get the park so we can catch the morning light.  In all honesty it is how the light reflects off the features of the valley that makes Yosemite. Tomorrow will also be our last day in the park,  we decided since several of the trails and roads are closed till summer to leave early.  This means we will get to spend a full day in San Francisco, instead of a half day like the original plan.  This means I can see the seals and the Golden Gate Bridge, neither of which I have ever seen even though I have been to San Francisco.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Day 4: Hiking in the Park

Today started at 4:30 AM so we could beat the crowds into the park and ensure we had a parking space. We passed through the gate around 6:30 AM (it is an hour drive from the hotel), and took the road into Yosemite Valley.  We stopped a few times along the road to take a few pictures of El Capitan and Bridalveil Falls in the early morning light, but our goal was the parking lot.  We arrived early enough we had our choice of spots, since the lot was empty, so got one close to the exit and main paths.  

We started our walking adventure by following signs for the visitor center and Yosemite Falls.  The visitor center did not open till, 9 AM so we continued on to the falls. We brought MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) with us for breakfast, good thing because several of the restaurants didn’t open till 7:00 AM.  The walk to the falls was fairly short, and the lower viewing area had very few people at it, which was good for pictures.  From there were continued around the waterfall path up to the Mirror Lake path.  The trail was supposed to be about 4 miles but seemed longer, because we took the trail which went up and down instead of the flat road out to it.  I was actually disappointed by Mirror Lake, because I was expecting more water.  But due to the extended drought, there was very little water and the lake is slowly turning into marsh and meadow.  From there we hiked back to the visitor center area.  On the hike back we stopped at the deli to grab lunch. After eating and checking out the visitor center, we took the valley bus over to the Curry Village area to hike part of the John Muir trail to Vernal Falls.

Yosemite Falls (Cell Phone)

The trail to the base of Vernal Falls is very deceiving, it starts out level and transitions to a gradual incline; then right when you think this isn’t bad it starts a steep uphill.  We only hiked the trail to the viewing area, which was .8 miles uphill and decided not to hike the remaining .6 miles up to very top of the falls.  After then we decided to call it a day, so hiked down the hill to the valley bus station to take the bus back to the parking area.  We didn’t feel like hike the two mile to the parking lot.  From there we headed out of the park making a few picture stops along the way.

Vernal Falls (Cell Phone)

Today was a good day (even if I forgot my Fit Bit to track my steps), it was sunny and comfortable temperature after the morning chill wore off.  Tomorrow we will not be getting up as early and rain is expected, which makes me sad.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Day 3: A Driving Day

Today was a driving day.  We packed up the Jeep and were on the road by 8:00 AM, for the three hour drive to Mariposa where the hotel is located.  Along the way to Mariposa we stopped at Casa de Fruta, a roadside attraction that sells fruits, nuts, jellies, and pomegranate wine.  The also had very squawky  peacocks walking around. We picked up some pomegranate juice and wine.   We also made a quick stop in Los Banos at a McDonald's/Gas Station/Convenience store to pick up some Gatorade and use the bathroom.  We made it into Mariposa around 11:30 AM so we stopped for lunch at a little dinner then went to up to hotel to see if we could check in.   Sadly there were no rooms ready yet, so we got back into the Jeep and dove another hour to Yosemite NP.  

Along the Drive (Cell Phone Camera)

The road to Yosemite has several curves and downhills with 7% grades. We ran into one ‘detour’ which routed us across the river briefly due to a rockslide covering the normal road.  Getting into the park was easy,  but we didn’t stay long due to traffic.  We got into the park and on to the road leading to Yosemite Valley which is a one way loop road which seemed all well and good. So we stopped briefly at the El Capitan and Bridalveil Falls viewing areas, took some pictures and walked around a bit.  We then got back into the car intending to continue on our way to the visitor center. We hit traffic, so much traffic that we ended up a standstill for a while.  So we decided not to go all the way to the visitor center, but take the loop exit and head back out of the park.  Apparently there was no parking at the visitor center anyway.   We made the hour drive back out of the park, stopping at a gas station fill up, and then back to the hotel where we could finally check in.  After settling into the hotel we walked around the historic portion of the town, got some dinner at the local pizza place, then decided to call it a day.


Ribbon Falls and part of El Capitan (Cell Phone Camera)

Tomorrow we will be getting up early, so we can beat the crowds into the park.  Hopefully that plan will work.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Day 2: Ocean Views and Sea Life

Today started with the standard breakfast buffet at the hotel, followed by an hour drive down the Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1).  Our destination was the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, specifically McWay Falls.  I’m sure everyone has seen photos of McWay Falls, it is the waterfall cascading of the rock cliff onto a sandy beach with the blue ocean waves coming the sandy shore to meet the falls.  It is one of the pictures everyone thinks of when they think of Big Sur.  I wanted to see the falls in person, so we made the hour drive down Route 1.   Along the drive we stopped at a few pull offs,  one of a lovely bridge, named Rocky Creek Bridge, which is just to the north of Bixby Creek Bridge.   We also stopped at the information and ranger station before arriving at McWay Falls.  The trail to McWay Falls was an easy quarter mile walk that provided views of the falls from several different angles.  I will say the falls in person lived up to the pictures I have seen.  The only thing I wished was that we had a more interesting sky or were there closer to sunset.  However, the morning was nice since there were very few people allowing us to get the pictures we wanted without jostling for a position.   After the falls we made the drive back up one to Monterey.  


Rocky Creek Bridge

McWay Falls

We got back into Monterey around lunch time, so we decided to eat at the Hula Girl restaurant for lunch before heading over to the aquarium.  The food at the Hula Girl was good, Jim enjoyed the kulua pork and Thai chicken I had was good.  After lunch we headed to the aquarium, which I had high hopes for, but was slightly disappointed in it.  While the Monterey Aquarium is big,  it seemed poorly laid out, and in my opinion has more interactive displays then aquariums full of fish.  It was a nice aquarium but not worth the close to 40 dollar entrance fee.  I was even disappointed in the sea otter exhibit, and I love sea otters.  So I felt a little let down.   Afterwords we stopped for frozen yogurt and walked along the touristy street to get back to our car.  We then headed to the hotel for a quick stop before going out again, to the beach to see the tidal pools.


Anemones at Aquarium
I had elevated hopes, for tidal pool viewing since I have never been to a tidal pool.  Alas, all I saw was one tiny hermit crab and a bunch of snails.  I was really hoping to see a starfish or something interesting like that.  But that is okay, I did get a few nice pictures of waves crashing against the rocks.  Overall, it was a good day.

Beach along Ocean Side Drive, Location of Tidal Pools

Tomorrow we make our way to Yosemite National Park.  That is supposed to be about a four hour drive.  So the day may not be that interesting, but we’ll see.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Flight Out to California

Today we woke up at 3:30 AM so we could catch a cab at 4:30AM to the airport.  We arrived at the airport around 4:45 AM, checked our bags and headed for security, the line was longer than usual, but they did just open it at 4:30AM.  We got through security we found our gate and waited to board our 6:45AM flight.   This was our first time flying SouthWest, and the boarding process went quickly and the open seating was not as crazy as I thought it would be.  We landed in San Francisco at 11:10 AM Pacific Time after a short layover in Chicago.  

Getting out of the airport to the rental car area was slightly confusing. When we finally got to the rental car area, the line for budget was extremely long, but thankfully they approached us in line and asked if we had Fastbreak account, which I had, thus moved us on our way quickly.  If I wouldn’t of had a fast break account we probably would have been in line for at least an hour.

Once we got out of the airport we stopped at lunch at an In-N-Out Burger, before beginning the two hour drive down to Monterey. Before we got to the hotel we stopped at a little roadside farmer's stand and picked up some oranges. Once we arrived at the hotel, we attempted to check in as it was already 4:00 PM, but was told the rooms weren’t ready yet. She then said one just became available, and gave us that one, which wasn’t even clean, I complained and we got a new room that was clean overlooking the cemetery. I guess that is better than the dirty room which was overlooking the parking lot.  We got settled then went for a drive along Ocean Side Drive, stopping for a few photos.   We ate dinner at CoCo’s Bakery and Restaurant, then decided we were tired and head back to the hotel.  

This was a very long day, especially since we didn’t get much sleep due to still fighting stuffy noses.  While the flight was uneventful, flying with sinus pressure is no fun.  I’m hoping this was just a rough start and the trip goes smoothly and our cold clear up soon.

Tomorrow we will be going to the aquarium and down to the waterfall in Big Sur, that I always see pictures of.  While everyone has the same photo, I want to take that photo for myself.  Hopefully it will be nice out.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

52 Week Photo Challenge – Week 10: Portrait – Environmental

I realize I’m not doing well at keeping up with the 52 week photo challenge and am jumping around a lot.  I’m trying my best, but life happens. I finally got the environmental portrait done, which is from a commercial shoot I did last week.  I had the pleasure of photographing my long type reiki therapist, Maricela who owns Your Life Energy.   I think Maricela is a beautiful person inside and out, and it was a pleasure to work with her and capture her gentile and loving spirit.  If you are in the Arlington, VA area, I highly recommend Your Life Energy for reiki, massage therapy, and yoga.

For this image I used a Canon 70D with my 18-200mm lens with a 400 ISO, and speed light mounted on a light stand with a shoot through umbrella set to right of the subject.   Since this was an environmental portrait, I placed Maricela in front of a table in her treatment room that had the essential oils, crystals and lotions used during different treatments.  For this photo, my lens was set to 20mm, and I used an F5 aperture with a 1/80s shutter. Because this was a commercial shoot, I will not be showing the original image.   The original image was wider, a slightly darker, and had a bit of an orange cast.   I pulled the photo into Lightroom to edit.  I adjusted the white balance off the white picture frame, and then brightened the image by increasing the exposure. I also used a medium contrast and adjusted the sharpness, luminance, corrected for lens aberration, and then cropped the image.  Theses edits resulted in the final bright and cheerful image below

Final Image

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Chun Li Cosplay Photo Shoot and Photo Challenge

I ran a contest a month ago on my Munchkin Photos Facebook page for a free two-hour photoshoot.  The winner was a great cosplayer, Nerdenheim Jen, who decided to do Chun Li from Street Fighter.  I did the photo shoot a few weeks ago, which was a combination of studio and outdoor photos.   Also during this shoot, I addressed two of the 52-week photo challenges. 

For this shoot, I used a Cannon 70D with an 18-200 mm lens, 430EX II speed lights (two inside, one outside), light stands, shoot through umbrellas, a white backdrop (inside), floordrop (inside), Yongnu radio triggers, and a Pixel Stick (outside). For the shoots inside the flashes were mounted on light stands with the shoot through umbrellas and placed about 45 degrees off from center adjusted for Chun Li’s height.  During the shoot, the light placement was adjusted for the pose and mood.   For the indoor shoot, I was trying for high-key photos.  For the outdoor photos, the flash was mounted on a stick with a shoot through umbrella, which my husband (who makes a very good assistant and voice activated light stand) held at varying angles and heights for the photos. 

I’m going to discuss five specific photos from the shoot that address: my 2 favorite photo, high key, movement, and pixel stick work.  You can see all the final images from the shoot here (Chun Li From Street Fighter).

My two favorite photos come from outside. The first one is of Nerdenheim Jen in a cherry tree, I absolutely loved this location and how well she posed using the tree. I got so many great shots it was hard to pick a favorite. However, I like this one for its subtle beauty, and the power and self-confidence it exudes. For this photo, the flash was placed up high and to the right and slightly angled down through the tree branches.  I used a 100 ISO with a 1/125s shutter speed at an F6.3 aperture at 18mm.  The image straight out of the camera was a dark and had the light in it which could have put in the nope pile; however I saw potential in the image.  I started by cropping the image to remove the light stand, then adjusted the white balance to flash, then used auto exposure to brighten the image.  From there I adjusted everything, I dialed down the exposure, which usually is too bright from auto, increased clarity and vibrancy, used a strong contrast, adjusted the sharpness and luminance of the photo, and corrected for lens distortion.   After I finished my edits in Lightroom, I pulled the image over to Photoshop to further refine the image.  In Photoshop, I removed some of the background pin lights, removed the tag on the tree, and added moonbeams, thus arriving at the final image.

Original/Raw
Final

The second image was taken within sculpture.  I like this image because it is innocent yet sexy at the same time.  For this photo, the flash was placed up high and to the right.  I using a 100 ISO with a 1/15s shutter speed at an F5 aperture at 20mm. As you can see the image straight from the camera is dark but has a nice ambiance.  Therefore, to improve the image I cropped the extremely dark areas out using the rule of thirds. I then adjusted the white balance to flash and used auto exposure to brighten the image. From there I adjusted everything, I dialed down the exposure, increased clarity and vibrancy, used a strong contrast, adjusted the sharpness and luminance of the photo, and corrected for lens distortion. I only used Lightroom to create this image.

Original/Raw
Final

This final image, before we move onto discussion of the challenge images, I used something called a pixel stick.  We did not do many of these types of shots because this was near the very end of the shoot and the light misting drizzle was starting to pick up. The pixel stick is stick with several LED lights on it that change color and make a pattern, which can be seen in a long exposure photo. I don’t get to use the stick much because it is six foot and needs to be photographed using a long exposure which can only be done in dark settings.  I’m slightly mad at myself because I forgot my tripod, which is basically a requirement for these types of images, so to stabilize myself laid on the ground and  held my camera so my arms formed a triangle.  My husband moved the pixel stick behind Nerdenheim Jen, while her husband (who I recruited) held the flash up and to the left of her.  I used a 100 ISO with a 2-second shutter speed at an F5 aperture at 18mm; also, I used a rear shutter flash sync to ensure my husband was not captured in the shot as he moved the pixel stick. As you can see this is a bright and slightly soft image straight out of camera.  To finalize this image I cropped it remove distracting elements. Then I adjusted the white balance, and then darkened the image, which remove some of the blur around the subject.  From there I adjusted the clarity and vibrancy, used a strong contrast, adjusted the sharpness and luminance of the photo, and corrected for lens distortion. I only used Lightroom to create this image. I do like how this image came out.  I would like to work with the pixel stick more, because there are some great possibilities for it.  Now on to the two photo challenge photos.

Original/Raw

Final

52-Week Photo Challenge - Week 13: Portrait - High-Key 
For those that don’t know the definition of high-key is as follows: a style of lighting for film, television, or photography that aims to reduce the lighting ratio present in the scene. This was originally done for technological reasons, since early film and television did not deal well with high contrast ratios, but now is used to suggest an upbeat mood. To simplify a high key photo is bright white photo with few if any shadows and usually characterized by a white background. I will admit I’m not very good at taking high-key photos since my photos usually lean towards the darker side or more of low-key image.

This image was taken in a studio setting with a white backdrop and two flashes fired through umbrellas. For this image, I was using a 100 ISO with a 1/125s shutter speed at an F6.3 aperture at 60mm. The original image came out dark, and not at all high-key but I fixed this in post processing. I first cropped the image, then adjusted the white balance on her hair ribbons, and then used auto exposure to bring up the image brightness. From there I further tweaked the image by adjusting clarity, the contrast to high, increased sharpness, adjusted the luminance of the image, and finally corrected for lens distortion. I then pulled the photo into Photoshop to blur the background using lens blur to get rid of the wrinkles in the backdrop. I also did a black and white version of the image, which I personally like, and I think works better as a high key image then the color image.

Original/Raw
Final

52-Week Photo Challenge - Week 16: Portrait - Movement 
When working with cosplayers who are doing action characters or have costumes that move, doing movement shots is fun.  I enjoy doing action shots while moving because it brings more life to the photo then a static pose.  In this session, we did several action shots.  During the action shots, I had to be aware of the movement of her skirt since it was very light weight thus would fly up, and I was not doing fan service shots.  The photo here is of simple movement of the hair ribbons, as she settles into a stance from a jump.  This used the same set up as the previous shot including the same camera settings except for the focal length, which was 20mm.  Again, the photo came out slightly dark.  Thus, I followed the same editing process within Lightroom and Photoshop as in the previous photo.  However, I noticed the backdrop and floordrop did not make a nice seam along the bottom, which is due to no pulling both taut and placing the floordrop on carpet.  Most photographers to remedy this problem would use molding over that area, I don’t have one.  Thus, I created a modeling in Photoshop to cover the seam, creating a better transition between the floor and the wall.  Overall, I like how the final image turned out.

Original/Ra
Final

Overall, I’m very happy with this photo shoot.  However, if I were to do it again I would use a black background for the studio shots, because I think that would fit the characters mood better and make them grittier.  I choose the white backdrop based on example images of the character on line, which happened to be very bright images.  I also would change the ISO on my camera from 100 to about 400.  The lighting I believe was fine and turning out how I wanted, except for the overall brightness of the image, which was easily correctable.  I honestly prefer to shoot a little dark then over expose.  However, what matters was the client was happy with the images, which she was.