This is the most athletic thing I have ever seen short of Cirque du Soleil. These 3 people are absolute mutants (how do her legs not snap?)! We went to the Arizona Renaissance Festival a couple of weekends ago. This is one of our favorite acts. They’re relatively new to the fest and they’re called Barely Balanced (click for web site…watch some of their videos and be amazed). This is not my favorite shot of them, but it is the one that I think demonstrates the greatest athleticism. You can check out some more of my pics from the fest in My FaceBook Album which I’ve made public just for y’all. I Topaz’d the daylights out of those, cuz I like the surreal sort of feel it gives to the pictures…it gives them an otherworldly sense of place. The festival is definitely surreal.
Shooting outdoors in the spring and summer in Arizona is insane. The light is so harsh, and because it is so hot, there is artificial shade constructed everywhere which is very dark. The lighting is so poor, and there’s no HDR-ing it because you’re shooting action rather land landscape or still-life. There is no golden hour shooting here as it doesn’t open until mid-morning. What do you do to compensate for a combination of harsh direct light and deep dark shadow in the same shot at the same time when shooting events like this? I’m having a helluva time!
This actually was taken this year…before we took the tree down, cuz we were a bit late at that. This is the newest ornament I bought this year. Yeah, we have a sense of humor about everything, including Christmas. We found the Mr. Hankey Christmas Ornament at our Barnes & Noble just before it closed for good (economy). The only reason I’m using this odd little tidbit for the challenge is because it gave me a good example to play with my other new toy, Topaz Star Effects, which I just bought the other day.
Here is the final result, and below, the original image. I love Topaz plug-ins. They let me fake all the skills I don’t have time or motivation to learn in order to manipulate photos properly using Photoshop Elements. 😉
This is a portrait of the uninvited “tourist,” the invasive and prolific Quagga Mussel. I didn’t even notice the little sand spider near the bottom middle/left until I blew this up…ewwwwww! I punched up the detail and saturation on this with Topaz Adjust. The dried water-junk leaves a white film on the rocks on the beach, making it hard to see the bits of color underneath, especially in bright light. The biggest of these little critters is about the size of my fingernail, and I have teensy hands. They’re everywhere. You can hardly set your foot down without crunching their little dead shells on the beach, and there must be a zillion times that under the water.
Teaching my 13yoa niece and 16yoa nephew how to skip rocks. All that was done to this is crop.
The original photo was actually taken by my 16yoa nephew using my camera. Yeah, I’m using it anyway. I cropped it way down and added some effects with Topaz.
The sky was so plain. So I opened up Lens Effects and used the Graduated Neutral Density preset to add a little interest to the sky. Most of the naturally graduated color/light was cropped out in this. There was no land or other point of reference to go in the frame. This was at 300mm zoom and has been way cropped besides…the thing was just out in the middle of the blue directly above.
Then as I’m playing with Lens Effects I notice the Toy Camera presets…this one (Memories II?) gave it a very Instagram-y effect that I quite like. I know “real” photographers think Instagram and similar programs are ruining the art of photography, but for cripes’ sakes let shutterbugs have a little fun. Especially the ones that aren’t trying to earn a living at photography. A well-equipped darkroom is to photography what an acoustically superior location is to music (that may not be the best analogy as I know precisely zip about music…only thing I can play is the radio…you get my drift though). In the digital age, image manipulation programs are to photography what AutoTune is to music; what constitutes “art” is subject to popular culture and for me if it pleases my eyes, ears, etc. then I kind of don’t care how it’s made (so long as it’s not made by skinning babies alive or something). If you do not like what is made, stop looking and listening and quityerbitchin! 😉
Welcome to 2012, all. It certainly can’t be any worse than 2011!