March 31, 2010

Mar 31: Overlay Experiment

I've seen a lot of artists creating diptychs from a single image. Triptychs too.
I want to use a systematical approach to create my own.

For a nice example, check out this photographer's latest post.
She creates 3 beautiful images from one, leaving them connected in a triptych.
Her method is more freehand, eyeballing where the divisions should be.

I plan to use math to create my own beautiful images from one large one.
Here goes nothin'......

Cutting images directly in half, or in thirds, seems too easy for this. (And the math is boring.)
Let's instead use the Golden Ratio to divide my images: 1.618. Or, inverted: .618
Here's a cool link for you to see the number I will use.

First, let's create the overlay using the Golden Ratio. Each bisecting line cuts the rectangle .618 of the way across. (Cut out a square, then another from the remaining rectangle, then another, and so on.)

Hmm. I don't like the weighting. So let's reverse the divisions. Instead of always creating squares from the small side, let's create rectangles from the large side, still using the same Golden Ratio.
(blah blah blah math blah blah blah, just look at the reversed overlay)

This looks more promising.
Let's test is on this image.

Using the first overlay:

Boring. Now, using the second overlay:

That's pretty good.

Let's try it on another image.

I'll flip the overlay this time, but it uses the same ratios.

How about something more sporty.

I'll rotate the overlay, without changing any scale.

One more.

Just missed that one.

It seems this works pretty well so far. I'm rather amazed.
I should test this more on other images and see if there's some correlation.
Does it work on any image, or just strong ones with many areas of interest?

Mar 31: Spike Ball

Check out this new game.
Order your own at

Take it to your favorite South American beach and have at it.

Spike Ball Peru from Jeremy Koons on Vimeo.

I might try it out in the snow here, but the beach is better.

March 30, 2010

Mar 30: Lobitos Part 5

Day 14:
Photo session with Henry.
We talk for an hour about various camera functions, settings, buttons, etc.
He now has a great grasp on shutter speeds, which will help him with surf photography (and everything else).
As a test, we shot these two images.
1/1000 f5.6

1/30 f22

Selective focus is another important technique he now understands. It was super difficult to teach him this. I thought I was using the right Spanish words, but it just wasn't translating. He kept missing the intermediate step (maintaining light pressure to keep the shutter button engaged). It finally came down to slow-motion play-by-play sign language. When he got it, it clicked, and his face lit up. He had the 'ah-ha!' moment. It was really cool to see that. It made me a bit proud too.
Here's the set where he got it.

Day 15:
Last day. Finishing last details. Finalizing first version of the surf photography course outline. Hanging out. Surfing.
Thomas gets his last ride of the trip. He'll be back.

The locals continue to kill it.

Alex gets one last look before heading in.

We head our separate ways, from the East coast to the West, from the Mountains to the Beach.

The trip was a success. The photography program has a strong foothold. I have high hopes for Henry.
The documentary is currently being edited. It should be finished by May, and we'll be seeing it in the film festivals later this year.
I'll let you know when/where to find it.


Mar 30: Lobitos Part 4

I've posted some images to my website that don't appear on the blog. Check them out at
Pay special attention to the Images folder 'Atardecer.'

Day 10:
More surf photography.

More surfing. (Henry)

Day 11:
Happy Anniversary Lobitos.
After 2 weeks of celebrating, the parade finally marches.

Day 12:
Photo class.
I present a slideshow to the secondary school students. I then teach them a few basic camera skills.
Here are a few of their shots from class.

Day 12:
Surf tricks.
Will practices his longboard style.

March 27, 2010

Mar 27: Lobitos Part 3

Day 7:
Campeonato de Surf.
WAVES organized a surf comp for the kids. Four towns were represented. It was a great success.
A future shredder.

Another ripper splits the cameras.

Henry is all smiles as he heads out to the break.

Although he didn't surf his best, Henry was excited to take some shots from the beach.
Here are some of Henry's images.

Day 8:
I scheduled a photo meeting for this day, but very few students showed up. The ones who did were also rather young. After the photo class, Will taught some basic guitar.

Day 9:
I met with Henry again to teach him some more advanced concepts. Here's an example of how I taught him Depth of Field.
1/30 f4

1/8 f8

1s f22

He picks it up very fast.
More to come...

March 26, 2010

Mar 26: Lobitos Part 2

Day 4:
Holggers (pronounced 'ol-wear', or 'or-well', or 'hol-ware', depending on who's talking) teaches a surf class to the local kids, while the volunteers (Alex, in black) assist.

In a little drill, the kids run into the ocean, then back, before Holggers counts to 10.

Some of the kids are just beginning. They need help catching waves. A generous push from behind gets them started. Holggers encourages their efforts.

The older kids, some of last year's beginners, make it look easy.

Day 5:
My first photo class, a 1-on-1 with Henry. I set him up and let him experiment. In the beginning he is a bit shy. He quickly gains confidence and starts asking questions. We discuss all the buttons and controls, lighting (sun angle), and a bit about capturing the critical moment. Towards the end, we discuss shutter speed and focus.
Here are a couple of Henry's first shots. (The waves were non-existent this day...)

Later, we set up on the pier for some filming. I capture the crew discussing the shot.

Day 6:
Forrest brought a new game to the continent. It's great fun, but a little dangerous. Injuries abound, particularly when the game intensity picks up.

I get out for another surf session with the locals.

Day 7:
Surfing and photographing.
I make it up for a short ride. (Thanks to Thomas for getting the shot.)

Then, I get back in the water to shoot some myself.

The underwater housing provides some cool angles. This duck dive is pretty sweet.