Tag Archives: graphic

Blur —

The more photos I take, the more I realize that for the person who loves to take photographs but knows little about the mechanics of how photography works in the field, things tend to fall to either one of two laws: Murphy’s Law, or the Law of the Jungle; so it went as I attempted to create a photo for this week’s Daily Post photo challenge.

I do all of my shooting with my phone. It’s both a convenient and effective tool for capturing images, and so it’s not necessary for me to have a dedicated camera on hand, ensure that it’s charged, with enough free space in memory to take all the pictures I wanted to at the highest resolution. But it turns out that my phone’s shutter speed is freaky faster than a Jimmy John’s delivery driver. Yesterday when I got to shoot out at my in-laws’ place on the Missouri River, I intentionally tried to get some blurred photos by moving the phone quickly while pressing the shutter button.

A crystal clear, unexciting photo was the result.

I’m almost certain I frowned in confusion. Then I held up the phone, and spun in a circle, pressing the shutter button so rapidly that eventually the photo app threw up a circular arrow popup in an effort to get me to slow the heck down. I got about ten photos, all of them clear as a bell and about as interesting as an audiobook of Ben Stein reading a phone book.

So now I was done trying. Obviously when you wanted to capture an object in motion, you couldn’t; and when you wanted to intentionally blur a photo, you also would fail — Murphy’s Law.

So I began to look for interest in the world around me. This is where I often feel the daunt in photography: like, what really qualifies as an interesting shot? Am I just playing the part, or can I really find something that people would agree is visually appealing? Some day I will learn much more about photography. In the meantime, I figured out how to get my blur by trying to shoot in the direction of the afternoon Sun, while blocking it with my hand so it wouldn’t wash out the CCD and the resulting picture.

Auto-focus was the key here.

Pinching Out the Sun, by Rob Ross
Pinching Out the Sun, © 2015, Robert W. Ross. Creative Commons 3.0 CC BY-NC-SA

It turns out that my phone has a remarkably short focus field; you only have to be about an inch or two away from a subject to focus, and it automatically focuses on the closest subject. My current phone uses touch focus in the native camera app, but I happened to be using Hipstamatic, which doesn’t have a touch focus feature at this time so it focused on my hand. I held the Sun captive for a moment while I took this one. Then I wondered if I could do it with something so insubstantial as a pine needle, so as to get a more or less completely blurred photo.

Sunlight Cutter by Rob Ross
Sunlight Cutter, © 2015, Robert W. Ross. Creative Commons 3.0 CC BY-NC-SA

I got the opposite effect, but no less interesting: it looks like the light of the sun is cutting off the root of the blurry pine needle.

Here’s the upshot: I didn’t think to save blurred photos. I have, up until now, considered them to be garbage (i.e., a good reason to click the garbage can in my photo app.) I haven’t seen one worth keeping yet, but now that I’ve made a few on purpose I’ll probably consider in the future whether a blurry photo I’m viewing has some worth. It’s the least you can do for that unimportant, frozen moment in time. If you think about it, these moments of life — each moment of which should be precious to those who live in it — are now more expendable than ever. The first visual capture device in history was the eye, and those images were recorded in the mind. They could only be transmitted through the spoken word of oral tradition.  Millennia down the road, we began to capture these moments on light sensitive media — first film, and now digital memory. We’ve innovated our way through the challenges — clarity, color, cost, convenience, &c. . . now it seems like these moments are expendable when they don’t meet the strict criteria of the the photographer — their needs, their current mindset, their idiosyncratic preferences.

But what if someone else thought that image was useful? Even if it was worth less than a penny and so had to be given away — would it be worth erasing?

I’m not saying we should keep every image we capture, but maybe more of our images are worth another look.

(Daily Post photo challenge: Blur | Header image by Sophie Asia)

Cartoon Craziness Challenge — Build-a-Burger

The current week’s prompt for the Cartoon Craziness Challenge (C³) is “build-a-burger”. I had more than one idea for this one, but here’s the one that I made:

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(Copyright late last night, yours truly. Use it but don’t abuse it.)

You probably shouldn’t watch this because after a while it looks like Bach is looking right into your soul and mining your thoughts like the NSA on spice melánge. Plus it clocks in at two hours and change, but it does make some nice background music if you leave it up while you do housework or something.

Cartoon Craziness Challenge — Mythical Creatures!

So I find myself embarrassed to say that in the rush and bustle of life, while putting things to the side for later, I managed to file away a Cartoon Craziness Challenge (C³) from the Indecisive Eejit and am just now putting in an entry that could have been in a couple of weeks ago. Today I may get in entries for both Weeks 7 and 8, but I’m not going to make you wait, lest rumors of my disappearance never abate!

The theme of Week 7 is “mythical creatures”,  and while this one is right up my alley I felt compelled to create something new, something never-before-dreamed-of in the entire lexicon of human history . . .

If I have failed, I can hardly be blamed considering “there is nothing new under the Sun” is a common mantra — the thought that you can never think up something new because everything has been thought of or done already. I beg to differ, though, because sometimes we do get something new — heck, sometimes we still find new species of life right here on Earth, and even though (we assume) they’ve been there all along, it’ still new to us . . .

A new discovery.

And even if that pessimistic adage were one hundred percent true, that doesn’t take into account anything that isn’t under the Sun — our old friend Sol, that is.

Copyright today, Me.

Presented for your inspection: a creature whose origins stem from another place, another world that finds its orbit around, and its aromatically gaseous landscapes below, a different sun. Its appearance is unsettling. The rational mind refuses to accept the jumble of visual information transferred to it by the alien starlight reflecting from the surface of this beast — a life form that can only live out its violently befuddling existence in  . . .

The Cartoon Craziness Zone

(Sound effect provided by AudioMicro.com)


And now for the first thought. Most of my other entries into the C³ have involved a “first thought”: basically, I managed to create the image that came into my head when I read the prompt for the challenge, and this week is no exception, except my first thought was a blast from the past. It’s a piece that I began over a decade ago while working for Erie Industries in Ferndale, Michigan. It takes quite a while to machine out a two-foot diameter, cast iron cylinder block, which is the job I was doing on a honking-big Mazak CNC lathe when I began to draw this dragon.

Copyright a long time ago, Me. No derivatives, please!

I intend to finish it some day, and then have it tattooed somewhere on me, and it’s going to be big. Once upon a time I drew a lot of dragons, and was beginning to get quite good at it. In the spirit of mythical creatures, I wanted to share this one because it remains the best I’ve ever drawn at the pinnacle of my practice.

Until next post, keep the adventure alive.

Cartoon Craziness Challenge: Kids and Pets — Klag’s School Picture

To catch up on the Cartoon Craziness Challenge, this week’s prompt is “kids and pets”. Again, I knew exactly what I wanted when I read it:

Maybe you can tell we’ve been watching some Star Trek lately; although I have to say the new depiction of Klingon warriors in the reboot movies is very cool with their plate armor, medieval-style helmets, and capes; I still envision them by force of habit in the armor and style of dress they brought to the screen beginning with Star Trek III: The Search for Spock all the way through to the end of Enterprise.

I was going to create a landscape background of a desert with vertical rock formations, but I got so exasperated trying to draw the stupid dog that I just decided to call it good and move on with my life. This picture is not as cute or gruesome as I imagined it in my head, but I suppose that’s where “room for improvement” lives.

🙂

Cartoon Craziness Challenge – Superheroes!

I promised a superhero picture earlier this week, and I have delivered. This is the vision I had when I first read the prompt:

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The further I got into this piece, however, the more I realized that it’s not traditional “superhero” material. I did come by this sketch concept I made in our room at Seaside, Oregon:

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Funny, how I started itching to draw very soon before this challenge began!

Cartoon Craziness Challenge: Superhero (WIP)

Last week was a busy one; with my role changing at work I didn’t have so much time to get all the blogging done. One thing I really wanted to attend to, however, was the Cartoon Craziness Challenge, the theme of which last week was “superhero”.

I had an idea, a plan in mind for the picture I would draw, but because of the way I work it remains a work in progress. I’ll have to get it in later this week, but here is a snapshot of the work so far:

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It looks like there are smears on the page because there’s currently something on the inside of my phone’s camera lens!