John Greathouse's Photo Blog

Photo Blog for PHTC 1311

Final Photog Assignment – Storytelling

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For this assignment, we were required to post 20 to 50 pictures telling a story.  This class is really the first time in my life that I have taken pictures from an artistic standpoint.  What I have discovered is that I sort of like photographing decay and nature (sometimes combining the two).  In a previous assignment, I spent some time at the Abilene Zoo taking pictures of the animals there and I really liked that.  For this assignment, instead of nature, I wanted to tell a story of decay and how you can still find art in the decay.  I took 22 pictures of various business signs that I thought possessed some artistic value but were also in a state of decline.  I did not caption them since they sort of are what they are.  But, I think one could spend quite a bit of time traveling around the area taking pictures of storefronts, neon signs and other business trappings showing the effects of the years on what was in all probability someone’s lifelong dream.  Sad and poignant.


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December 3, 2010 at 8:26 pm

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Photoshop Image Enhancing

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What happens if you take a so-so picture of something that you won’t get another shot at?  Load up the Photoshop/Camera Raw.  Shown below are retouched/enhanced images of 10 pictures that I have taken this semester.  I liked these shots but they each needed a little work.  Take a look and if you can, compare them to the originals shown in earlier posts.  Thanks.

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November 15, 2010 at 11:29 pm

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Studio/Artificial Lighting

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Shown below are photos utilizing artificial lighting (both indoors and outdoors).  The parameters are as follows:

1 portrait with a main subject (person, animal, etc.)
1 product photography image (experiment with shadows and how the light can highlight specific features)
1 image taken at twilight, after sunset
2 image with side-lighting
2 image with back-lighting

Sunset, Outdoors with Backlighting: f/8.0 1.3 ISO 400

Sunset, Outdoors with Sidelighting: f/8.0 1.3 ISO400

Portrait: f/4.0 1/13 ISO800

Backlighting: f/3.5 1/13 ISO 200

Sidelighting: f/4.5 1.3 ISO 200

Product photography: f/7.1 1/5 ISO 80

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November 9, 2010 at 2:05 am

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Natural Lighting

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Natural lighting is the focus of this assignment.  I took 10 pictures with the requirement that the following parameters be met:

2 outdoor portraits with a main subject (person, animal, object, etc.)
2 indoor portraits with a main subject (person, animal, object, etc.)
2 landscapes (include the sky, horizon, etc.)
2 close-up (macro) images
2 images taken in full sunlight
2 images taken at sunset or sunrise
2 images with side-lighting
2 images with back-lighting
2 silhouettes

Each picture may satisfy multiple requirements.  Take a look and let me know what you think.

Indoor Portrait and Backlighting: f/4.5 1/30 ISO 800

Silhouette and Indoor Portrait: f/8.0 1/30 ISO 80

Sunrise: f/8.0 1/30 ISO 80

Sunrise: f/6.3 1/20 ISO 400

Macro and Direct Sunlight: f/8.0 1/250 ISO 80

Backlight and Direct Sunlight: f/4.0 1/640 ISO 80

Landscape, Direct Sunlight: f/4.0 1/640 ISO 80

Outdoor Landscape, Direct Sunlight, Silhouette: f/8.0 1/640 ISO 80

Outdoor Portrait, Side Lighting, Macro: f/8.0 1/80 ISO 80

Outdoor Portrait and Side Lighting: f/8.0 1/80 ISO 80

Written by johngreathouse

November 8, 2010 at 10:15 pm

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Lines/Curves, Framed, Perspective and Rule of Thirds

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For this assignment, I took 40 pictures consisting of the following distribution:

10 were Lines and Curves

10 were Framed Subjects

10 were Perspective shots

and, finally, 10 were based around the Rule of Thirds.

Frankly this was a tough assignment and some of the shots I like better than others.  Anyhoo, here they are.  Enjoy.


Aperture:8.0 Shutter Speed:.3 ISO:80
Aperture:3.5 Shutter Speed:1/13 ISO:1600
Aperture:3.5 Shutter Speed:1/13 ISO:1600
Aperture:7.1 Shutter Speed:1/80 ISO:80
Aperture:6.3 Shutter Speed:1/200 ISO:80
Aperture:3.2 Shutter Speed:.5 ISO:200
Aperture:5.6 Shutter Speed:1/250 ISO:800
Aperture:4.5 Shutter Speed:1/125 ISO:200
Aperture:4.0 Shutter Speed:1/1000 ISO:80
Aperture:3.5 Shutter Speed:1/800 ISO:100



Aperture:4.5 Shutter Speed:1/1600 ISO:200
Aperture:8.0 Shutter Speed:1/400 ISO:80
Aperture:4.0 Shutter Speed:1/800 ISO:80
Aperture:5.0 Shutter Speed:1/400 ISO:400
Aperture:8.0 Shutter Speed:1/160 ISO:80
Aperture:6.3 Shutter Speed:1/1000 ISO:200
Aperture:3.5 Shutter Speed:1/1250 ISO:400
Aperture:4.3 Shutter Speed:1/800 ISO:400
Aperture:4.3 Shutter Speed:1/800 ISO:400
Aperture:4.5 Shutter Speed:1/1600 ISO:400



Aperture:7.1 Shutter Speed:1/400 ISO:400

Aperture:2.8 Shutter Speed:1/1250 ISO:80

Aperture:4.5 Shutter Speed:1/500 ISO:100

Aperture:7.1 Shutter Speed:1/250 ISO:100

Aperture:7.1 Shutter Speed:1/500 ISO:400

Aperture:3.2 Shutter Speed:1/1250 ISO:200

Aperture:5.0 Shutter Speed:1/640 ISO:80

Aperture:4.5 Shutter Speed:1/640 ISO:400

Aperture:2.8 Shutter Speed:1/1000 ISO:200

Aperture:8.0 Shutter Speed:1/800 ISO:400



Aperture:5.0 Shutter Speed:1/640 ISO:200

Aperture:5.0 Shutter Speed:1/1250 ISO:400

Aperture:5.0 Shutter Speed:1/500 ISO:400

Aperture:6.3 Shutter Speed:1/320 ISO:80

Aperture:4.0 Shutter Speed:1/1000 ISO:80

Aperture:5.0 Shutter Speed:1/1250 ISO:200

Aperture:4.0 Shutter Speed:1/800 ISO:400

Aperture:3.5 Shutter Speed:1/1250 ISO:400

Aperture:5.0 Shutter Speed:1/640 ISO:200

Aperture:5.6 Shutter Speed:1/400 ISO:200


Written by johngreathouse

October 26, 2010 at 1:33 am

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Indoor, Outdoor and Macro/Depth

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For this assignment, I took a collection of pictures covering portrait, landscape and close-up.  It is sort of like the last assignment but with more of a focus on the three critical manual settings: Shutter speed, Aperture and ISO.  For the portrait, I took a series of pictures of my mom using the specified settings and one picture that I winged it on.  As you will see from the pictures, in spite of good lighting and taking the shots next to a window, the first three are very dark.  For the first two, a combination of ISO and shutter speed pretty much make the pictures unusable.  The third picture, shot with a ISO 400 setting is suffering from too slow of a shutter speed (you can actually make out a little detail if you click on the thumbnail and go to the main picture).  The fourth picture uses an ISO of 400 also but has a lower shutter speed and a larger aperture and thus came out okay.

First portrait ISO:100 Shutter Speed:1/100 Aperture:5.6

Second portrait ISO:200 Shutter Speed:1/100 Aperture:5.6

Third portrait ISO:400 Shutter Speed:1/100 Aperture:5.6

Fourth portrait ISO:400 Shutter Speed:1/20 Aperture:3.5

For the next part of the assignment, I took a collection of landscape pictures near the town of Potosi.  One problem that I ran into immediately is that my camera only has an aperture setting of 8 so I could not use the recommended setting of 16.  Also, I keep getting a “blue” effect on my shots that I am anxious to figure out so I can correct in future efforts.  Shown below are the landscape photos.

First Landscape ISO:100 Shutter Speed:1/100 Aperture:8

Second Landscape ISO:100 Shutter Speed:1/400 Aperture:8

Third Landscape ISO:100 Shutter Speed:1/1000 Aperture:8

Fourth Landscape ISO:80 Shutter Speed:1/80 Aperture:8

So for the landscape pictures shown above, increasing shutter speed darkens the picture.  In the fourth shot, I lowered the ISO and used a slower shutter speed and thus took a brighter picture.  I wish my camera had an aperture setting of 16 since that would yield a better depth of field on these kind of shots.

For the last group of pictures, I used the Macro setting and varied the Aperture (the AV setting on the camera) from 2.8 to 4.0 to 8.0.  Once again I was limited by the lack of a setting of 16 so I included the 4.o aperture value instead.  Shown below are the results.

First Closeup ISO:80 Shutter Speed:.6 Aperture:2.8

Second Closeup ISO:80 Shutter Speed:1.0 Aperture:4.0

Third Closeup ISO:80 Shutter Speed:1.0 Aperture:8

Obviously by decreasing the size of the aperture, the picture sharpens and reveals more detail.

Written by johngreathouse

October 4, 2010 at 10:03 pm

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My new camera and what I have shot thus far

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The camera I am using for my beginning photography class (PHTC 1311 at TSTC) is the Canon PowerShot SX120 IS.  One thing that I really like about my camera is the price.  I bought it at WalMart in Abilene, Texas and it was the last one they had (display model) so I got an additional 30% off.  Very nice.  I knew I wanted a Canon because of the quality but since I am a beginning photographer, I wanted to spend as little as possible since I will definitely be moving to a digital SLR body in the future.  Another thing that I like about this camera (and this is even more important than price) is that the optical zoom is 10X.  Most compact cameras, according to the video, run about 3 to 5X so I feel fortunate to have landed this one.  What I don’t like about this camera is that you cannot interchange lenses since it is a compact camera.  I have also discovered that what shows up on the LCD screen is not necessarily what you will get on the picture.  Thus the LCD screen is really there just for framing the shot and making manual adjustments.

The process for switching to manual is simple.  The main selector button on top of the camera has an M on it that indicates the manual position.  Then, on the back of the camera, is a set of buttons and a selector wheel that allows you to make your manual adjustments.  I have only used it a little so far but I have found it to be quite fun and creative.  I like shooting manually and plan on leaving the camera in manual mode.  Once in manual mode, the selector wheel has a macro selection (on the left side of the wheel) that lets you shoot extreme close-ups.  That is the setting I used to shoot the small lizard shown in the picture below.  For the future, when I get my next camera, I plan on investing in a much more serious set of equipment that will allow me to do panoramic outdoor shoots and maybe even some sky/astronomy pictures using a camera/telescope setup.  I will probably stick with the Canon brand because their lenses have a great reputation.

For this assignment, we were required to shoot a close-up, a landscape and a portrait.  For the close-up, I shot a small (approx. one inch long) lizard in a glass stuffed with a red sock.  For the landscape, I took a nice picture of the lake next to the Abilene Zoo.  For the portrait, my stepdad agreed to let me take a picture of him on his back porch wearing his cowboy hat.  I decided to shoot his picture in black and white.  Tell me what you think.

A small lizard I shot using macro mode

Close up of a backyard critter

Shot of one of the fountains near the Abilene Zoo

John De Alba on his back porch

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September 19, 2010 at 8:17 pm

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Hi and welcome to my new photo blog

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For those of you who may have stumbled onto this site randomly, I have set this blog up to display the work I will be doing during my beginning photography class.  I hope you like my work and will check back from time to time to see what new stuff I have come up with.  In the meantime, check out the following site for some great photos that I am sure you will really like.

There are a lot of really great cityscape shots (mostly New York City) and one really cool picture of a tennis match (US Open) shot from way up in the stands.  It looks awesome.

Written by johngreathouse

September 14, 2010 at 9:49 pm

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