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DIY Beanbag

May 30, 2010

DIY BeanbagBeanbags work great to help stabilize a camera, just place it underneath and mash your camera into it. Today’s post is about making your own. All you need is rice (or seed or something similar) a pair of socks (colored if you like) and some string.

Start by putting a few cups of rice into one of the socks filling it about half way. Tie the sock off with a string and then pull the open end of the sock back over. Put this sock into the other sock, tie off the second sock and pull the open end back again and then you’re done, DIY beanbag.

You can add salt to the rice if you want it to act as a desiccant as well.


Business or Pleasure?

April 8, 2010

So, some people have been wondering if I’m running a photography business. The answer is no, I’m not. If anything I’m currently building a portfolio and really just rekindling an old hobby that at one point got too expensive to maintain. You can see on my Facebook page, however, that I have done a few portraits. I’m available to do these for people that ask so I’m definitely not averse to accepting a gig. Each one I’ve done has been a definite learning experience and I’m very grateful to these wonderful people. I’ve definitely learned a lot in the few sessions I’ve done, enough to know that I’m far from being in a position to advertise my services more openly. I am admittedly quite green. If you are looking for a good photographer, I definitely know a lot in the area I can refer you to who are highly professional and have years of experience.

As you can see from my 365 day project my photographic interests have been practically all over the place. Even after a year of really getting back in the saddle, I just don’t feel a specific direction in my photography. With photography, I don’t want to just take ‘nice’ pictures, I want to take pictures that define me, that speaks to what I see in my head. It’s actually pretty rare where the vision in my head matches the picture on my camera, but when those two match up it’s nirvana. However, I think one thing you’ll notice, or rather not notice, is the lack of people in my pictures.

The next stage of my photography needs to be taking more pictures of people, posed or candid. Capturing people has been something I’ve shied away from way too many times. Perhaps it’s my shyness coming through, I’m not sure. I remember one moment in college when I snapped a picture of someone and they immediately yelled at me and demanded that I destroy the picture. That incident definitely jarred me and possibly contributed to my propensity to avoid candid photos. I think that if I can break through that I can get to where I want to be.

For now, if you have any interesting project ideas for me to work on, let me know, I’m open to anything. Not surprisingly it’s quite hard to come up with a daily random picture.

Practice Set

March 7, 2010

Practice Set, originally uploaded by Warren Raquel Photography.

I serve on the media team for my church, Quest. Just before service we do a run-through for media, sound and worship. This picture was taken during the run-through.

I set this up by standing on a painter’s ladder and shooting down towards the worship team. In post production I applied a Lightroom preset called “Matt’s Sin City – Dark Red” from I liked the look as is and left it with that. One click and done.

Post Production

March 6, 2010

Post, originally uploaded by Warren Raquel Photography.

For day 18 I’ve decided to bring back a picture from my D40 days and do some minor post production on it. I originally took the picture as a JPEG so there wasn’t much I could do to coax out more details from the picture.

In the center is the original picture of a white Amaryllis. To the left and right are minor post edits in Gimp. For both pictures I duplicated the original picture layer and placed it on top. I applied a Gaussian Blur with a radius of 75. I set the layer opacity to 75. For the picture on the left I set the layer mode to ‘Soft Light’. For the the picture on the left I set the layer mode to ‘Multiply’.


March 5, 2010
Green Spirit

Green Spirit, originally uploaded by Warren Raquel Photography.


Green, originally uploaded by Warren Raquel Photography.

Today is not an official holiday. It’s Unofficial. It was originally created in 1996 by a bar owner in Champaign in order to increase business and create an alternate celebration day for St Patrick’s day which normally fell during Spring Break. Since that first year the event has taken on a life of its own. Each year the event becomes more and more organized, not only by bar owners but by businesses, city officials and landlords who must deal with the general rowdiness and debauchery associated with a day dedicated to drinking green beer.

In these two shots you can see two general attitudes for the day. The first being the ‘party’ aspect and the second being the ‘fun’ aspect. For those of you out there partaking, have fun, be safe and don’t tear up the random person’s rented apartment that you find yourself in tonight. 😉

If you have time, please make sure to thank Public Safety, Champaign and Urbana police for taking extra precautions during a time when fiscal resources are painfully strained.

The Galloping Ghost

March 4, 2010

The Galloping Ghost, originally uploaded by Warren Raquel Photography.

Harold Edward “Red” Grange, nicknamed the Galloping Ghost, was a halfback for the University of Illinois. He was one of the greatest football players in not only Illinois’ history but in college football. You can read more about Red on Wikipedia.

365 Project Day 16

This picture was taken on a bright fall day in mid September of 2009. Initially I had dismissed this picture because I didn’t like the stadium in the background instead going with a profile shot edited to take out the ground and to isolate the statue.
I didn’t do much to this picture except add contrast, a tiny bit of clarity and increasing the blacks just a little to bring out the deep colors of the statue. The statue is quite impressive in person and the detail is incredible.

Nikon D90 fitted with AF-S Nikkor 18.0-55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, F 3.5 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200

Something odd to note about this picture is that this picture is f/3.5 and the shutter speed is 1/200 and ISO 200. Why is this odd? This is in bright daylight. If I’m following the sunny F16 rule it should be 4 stops brighter. Well, first off the stadium is in shade so I needed to compensate by about a stop to get that exposed and I most likely had a circular polarizer on the lens dropping the light another 2 stops.

My Phone

March 3, 2010

My Phone, originally uploaded by Warren Raquel Photography.

This is picture 15 of my 365 project. Today I wanted to do a studio shot of something. I couldn’t decide what. I finally decided on just shooting the phone I just got. A Samsung Intensity. It was the only phone I was interested in that wasn’t tied to a MANDATORY data plan with Verizon (grrr) and was free with a phone upgrade.

I shot this once again on an elevated plexiglass sheet. Below the phone, on the floor is my foam board for a clear white background. Over the phone between it and 3 SB-600 flashes is a white polyester sheet. 2 SB-600s are in 40″ white umbrellas and the 3rd is just hanging on a fan from the ceiling pointing straight down.

Post production I added contrast and clarity and that was it.

Nikon D90 fitted with AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1:1.8 DX, F 16 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200