Composition, Light and a Bike Ride

Earlier today, Joe and I ventured out for a bike ride to the park. Along the way, Joe agreed to help me out as I was seeking great light and different compositions.

I always read how incredible garage light is. I tend to avoid trying to take portraits in my garage as it is quite full of bikes, balls and Nerf blasters. Before officially starting our journey this morning, I decided to take a quick shot. I had attached my 50mm f/1.2, figuring it would be the easiest lens to carry along. I opened all the way up, so that I could ensure that my background would be very blurry. To avoid the clutter even further, I asked Joe to look up at me and I shot from up higher. 

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I got some cute catchlights and I like the light. I'm thinking this is something I'd explore more.  

What a beautiful day for a bike ride. 

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There was lots of juicy light. I found ways to use the light to frame Joe. There's almost a natural vignette created by the shaded trees around the bridge and the highlighted trees beyond. 

This next shot was too cute to pass up. Joe was quite upset when I asked him to hop off his bike and strike a pose on this little path with magical sunlight shining through it. Since his frustration was clearly evident in my first couple of shots, I asked him to do some jumping jacks. If only I had backed up to catch his little fingers in the frame. The shot would have been perfect. So, it's not really portfolio worthy, but sometimes you gotta lighten up.


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After a nice long ride, we stopped at the playground for pretzels and some climbing. Here, I liked the shape of the tube Joe was in. I played up on the color of the grid. As he was snacking, he was leaning on the stairs and I liked how the railings both framed him and created a parallel lines for my composition. 

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Finally, we took a walk around the utility building and I saw this wooden door. I was drawn to the color and the lines. Joe did a few more jumping jacks for me. He seemed to like those today. I was going for a triangular composition here.

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I have recently become obsessed with composition. I've always had a handle on the basics. I know to look for lines and shapes, however, I think I've been too caught up with getting my light, exposure and white balance right. All the technical stuff has been crowding the creative side of my brain. Well, I've been nailing exposure (mostly). White balance, Kelvin temperatures and the Zoning System are no longer scary, unknown subjects. 

I just finished reading the Perfecting Composition, a workshop by Nichole Van. This workshop was awesome and it introduced me to more advance composition formats that I had never heard of. I couldn't wait for a nice day and a somewhat agreeable subject. I had been dying to go out an play.

I was able to edit these very quickly. I did use a bit of Paint the Moon's Light Bright action from the Luminosity the Essence set at a low opacity. From Paint the Moon's Coffee House set, I used Silver Spoon for the black and white's. These actions give you a very clean edit and they are quick and easy to tweak. I always get in there and turn layers on and off, mask, adjust, add my own layers, etc. That's part of the fun!