Monday, November 26, 2012

Baseball Nostalgia

Sadly, baseball season is over. I grew up in San Diego and so am a born Padres fan, but living in northern California, I've come to accept the Giants into my heart as well (particularly since they've won two out of the last three world championships).

Recently, I had the opportunity to do a baseball still life shoot. The concept was to do a nostalgic type still life  using old gloves, balls, and bats while highlighting the Giants recent World Series victory.

Giants Sweep! Old-timey still life (click to view larger)
To get ready for the shoot, I spent several weeks trolling eBay looking for the oldest, grodiest (I know that's a word) baseball equipment I could find. I ended up with several moldy old gloves, a number of beat up old bats, and a scuffed up old baseball with an amazing patina of dirt and grime. Quite the haul!

Since I had the shot perfectly composed in my mind, it really didn't take long to put together. I decided on using a small light to the side to accentuate the wonderful textures of the ball, gloves and bats. I added a rim light in the right rear to define the edges of the gloves and added a sepia layer over the newspaper in Photoshop. Total prep, shoot and post-processing time was less than three hours.

After the shoot, I still had all these wonderful old baseball props, so I took my Padres ball cap and tried a couple of other still lifes with a Padres angle to them.

I just love the textures on that old baseball, and ended up using a 105mm macro lens to capture a real close up of the textured surface of the ball.

Only 5 more months until the next season begins! (My wife says the exact same thing, but strangely with much less enthusiasm.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Reflections of Flooded Rice Fields

Late fall and winter are my favorite times for photographing in the rice fields in the Sacramento Valley. The crop has been harvested and the fields begin to be flooded to break down the stubble. On a quiet day, the flooded fields become like mirrors, reflecting the sky and clouds in an amazing way.

Flooded rice fields (click to view larger)
Photographs of the flooded fields can be beautiful, but being in the fields themselves, sitting on some levee surrounded by water - with amazing reflections in every direction - that's a whole other experience. It's like being suspended in space, completely surrounded by sky.

Even if I weren't a photographer, I would go out into the fields during the fall and winter just to experience that. 

Flooded Rice Fields
I definitely think you can count on me posting more of these shots as the winter progresses. Sadly, they begin to drain the fields in the middle of February, so I have to make sure to get out before then.

Flooded Rice Fields
Flooded Rice Fields