Lot of work again as the thesis submission is finally approaching,... "Intention to submit" form has been filled in and planned for end of November,... Does not feel real, except for the stress that is building up gradually. Good thing, I'm compensating the rising stress level by doing sport and photography and even better sport-photography. Also I've done two little projects using flash lights to improve my lighting skills (still a lot to do...)
Not much to present today. As mentioned just above, the last two weeks have been pretty thesis orientated. It was also holiday period in France, so no much handball... Nevertheless, I still had the chance to shoot two handball games from the Melantois Handball Club main team. It also gave me time to do more "photoshopping" as I took the occasion to produce several adverts and posters for the club from the picture I took from the game.
On that first series of post-treated pictures, I decided to keep the orange coloring. To be a 100% honest, I did not put too much efforts in trying to cancel it. During that kind of game I usually end up with roughly 300 - 400 pictures. Even if you can automatise the post-treatment process on LightRoom and synchronised the settings for all the pictures (that's why it is useful to shoot in Manuel Mode and to keep roughly the same settings for the entire event), I still like to review every single picture one by one. That allows me to discard the blurry ones but also to resize and crop on the best part of some of them. At the end I generally end up with 200/250 pictures.
The second game was of better quality, more interesting as the Melantois players were facing the USDK (Dunkerque) a big club in France. It was also very exciting as a very special guest was playing for Dunkerque on that day: Guillaume Joli, famous french international player, three times World champion, two times European champion and once Olympic champion with France. Anyway, brilliant game and obviously an honor to get a chance to exchange few words with Guillaume Joli and take a couple of pictures of him.
As mentioned above, I also dealt with advertising the future games for the club and I spent a bit of time working on Photoshop. Below is one of the banners I made for the Dunkerque game. Other events and banners can be found on the Instagram and Facebook of the Melantois Handball Club.
Nath-Sakura has also launched an Instagram contest (deadline is 8th of December if you want to give it go) with three different categories - "Souvenirs d'enfance" (Childhood memories), "Noir & Blanc" (Black & White) and "Photos de vacances" (Holiday memories). I have also decided to participate to this one and this is what led us to the second project I undertook over the holidays (even if I'm not technically on holiday). I picked the "Souvenirs d'enfance" category and I wanted something involving a grown up girl and plush toy. Also from a recent picture that I found on one of the group which I am a member of, I wanted to include some astrophotography bit, ideally the Milky Way. After few minutes of brainstorming with my partner in crime, I decided that a great location for this would be the "Mare à goriaux", a spot we visited before for some wildlife photography two winters ago.
Of course, this kind of shooting needs a bit of preparation as obviously you need some good weather conditions but also the adapted photographic equipment and accessories but also to think of what you want your picture to look like, sometimes like learnt from Karl Taylor, a good drawing can be really helpful.
The idea is to take an initial shot of the sky and then a second picture of the main subject and to superimpose them on Photoshop. The actual final picture required two nights of shooting.
The first night was great, no wind, no cloud cover, only stars (and the light pollution from the neighbouring cities but it was okay). The only problem, as you can see on the map just above, the place is surrounded by forest which obviously we had to go through before reaching the water bit and the pontoon where I wanted to take the picture. Bringing a fearful lady through a dark forest at night is not such a great idea if you are planning to take your time shooting stars, which obviously requires to turn off any single light and lamps during the multiple shots.
Basically we had to speed up the session. With all that haste to get back to the car and home safe, I made a bloody mistake when taking the second shot. For an astrophotography shot, basically you switch your Autofocus to Manual focus and focus on the "infinite" value, increase your ISO above 2000, open up your aperture to the maximum and choose a slow shutter speed. I did all those things and obtained a satisfying shot of the sky but unfortunately urged by "scared" assistant I totally forgot switching back the autofocus while taking picture of her for the second photo. Dumb as f***...
From Left to Right, the three different pictures that were necessary to create the final fourth one (three not two because the ballon moved with the wind in the second picture so I took the ballon from the third one and superimposed it).
As you can see, the main subject is a bit blurry because I left the focus on Manual for this shot. I tried to reduce the blur on LR but it did not come up great. Therefore we decided to head for a second trial two days later.
This session was shorter than the previous one. Someone who I won't tell the name unfortunately did not hold tight enough to the ballon which obviously took it chance and flew away from us... Luckily I managed to take enough shots of the main subject to be able to create a less blurry picture. As I could set the camera, tripod and everything exactly the same away as the first time I also had to play around on the size of the picture to be able to have it perfectly matching the background from the first session.
Again from Left to Right the three different pictures that allowed the production of picture four and five (plus a little post-treatment on LightRoom). I'm quite satisfied with the result even if I call this DYI photography, I think I'm in the "Souvenirs d'enfance" (Childhood memories) theme.