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Where they go, Part 2

Here’s another update on where my iStock photography is ending up on the interwebs. I recently checked out what has sold and tracked some of them down.

First off, my shot from a lobster roast I attended last summer. It ended up in two places on the Living Social website for the Boston area. First was this one on the main page for things to do in June:

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Click on the option for the Boston Lobster Tour, and you are greeted with my photo again, first in a slideshow:

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Secondly, one of my photos I made from a series on asparagus showed up. You may remember that another photo (from the same session) appeared on a Wine site. This one appears on a website from Norway. Thanks to Google Translation, I can see that the site is about gluten free recipes.

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A fact about Asparagus

Monday, I photographed some purple asparagus. Why?

Well, to keep the creative juices flowing, I participate in the Photo-a-Day online…”thing”.  It is basically, a list someone (originating in Australia and still gets posted from there) puts together. Each day, you make a photo for the topic and post it on Flickr or where ever. Its all in good fun, and similar to the 365 project things, but with themes.

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But I digress. So, the first of the month’s theme was something purple. While at the grocery store I came across purple asparagus (see where I’m going). To kill two birds with one stone (or as Ricky from Trailer Park Boys would say, “getting two birds stoned at once), I shot this and a few other angles for stock as well.

And now to the fact. As some may know, when one eats asparagus, its causes ones urine to smell. Yet, some don’t claim to encounter this odour, making it seem that some process the vegetable different than others. I learned a few years ago, that its not so much as some process the food differently, as some people have the ability to smell the asparagus in the urine while others don’t. Apparently, only 22% of people.

So potentially two new pieces of information today: There is such thing as purple asparagus, and while everyone processes it the same after eating, only some can smell the byproduct.

Of Strobes and a Flower

D700_DSC_2868A couple weeks ago, in a desire to instil a bit of spring into the house after yet another week of frigid temperatures, I bought a bunch of tulips. As cut flowers do, they opened up, and I saw an opportunity as the petals opened up to get some interesting photos. I began to get an idea of how I’d like to do this.

My intent was a tulip bright against a black background, as you can see from the photo on the left. The execution was really quite simple and went fairly quickly. Here is the run-down:

I set up a black fabric background using some old curtains someone gave to me (one never knows when old black curtains can be useful, so I said I’d take them). Now, I could have blacked out the background, which in the room I did this has beige walls, using the basic inverse square law of light, but the room is rather small, and I wanted to help the effect along. I positioned the tulip on a small table in front of the curtain.

My main light is a Nikon SB900 flash pointed down at the tulip, power set to 1/5 and zoomed in to 200mm to make a nice tight source of light that wouldn’t spill onto the blackdrop much. After a few test shots, the shadow that appeared behind the bulb on the stem was not pleasing. So I dug out a Nikon SB600 and placed it just below the flower pointing it towards the back to fill that shadow. It was zoomed to 50mm and the power dialed back to 1/20 to again minimize the spill.  Here you can see the overall set up.

Photo Shoot setup

A blackdrop, two strobes and a tulip.

Using an 85mm lens, I set my camera to ISO 250, shutter 1/250s and aperture to f16. The SBs were triggered using Nikon CLS. This resulted in the image like the one below. Minor adjustments were made in Adobe Lightroom to cut out the blacks some more, and a little adjustment to contrast and a tweak of saturation. Overall, not much post was done.

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A slight change for the photo at the top of this post in that I moved the SB600 around to behind the tulip. I like the shadow disconnect in the stem.

For fun, I put on a full CTO gel on the SB900 to see what came out (leaving the SB600 still bare). It had a neat effect. I like it.

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A selection from this shoot will go into my iStock portfolio and the ones you see here into my Smugmug gallery for purchase.

Where they go

I have an ever-growing library of images with iStockPhoto. Every once in a while I like to try to find some of the images purchased and see where they ended up.

For example, my photo of a breakfast sandwich I made for a local cafe, appears at the Cloud Nine Cafe

Coud Nine Cafe

And some asparagus stock shots came up in a wine blog in California

Wine Academy

Bunny Kisses

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My walk around, everyday camera is a Fuji XPro-1. I have a couple of prime lenses for it, and although it took some time to get used to the quirkiness of it (being used to using a dSLR), I have come to love the camera and its quality.

Recently, Fuji announced a new 56mm f1.2 lens (85mm equivalent on a 35mm camera). Ooooh! I thought, that’s one of my favourite focal lengths. Well, at a price tag of $1300 after the Canadian government has its “fair” share, its a bit steep. I then had a second look at the existing 60mm (90mm equivalent) lens at f2.4. It is currently on sale, and at half the price, seems like something interesting. But, I thought, its only 2.4. But then I thought about it. My main Nikon pro lenses are maxed out at f2.8 (save a couple of primes). So, it is actually faster. And again, half the price. 

I spent a week looking at reviews and mulling it over, only to have the price win out, and picked one up. I can say I’m totally impressed and happy with it. I mean, just look at the photo above. That’s at ISO 3200, no crop. Looks great. And I noticed the catch light in the rabbit’s eye. I zoomed in, and I can see not only the lamp in the reflection, but my laptop as well.

The detail is in the eyes.

The detail is in the eyes.

 Yeah it hunts a bit on focusing in low light. In normal light its fine. I can live with it.

Mini Mandarin

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You’d never guess to look at them, but these are mini mandarin oranges. How mini? They are less than an inch in diameter. Each wedge of fruit is the size of a finger nail. They are so cute yet so flavourful; I had to make some photos of them for my iStock photo portfolio.