This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for November, 2011

Photos from a Bar Mitzvah

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 21, 2011

Parents of the bar mitzvah boy

Photo above: Parents of the bar mitzvah boy. I liked this photo because it was the only candid that I managed to shoot with both parents in the frame. The shadow on the mother’s face is a bit darker than I would have liked but it was something I could live with. Besides, I didn’t have a flash gun.

I was invited to a bar mitzvah last week. I wasn’t hired as a photographer, but I always take a camera with me. It turned out that the family hadn’t hired a photographer and they hinted that they would really appreciate some photos, so I took a few. I had to use a high ISO because it’s a badly lit hall and the event was at night. (I don’t normally carry my flashgun around because it’s heavy, requires 4 AA batteries, and is overkill unless it’s a paid job.) I’ve photographed in this hall before and it’s a real challenge because the light is all fluorescent and the ceiling tiles are off-white and brown. The walls are also white and pink and really need a paint job. Whenever I do family shots in this hall I always have to touch up the background or position them at least 20 feet from the wall. In this case, there was no choice because the family requested a couple group shots and we had to squeeze into a corner behind the tables. I ended up with far fewer good shots than I would have had if I’d brought a flash, but I will be able to give them a DVD with about 100 reasonable photos.

Dance photos without a flash are tricky. This was shot at ISO 800, with a 1/25 sec exposure, 75mm focal length, f5.6. 1/25 isn’t fast enough for really energetic dancing but this shot of the boy on the chair was slow enough that I managed to capture it.

Goldstein Bar Mitzvah

The frame below was shot at 1/50 — fast enough to get a sharp image of the boy spinning Shmuel, but not sharp enough to capture Shmuel flying through the air (that would have required a flash). On the other hand, it does create a nice motion effect. I chose a slightly exaggerated angle and shot from the floor. My dress got filthy but it was a good length for moving around on chairs and crouching on the floor.

Goldstein Bar Mitzvah

The group shots were really tough because there’s an overhang (probably an a/c duct) casting a shadow against the wall, so I had to create a layer in Photoshop, raise the levels, and brush in the details with a mask because the people in the back row were in shadow.

Goldstein Bar Mitzvah

The photo of the bar mitzvah boy with his friends also had to be lightened a lot, so the details of his shirt are a bit blown out (but who cares about a kid’s wrinkled shirt anyway? It’s not like it’s an expensive wedding dress). As they say, photography is always about making compromises, and if you have to choose between the clothing and the faces, usually the faces are more important.

Goldstein Bar Mitzvah

Posted in Judaism, photography | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Video: Hudson, Against the Grain

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 13, 2011

Is there anyone who doesn’t like coloured pencils? I found this lovely stopmotion animation on Boing Boing.

This is the video debut of Australian musician/singer Hudson, with animator Dropbear (aka Jonathan Chong).

I did a little more digging and found another stop-motion video on the making of “Against the Grain.” What amazing manual dexterity and patience. The last screen reads: “920 pencils. 5125 images.” Wow!

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Video: Michael Orton, Freedom Part 1

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 7, 2011

I wrote a post fairly recently about photographer Michael Orton‘s abstract photos created by creative camera movement. This video shows some of the beautiful effects he is able to achieve. I wonder whether he uses an ND filter…

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Free Machine Quilting and Leah Day

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 4, 2011

First attempt at free-form machine stitching

I dug up my old darning foot and did a little experimenting a couple days ago. Near the end of the exercise I started to feel comfortable with the process, by speeding up the machine speeding and focusing on the hand coordination. Now I see how those special “gripping” gloves would really make a difference!

I picked up some excellent tips from Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Project, especially the Start Here page.

She has a wealth of information available and sells some truly useful products for reasonable prices, like quarter-inch piecing feet, generic darning feet, gloves, teflon sheet, and bobbin case liners. Although I have a darning foot already, I bought her generic foot because it’s plastic and see-through. I found it difficult to see what I was doing with my metal foot. The navigation on the site leaves something to be desired, so if you see a product you like (like the gloves or presser feet), you will have to click your way from links embedded here and there on her blog. She doesn’t have a well-developed navigation system for her shop. The shipping to Israel was very reasonable, about $6 for a bundle of things. She accepts PayPal and credit cards.

Leah Day started the Free Motion Machine Quilting Project because she was so bored with stippling (translation for non-quilters: quilting stitch (the stitching that holds together the sandwich of a backing, batting, and a top) that meanders around in S-shaped curves, never crossing. She has posted hundreds of free designs, with videos. What I find mind-boggling is the ease with which she sews these complex shapes.

Take her Moon Feathers design, for example. Most mere mortals would be gritting their teeth and holding their breath while creating this design. She makes it look like meditation, as easy as breathing! I applaud her generosity in sharing her designs and expertise and am happy to support her shop.

Posted in Crafts, embroidery | 5 Comments »