52 Frames (July 2021)

airplanecatspittsburghnycplant lifearchitecturevideo gamesshadow the hedgehogSeries: 52 Frames

My weekly photos this month encompassed quite a few interesting themes, and most of them got very little editing. Has Steve turned into a JPEG shooter? Read through and find out!

27. Black and White

I'm someone who tends not to use certain fancy digital camera features like "filters" and "color profiles." But, the (somewhat divisive) Dynamic Monocrome setting on the Panasonic GX85 really hits the mark for me. So, I knew I wanted to use it, and submit a straight-out-of-camera JPEG.

The subject matter was some plants, some weeds. Queen Anne's Lace and some fern-y things. Shot at maximum aperture, some of the contrast that would have been provided by color is instead provided by depth of field. In the photo, a lot of green has shifted to grey and I quite like the effect.

Ferns and weeds in fifty shades of...

28. Transportation

I spent the tail end of week 28 in New York City, and it struck me as a better place to try to photograph transportation than my sleepy Pennsylvania village. Somewhat to my surprise, my favorite shot that fit the theme wasn't of a train, or a truck, or a boat, but instead was of an airplane.

Plane above the world.

The image was taken by the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. A lot of planes flew over head since the park is somewhat close to LaGuardia Airport. There was a fair amount of cloud cover though, so this one is the clearest, best framed "plane in flight" I was able to get. I used the fun 150mm-equivalent focal length that fills my heart with joy.

As I didn't have my computer with me, the JPEG was adjusted lightly in Microsoft Photos. Sure felt weird to muss around with filters after a long time with adjusting White/Black/Shadows/Highlights in a RAW editor.


29. Product Photography

Since I was still bouncing around in AirBnb's, the idea of staging a well-lit, indoor "product" shot seemed a bit daunting. I mean, I had limited control over my environment. I can't change my background, and I'm not hauling lights around. The point is, I was less invested in the technical aspects of this shot than I should have been.

The subject?

I'm invested in that!

Where's that DAMN fourth Chaos Emerald?

Shadow the Hedgehog is Sonic's darker, edgier, more troubled cousin. He's the star of a third-person shooter from 2005, in which he needs to choose a path between good ("kill every bad guy"), evil ("kill every good guy"), and neutral ("go to the end of the level, but also like... probably try to kill everyone at the end of the game.")

In addition to wielding guns and endorsing genocide, Shadow is an expert quipster. Take these memorable quotes for example:

"Where's that DAMN fourth Chaos Emerald?!"

"This is like taking candy from a baby... which is fine by me."

Luke and I played through all of the endings of this game a couple of years ago, and are probably permanently scarred.

Meanwhile, a co-worker of my good pal Mike apparently received this figurine of Shadow and had no idea what to do with it. And, Mike immediately thought of my love of the character.

Shadow has been a mainstay at my desk at work since then, and fortunately found his way back into my posession after over a year apart due to quarantine.

...back to the technical details of the photo:

  • I'm using as much natural light as I could, but it turned out the blinds wouldn't open, so I was pretty SOL on that.
  • Shadow is on top of a microwave, on top of a mini-fridge
  • He's mainly lit by a desk lap precariously leaning between the fridge-top and the top of a desk chair.
  • Clearly, the left side of Shadow's face could stand to be... well, not in the shadows compared to the direct light on the right.
    • Clearly, I didn't care that much.
  • If this was a product shot, no one would buy it.
    • But no one would have bought it anyway.
  • I'm pretty sure this is basically a straight-out-of-camera JPEG too.

30. Distorted

Lastly, I needed to take an image that was distorted.

Me being me, I was out of town again and being pretty lazy. So, I came closer to the wire on this one.

A building & a cat.

The "distortion" comes from using a rectilinear ultra-wide angle lens, which I thought would be a good choice to capture the building in the center -- which is genuinely that skinny in real life. I hoped to emphasize its weird dimensions by shooting it head-on like this. (And also, to cheat by showing a subject that is unusual enough to appear distorted just given its real weird dimensions.)

The rectilinear lens leaves straight lines intact, but leads to different types of unnaturalness as it gets as much into the frame as possible. Even that truck on the left is a bit distorted.

Fun fact: it's also the first appearance of a cat in one of these photography challenges. She was nuzzling my leg as I was trying to figure out how to frame the shot on a sleepy Sunday morning.


Will there be more cats in future photos?

Who knows!

Thanks for reading & I hope you're looking forward to the next month's batch.

Thanks for reading!

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