MattK Fresh Start Course – Week 3

Post Date: January 31, 2019

I’m really enjoying this course from Matt Kloskowski; it has me thinking about my photos in new ways – which is exactly what I was hoping for. If you aren’t aware of MattK I urge you to visit his website; along with paid courses he has tons of free stuff with a focus on Lightroom, Photoshop, and On1. But it isn’t all editing – as we see in this course. If you are on Facebook you can follow him there; find him as Matt Kloskowski.

The subject of this week’s exercise was “hobbies” and the theme was “moody”. We were urged to photograph someone else’s hobbies and give them a copy of the results. Moody and dark would be a difficult trick at my house this week – we’ve had abundant sunshine which is rare in Portland January. When we bought the house the thing we loved the most was the windows – so many windows. A contrast to our house before.

After watching the Week’s opening video and wondering what/who to photograph, I walked into the other room where my wife was knitting. Boom! For mood I used my sheets of black and dark gray poster paper I got for week 1’s project. Then I broke out my tripod – a tool I don’t use much but have enjoyed using in the past three weeks. I set up in the dining room – the room with the least windows and drew the curtains. Making a few test shots I wanted to bring the light down even more so I notched the Exposure Value to -2.0. This was a bit too much; although, it looked okay on the camera screen they were a shade too dark in Lightroom. But I could work with the results.

My first take was a small sample Carla made to test a stitch. In Lightroom I bumped up the exposure a tad to compensate for the enthusiastic camera setting; this got the subject to a brightness I liked. I then created an oblong radial filter to drop the exposure, shadows, and blacks in the the background hoping to create a spotlight effect.

Knitting Sample

Here is another take on the knitting sample.

Trying out a pattern to see what it would work for.

I dropped the camera angle, used f/4.0 and didn’t brighten it as much as the first. I’m still not sure which I like better, but I posted the second shot for the exercise.

Next I got out some of Carla’s skeins of yarn. to play with. The combination of green and purple is a bit more dramatic than moody but I went for it.

Yarns for future projects

This is another at the lower angle which I preferred after looking at them. The higher angle is really just the view I have standing up – I like getting the newer perspective. I used f/11.0 for this so the wool is more in focus. This was my second sample uploaded for the project.

I took over 150 pictures for my various subjects this week moving through aperture settings, focal length, and arrangement. I didn’t reach 150 photos my just clicking randomly. For each arrangement of the subject I shot at least 4 different f/stops and did two sets with different focus points.

I tried a set of pictures of books – which is a hobby of mine – but I wasn’t thrilled. Plus Matt’s samples included reading and I wanted to do something fresh.

On Tuesday morning I went out to breakfast with my buddies Jay and John. As we were solving the world’s problems I had a little flash of inspiration. John loves to tinker; knowing I love trains, he recently made something for me out of a railroad spike he found. It dawned on me that he had done the same thing for Jay a few years ago but with different material. We use Jay’s on the regular. After breakfast – without John knowing – I went to Jay’s to borrow his device. I combined it with mine and created a backdrop of the things we use them on.

My buddy John is a tinkerer. These are a couple of bottle openers he’s made.

This was my favorite picture of the week. I like the light on the left two bottles. I printed a 4×6 copy, put it in a frame and gave it to John.

I tried another shot with much more light and a different background. It’s nice but for me it doesn’t have that same moody and dramatic feel so I didn’t post it to the course site.

Brighter backdrop for the bottle openers

I’m looking forward to next week’s challenge.

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