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Ledgem 2008-04-22 01:23

Digital Photography by -Ledgem-
Not talented enough to create art on a blank piece of paper, I've taken up photography as my art form. I'll be sharing selected works here - feel free to browse, and I hope you enjoy what you see. If you want larger resolution versions of any of the images posted here, please contact me.

When I started this thread back in 2008 I was relatively new to photography and requested the community's help in giving me feedback so that I could improve. It has now been a few years, and I've learned so much and developed my styles and techniques since then. While I'd still appreciate comments on my work, I now know enough to be able to teach and assist others. If you have any questions about how certain photos were done (or questions about photography in general), feel free to ask.

Thread Index
Random Photography, initial showcase (this post) (EXIF data not posted)
Random Photography, Set 2 (EXIF data in spoiler tags)
Flowers; psuedo-Macrophotography (taken @ Lake Shrine in Los Angeles, California) (EXIF data in spoiler tags)
Aquarium Photography (taken @ Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California) (EXIF data not posted)
Random Photography, Set 3 (EXIF data not posted)
Sculpture Photography (taken @ The Getty in Los Angeles, California (EXIF data contained within image properties)
Flower Photography (taken @ The Getty in los Angeles, California) (EXIF data contained within image properties)
Insect Photography - Dragonflies (taken in New York, USA) (EXIF data contained within image properties)
2011 revival
Portraiture from November 2009 - The Little Black Dress
Before the forced break from photography

Spoiler for Archived original thread description:

Spoiler for How I got into digital photography:

In order to impress you all, I'll start off with some shots that made use of more advanced technique:
Astral Photography - Star Spiral
Did you know that the stars move across the sky because the Earth is constantly spinning? In this shot I kept the shutter open for eight minutes (the limit of the E-410) and captured the star trails. Look in the upper right to see the center of the spin. Were I an astronomer perhaps I could have known where the center was, rather than blindly picking a spot in the sky to focus on... (New York winter sky)
The HDR Fountain
This image was actually three shots, taken using the bracket shooting feature. Each image had a slightly different exposure, and all three were combined in Photoshop to create a high dynamic range (HDR) image. HDR images look somewhat surreal as over- and under-exposed areas of one shot are compensated for and normalized by the others. While Photoshop has an automated HDR function, I did this one manually. There is a slight blur because I didn't have a remote for the camera when I took these, and apparently I still managed to move the tripod. The flowing fountain effect was achieved by keeping the shutter open for a second or two. (Los Angeles, California at dusk)
Sky Painting
Other than color balancing, no special technique was required here. (New York, winter sky, sunset)
Greetings, Traveler
The clearly visible gull against the blurred background is one of the "artistic" effects that I'd wanted to be able to perform - this came out nicely! (The gull was not as helpful as he appears - this was one out of ~25 shots, and in this one alone did he look at me.) (New York, Liberty Island, early afternoon)
Taken at the Mahayana Buddhist temple in Chinatown, New York City. Capturing the ambience without underexposing the image too much was very difficult. If I had a tripod with me I would have gone for an HDR image here. (Photography was allowed in this area.)
Downtown Los Angeles Panorama
The only good reason for packing an xD card is the ability to use the automated panorama feature. Software stitched the various shots together and if you look closely enough, it's painfully obvious where the stiching occurred. This is still a preferred option over manually synchronizing the lighting of each image and stitching them together. (Los Angeles, California - sunset)

Thanks for viewing - comments are appreciated! (Future updates will ideally have less talk and more pictures)

Daniel E. 2008-04-22 01:41

Gratz on opening your thread here Ledgem! :)

My only experience with photographs comes from a vacation trip my family made many years ago. I grabbed my father's camera and started to take pictures pretty much at random. :p When my old man saw the pictures, he said all the photos were very well centered and focused. :)

And that's pretty much it. Never took more photos with that camera, or any other camera for that matter. >_< !

I like this one a lot. Mostly because of the colors (sky) and the fact that it has a wallpaper feel to it. :)

Marina 2008-04-22 01:52

'HDR Fountain', 'Sky Painting', and 'Greetings, Traveler' are gorgeous! I love the bird especially ^_^
Grats on opening your first thread in fan creations Ledgem *cookies for you!*
I look forward to seeing more photos from you, so keep up the picture taking!

KasumiGirl 2008-04-22 02:59

Wow, stunning photos!
I don't have much talent in this area. One of my friends used to help me and such since she specialises in digital photography. So unfortunately I can't give you any tips. A couple of years ago I used to like making my photos red by putting my finger over the flash source. Sure was funny. :heh: Though it was rather silly.

Lovely shots, Ledgem. Made sure you share with us more. :D

Solace 2008-04-22 03:35

Nice to see you open your own thread. ;)

I can't really offer much advice beyond what you already know, but I'll gladly cheer you on. :heh:

I really thought this guy had a great eye for angles and lighting. Might be worth seeing if he's got any tips, if he's still around.

Sephi 2008-04-22 04:34

Quite nice photo's. I got some VERY basic experience with photographs about Aperture/shutter time/lenses.

Quite nice use of Shuttertime on the first one. Didn't knew 8min could create such a effect, and i'm suprise the trees stayed the same. Would expect the trees to change a bit to due to wind Oo. Though i always love to see a trail of light effect with it from cars on highway/cities. Or seeing how water fall from a tap. As cliché as those may be. They do make really nice pictures imho :)

And good use of Aperture on the seagull, very nice sense of depth. A technic signature makers should also know how to create in their signatures for pulling the focus to the place they want to.

Don't think i got much advice to offer. But perhaps you could make it easier for more dedicated photographs to give advice if you put the lens/shutter time/aperture/iso at the photograph so they can compare and tell how you can improve :)

Ledgem 2008-04-24 02:59

Backlogged Random 2
Thanks for the initial replies and encouragement! In the future I probably won't be updating nearly as often but I do have a large number of stockpiled images to go through. As Sephi suggested, I'll include the technical details where they've available.
Lake of Multiple Personalities
Spoiler for Technical details:

While trying to capture the sunset as depicted in Sky Painting I noticed that the water was becoming all sorts of brilliant colors as well. The difficulty in this one was capturing the colors of the water without increasing the exposure so much that the sky became completely white or faded out. While this would have likely been a great candidate for an HDR image I was working without a tripod, and I'm not sure how effective HDR would be given that the waves in the water would have shifted between the shots.
The Nexus
Spoiler for Technical details:

Due to poor lighting conditions the exposure time had to be increased, resulting in a slight blur. I'd initially wanted to capture the symmetry of the place, combined with the activity of the people. In hindsight, the image isn't perfectly focused, a bit of the ledge below me found its way into the picture, and I should have kept the shutter open longer in order for the blur of the people to be made more apparent (and seem more intentional) - blurred people would give the feel of motion, and would have contrasted much more nicely against the static background. As I was propping the camera up against a handrail and working without a tripod I wanted to keep the shutter speed as low as possible, though. Something to keep in mind for next time...
The Royal Rest
Spoiler for Technical details:

The goal here was to capture a nice contrast of colors - the golden fur of my dog, Mercury, against the deep red of his favorite rug. The color and texture of the rug further contrasted with the tile floor. The overall positioning has a nice angle to it. It's worth noting that I was using my "long range" lens for this one - a strange choice of lens for indoor and close-range shots, but it helped in presenting the feel of closeness and some of the detail.

If you're a fan of corgies, you're in luck - I have a ton more pictures featuring Mercury, and some of them will invariably end up here. I'm sure he'll appreciate hearing of how many fans he's picking up on the internet ;)
Howling Sky
Spoiler for Technical details:

This was taken on a boat, which presented the problem of motion. Low lighting requires slower shutter speeds, which makes you vulnerable to blurring. Someone will have to tell me how to overcome boat photography some day... luckily, the goal here wasn't some sharp image, but to capture the clouds and colors of the sky. Capture successful. Keeping the horizon level and dealing with the brightness of the sun on the left against the incoming darkness on the right was also somewhat difficult to do, but I think it came out nicely. I have some more from this series that I may post later.
Spoiler for Technical drivel:

I didn't think much of this picture when I took it, but the background and lighting almost seem as if it were on display for a photoshoot. You wouldn't know that this thing was behind glass in a rather light room, would you? (Taken at the Museum of Natural History, New York.)
Dreaming Demon
Spoiler for Technical details:

Another example of what happens when you use unconventional levels of zoom at close range. Here I managed to sneak up on my sister's rather unfriendly cat and got a few shots in - this is the last and best. The blurring worked purrrfectly (sorry, I won't do that again) - as with the seagull, the background is blurred. In this case the extreme foreground is also blurred. The cat's face is truly the point of focus, as even its rear becomes a bit blurred. I chose this angle for artistic purposes and didn't pay much attention to exposure issues with the sunlight.


I'd just like to restate again that thoughts on angles, concepts, and overall presentation are very much appreciated. Even if you're unsure of how to achieve a certain effect with the camera, or whether the camera can even do it, let me know what you're thinking! It gives me ideas of new things to try out. I hope you enjoyed this batch - thanks for viewing.

Marina 2008-04-24 13:00

Oooh, I really like the waterscape photos (of which we have an abundance up here in Alaska), but what ESPECIALLY caught my eye was.....
you guessed it! Mercury! :heh: Cute beyond cute with a sprinkling of cute! *ahem* Anyways, yes, I love the idea you used for contrasting the golden fur with the red rug. If Mercury loves the rug, then I must love the rug! And that nose...and those ears.....*cough*
And yes! Please show more corgi pics! I'm a huge fan of them ^_^
You can even post some in the pet pic thread.

Rembr 2008-04-24 14:56

Do you do any artistic photography?

Ledgem 2008-04-24 20:56


Originally Posted by Rembr (Post 1556820)
Do you do any artistic photography?

I've never actually heard that term before... what it is?

Rembr 2008-04-24 21:20

I don't know the actual term, but using photography as a medium of fine art.

KholdStare 2008-04-24 21:46

Having taken a digital photography class and astronomy class myself, I am currently in love with your first picture, so very good job.


Fynal_Fyre 2008-04-24 21:54

I've been a fan of scenic photographs for quite a while, and even though I don't have a very good camera (shoot me please), I can safely say those are among the better I have seen, awesome pics, Ledgem.

Oh, and with regards to the first photo you posted, Star Spiral, Nice use of shuttertime, I think I may have seen that effect before, but at least now I know how its done, thanks!

kayos 2008-04-24 23:07

These two are my favorites... the lightings are beautifully captured (kind of warms the soul).

A friend of mine once told me that in order to take a great photograph you just have to find the right angle/composition (that includes the lighting as well). Different situation requires different angles. I guess to put it in laymen's term whichever angle you find it to be most beautifully dynamic. I tend to find almost anything beautiful, that's my concept behind most of my shots.

I can't really give you any good advice since I'm an amateur photographer (I don't even rate that title, I just like to take random pictures) and yet I know nothing about it's technical aspect. Ahaha, nothing about the in's and out of my camera beside it's name (Canon PowerShot SD750) cause it's written on the camera :p.

I guess I would fall under Rembr category of artistic photograpy (an artist trying to take

Here's some samples of my photograpy in action... don't laugh :upset:
Spoiler for kayos shots:

Ledgem 2008-04-26 17:14

Macro Photography: Flowers
Thanks for the kind words thus far! I'm going to start posting images that don't come out so nicely (not that the others have been perfect), so don't be shy about criticism. kayos, I think that photography samples are quite good! The things that seem to catch your eye are the things that I often take note of and want to capture as well. Geometry, reflections, and shadows - it's not quite conventional photography but I have quite a number of those too. If you ever feel like your current camera isn't letting you get the shots that you want, consider going for a DSLR later on - a camera like mine can probably be picked up for $300-400 these days (not that it's cheap, but cheaper than what I picked it up for a few months ago). It gets expensive because a large part of what you can do is based around what lens you're using, and you may want to pick up some specialized lenses. The realization that there are lenses that cost as much or more than your camera is a bit frightening :heh: At least you can use lenses with different camera bodies (assuming they use the same connection type), so it's more or less an investment.

I wanted to mention it before, but Marina I'm envious of your location - Alaska must have such great scenery and wildlife for pictures! I'll have to visit some day.
I found a way to automate the watermarking process in Photoshop and to copy the technical details, so it's easier for me to post more pictures at a time now. This set comes from the Lake Shrine, a very large meditation garden in Southern California that caters to all religions. I had the pleasure of going there with my girlfriend for an extra credit assignment from a class that she was taking. It was a nice opportunity to try what is known as "macro photography," or close-range photography. I don't have a specialized macro lens, but that didn't stop me from leaning and using the zoom! Note: to fully appreciate the flowers, view the image it its full resolution!
Yellow Trail
Spoiler for Technical Details:

I don't particularly like these flowers as they're a bit plain, but they're a nice example of macro photography that I've seen in calendars and such.
White Dew
Spoiler for Technical Details:

To any botonists viewing these, please don't be offended by the fact that I'm calling a ton of these flowers "roses" - my flower terminology is rather limited :heh:

This is a nicer shot in my opinion. Not only is there a clearly blurred background (as opposed to the dark space of the yellow flowers above), but there are water droplets on this flower! Whether they're on a can of soda or on a flower, water droplets make things seem more refreshing and alive. Perhaps it needs to be seen at the full resolution to appreciate them - unfortunately, that also reveals a bit of brown on part of the petals. Perhaps this was an older flower by the time I got to it.
Purple Nova
Spoiler for Technical Details:

It's a nice flower, but the white of the petals makes it difficult to see that there are some water droplets here, as well.
Perfect Rose
Spoiler for Technical Details:

Visible water droplets and what seems to be a flower in its prime. The only thing that makes it better (in my opinion) are the spots of blue in the background contributed by some out-of-focus flowers.
Spoiler for Technical Details:

Google Images doesn't seem to confirm that this is a nighshade, but I'm fairly confident that they had this labeled as a nightshade. Water droplets came out nicely on this one and the colors of the flower are great (especially compared to the yellows and reds that I was seeing), but upon viewing the full image it would seem that the flower was in relatively poor shape...
Prissy Rose - the Retina Burner
Spoiler for Technical Details:

This flower doesn't look appealing to me, but that's one vivid red! It's so vivid that I can't really tell if all of the details of the petals came out because it's hard to distinguish the folds on my screen. Once again, water droplets are visible, and there's the added benefit of a few blurred foreground bits, further enhancing artistic effect and making the flower stand out even more. Don't stare at it for too long.
Modest Purple
Spoiler for Technical Details:

This is geometrically a terribly boring flower, but the color was refreshing. This angle was taken straight-on as compared to from the side. As a result, there isn't much in the background. I see this style relatively often, but I think it's more interesting to see blurred objects and colors in the background as well... any thoughts on that?

Bored with flowers already?! You may find this experiment refreshing:
Flowing Water Capture Experiment
Spoiler for Technical Details for the left image:

Spoiler for Technical Details for the right image:

The difference between these two is largely in the shutter speed. The left image was captured as quickly as was possible, given the cloudy conditions. For the image on the right I braced against a hand rail and kept the shutter open longer, resulting in water that looks like it's flowing. While it's neat to capture dropping water or waves without any blur, for regular flowing water that is part of a scene (streams, rivers, and fountains) many seem to prefer seeing the "motion" of blurred water. Please let me know your opinions on this technique.

And now, back to some more flowers:
Melting Witch
Spoiler for Technical Details:

Interesting colors on this flower, although the upper part of it seems to be wilting. Dew drops are present and the interesting background is actually a lake and some reflections, if I remember right. It makes the flower stand out nicely, but overall the picture isn't anything terribly special (largely because the flower is wilting).
Tree Fuzzies and Dancing Light
Spoiler for Technical Details:

I'd imagine that this shows the male and female parts of the tree, but I can't be certain. What I really love about this is the background - the blurred white dots of light are a great effect.

That wraps up the cases of some of my first efforts at macro photography that I wanted to share. This last one isn't of a flower (even if he is a bit of a pansy), but I figured I'd throw it in for Marina:
Phoenix Down
Spoiler for Technical Details:

Taken with my 150mm lens at its maximum focal length, I caught Mercury while he was napping in the sunlight (apparently this activity is not limited to cats). The bright light overpowered the surroundings, causing pretty much anything that wasn't illuminated to appear dark. I thought it made him look a bit angelic, given that his regular fur color is visible, but it seems almost too bright to behold where the sun hits it directly.

I hope that what I've captured will allow you to view the world in a slightly different way and appreciate its subtle beauties. Thanks for viewing; as always, comments and critique are appreciated.

BearShare 2008-04-27 01:25

Really loving the photography.
Question: Where are you taking all of these?

Ledgem 2008-04-27 01:48


Originally Posted by BearShare (Post 1561761)
Really loving the photography.
Question: Where are you taking all of these?

Thanks, BearShare :) They're taken in a variety of different locations, actually. Shots of Mercury and much from wildlife are taken in and around my mother's house in New York, as she conveniently lives in a very foresty region. Others are taken from outings of mine, which have generally been more or less for touristy or visiting purposes and are generally either in New York (my home region) or Southern California (where I attended university - I've graduated and will be leaving the area soon, though). I'll try to indicate where images were taken; the flower shots were all taken at the Lake Shrine in California.

Only more recently have I started venturing out with the intent of capturing specific things, as was the case with the astral photography (where I knew that I wanted to capture the star trails and experiment with night captures) and the sunset that I posted (where I parked on the side of the road and walked out onto a long road bridge over a reservoir to get the shot - cars driving by probably thought I was crazy, but I wanted shots from that area at that time of day). I like to think of it as a transition into becoming a "real" photographer. Instead of seeing something and saying "I want to remember this" (which is how I started), I now notice things and think "I want to capture this in the best way possible." If there's an interesting tile pattern on the floor (as in one of kayos' sample shots), I want to capture it in a way that shows how it was interesting; if I see a sunset playing out beautifully over some water and trees, I'll bide my time until the weather is right and return to that spot in an effort to capture it. It's challenging, but it's quite fun. I don't know about making money off of it, but the payoff in terms of satisfaction and long-lasting enjoyment from a good picture is immense.

Mobility with the camera was important to me, and part of the reason I chose the Olympus E-410 as my DSLR is due to its small size - it was advertised as and still is the smallest DSLR, as far as I know (the new E-420 changed the form very slightly, but it's still incredibly small). I carefully picked out a camera bag that isn't so big that I can't move around with it on, but is large enough to carry a few things (alternate lens, lens hoods, spare batteries, camera remote, cables, camera manual) comfortably and is water resistant. There are times when I prefer to leave the DSLR at home and only carry the point-and-shooter, but otherwise I just prepare myself for potentially being gawked at and pack the DSLR along for the trip. I'm not an expert, but if you have or are looking to buy a camera and accessories and want some advice, feel free to ask. I may not have an answer, but I can try to at least point you in the right direction.

BearShare 2008-04-27 02:01

Thanks for the detailed explanation.

Looks like you really know how to handle your equipment. I'm surprised when you said you weren't doing this kind of stuff as a profession.

I'm really interested in photography and all, but I downright suck at it. There's also never any good scenery to capture around where I live. Plus... I'm not allowed to hold on to expensive things. xD

Ledgem 2008-04-27 02:43

Aw, shucks :blush: Scenery is relative. If you're in a suburban or rural area, you probably don't think much of your trees and wildlife; if you're in an urban environment, you probably don't think much of your buildings, graffiti, concrete, or people. All of these are valuable elements, but figuring out when and how to capture them is the challenge. For each prized image that I post here, there are tens (and occasionally hundreds) of sub-par images that I'm not presenting. True professionals hate people like me - a "true photographer" spends a lot of time examining the scene and figuring out how to work the angle and the various settings. Probably because they're used to only having 26 shots per roll of film, they take very few pictures, but each picture is spectacular. People like me and the members of the "point and shoot brigade" (as they're affectionately called) are used to having hundreds of shots per card and easily being able to sort through them. We spend less time going over the set-up and more time putting our camera to work, only later examining how they came out. It's a valuable learning experience.

If you're totally new to photography, I definitely recommend starting out with a point and shoot camera. They're not too expensive (I believe you can get some for under $100 now) and they're generally very sturdy. Once you have it, use it. Just experiment, and learn through that. PaS cameras are made to be easy to use, and most don't let you toy with complicated settings even if you want to. Just by experience you'll likely begin to gain an appreciation for vantage points and positioning, and you may also develop an eye for interesting parts of your environment (as an artist you probably have more of this than most people). When you start to feel that your camera is holding you back from capturing what you envision, it's time to upgrade!

Look at kayos' images - notice how everything is very clear and sharp in detail? My PaS is also like that. It's great for most people who simply want to capture what they see, but it becomes very difficult to get that sense of depth and blur that I've shown in many of my pictures. I think it was after I wrestled with the autofocus on my PaS for about three minutes to get a blossom against a blurred background that I realized I was ready for something that offered me more control. Zoom as another element that I was missing, and so I jumped up to a DSLR.

Spoiler for Optical vs. Digital Zoom:

The PaS won't let you jump into artistic photography, but it's excellent for giving you the basics and training your mind to think in ways that are valuable to photography. If you don't want to jump from a PaS to a DSLR, there is an intermediate: "DSLR-like" cameras. These are cameras that have a lens like a standard DSLR, but unlike a DSLR the lens can't be exchanged with another. It's a step up from a PaS but otherwise it's rather limited, as the lens used makes a pretty big difference in how your images will turn out (as well as what you can capture). You could probably train yourself on that or even a DSLR, but the cost may not be worth it. You can use the camera in "automatic" mode most of the time and still get amazing shots, but the real power of the DSLR is in letting you set the controls manually when under difficult conditions. Get used to carrying a camera around and using it under varying conditions, and then go for the big stuff - the DSLR will feel bulky compared to most PaS models, but you get used to it.

Whatever you do, don't let your interest die out without giving it a chance ;) Most of us are our own worst critics. Give it your best, stick with it, and let others and time decide. If you have any shots already I'd certainly be happy to see them. I'm also curious about the scenery in your area - I try to think of boring/unworthy scenery but I can't come up with any.

konstargirl 2008-04-28 17:07

WOW!! Nice photos di you do photography on these and then photoshop them?? I can't see a difference on them but the quality I have to say is pretty clear in all of them. o.O

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