Arizona Faces with Topaz B&W Effects

I seem to have drifted away from my weekly challenge topics lately. Oh, well, at least I’m still working on my photography, and that’s the real point here.

I’ve been watching the webinars from Topaz Labs this month, and they’ve been concentrating on their B&W Effects product for the last couple of weeks. I love working in black and white, so this week I pulled out some old shots from when we lived in the Phoenix area, and tried using some of the techniques I’ve learned to these images.

Unfortunately, the photos themselves weren’t as sharp as I would have liked for them to be. When I took these, I was still pretty bad about checking my ISO, shutter speed and exposure before I pulled the trigger. But I still like the way these came out.

Note: Click the photos to view larger in Flickr.

This first one was taken on Grand Avenue. The older gentlemen was being pushed along the street in his wheelchair by his son. I used the B&W Effects filter to add highlights to the older man’s face and hands, while keeping the son’s face hidden under his cap. I wanted the focus of the observer to be drawn to the bottom of the image.

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This next image was taken while we were riding the light rail. I used to love getting on the train at one end of the route with my camera, and riding it all the way to the other end and back, getting off at different stops along the way to shoot. Many times the most interesting faces were actually in the train car with us, right across the aisle. This lady was in her own little world, and I just loved the character lines in her face.

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This last image was also taken on the same light rail ride, as we were about to board. This guy reminded me of a NASCAR driver, at least from the waist up. Just check out those shades, and the rings on his left hand. A close look at his feet, though, make it clear that he’s not a well-to-do race car driver.

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We’re going back to Arizona next week on a work/vacation trip, and I’m looking forward to doing a lot of landscape shooting around Sedona. I’ll eventually get back to my weekly challenge, but as I said, the point is to be shooting and processing as much as possible, no matter what the subject matter!

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Texting God?

I love candid shots, and I love black-and-white photography.  And when I can combine the two, it makes my day!

While I was in the process of shooting brackets for HDR processing at St. Luke’s Methodist Church in Houston, I noticed this guy sitting on the steps in front of the huge wooden doors.  I’m not sure if he noticed me as I pointed the camera toward him, but if he did, he didn’t really care.  He was much more interested in his smartphone. 🙂

Texting God?

I processed this in Paintshop Photo Pro X5, using the Topaz Black & White plug-in. It’s one of my favorite shots from the trip.

Ashley

I’m in the middle of processing my photos from last Sunday afternoon’s shoot with Ashley in downtown Glendale.  Ashley saw my post asking for volunteers who were willing to let me practice my lifestyle portrait photography skills on them, and graciously offered her services.  We met on the square in Glendale around 4:30 and spent about an hour shooting in various locations within a two-block radius.

Ashley was a delight to work with.  Besides being beautiful, she has a generous spirit and a refreshing spontaneity that made me feel more comfortable about shooting a total stranger.  Thanks, Ashley, for your time and for the fantastic images for my portfolio.

Here are a few of my favorites that I’ve processed so far:

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Images shot with a Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-300mm zoom. Processed in Paintshop Photo Pro X3.

If you like my work, please subscribe to this blog and feel free to offer comments. You can also find me on Facebook at ZannWalker Photography, and you can follow me on Twitter @suzanne_hight.

Lisa and Ranger – My First Photoshoot

Last weekend I had my first “client” photo shoot with a friend of mine, Lisa, and her new dog, Ranger. We met at Steele Indian School Park last Saturday morning for about an hour. The skies were mostly overcast when we started, but by the time we finished the sun had started to peek through.

Ranger is a cute dog, very photogenic, but he alternated between being nervous (shivering), and being curious (antsy), so it was a challenge to catch shots of the two of them together when Ranger was being still. However, I think we came away with some shots that were worth our time:

Lisa & Ranger 01

Lisa & Ranger 02

Lisa & Ranger 03

Lisa & Ranger 04

Lisa & Ranger 05

These were all processed using Portrait Professional and Paintshop Photo Pro X3.

Since I’m just learning to do this, I appreciate your feedback and constructive criticism.

If you like my work, please subscribe to this blog and feel free to offer comments. You can also find me on Facebook at ZannWalker Photography, and you can follow me on Twitter @suzanne_hight.

My Hubby, the Model

I’m pretty sure that if I ever hope to make any income as a photographer, it’s going to involve taking lots of pictures of people instead of deserted buildings and Arizona landscapes.  I’ve started putting together a plan for getting some volunteers to let me practice on them, and my first victim…er, subject, was my hubby, Andy.

Fortunately, Andy actually enjoys having his picture made, and he’s enough of a ham that he doesn’t mind posing in public while absolute strangers walk by.  This evening he agreed to let me take some shots of him as we were on our way to dinner.

I was using my Nikon D700 and the 28-300mm zoom lens.  By the time we got to the location, the sun was just slipping below the horizon so there wasn’t much light left.  I had to bump the ISO up to about 500 to get a shutter speed of about 1/50s with a wide-open aperture.  I didn’t bring my tripod, so this was all hand-held, and I was really afraid that the shots weren’t going to be as sharp as I would have liked.

I also took a few shots with my old Quantaray 35-82mm F4-5.6 that I re-discovered today still attached to my old Nikon 6006 35mm camera.  Whether it was the rapidly fading light or the poorer quality of the lens, the pictures I took with that lens were noticeably softer than the ones with the 28-300mm.

Here are a couple of shots that I’ve processed.  To see the entire set, visit my Flickr site here.

Taken with the 28-300mm:

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Taken with the 35-82mm:

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All the shots were processed in Paintshop Photo Pro X3.

If you like my work, please subscribe to this blog and feel free to offer comments.  You can also find me on Facebook at ZannWalker Photography.