Oh, this is going to be a good assignment! Surely, everyone has a water hose, an algae-covered pond, or an old rain barrel somewhere close by! But has anyone ever thought to take artistic pictures of them??

The pond that was supposed to be all stagnant and ugly turned out to look way too healthy to illustrate the concept. At least in my opinion. It's not bad for being the dry season.

200923_James Staddon_0778 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-50 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 100

So, I headed over to Grandpa’s house to take a look at some old rain barrels.

200923_James Staddon_0783 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 19 mm, 0.8 sec at f - 11, ISO 50

This first shot isn’t too bad. It’s just telling a story that’s more than “a rain barrel”. The distractions at the top aren’t as bad as I thought, looking at it now here on the computer. But it feels like I’m shooting for a calendar or something, with lots of extra space on the side to put a Scripture verse. Smile

200923_James Staddon_0786 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 19 mm, 0.5 sec at f - 11, ISO 50

I changed angles to focus more on the barrel. It being dead center, I’m not exactly a fan. Also, being so wide angle, it makes the 50-gallon drum look incredibly small. And distorted too much I think.

200923_James Staddon_0788 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 35 mm, 1.0 sec at f - 11, ISO 50

So I zoomed in a bit. That gets rid of distortion, right? It’s a picture of a rain barrel. Not exactly sure why I centered it again. Smile It looks fine though.

200923_James Staddon_ Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 32 mm, 0.3 sec at f - 11, ISO 50

Then I remembered that they preferred vertical!

Going vertical was harder because in order to see the water in the barrel, I had to be fairly high. And in order for the barrel not to be distorted, I had to be kinda far away and zoom in a bit. But the further I moved away, the higher I had to go in order to still see the water in the bottom of the barrel! So, I rigged up a tripod extender. I like being at a less straight-on perspective, so it feels less “imposing” or “head-on”, and a more casual, a simple “looking down into a barrel” kind of feeling.

200923_James Staddon_ Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 35 mm, 1-30 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 50

Then I shot straight down into the barrel. But really, the water wasn’t stagnant-looking. It doesn’t look gross. Perhaps I could go back in a couple days. Smile

Going Deeper

Some of these shots I edited in HDR. The vertical one especially, you can tell. It just has that really great textured look! This is a perfect subject for it. So for this month’s premium training, I thought it would be fun to show you how I do my HDR editing. It’s really simple. I’ll show you how I do it in Lightroom, and then, if you tell me what program you are currently using, we’ll see if we can figure out how to do HDR merging in that program!

Now It’s Your Turn!

This is going to be a fun assignment. Find a kinked hose, an algae-covered pond, or some stagnant water in an old rain barrel and go to town! See if you can come up with some artistic pictures of one or all of them. And don’t forget to shoot vertical and horizontal. Smile All details for the An Illustration of Selfishness photo assignment are below!

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