Podcast 300 : Aug 2011 MBP Assignment Winners

Customized © Elise Ange

Podcast 300 : Aug 2011 MBP Assignment Winners

It’s kind of hard to believe that this is our 300th episode! It’s been one hell of a journey this last six years though, and I wanted to thank each and every one of you for listening, and continuing to stay engaged with the community. You all help to make this what it is, and I’m incredibly grateful.

Yesterday I received a really nice audio message from a couple of very good friends, Jack Andrys and Forrest Tanaka, which I inserted into the audio today. Thanks guys, you both rock, seriously.

Then this morning, I mentioned on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook that if anyone had a message for the 300th episode, I’d include it and I received some great message! Thanks so much for those kind thoughts all. I really do appreciate it.

Now let’s take a look at the winning images from the August “Eyes” Assignment.

Assignment Winners

As usual, we’ll start with 5th place, which was from David Bailey with “The eyes have it”. Unfortunately, David didn’t post a back story, so I can’t share anything with you on that, but I personally really like this image. David obviously either already had, or took the time to put together an amazing collection of eyes that look like they are for or from toys. There’s many different sizes and colors, and the thing that really makes this image for me is the strategic placement of the four large sets of eyes that are looking straight at the camera. These eyes have no whites, making them even more intriguing, and there are also a few sets of slightly smaller green eyes that also have no whites, and these grab your attention too. I can’t help thinking that the image is just a tad underexposed, but it really doesn’t detract from the image that much at all. The more you look at this, and the more it looks back at you, the better it gets. Great stuff! Congratulations on 5th place David. Great name by the way!

The Eyes Have It © David Bailey

The Eyes Have It © David Bailey

In 4th place is my image “Tree Frog Eyes”. I didn’t post a backstory either, but I did intend to share it with you all here, so here goes.

I did a bit of a Dan Newcomb last month, and hadn’t gotten anything for the assignment by the 30th, but I had a bit of time free on that day, so I decided to go and do a bit of macro work in a nearby park. I had the Eyes assignment in mind as I shot, and was happy to find this tree frog sitting in the base of a large leaf. Initially I used my 100mm IS L Macro lens with a 25mm extension tube fitted, and got a number of shots that I liked. I was also using the Canon MT-24EX Twin-Lite which is two flash units fitted to the front of the lens, and you can angle them any way you want to light subjects very close to the front element.

Rain Frog Eyes © Martin Bailey

Rain Frog Eyes © Martin Bailey

I walked away from the frog after getting some shots I was happy with, and had a few more hours walking around the park, photographing insects, and got another shot I was happy with of a Preying Mantis, but then towards the end of the day, after I’d switched to my MP-E 65mm Macro lens, which is the one that has no focus mechanism, just a zoom from life-size, to 5X life-size, and then you move the camera back and forth to focus. I decided to take a look to see if the frog was still there, and he was, so I grabbed a few more shots before I left the park. And, as you might have guessed, this frame was from my second short session with the frog, not the first batch. I did post some images from the first batch to my gallery as well, but this was my favorite. I just like the really big eyes and distortion that shooting this little guy at 2X life-size and getting really close enabled me to capture.

Thanks for those that voted for my image. I don’t enter every month, but it’s always nice to get some votes when I do.

In 3rd place is Mr Nikon, or Dan Newcomb, with “Foxy”. Here’s Dan’s backstory…

Congratulations to the other members who placed. There were some really great photos last month. Thanks for the votes and sorry for the late back story. I’m currently on a time lapse trip with my brother and the coverage was a little spotty in the desert.

Not much to tell about the back story to my photo Foxy. I was working in Whitehorse in the Yukon Territories and found myself with a day off. It was drizzling out but I decided to go to a nearby animal preserve. I was excited to learn they had a few lynx and some arctic foxes. I’ve photographed both of them in the wild before but this was a great chance to get up close and personal. When I got to the enclosures the lynx were doing a good job of hiding so I went over to the arctic foxes. These little guys were out and about and ready to be photographed. This time of year they loose their pure white coat. A sign warned not to get too close as they do bite. I placed my camera right up to the chain link fence and started firing away. Luckily they didn’t come close enough to bite me. I spent a number of hours at the preserve walking back and forth between the lynx and the arctic foxes. Besides the occasional downpour it was a very pleasant afternoon with some of my favorite animals. Thanks again for the votes!

Foxy © Dan Newcomb

Foxy © Dan Newcomb

And very well deserved votes they were too Dan. I love this shot. The pensive eyes, and the slight tilt to the head are wonderful, and that nose, slightly out of your depth of field making it look even softer is so cute. If these guys didn’t bite, I’d love to cup my hand around his mouth and nose and just scrumple it all up. I no scrumple isn’t a real word, but I can’t think of a better way to express this.

The shape of this foxes face is what every kid in the world would draw if you asked them to draw a fox, and I love toning you selected in your black and white conversion, and the tight crop works well too. A total favorite! Congrats on third place Dan. Great shot as usual.

In 2nd place is Super Digital Girl, or Leslie Granda-Hill with “Ostrich Eyes”, and here’s Leslie’s backstory.

I enjoyed seeing everyones interpretation of the theme this month. Congratulations to the winners- especially Cheshirecat for her fun and well executed image. For my image “Ostrich Eyes” I went to a farm that raises ostriches. I read about the farm in the newspaper and decided to contact the owner to see if I could take some photos. He was about to go on vacation so I had to get there and take my shots right away. The smell of the farm was overwhelming- especially since it was an extremely humid day. The ostrich in the photo was standing in front of a barn with a green roof (which is one of the reasons I converted it to black and white) with the light coming from behind the barn. I had to zoom my 24-70mm lens all the way out to get close enough to the ostrich. The owner of the ostriches- of which there are about 400- warned me not to get too close. While I was shooting this ostrich another one was pecking at my camera. Apparently they must like shiny black DSLR’s. Thanks to everyone for their votes. And congratulations to Martin on the upcoming 300th episode of the podcast. I think that that is probably a record for photography podcasts. I am looking forward to another 300!

Ostrich Eyes © Leslie Granda-Hill

Ostrich Eyes © Leslie Granda-Hill

Well thanks for the congrats Leslie. Great timing here that I’m actually recording this as the 300th episode too!

I absolutely adore this shot Leslie. You couldn’t have gotten straighter on to this guy, but the slight angle of the neck adds a nice twist in my opinion. The detail in the eyes and the sides of the beak are incredible, and almost make me want to scrumple my hand around this guys beak too, though I’d probably get a good pecking from him as well.

You did a great black and white conversion too. I love the tones and the even gray background. Very nice indeed! Congratulations on second place with this wonderful shot Leslie.

And the winner of the Eyes assignment is Cheshirecat, Elise Ange with “Customized”, and here’s Elise’s backstory.

Wow, I couldn’t believe that my entry came in 1st among some really great photos. Congratulations to all who placed! And thanks to all who voted for it. Martin, it is good to hear that your recovery is going so well.

When I first saw the theme, I knew that I did not have a chance against the wonderful portraits I have seen posted on this site. I have always been interested in cars and have spend many hours at antique and classic car shows in past years, but not so much recently as Martin’s themes always give me such great new subject matter to pursue and learn from.

Customized © Elise Ange

Customized © Elise Ange

Since there are a couple of great shows in August, which I enjoy, I decided that headlights might be a good substitute. I won’t tell you how many shots I took squatting down in front of cars, trying to get something that would represent eyes. One person asked me why I was shooting cars that way. I told him that sometimes it makes for an interesting picture. I think he walked away in disbelief. Many of the cars were parked in the sun with too much harsh light and too many reflections that a circular polarizer cannot overcome. I was lucky that this one car with such interesting headlights was parked in a shady area. It is almost as it came out of the camera, uncropped with a bit of contrast and sharping. I have other types of eye photos from the month; but this was the best one, albeit a little offbeat.

Offbeat certainly works here Elise. This is another favorite. All that squatting down in front of cars certainly paid off. I love the colors in this, and the way you chose a car that kind of had a nose really helped to make this one in my opinion. I like the dark line along the bottom of the frame, that helps to anchor the shot, and the subtle reflections add so much to this, without being overwhelming. I’d love to see a large gloss print of this. That would really be something else. Congratulations on a very well earned first place Elise.

So, there we have all five winners. Thanks again for all of you that got involved, of course including those that were not in the top five. The images posted for this assignment were excellent, as usual.

The voting for the September assignment Before/After, will start in a couple of days, so do come along and cast your votes before September 7th, 2011. Also, the theme for the October Assignment is kind of following on from Eyes, and is “Hands”. They don’t have to be human hands, and they don’t even have to be real hands, as long as there’s a hand connection. I think after Eyes, Hands are incredibly telling about a person. I won’t talk much about what I’m thinking here, as I don’t want to sway your judgment, but give this some though. It should be a relatively easy assignment to enter, as hands are all around us, and you probably have one or two of your own, but I think the person that wins this will surprise us with something special, as often seems to be the case.

Note that your Hands shot has to be made during the month of October, and not something you sought out of your archives. You will be able to upload it to the Hands album at http://www.mbpgalleries.com/ until the end of October, regardless of your time zone. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

End Notes:

Before we finish I wanted to quickly say that I was Interviewed by Frederick Van Johnson for the This Week in Photo Podcast a few weeks ago, and the episode with that interview embedded is now in the TWiP feed. It was a great interview, so do check that out, and note that I’m going to be co-hosting on TWiP some weeks from mid-October onwards, which I’m really looking forward too.

I was also interviewed by Stephen Cotterell for the Photography 121 Podcast last week as well, and that interview is now live as well. Do check these Podcasts out when you have a minute.

So, thanks again for listening today, and thanks for those kind messages, as well as for listening for all these years some of you, and I hope that you will all stick around for another 300 episodes of the Martin Bailey Photography Podcast.


Show Notes

TWiP #220: http://www.thisweekinphoto.com/2011/twip-220-the-passionate-photographer/

Photography 121 #19: http://www.cotterell.net/_/Podcast/Entries/2011/9/27_Martin_Bailey.html

Music from Music Alley: http://www.musicalley.com/


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