Friday, July 15, 2011

Sadie sleeps

When I was taking photography classes in high school we shot exclusively on black-and-white film. I learned the basics using both 35mm rangefingers and SLRs (even got a few football pictures in the school yearbook using my dad's cameras), and with 4x5 view cameras. I was never any good at printing them, though. They always looked flat, and when using high-contrast paper they looked even worse. I was never happy with my results.

Despite my past experiences I've never tired of black-and-white photography. I like to convert color pictures to black-and-white just for the sake of seeing what I'll get. Katie can look pretty good in black-and-white, but I think Sadie is a natural (she's a tuxedo to begin with).

I caught Sadie napping on the carpet one afternoon last week. I happened to have my 50mm lens on, so I stood over her and focused on her eye after changing the aperture to f/4 to get a bit more depth-of-field. My ISO was set to 400 but I didn't want to increase it to, say, 800 or higher, in order to keep the electronic noise down. But this was going to make for a longer exposure so I really tried to make sure I exhaled while I was taking the picture. The exposure turned out to be 1/10 second, so I'm surprised I didn't blur the picture too much.

Afterwards, I imported the file into Lightroom, cropped a bit, and applied the grayscale preset. I then dodged around the tip of her left ear, added negative clarity to blur the carpet, brought the white highlights down a bit using a tone curve, then applied a vignette.


(Shot with the Nikon D300 using the 50mm lens set to f/4; camera chose 1/10 second at ISO 400; center-weighted metering; auto white balance; normal JPG.)


  1. The end result is beautiful! It looks like she's floating above the carpet.

  2. i hadn't noticed that effect until you mentioned it. i just wanted to soften the look of the carpet so it was less distracting.

  3. That is such a peaceful, serene, soothing photo. I'm going to bed now, good night Sadie.