The Making of "Bletchley Park"

Winner of the August, 2017 "Portraits in Natural Light" photo contest

By K McCall in Photo Contests on Sep 28, 2017

I’ve adapted the writer’s axiom to “write what you know” to my photography: I shoot what I know. My kids are featured prominently in my photos, but like most kids, they don’t always enjoy sitting still for a shoot. I try to limit their “official” photos to once per month, and then they’re often rewarded with a new episode on a handheld device that I can hold off to my side as I shoot. This gets them to look in the direction I want without me having to give directions, and they’re so interested in their show that they forego a cheesy grin.

My daughter had just turned four when she sat for this portrait, and I had chosen her outfit with care. I usually shy away from reds, but this jacket was otherwise so perfectly suited for a photo (textures galore!) that I decided to use it anyway. I usually pick one window in my house that will serve as my “studio” and I refrain from hanging anything at all on the wall behind so I have a relatively blank slate for a background.

I always shoot free-hand (no tripod) with them so I can move about freely as they move their chins, rotate their bodies, etc. I find they’ll naturally go where I want them to if I just move the screen in that direction. The photo was shot with a Pentax K-30 and an smc Pentax-FA 31mm F1.8 AL Limited lens.

"Portraits in Natural Light" Contest Winners

Announcing the winners of our August, 2017 contest

By PF Staff in Photo Contests on Sep 24, 2017

"Bletchley Park" by K McCall

Our August, 2017 "Portraits in Natural Light" photo contest has ended and we're happy to announce and congratulate these winners:

In first place was forum member K McCall from USA who captured "Bletchley Park" (pictured above). This photo was shot with a Pentax K-30 and an smc Pentax-FA 31mm F1.8 AL Limited lens.

Our runners-up were forum member espresso from Poland in second place with "Olivia" and ivki_com from Russia in third place with "Companion". Click on either thumbnail for a larger version.

"Olivia" by espresso "Companion" by ivki_com

We'd like to congratulate the winners and also thank everyone who participated or voted! Also, be sure not to miss our September photo contest, "Humor Me!". Read all about it in the monthly contest forum.

August "Portrait" Contest Finalists Announced

Vote for the overall winner!

By PF Staff in Photo Contests on Sep 16, 2017

After a record number of nominations in our official "Portraits in Natural Light" photo contest for August 2017, we're now happy to announce our top 15 finalists!  Click on the link below to view the photos in full size and cast your votes in the poll:

Vote for your favorite photo in the poll

As usual for our monthly photo contests, voting closes in a week, and then we'll announce the winners.

Don't miss our September "Humor Me" photo contest, which closes to submissions at the end of the month.

The Making of "Solemnity"

Winner of the July, 2017 "Sculptures and Monuments" photo contest

By K McCall in Photo Contests on Sep 10, 2017

I had no idea what to do with my first DSLR (the K100D). I was terrified to change a lens or blow the sensor, and all the dials and buttons were overwhelming. I quickly decided to do a project with my camera so I could force myself to learn how it all worked together. The project I embarked on was to take a self-portrait every day.

The photo “Solemnity” was taken during the second year of this project. By that point, I had mostly learned my camera (and in fact had moved on to the K200D) and explored tons of different techniques – both with the camera and with post-processing. I had trained myself to always be on the lookout for a good shot for the project because by this point I was desperate for ideas.

I was in Germany and cutting across a residential neighborhood when I came across a small cemetery. I started out by taking a generic straight-on shot of the angel that served as the headstone:

As I walked away from the cemetery, I turned back (and what a great lesson that is in photography – some of the best shots are behind you!). The light bathed the grave beautifully. I took a shot and realized that it might be more powerful with a figure in it:

I never carry a tripod, so I had to set my camera on something else at hand and attempt to frame the shot the way I wanted. I couldn’t quite get that light in the shot with me in it, but I was apparently in a hurry, because I only took one shot with me in it, and it's the one you see here, as it was straight from the camera:

As far as post-processing goes, it looks like I cropped it a bit, heavily burned the right side of the frame, and added a great deal of split-toning (possibly in an attempt to re-create the light I wasn’t able to capture without a tripod). My tastes have changed in the eight years since I’ve taken this shot, and I feel I would process it with less of a heavy hand these days.

Thanks for voting for my image!

- Keitha (K McCall)

Making a 350-megapixel Milky Way Panorama

Winner of the "best of 2016" PF photo contest

By bruno.cirou in Photo Contests on Sep 6, 2017

Magic Maïdo: Best Pentax Forums Photo of 2016 (Click for larger version)

First I would like to thank Pentax Forums for giving us the opportunity to participate in the best of 2016 photo contest.  I have already thanked those who commented on my photo but I'll do it again: THANK YOU!

The photo you see above is a panorama of 40 images (in a 4x10 grid) taken with the Pentax K-1 full-frame DSLR and the excellent Samyang 24mm F1.4.


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