DECEMBERFEST photo challenge

Phil Page suggested on the cameralabs.com forum to have a DECEMBERFEST challenge. The idea being to aim to post a photo a day for every day of December while also limiting yourself to just one camera lens combination.

I’ve chosen my new Sigma 30mm f1.4 lens to go with my 550D body. I’ll post the photos here as well as on the forum. I’m out and about quite a bit in December but I aim to have a photo from each day of the month even if its posted a few days after when I get back to internet world.

Photo #31 – New Years Eve Saturday 31st December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 100
Exposure: 1/400 sec
Aperture: 3.5
Focal Length: 30mm

PP – Cropped and boosted a bit in Picasa

Well this is my final DECEMBERFEST image. Its a christmas tree topper that was made for me and brought out this year. I have a feeling it could well be next years christmas card image! This was one of the very few images I envisaged in my mind and then went about creating in reality. Normally I’m very see and shoot. I had to go back and take the shot again as my addiction to f1.4 with this lens meant the tree was largely out of focus!

DECEMBERFEST has been a fantastic project for me, I’ve really enjoyed the whole process from the discipline of having to get a photo each day to the deciding which photos to post when I had more than one to choose from.

Thanks to dubailphil for suggesting it.

Must admit though it puts into perspective the mammoth task that a 365 project must be!!

Photo #30 – Friday 30th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 100
Exposure: 1/2000 sec
Aperture: 2.8
Focal Length: 30mm

Photo #29 – Thursday 29th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 100
Exposure: 1/80 sec
Aperture: 2.8
Focal Length: 30mm

PP – Shot RAW, converted to JPEG, cropped, made B&W, added contrast using Picasa

Photo #28 – Wednesday 28th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 100
Exposure: 1/1000 sec
Aperture: 2.8
Focal Length: 30mm

PP – Shot RAW, converted to JPEG, cropped and boosted a bit in Picasa

Photo #27 – Tuesday 27th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 100
Exposure: 1/200 sec
Aperture: 8.0
Focal Length: 30mm

PP – Shot in RAW then in Picasa boosted contrast and saturation a bit

Photo #26 – Boxing Day Monday 26th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 100
Exposure: 1/2000 sec
Aperture: 1.4
Focal Length: 30mm

PP- Shot in RAW then in Picasa cropped and boosted a bit

Photo #25 – Christmas Day Sunday 25th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 500
Exposure: 1/40 sec
Aperture: 3.5
Focal Length: 30mm

PP – Cropped, boosted slightly and added Polaroid background.

Photo #24 – Xmas Eve Saturday 24th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 100
Exposure: 1/60 sec
Aperture: 1.4
Focal Length: 30mm

PP – Cropped, boosted and added a slight vignette in Picasa

Photo #23 – Friday 23rd December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 100
Exposure: 1/125 sec
Aperture: 1.4
Focal Length: 30mm

PP- Added colour saturation and contrast in Picasa

Taken through a shop window in Dubai Mall. About time I had more xmassy shots. Tis the season to be merry after all Exclamation

Photo #22 – Thursday 22nd December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 4000
Exposure: 1/50 sec
Aperture: 1.4
Focal Length: 30mm

PP- Cropped, colour saturation bumped up and slight vignette added in Picasa

This was taken handheld from a friends 43rd floor balcony. Didnt take my tripod to town with me which I was regretting for the 2 days we were there Rolling Eyes

Photo #21 – Wednesday 21st December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
5 image tone mapped HDR
ISO: 100
Exposure: 1/800 sec
Aperture: 8.0
Focal Length: 30mm

Still messing around with HDR to get to grips with where its great and where its not. Playing with it like a kid with a new toy but that can be a bit boring for everyone else Embarassed

Photo #20 – Tuesday 20th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 100
Exposure: 10.0 sec
Aperture: 1.4
Focal Length: 30mm

I keep taking this shot from the balcony, for some reason I really like it. This is the first time I’ve used the 30mm lens though and I need to experiment with shooting stars with a fast lens. New moon is coming so might be a good opportunity.

Photo #19 – Monday 19th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 1000
Exposure: 1/50 sec
Aperture: 1.4
Focal Length: 30mm

Obligatory xmas tree shot Very Happy

Photo #18 – Sunday 18th December 2011

No Image Crying or Very sad

Photo #17 – Saturday 17th December 2011

No Image Embarassed

Photo #16 – Friday 16th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 640
Exposure: 1/50 sec
Aperture: 1.4
Focal Length: 30mm

I had a great morning taking photos of the Spinneys 92km Cycle Challenge. I ride with the organisers on a regular basis and so managed to persuade them to give me a photog pickup to myself. Got some alright shots but many were with my 18 to 135 lens so cant use them here.

Photo #15 – Thursday 15th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 1000
Exposure: 1/50 sec
Aperture: 1.4
Focal Length: 30mm

PP- In Picasa, added a couple of effects to spice up a not so good image

Bit of a lame one, I hadn’t made the effort during the day and took this all to often seen view for me on the way home

Photo #14 – Wednesday 14th December 2011

Camera: Canon EOS 550D
Exposure: 0.5 sec (1/2)
Aperture: f/1.39
Focal Length: 30 mm
ISO Speed: 100

Another 5 shot HDR. Hey, I’m learning and to learn you’ve got to practice!!

This is the Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa (Arabic: برج خليفة‎ “Khalifa Tower”), known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is currently the tallest structure in the world, at 829.84 m (2,723 ft)

Still on track with a photo a day and only using one lens!! Cool

Photo #13 – Tuesday 13th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 100
Exposure: 1/160 sec
Aperture: 8.0
Focal Length: 30mm

For image #13 I’m going to use the same photo as I’ve submitted for the December ‘On Assignment’.

Taken using the HDR function within the brilliant Magic Lantern add on firmware. 5 bracketed images

PP – Dragged n dropped into Photomatrix Essentials and then selected the Exposure Fusion (Adjusted) preset. I didnt mess with the sliders

The view this morning from the roof of my building across Al Hamra Village towards the Hajar Mountains.

Photo #12 – Monday 12th December 2011

I wanted to take some photos of this friends Mustang before he sell it. TBH I’m not happy with any of the pictures hence the collage that at least ‘tells a story’.

hmmmmm, not happy at all. Made way to many mistakes, got the sunset time wrong so missed the light, accidentally left the camera -1 stop so everything under exposed too. Pictures are over processed which covers up shonky basic camera work Rolling Eyes

Photo #11 – Sunday 11th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 100
Exposure: 0.8064516 sec
Aperture: 8.0
Focal Length: 30mm

PP – 5 bracketed images run through Photomatrix Essentials and then using the Exposure Fusion (adjusted) preset.

Not exactly an ideal HDR subject but its because I’m experimenting with all sorts of different subjects to get to grips with what works and what doesn’t.

I do like the image though for some reason Embarassed

Photo #10 – Saturday 10th December

ISO: 100
Exposure: 2.0 sec
Aperture: 1.39 (interesting aperture from the exif info!)
Focal Length: 30mm

PP- 5 bracketed images processed through Photomatrix Essentials with the painterly preset used

Today I decided I’d start to learn about HDR so that I could post something in Decembers ‘On Assignment’. While the magic trick that is HDR is certainly impressive the first few times the software does its trick I guess it can be seen too much. Anyway I’m enjoying performing some magic with 5 bracketed photos.

The image is comprised of 5 photos taken from the roof of my building across Al Hamra with the foothills of the Hajar Mountains on the horizon.

Photo #9 – Friday 9th December

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 100
Exposure: 1/3200 sec
Aperture: 1.4
Focal Length: 30mm

I’ve had a bit of a mountain bike photography day. There was a fun, low key mountain bike race early this morning so camped out with those guys and took some photos of them and then headed 5 minuted down the road to meet up with my friend Damian. I needed some shots for an article I’m writing so he knew I was going to want to stop a bit here an there. We had a great 4 hr ride but I was shattered at the end.

Really please with the photos and that I’m still on track for a photo a day. Almost 1/3 of the way now.

If you want to see the race photos goto HERE and for more of the ride with Damian go HERE

Photo #8 – Thursday 8th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 100
Exposure: 1/1000 sec
Aperture: 4.0
Focal Length: 30mm
Flash Used: No

PP- Clicked the “I Feel Lucky” magic button in Picasa and then cropped.

Really liking the sheer simplicity of this image. I stopped at the side of the road (66) on the way back from Al Ain in the middle of the afternoon because this dune caught my eye.

Off camping at Shawka tonight, taking some photos of a low key mountain bike race early in the morning then going for a ride myself with a friend before heading to either Hatta or Dibba Oman to camp over night then climb Saturday. Should be able to get a couple of images the next 2 days. Really pleased I’m on track for my goal of a photo a day for December so far.

Photo #7 – Wednesday 7th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 4000
Exposure: 1/50 sec
Aperture: 1.4
Focal Length: 30mm
Flash Used: No

PP- None, straight out of the camera.

I was struggling a bit this eve with nothing in the bag during the day after a busy day out and about. Was looking around and saw some trees uplit with coloured bulbs, one green, one amber and one red. This was the nicest and sharpest shot I got. Camera was working hard at ISO4000

Photo #6 – Tuesday 6th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 1250
Exposure: 1/40 sec
Aperture: 1.4
Focal Length: 30mm
Flash Used: No

PP – Crop and white balance in Picasa plus a but of messing with Saturation, Highlights and Shadows to increase the contrast and to tray and cover up a bit the fact that its not really sharp at all Embarassed

Gordon has a bouldering (small climbing) wall set up in his spare bedroom for training on. Tuesday night is bouldering night and a few of the climbing community gather round at Gordons for a very social training eve.

I was trying to isolate the hand from the rest of the climber using a tight DOF to exaggerate the look of the energy going through it but I dont think its worked as well as I hoped. I struggled a bit with the lens being a bit long for space and also trying not to get in peoples way or too much in their face.

Photo #5 – Monday 5th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 640
Exposure: 1/50 sec
Aperture: 8.0
Focal Length: 30mm

PP- Clicked the ‘I Feel Lucky’ button in Picasa, added a bit of saturation and messed with the Shadows and Highlights sliders to add contrast too.

Decemberfest work days are going to be tough but thats good because its making me think and visit the locations I’ve been meaning to visit.

This photo was taken in ‘Ghost Town’ near Jazirat Al Hamra (Red Island), Ras Al Khaimah. It is literally a ghost town that was deserted years ago over some sort of land rights issue. The original inhabitants all moved to Abu Dhabi apparently.

I was a bit rushed on the way home, just grabbing the last of the light. The old, derelict buildings have lots of interesting features and textures to explore in images and could be a good DECEMBERFEST hunting ground.

Photo #4 – Sunday 4th December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 400
Exposure: 2.5 sec
Aperture: 8.0
Focal Length: 30mm
Flash Used: Yes

PP- Straightened, cropped and colour temp tweeked in Picasa

Paul is a friend I havent seen in too long. He was heading back home to Miri, Borneo from a work trip to Houston, Texas and had a 7hr stop over in Dubai. It was fantastic to catch up with a great mate while paddling to the edge of The World and back Cool

The Dubai skyline is pretty spectacular.

Getting a couple of shots was quite difficult. No tripod and only on camera flash involved utilizing beach detritus to balance the camera. While its not a great shot at all its not bad, all things considered, as its captured what will be a great memory. I think it was the flash going off that attracted the security boats that intercepted us on the way bac.

Photo #3 – Saturday 3rd December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 100
Exposure: 1/4000 sec
Aperture: 2.5
Focal Length: 30mm

PP- Crop only in Picasa

Saturday at the 7′s is much more about the Rugby. The pool stages are over and its into the knockout rounds.

Dubaiphil and myself had media passes so where able to get pitchside on all but Pitch 1 (next year I’ll work out how to get a bib). I was sticking with my DECEMBERFEST lens and 30mm is not a lot for sporting action. Phil and myself were suffering from some severe lens envy lusting after some of the long, fat and fast lenses the pro photogs had in their quiver.

Having said that considering how few shots I was able to take this one shows that with a bit more effort there is action to be got even with a short, fast 30. I spent too much time chatting to Phil and not enough time zooming with my feet.

Photo #2 – Friday 2nd December 2011

Model: Canon EOS 550D
ISO: 400
Exposure: 1/200 sec
Aperture: 1.4
Focal Length: 30mm
Flash Used: Yes

PP- None, straight out of the camera

The Dubai 7′s is a brilliant weekend. For me the Friday was all about the girls. Dressed up as mermaids and out to have a wild time. I’m loving the 30mm lens set at 1.4. Makes for a very tight DOF which makes getting the focus point critical but means that the camera will get atmospheric shots using low natural lighting.

To see all the ones I uploaded to facebook goto https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150403722346193.350556.554606192&type=1&l=1b5d204696

Photo #1 – Thursday 1st December 2011

Model Canon EOS 550D
ISO 100
Exposure 1/2000 sec
Aperture 1.4
Focal Length 30mm

PP- None, straight out of the camera

On the run up to UAE National Day (2nd December) the Emiratis go for it when it comes to UAEing their bling cars. This Audi R8 down on the Walk in JBR was pretty subtly done but was looking fab.

You can find my DECEMBERFEST thread on the camerlabs.com here and the other forum members threads in the off topic section of the forums here

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