Pizza cooking with the hard light of a flash I was asked if I had any new year's resolutions today.  I rarely do, so my first instinct was to say "no."  But then I paused and thought.  "Is there anything I want to be different a year from today?"

I want to be a better photographer.

The only way to make that happen is practice, practice, practice.  Stealing a page from a whole lot of different people, I wondered if I could make one photograph every day in 2009.  To be honest, probably not.  But why not give it a shot?  What if I could hit 300 days?  That is a solid 82%.  Perhaps not the loftiest of goals, but pretty realistic.  To add a little excitement and consistency, I plan on only using my Pentax-FA 1.4 50mm.

So here I go, my first Photo Of The Day (POTD) for January 1, 2009.

By the time I came up with this goal, the only thing I could think to photograph was the pizza I had in the oven.  I decided to add a little interest with some side lighting and not just the oven light.

To me this photo is just so-so.  The photo I pictured in my mind as I was getting my camera out, is great.  But I guess that is the whole point, learning to make better photographs.

Anyone interested in the photo details and settings, scroll down.

Light is from a hand held Nikon SB-25 at camera left. (pretty obvious)  The flash was zoomed to 85mm and light was still spilling all over the place.  I needed some type of gobo.  The cardboard disc the pizza came on should work.  I held that on top of the flash and it did a fair job of stopping the light from spilling out onto the oven knobs.  I found that the angle I held the flash with the gobo made the biggest difference. (again, pretty obvious)  The camera also had a difficult time finding a focus.  My quick fix was to turn on the oven light, focus, turn off the light and switch to manual focus.  I think I got me close, but the focus in the photo is pretty soft.  I did move around a lot adjusting the flash strength after I set the focus.  I played with the settings on the camera and flash until I got something that looked ok on the lcd.  There is very little post processing, a little color balance and sharpening, all done in Lightroom.

Camera:  Pentax K20 50mm prime lens  ISO 200 Aperture f/6.7  Exposure 1/90

Flash:  Nikon SB-25 triggered with AlienBees CyberSync Manual Zoom 85 & Power 1/32

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