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Archive for August, 2012

In the Field: Equipment Review…Now I can See It

August 8, 2012 21 comments

The scenario goes like this..It’s a bright sunny day. Compose subject, push shutter button, look at LCD screen on the back of the camera. The sun is so bright and glaring, nothing is visible on the LCD screen. Cup hands around the screen to see if shot is as intended. Still don’t have a clear, glare free view.

Try another tactic. Move to a shady area to view the screen. Shot didn’t work. Now position is changed. Go back to former position, set up again, and retake the photo. Repeat as needed.

These methods work, but they are not the most efficient.

A few years ago I got this handy little device that solves all the problems of viewing the LCD screen on bright sunny days. It called the HoodLoupe 3.0 by Hoodman Corporation.

It’s really easy to use. All you do is take the picture, place the Hoodman on the LCD screen to eliminate the sun glare, and view the shot. The loupe will cover up to three inch LCD screens.

The Hoodman Loupe is made of a soft rubber and the lens is German glass. For those that may wear glasses or contact lenses, it has +/- 3 diopter so you can adjust focus. It also comes with a lanyard to go around your neck and it comes with a quick release buckle. That way you can detach the loupe, and hand it to another person to view the image you just shot. The manufacturer even provides a soft carrying case with a belt clip. How cool is that!

The loupe retails for about 80 bucks US. I use my Hoodman all the time when I am outdoors, whether it is sunny or not. Checking exposures and or compositions is so easy and convenient. Going home with shots that are poorly exposed, or composed for that matter, is a thing of the past.

IN THE FIELD: I’m Late I’m Late

August 6, 2012 31 comments

Earlier last week I noticed some wildflowers growing in a roadside field I hadn’t noticed before. I didn’t have time to stop and get a few photos, but I made a mental note to return to the spot a few days later when I had more time.

I headed back to the field on Thursday morning, and as much as I wanted to run the A/C in the Jeep, I drove with the windows down. I had the camera and the lens of choice on the seat next to me outside of the camera bag. This was to allow everything to acclimate to the sunny, hot, humid, jungle like conditions we are experiencing this summer.

It was around 9:30 in the morning when I arrived at the field, and to my dismay, someone had mowed the majority of the field. Nothing was left, except for a few plants that somehow made it through the wrath of the mower. I’m not sure why the field was mowed since it’s been vacant for years and there were no “For Sale” or “Sold” signs nearby.

I don’t know what kind of plant this is, but I’m glad I was able to get a few shots of these neat looking seed pods which were about three to four inches long. I positioned myself so the sunlight was behind and off to the right of the seed pod to add some highlights. For this photo, the settings used were, white balance set to cloudy to add a bit of warmth, ISO 100, f3.2 @ 1/1250th of a second, and my lens of choice was the 35mm.

IN THE FIELD: I Say, Boy, Pay Attention To Me, Boy

August 3, 2012 26 comments

“Why aren’t my feathers the same color as uncle Foghorn’s you ask?”

“Yeah Uncle Spike…how come?”

“You see Boy, Foghorn Leghorn is my second cousin on my father’s aunt’s mother’s side.” “He’s loud and a prankster and always gettin’ into mischief, if ya know what I mean.”

“What kind of mischief?”

“See that barnyard dog over there?”

“Yeah”

“Well, it all started with Ol” Dawg and Foghorn. The Leghorn side of the family decided they were the big guys around the farm. Ol’ Dawg and his family would have nothing to do with that. Every time Foghorn and his siblings would come into the barnyard, Ol’ Dawg would give ‘em a chase. Foghorn, bein’ the sneaky sort, always had a trick up his wing. He tried everything to get back at that old dog, but he’s never been able to win the battle. It’s hard to tell anymore who starts the antics between the two, but they just keep on goin’. Almost like a habit.”

“Anyway, We’s always been prideful of our white feathers, but we dye our feathers different colors to confuse Ol’ Dawg. Some of us are red, orange, gold or pearly black like me. He doesn’t realize it yet, but we’re really Leghorns. Luckily, until he gets the real story on us, we have free range and get to be with the missy hens whenever we want to.”

IN THE FIELD: Revisiting Greenhouses

August 1, 2012 35 comments

Most of my photography is done outdoors, but there are a few places I like to shoot indoors. A greenhouse full of plants and flowers is one of them.

There are several reasons I enjoy shooting flowers indoors. Usually there are no breezes to contend with. Except for the fans used to circulate the air. If I do find a prime subject, and the flower is waving in the breeze, I will ask if I can move it to another location. Or for something creative, I may compose the shot to show movement.

Also, the light is evenly diffused in a greenhouse, either from shade cloth or frosted glass. You can even shoot at high noon and not be concerned with harsh shadows.

The humidity inside a greenhouse is something to be aware of. If your camera and lens has been in air-conditioning for an extended period of time, allow it to warm to the temperature inside the greenhouse. Take some time out to scout the location before removing the lens cap. Otherwise the lens will fog instantly, and then you will have a really long wait before you can get any photos.

There is no need to wait for a rainy day to get shots of plants and flowers with water droplets on them if you are there when folks are doing their watering. Plus you won’t get wet from the weather…you’re inside.

In my opinion, one of the greatest reasons to go on a photo shoot in a greenhouse is the variety you will be exposed to. Find a local greenhouse and ask the folks there if you can photograph their plant material. You’ll be rewarded with a wonderful time and super photographs.

This photo was shot using a tripod. Zoom lens set at 135mm, ISO 200, sunny white balance, f7.1 @ 1/125.