Archive for September, 2012

IN THE FIELD: Bigger Can Be Better

September 28, 2012 24 comments

My sister has a menagerie of critters in her back yard, and many of them are not shy of humans. You can walk right up to them and they rarely move from their position.

They are also very easy to take care of. She has mentioned in the past, none of the animals have fussy diets, and they really don’t mind where they sleep. As long as someone comes out to visit them from time to time, they are perfectly content.

This shot was taken with my 35mm lens. I was shooting in mid-day and the rooster was in bright shade, so I under-exposed the shot 1/3rd stop to saturate the colors.


September 26, 2012 20 comments

This past Sunday we took the pups to the city to visit the arboretum. We hadn’t been there in a month or so, and thought it would be a nice treat for them, and for us also.

The recent rains rejuvenated the gardens and everything is doing really well. The cooler early morning temperatures brought out more folks than usual to walk their dogs or to go for a jog in the park.

There are many sculptures placed throughout the grounds, and the one pictured here was just recently installed. I have no idea what this stone sculpture is meant to represent, as there were no identifying marks or descriptive plaques anywhere. It reminds me of the statues called moai, on Easter Island.

How To: Zoom Zoom

September 24, 2012 32 comments

Looking up at trees and the sky

I was outside with my camera all day yesterday and came up with some really cool images just by playing around with shutter speeds, a zoom lens, and body movements. The technique for these shots is really easy to do. All you need is a zoom lens and the ability to shoot with slow shutter speeds of around a half-second or slower.

The subject matter can be anything colorful you may come across. Groupings of flowers is a great place to start. Looking up at trees and the sky also works well. I have even used a pile of multi colored bags of garden soil as a subject.

Bags of garden soil

Here’s how you accomplish this effect. Set you camera to the lowest ISO setting available. This will help in getting slow shutter speeds. Then, in manual mode, adjust your shutter speed to around a half-second or so. Meter the scene, and close down the aperture to get a proper exposure.

Autumn flowers

If it’s really bright where your subject is, you may need to use a neutral density filter or even a polarizer to cut down on some of the light to get a decent exposure. If you are shooting in the shade, you will probably be fine without a filter. Focus on your subject at the widest setting on your zoom. As you click the shutter, zoom to the longest setting, and rotate the camera in the opposite direction you rotated the lens. Or you can zoom in and just rotate your body.

Play around with different shutter and aperture settings, and / or camera and body rotation to see what works best for you. This can become rather addictive, so be sure you have plenty of room on your data cards! And try not to spin around too much as you are looking at the sky…you may get dizzy. I speak from experience. Ahem.


IN THE FIELD: When It Rains

September 19, 2012 38 comments

Yesterday we had a dose of monsoon-like weather heading from south to the north. It covered most of the region for almost 24 hours. Not only was there steady rainfall for most of the day, but at times the water came down in deluges. The storm was accompanied by high winds bringing down branches from trees and at times, I swear it was raining sideways. The skies were ominous with sporadic lightning and thunder, and there were even some tornado warnings. After the rains subsided, the wind blew most of the night drying things out a bit.

This morning is a completely different story. The sun is shining, the sky is a pretty blue, and the temperatures are more seasonal for this time of year. While walking the pups this morning, we came across these pretty flowers growing by the roadside. They persevered through all the wrath of the day before, to share their beauty with us.

I had my 35mm lens mounted on the camera since it’s super sharp and it’s a great walk around lens. This shot was taken handheld at f3.5 @125th.

IN THE FIELD: New Discovery

September 17, 2012 20 comments

In our travels last weekend, we discovered a farmers market that is new to us. We enjoy shopping in places like this for several reasons. Not only is the food grown or raised locally, but it is also educational. The folks there love to chat about their farms and products they sell.

It is a rather lengthly list of what venders were marketing, but here are some examples. They were selling fruits and vegetables, homemade noodles and pasta, fresh meats, baked goods, honey, fresh homemade cheeses, and other dairy products, jams, jellies, and other canned/preserved items. One family operation was selling various kinds of flour that is grown, harvested, and milled at their farm.

This display of colorful woven baskets was just outside the entrance. We couldn’t resist buying one to carry all our purchases. It is harvest season, so our basket will be put to good use in the weeks ahead.


September 14, 2012 26 comments

Getting a good shot of the moon has been a quest of mine for a long time. Having the right lens, clear atmospheric conditions, a stable tripod, and minimal light pollution are the key to a good photograph.

One night last week I was finally able to get the shot I was after.

Liar, liar…pants on fire.

IN THE FIELD: Apple Pickin’ Time

September 12, 2012 29 comments

Where I live, we are fortunate to experience the four seasons. There are a few weeks of summer remaining before we move in to the Autumn season. Trees are starting to change colors, days and night are cooler, and the fall harvest is about to begin.

Our local orchard is giving hints to the changing of season. They have begun to post the “pick your own” signs for apples. Folks come from far and wide to head out into the rows and rows of trees to fill up their baskets with fresh fruit. On weekends, the orchard provides hay rides out to the apple trees, samples of home made baked goods, and all sorts of games for the children to play. They even build a castle out of hay bales for the kids to climb on and explore.

While it’s hard for me to pick a favorite season, Autumn is in the top four.