Posts Tagged ‘camera’

Inspiration And Assignments: Look Closely And You Will See

May 22, 2018 9 comments

This photo was taken just two days ago. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and  you folks will probably figure this one out pretty quickly. In this day and age of modern technology what you are seeing can be a pretty common occurrence if the weather and light all gel together. In fact, I would bet you have all seen something like this in your travels.


Inspiration And Assignments: View From Above

May 19, 2018 14 comments

I have been wanting to use this photo in a blog post for quite some time but was at a loss for words. Well it appears timing is everything.  A few weeks ago a good friend of mine came across a quote that she felt would be perfect inspiration for one of my blog posts. She turned me on to the quote and it turns out she was right on the money with this one.

“It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.”

Henry David Thoreau

In many more words than Mr. Thoreau used, this has been my mantra for years. 

“I think that people will too often look and not really see. And if I can see for them, to show them what fascinates me about a single leaf floating in a creek, or the morning light highlighting a stand of trees or the seemingly random pattern in a pile of rocks…then I have shared that single experience, that split second in time with them. And if I can give them the opportunity to enjoy that one moment, then I have accomplished what I set out to do.”

Try to take the time out to “see.” It will make a world of difference in your life, and in your photography.

By now you are probably wondering what the subject matter is in the above photograph. I’ll give ya a few hints. It’s not a photo of a mountain range or of a river delta taken from a window on the International Space Station. I’ve never been invited to go up there.





IN THE FIELD: Best To Reset

November 22, 2013 14 comments


Digital cameras are so sophisticated and full of technology it can be hard to keep track of the multitude of settings available to create a good photograph. Especially since every situation or outing is different. So how does one obtain consistent results from day to day? Have no fear…there is an easy solution.

I have found the best way to insure predictable results is to reset my camera back to the settings I use the most, before I put the camera away for the night.

Here are a few examples of what I double-check after each photo shoot.

Exposure modes. I always shoot in full manual mode so that’s an easy one to keep track of. No need to fix that setting.

ISO is another setting I don’t change often since I primarily shoot outdoors. I normally have it set between 100 and 200. Occasionally I will shoot indoors and may need to bump up the ISO level if I’m not using a flash. This is the one setting that seems to elude my easy solution. I‘m not sure why, but it does. Bad David.

White Balance is another setting I double-check. Sometimes I’ll change it for different effects, but I always put it back to the cloudy setting. I like the warmth the cloudy setting provides.

Every so often I’ll use exposure compensation. This is another important selection to put back to zero after the day’s shoot. If not, every photo taken after will be either under or over exposed. Bummer.

There are times my on-camera flash will be put to use for a little fill light. I always check to be sure the output levels are reset to zero if they were changed…wouldn’t want to under or overexpose that next scene.

And then there are the focus modes. If I employ the use of manual focus, I double-check the camera and lens settings and change them back to auto focus.

By resetting the camera back to my most often used settings, I know that when I pick the camera up the next time, it’s ready to go…with no surprises.

f 8


ISO 100

cloudy WB

HOW TO: Photographers Comfort

January 16, 2012 24 comments

Handling a tripod with metal legs that are close to a cold outside air temperature has always been a challenge for me. In the winter, setting up the tripod and then composing shots is difficult because my hands get cold.

When it is warm outside, carrying a metal tripod on my shoulder is not the most comfortable thing to do either. One way to alleviate the discomfort of tripod tubing on a shoulder or cold feel of the metal legs, is to cover them with some kind of padding.

My wife gave me a set of tripod leg wraps from OP/TECH USA this year. The wraps, or covers as they are sometimes called by other manufacturers, insulate the cold legs from bare hands, and help cushion the tripod when carrying it on your shoulder.

Covers, pads or wraps also help protect the tripod from dents and scratches. They are easy to install, lightweight, very durable and can be washed with damp cloth if they get dirty.

With padding on the legs of my tripod, my hands no longer become numb from the cold metal. And in the summer, it will be way more comfortable carrying the tripod when trekking about the countryside.


IN THE FIELD: Staying Warm Inside

January 9, 2012 47 comments

Early this past week, the weather in this area was bitterly cold and windy. Outdoor photography can be a bit of a challenge in these conditions and normally it doesn’t bother me. After all, I am primarily an outdoor photographer and the weather, pleasant or unpleasant, is part of the experience. But with the wind chill near the single digits I decided to cut myself a break.

An alternative to freezing outdoors is getting creative indoors. Benefits include warm fingers, toes and face, plus the camera equipment works better.

We often overlook photographing subjects within the confines of our own homes, probably because we are so used to seeing them on a daily basis. Looking through a camera and lens at ordinary and familiar items in our surroundings can present them in a whole new perspective.

Who would have thought the inside of the clothes washer would make for an interesting subject? To me, this looks like some kind of futuristic propulsion unit for interstellar space travel.



IN THE FIELD: Winter Photo Adventures

January 6, 2012 36 comments

My wife and I first met in the middle of the winter a few weeks before Christmas. A few of our first dates consisted of “photo excursions.” We would explore local parks, or the streets of the town where she lived, or just go for a drive and see what we could find.

On one frigid afternoon, we went for a drive down a country lane and came across a group of frozen ponds near the road. We thought we might find interesting patterns in the ice to photograph.

We parked the car in a safe spot and gathered up the camera bag and tripod and headed through the brambles towards the ponds. As we got closer to the ponds we noticed the ice resembled what we called a Star Wars landscape. Apparently, freeze thaw cycles caused the ice to lower and break on the protruding rocks.

We got some shots of ice crystals near the edge of the pond, and some overall shots of the surroundings. We began to experiment with exposure settings and colored filters normally used for black and white photography, trying to duplicate how an alien landscape would appear.

My sister had just given me a polarizer filter for Christmas and we thought we should try that one to see the effect. I got the filter out of the camera bag and tried to hand it to my wife (girl friend at the time). But both our hands were so cold, the hand-off was a complete failure in coordination.

That brand new, never-been-used filter, dropped to the ice, and slid out to the middle of the pond like a hockey puck. She was horrified. “Oh No! David, I can’t believe I dropped your brand new filter! Lordie, you must think I am a bumbling idiot!”

I reassured her several times that our impromptu hockey game was an accident. After a few moments of laughter and teasing, we went on a quest for a long stick and ventured out onto the ice to retrieve the filter.

Had we been wearing warmer gloves that day, the old adage “there really is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” would not have come into play.

IN THE FIELD: Brrrrr It’s Cold Outside

January 4, 2012 42 comments

Winter is here for sure. We had a light dusting of snow this morning and the temperature will not get out of the 20’s. The wind is gusting to 40 mph and the wind chills are somewhere near…well, let’s just say it’s a bit brisk. Since it is the winter season, I thought a photo reminding me of warmer times would be a nice treat, and this waterfall scene fits the bill.

My wife and I had been to this location several times for picnics and hiking and photo excursions, but on this day I had something else planned.

It was a beautiful warm summer day and the conditions for photography were just about perfect. We got some shots of the falls and then ventured downstream to photograph the water tumbling over the rocks in the stream bed.

We took our shoes off, clambered onto some larger rocks to sit and cool our feet in the mountain stream. We sat there for a while listening to the sound of the water and enjoyed the woodland surroundings. The air was refreshing with a light mist from the falls and the wild rhododendron bushes were in bloom, covering the banks of the stream.

We agreed this was one of the prettiest places we had visited together. I decided this would be the perfect time for my surprise. So, I pulled this little velvet box that you get from a fancy jewelry store out of my pocket, opened it, and asked her if she would like to spend the rest of our lives together. She looked at the “sparkly” resting in the box, and almost fell off her rock.

She told me later that she had an idea I was going to ask her to marry me soon…just not when she was teetering on a rock in the middle of a cold mountain stream.

This waterfall is named Silver Thread Falls and it is located in the lush woodlands of northeastern Pennsylvania.


IN THE FIELD: Sometimes It Pays To Dilly-Dally

December 30, 2011 40 comments

During our last visit to western Montana, we discovered this statue outside the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. It stands in front of the foundation’s museum, where visitors can learn about the elk and other wildlife of the region, plus what is being done to help preserve their habitats.

After touring the museum, we went outside to get a closer look at this larger-than-life statue. Impressive is a good way to describe it.

I had taken a couple of shots, but the statue was in deep shadow from the thick cloud cover. Disappointed, we started packing up the camera gear and decided to return the next day to try for some better photos. As we were finishing up, we looked back and saw the clouds had parted, allowing the sun to shine through and highlight the statue. So I quickly grabbed the camera and tripod. And I was able to compose a few shots before the light disappeared.

I sure am glad we were taking our time putting all the photo equipment away!


IN THE FIELD: The Archives

December 28, 2011 28 comments

During the holiday season I took some time out to look through my film archives. I have thousands of slides in protective pages and in those little yellow boxes that came back from the processing lab. I didn’t review all of the slides, or I would still be at it come this time next year.

Back in the day, before digital cameras became commonplace, we used film cameras. And there were many types of film available, ranging from slow to medium speed (ISO 25-400) slide films to slow to fast speed (ISO 50-800) print films. Film had a quirky trait when exposed for long periods of time. When exposures started to reach the 30 second mark or less, depending on the film and light available, the film’s ability to render true colors would shift throughout the color spectrum. This was known as reciprocity failure and could be used to the photographer’s advantage if abstract images were the main goal. Or the photographer wanted to experiment.

The film I used for the photo in this post was Kodachrome 64. The aperture I used was probably f16 or f22 and the shutter speed was most likely around 25 seconds. Available light was minimal since the sun had already set and it was almost dark.

This photo is a small portion of an ice patch near the edge of a creek. I took several shots at various locations along the water’s edge. The color shift varied from frame to frame, depending on how long the exposures were. The rainbow lens flare in the upper corners of the frame may have been caused the light reflecting off the water. Because of the long exposure, the color of the ice shifted from white to blue, with spots of lavender, giving it a surreal look.

For me, the hardest thing about using film was waiting to see the results from the photo lab. Good or bad.


INSPIRATION: A Joyous Christmas

December 23, 2011 35 comments

For all you readers of my blog that take time out of your day to comment, like, follow, and offer feedback, I would like to offer a sincere thank-you for your kind words and support. It is greatly appreciated.

In the short time I have been a part of the blogger experience, I have travelled the world through your words and photography, and have met some truly wonderful people from all walks of life.

I wish for you and your families, a joyous Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!