Posts Tagged ‘Nikon’

IN THE FIELD: A Bygone Era

July 2, 2012 27 comments

A few weeks ago, the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania held their 22nd annual World War ll weekend.

Visitors to the event can see reenactments depicting the life of soldiers from multiple nations in their encampments and in the field of battle. Period music is played, and there are big band concerts with dancing in the aircraft hangers. Military and civilian vehicles from the era on display and air shows and fly-bys are also part of the exhibition. Tours of the museum are available, and for a fee, rides can be taken in many of the airplanes.

In addition to all the displays featured in the museum, folks fly their vintage aircraft into Reading Airport from all over the country to participate in the weekend festivities. Tens of thousands of people come from far and wide to view the restored airplanes and relive a bit of the past.

The day I attended the event, cloud cover obscured the sun and sky, which made some shots more dramatic, and required pretty darn slow shutter speeds and wider apertures. I could have bumped the ISO up to a higher setting to provide more flexibility with camera settings, but I wanted to keep it as low as possible. I usually set the ISO between 100-400 because I find colors tend to more saturated and there is less digital noise at those settings. I purposely underexposed this photo to emphasize the clouds and to create more of a silhouette of the aircraft.

The challenge is, I don’t remember exactly what type of airplane this is. So, it looks like I will have to travel back to the museum. Oh darn.


IN THE FIELD: Forecast…Fog

June 20, 2012 27 comments

Early one morning while vacationing on the coast of Maine, my wife and I went down to the docks to see the boats and ships off for their daily sail. The fog was thick, but for the folks there, it was nothing unusual. There were lobstermen, fishermen, and deckhands bustling about, getting ready for a day out at sea.

We hung around the docks chatting with the fishermen, but kept our conversations short since everyone wanted to leave port before the tide went out. The fishermen gave us inside information on where the locals shopped for fresh seafood. And later in the day we did visit several of those secret places.

This is an older photo I shot on slide film before the digital age. Due to the low light levels, the telephoto lens I was using, and the floating dock I was standing on, the use of a tripod was necessary. Any bit of motion would have been magnified. Luckily the seas were calm. I was able to hand-hold shots when I was using shorter, brighter lenses, which is much easier when on a busy dock.

The ship in the photo is a historic three masted wooden schooner built in 1941. She spent over 40 years fishing offshore, most notably the Grand Banks and George’s Banks in the Atlantic. After her fishing career, she was converted to a passenger vessel for the windjammer trade in Maine. At the time I photographed the ship, she was named the Natalie Todd. She has since sailed to the west coast and been renamed American Pride. Her new home port is in Long Beach California as part of the American Heritage Marine Institute.


IN THE FIELD: Roadside Color

June 18, 2012 33 comments

One of my favorite things to see when driving the country roads near where I live, are wild day lilies. They begin to make their appearance in June, shortly after the Dames Rocket are finished blooming. They are a common sight on roadside embankments, in ditches and in other naturalized areas. Typically their biggest blooming period is from late spring throughout the summer, and in lesser amounts, into early autumn.

Folks also plant them on hillsides as an erosion control or alongside their driveways to dress up the front of their property. Somehow, one small group will manage to spread far and wide, providing splashes of color lasting several months for everyone to see as they drive by.

I photographed these lilies with my 35mm 1.8 prime lens using an ISO of 200, at 1/250th of a second, aperture set at f3.5 with a sunny white balance setting.

IN THE FIELD: Do You See What I See?

June 15, 2012 41 comments

For centuries man has looked up at the night sky and has associated mythical creatures, animals and objects we are familiar with, to the patterns of the stars.

There are a few constellations where I can see the resemblance to what they were named for. Others, well…the folks that named them must have been exposed to large amounts of fermented food or drink, because I don’t see anything close to what they imagined.

I have often wondered why we can look at something we are accustomed to, and at times, see something completely different.

Ever hear someone say something along these lines…“hey look at that cloud…doesn’t it look like a rabbit pulling an ox cart?” Or how about, “wow, will ya look at that…the edge of that cliff looks like an old man carrying a canoe on his back while walking a penguin.” Or in extreme cases, some folks see, and pay big money for an image of someone famous on a piece of burnt toast. Hello, clue phone???

All philosophical discussions aside, what is it that you see in this wacky strawberry?


IN THE FIELD: High Visibility

June 13, 2012 33 comments

In the valleys below where I live, the area is predominately farmland. For me, this provides a wealth of photographic subject matter. I particularly like the equipment used in farming operations. And it doesn’t matter whether it is old or new, I can always find something interesting to photograph.

I came across this piece of equipment in a small field surrounded by trees on three sides. Actually, it was hard to miss. Not only did it stand out in this scene, but it was quite large. It is a drop spreader used for lime or crushed stone products. I like the contrast between the bright orange paint on the machine and the natural surroundings of the blue sky and green leaves.

I took this photo on a clear, bright, sunny morning and it is straight out of the can. I did not even use a polarizer. Nor any digital manipulation to intensify the colors. Sometimes everything just falls into place and you get lucky.

IN THE FIELD: Perseverance

June 11, 2012 17 comments

Several years ago I built seven wooden planter boxes to attach to the railing on our deck. We fill them with annual flowers, and each season use different varieties so visually, it is never the same from one year to the next.

Except for this time. The petunias we planted last spring did really well so we decided to use them again. We can justify this since we are using a different color scheme. The flowers we chose are very pale and subtle in color and will be soothing to the eye.

There’s just one problem. It’s been rather hot and humid around here lately so we haven’t planted them yet. Right now the little pots of flowers are on the deck in there respective positions waiting to be elevated from floor level and put in the planters.

The other complication is in the planters themselves. Last year’s crop of purple, lavender, and white petunias reseeded themselves. Somehow the seeds made it through the winter, spouted, and are doing quite nicely with no help from us.

We don’t have the heart to pull the small plants from last year’s show since they stuck it out and are performing again. It looks like this season’s color scheme will be slightly modified.


IN THE FIELD: More Tasty Delights

June 6, 2012 25 comments

Next on the docket to provide summer taste sensations from our local orchard are the sweet cherries. We’ve been waiting with anticipation since last summer for the next crop, and they should be ready in a few days. As with all the fruit grown at the orchard, customers are free to pick their own.

I was a bit overwhelmed when I was there to photograph the ripening fruit, because I found promising compositions everywhere I looked. After finishing with one cluster, I would see a better one. And then a better one than the last. And I hadn’t made past the second tree in that row. And there were plenty more rows of cherry trees to explore.

I experimented with sunny, cloudy, and shade white balance settings to render the colors as accurately as possible. Due to the bright, yet overcast late morning sky, the sunny setting gave the best results. The cloudy and shade settings brought out too much yellow in the green leaves. After about an hour it began to get darker due to an impending storm, so I got out my flash unit to provide some more fill light. I managed to squeeze off a few shots while the sky continued to darken. Then it became ominous with thunder and flashes of lightning. Now I had to quickly change plans.

It’s best not to be in an orchard with a metal tripod when there is lightning in the area. I felt like I was dancing with the devil as I put my equipment away in my backpack and hightailed it back to the Jeep. It was a close call and the heavy rain started just as I closed my door. It rained well into the night with high winds, lightning and thunder.

I hope the heavy storms didn’t cause much damage to this year’s bounty of cherries.

I’ll find out later this week.

IN THE FIELD: Tasty Delights

June 4, 2012 23 comments

I know I have mentioned in previous posts, there is an orchard only a few minutes from our home. Customers can pick their own fruit in season or purchase what is picked by the staff.

Not only do we shop there for fruit and vegetables, but for me, it’s a supply of endless photographic opportunities. I am honored to say the owners have used some of my photographs of their establishment in their promotional brochures, as well as their on-line presence. When photo opportunities present themselves at a privately-owned business, I’ll say it again: it pays to ask permission first.

Of all the fruits and veggies grown there, strawberries are in season now and are being picked at a furious rate. The patch where they are grown and picked by strawberry lovers is roughly three acres in size. Orchard owner “D” said, “the berries can’t ripen fast enough to keep up with the demand, which has doubled since last year.”

This morning I headed out to the fields to photograph the berries ripening on the plants. With any luck, I would get a few shots before they were all harvested by the hordes of berry pickers. The plants are low to the ground, and the rows are close together, so using a tripod was an exercise in geometry. I brought an old blanket and used it to kneel on, and sit on between the rows of plants. Which was a good idea since we had rain last night. And it showered again while I was shooting the berries. Luckily the sales hut was only about 100 yards away and I was able to duck inside and take refuge from the rain.

Whenever I am not hand-holding my camera, to avoid camera movement I use my cable release to trigger the shutter. It was used in this scenario also, but the self-timer would have worked just as well. But I prefer to use the cable release, especially if there is a breeze. This way I can control exactly when to trip the shutter.

We’ve purchased our fair share of those red mouthfuls of sweetness. But it never seems to be enough.


IN THE FIELD: Roadside Beauties

June 1, 2012 24 comments

A few weeks ago, I was on the hunt for spring wildflowers to photograph. I thought for sure I would find some Dame’s Rocket, as they are common in my neck of the woods and are usually found growing in unkept areas alongside roadways and in abandoned fields. Nope. None were to be found.

Finally, last week on an overcast morning, I saw a few plants in a gully alongside a back country road. It was a small grouping, but I was hoping to find more. I traveled down the road a bit further, and found a patch slightly larger than the first, but still not the scenic I wanted. Around the next bend by the edge of the woods was a stretch several car lengths long, filled with purple, lavender, and white wildflowers. Jackpot!

Dame’s Rocket have four petals, and are easily confused with a plant named Garden Phlox, which has five petals. And it can be hard to tell the difference when you are bolting down the road at 50mph. But if you take a moment to stop and look, you can appreciate the charm they add to a landscape often forgotten.

IN THE FIELD: Natures’ Salad Buffet

May 25, 2012 31 comments

There are many types of deer resistant plants available for the home gardener. Although if deer are hungry enough, even these are not always safe from their dining pleasure. Hosta plants are no exception. There must be some kind of invisible coded message embedded in the leaves saying “Eat this. It’s chock full of vitamins, a good source of fiber and you’ll like it.”

Many folks, ourselves included, have tried with no success I might add, to growing and cultivating many varieties of hostas up here on the mountain. The scenario goes like this.

Day one. Travel to garden center and pick out the most captivating and healthiest of plants. Drive home and plant them in prime shaded areas of the garden. Water well and enjoy fruits of labor.

Day two. Neighbors visit and admire the lush foliage added to the gardens.

The deer apparently have some kind of telepathic methodology or secret coded message system they relay from herd to herd throughout the region describing in detail where to find the freshly planted specimens.

On day three, most of the hosta plants now resemble stalks of celery. While humans and pets slept, the resident herd of 25 or so deer have crept silently around the gardens and visited the “open all night” salad bar.

I truly hope the deer feel a bit guilty at times when visiting a newly planted garden. Because you see, they never eat ALL of the hostas at one sitting. They save some for another day. And just when the homeowners hopes are raised, they visit again when least expected and finish where they left off. And, there are a few deer that don’t even wait until it is dark to feast on these leafy plants. We have even seen yearlings on our front porch peeking in the windows, as if to see if the coast is clear.

We do have a few plants that survive their gorge on the free eats. This is probably due to a plant nearby not to their liking. The hosta in this photo is one that has remained under the radar and still has all it’s leaves. I swear, I swear, I swear.