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Monthly Archives: January 2012
I spent the last few days visiting family in Nebraska. Got out to shoot a couple of times, but unfortunately, I engaged in “Lazy Photography”. Now, anyone can have their own unique definition of lazy photography and that definition can change whenever necessary. In this case, the definition is, I think, pretty cut and dried. I didn’t “bother” with a tripod, opting instead to up the ISO (except for the photo above) to make up for any camera shake, I didn’t carefully consider my compositions, and I neglected to make sure my exposures were adequate (they weren’t – I had the metering set up wrong and ended up with properly exposed skies and dark buildings).
The first issue, no tripod, isn’t that bad - when taking the shots not only did I have a fairly high shutter speed, but I was also squeezing the shot off in between breaths. For you old military people (and young too) I’m sure you recognize that technique – squeezing a round off between exhale and inhale to reduce weapon shake. I ended up with reasonably sharp photos. Still – I usually go with a tripod.
But the composition problems – well, that’s another story. Nothing I can do about that. A cutoff church steeple is going to stay cutoff. It means revisiting the subject sometime to get it right.
And the exposure problems? I’ll blame it on the brightness of the day and the fact that what you do see on the LCD screen is a jpeg representation of the RAW file. At any rate, looking at the images on my monitor revealed that many of them were severely underexposed.
I managed a few salvageable shots, but overall, I just got lazy.
Another lesson learned.
Thanks for reading,
I said in my last post that I had a subject selected for my Monday post, and I do, just not this one. I’ll hold off on that entry for another week or so. Instead, I thought I’d take this time to share a project that I’d been thinking about and working on sporadically the last year. I’ve finally got my first series of Greeting Cards completed. No, it’s not a huge project by any means, but the devil’s in the details as they say, and the delay in getting it going are mostly about the physical details, e.g., how large a card, where to get the stock, color of stock, cost, etc., etc., etc. So now I’ve at least settled those questions – that is until I get some images that I think would look better on a different card size, color, etc., etc., etc.
I thought of these images first simply because they sort of cried out to be on cards and I could present them as a set of three. Now that I’ve printed them out I really like the quality of the results and am anxious to produce others. I won’t post photos of my cards each time I print some out, but I probably will make a note in my current post that they’ve been added to my website and those interested can take a look there.
These are for sale, of course, but prices and all those mercenary aspects of the cards will also be on the website for those interested. In the meantime, since this is my first set so I have posted the image here.
Hope you like them!
Thanks for reading,
Coming up on another weekend and I wanted to get at least two posts in this week. Unfortunately, because things have been so hectic lately, I don’t really have a subject in mind (I do for my main post this Monday, however, so please check back). This photo is another of those taken during a dreary day at Barr Lake last weekend. While the area is very nice, the grayness of the clouds, the barren trees, and pale vegetation made for an almost monochromatic experience. Why – I didn’t even bother to convert the photo – it came straight out of the camera that way! Okay, it wasn’t that gray, but nearly so.
Just as I returned to the car, crossing the foot-bridge to the Visitor Center, the sun made its first appearance and was a welcome relief from the previous three hours. Of course I was done for the day, but those few moments with the sun slanting in were invigorating.
I plan to revisit Barr Lake hopefully this weekend. This time I’ll not linger taking images such as the one here, but instead make a beeline to the eagle’s nests and see what I can capture. Maybe the sun will be shining. Maybe not. The forecast is for rain and light snow Saturday evening into Sunday, and a cloudy Sunday. Either way – I’ll be out, camera in hand.
Thanks for reading,
Took a few hours and drove out to Barr Lake on Sunday – thought I’d try for a few photos of Eagles. I didn’t get any Eagle shots, but I got some nice abstracts and a few duck shots. Nothing spectacular, but it got me out of the house with my camera.
I didn’t realize when I went that from the Nature Center parking lot it was going to be a three mile walk; I was ill-prepared with no water or food. Nevertheless I walked a couple miles, took quite a few photos and spotted the eagle’s nest in the distance. Next time I head out there I’ll know what to expect and I’ll make sure I bring along adequate food and water. I know, after all this time in Colorado, you’d think I’d always be prepared. I’m no boy scout – I can’t remember all the times when I’ve had the wrong coat at the wrong time, or neglected to bring along gloves on a warm January day, just in case. Weather changes fast around here and weather forecasting is routinely wrong.
While walking along the Barr Lake trail and observing the amount of trash lining the shore, it occurred to me that we in this country seem to have lost the meaning of pride. Many people feel that to be a “proud, patriotic” American all you need to do is attach the largest flag you can to your car, pickup truck or hang off your apartment balcony. Trump in this case would be the most American, most patriotic, among us and that clearly isn’t true. Don’t misunderstand, there’s nothing wrong with expressing pride in your country that way, but pride isn’t just waving the flag and putting patriotic bumper stickers on the back of the car. It’s something that extends to our communities and our land, and judging by the garbage I saw along the shores of one of our state parks, people aren’t as proud as they say they are – they’re just lazy. Too lazy to pick up after themselves. Too lazy to show a little thought when dressing – people take no pride in how they look. Too lazy to keep trash in their vehicles to dispose of properly later.
I don’t know what’s causing this, but if more people stand up and take notice then maybe it can be turned around. I know there are a lot of organizations out there trying to protect our natural resources, but from what I see, they’re losing that battle, and if they lose, we lose. So, next time you’re out with the family at a national or state park, or just about anywhere for that matter, leave the place a bit cleaner than you found it. Be proud of your parks, your land, your community and country.
Okay – enough soapboxing.
One of the items I’ve planned (didn’t set a goal, just planned) to do more of in 2012 is photographing people. Again, while at Barr Lake, I had not one but two excellent opportunities. A pair of horsemen with their beautiful steeds, and a fellow photographer. I didn’t speak with the horsemen, but I did stop and talk to the photographer – it was her first time to Barr Lake and she, like myself, had come out to look for the eagles. However, she had no intention of walking the remaining two and a half miles. While I had decided to leave the tripod in the car, she was lugging what appeared to be a substantial aluminum tripod probably weighing in the eight pound range, along with quite a bit of gear. The tripod was brown instead of black, giving the appearance of wood from a distance. She wore a straw had with a severely tilted front brim. It was reddish-brown and matched her hair nicely. Tall, thin and with a wispy look accompanied by pale green eyes, she would have made, I think, an exceptional portrait.
I didn’t ask her.
I didn’t ask the horsemen.
Thanks for reading,
This shot is from an antique set of manicure tools. What each tool’s task is when manicuring, I don’t know, but I do like the abalone mother of pearl handles. Of course, I’m very fond of black and white, so below is the same image cropped and toned and cropped to a square format – ah, that’s better!
Mulligan, as you’re probably familiar with, is basically getting to do something over, a “do-over”. A few weeks ago , in my December 19th entry, “Approaching a Subject” I posted a photo of a Kodak Vigilant camera from the 1940′s and described my method for creating the image. I also said I wasn’t really pleased with the lack of sharpness certain parts of the photo suffered and that I would “revisit” this using the “stacking focus” method I had described in my post “Stacking the Deck” from December 13th.
Revisit I did. This past weekend, other than the manicure set, I spent most of my time photographing and re-photographing the Vigilant and below you see the resultant image. Right up front I’ll tell you that Photoshop CS5 could not handle the photomerge – areas remained out of focus after the image had merged. I’m assuming that there wasn’t enough contrast in the image for Photoshop to do an accurate job. So, I ended up doing it by hand. I took a series of 3 to 6 photos and tried to do it myself using layers and masks.
I’m not going to go into the frustration I endured trying to get it right, I’ll just say I shot eight series (maybe more) of photos and went through the tedious process of combining them. Each of the series had problems and I spent much more time on this one photo than I probably should have. The most disturbing part is simply the fact that after all that investment of time and effort, I think I still like my original better! I seems to have just the right balance light, just the right balance of camera and photos, just the right feel to it.
For comparison, I’ve posted the original and the mulligan – which do you prefer?
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my website http://jstrongphotos.com for additional photos!
Okay – I’m not good a realizing goals and though I can’t say why I suspect a lot of people have this problem, especially when it comes to diet and exercise; therefore, no goals in that area for this year. I’ll let the chips lay where they fall. As a matter of fact, I’m not even going to call them goals. Let’s use the term plans. I’m not certain of the distinction, they’re very similar, except if I don’t complete a plan it simply doesn’t sound as serious. Like a goal, a plan gives me a sort of target for the year, and even carries a certain malleability along with it, whereas a goal feels more concrete in nature. Plans change, goals fail. Yeah, I like that! My plans for 2012 are, I think, modest:
- Finish and produce one folio – let’s give it an arbitrary date, say, September 1
- Enter one or two competitions - not photo club competitions
- Get http://jstrongphotos.com into a position of being able to accept payments online
- Continue to write and publish my blog – got this one already
- Replace my Pixma Pro 9500 printer with either the new Pixma Pro1 or an Epson 3880 (I’m leaning towards Epson – larger ink tanks)
- Purchase a EVIL camera (Electronic Viewfinder, Interchangeable Lens) camera. While I would like to get an Olympus, I’m not sure the 4/3rds system is a large enough sensor – there are depth of field issues even with the APS sized sensor, and the 4/3 sensor is smaller than that. The Sony NEX-5n or 7 are very well received cameras, as is the Samsung NX200. I may have to check these out, though I’ve balked in the past at Sony and Samsung being camera makers – I’ve illogically stuck to the idea only Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Ricoh, Canon, and Leica are real camera manufacturers. Silly.
- Prune my existing Lightroom Catalog – I have thousands of photos in my catalog and thousands that probably shouldn’t be included – so I’ll get rid of them
- Take more photos
- Take more people photos
I know. Those sound like goals (except for the purchases of course), but believe me, they’re not. They’re only plans. Simple. Easy. Plans.
The photo above is of the chapel on the campus of Hastings College. I took it a couple years ago and didn’t really think much of it. But now that I have additional post-processing skills I’ve been able to turn it into an appealing image. I printed it out (6X6) and the print’s very nice too. Sometimes new skills require visiting old potential.
Thanks for reading, and may 2012 be a fantastic year for you.
Just a quick post – it’s 2012, a time for reflecting on the past year and planning the upcoming year. I do my share, and I’ll post a few of my 2012 goals in my next entry. For now I’m relaxing, watching a little football (Go Big Red!) and just enjoying a bit of time off to clear the old noggin’. Speaking of Nog, I believe I’ll go have some now.
Thanks for reading!