Saturday, February 28, 2009

Love, Reflected

I love weddings. Makes me want to go do mine over again. And again.

I got to shoot a wedding again with Amy Parsons (site, blog). What a blast! 'Coarse, now my cheeks are sore.

Amy had the whole wedding party traipsing around the Village Green for photos. And what troopers they all were. It was cold out, but they seemed to all be warmed from the inside. The boys broke into harmonious song a few times and the girls filled the area with echoed laughter. More than a few passers-by commented on the joy of seeing (and hearing!) the whole bunch being so excited.

Shot with a Tamron 17-50 2.8 at 50mm, 1/800th, f2.8, iso 100 - lit by their own internal glow.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Kitchen Silver

Fussing about putting the dishes away (with Ms. Doubtfire showing on the tele) and I got to wondering about how silver things might look with a little color thrown in.

Shot at 85mm, f4, 1/10th, iso 100 under the kitchen lights on a tripod.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Skiers Delight

Surprise! It was cold enough for many of the flakes to survive. We received between 4 and 5 inches in the yard overnight. What a sight to see.

Say, I wonder what it's like up on the mountain? At the time of this writing they claimed 34 inches in the past 4 days. Woot! Better get the gear out and waxed.

I wonder if anybody waxes anymore...

Shot at 50mm, 1/160th, f8, iso 200.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How Fleeting the Flake

I looked up briefly from my work and saw that it is snowing again.

In many of my attempts to take a photo of snowfall, the results are less than interesting. Let's just say that I seem to be getting dandruff in my pictures, something a 'normal' person might spend time trying to erradicate from the image.

This time I thought I'd try to catch one in the act of being a flake. So I set the camera on a slow shutter speed and tried to follow one after the other to the ground. I learned that they're jumpy little fellows, jostling and bumping on their headlong journey to destruction on the ground where the temperature is much too warm to sustain them.

I think the result is as close to a painting as I'm like to produce (as long as I continue to avoid the brush).

Shot with a 50mm lens, 1/20th, f11, iso 400.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Watering Hole

Now and then I need some inspiration. No ideas were coming to me today. None. Zip. Nada. Nothing.

Not even a weird idea like seeing if I can capture the splash of a tire in a puddle as a car zips down the street at night with my strobe set to freeze gyser of water drops flying toward some poor bystander in his/her fancy go to dinner clothes waiting out on the sidewalk to be seated at their table.

Ok, I thought of that one. I just couldn't see getting out there to do it today.

So, what to shoot? I took a sneak peek at other sites today. I've been trying to post mine before I look to see what my buddies have done. When I saw Tim's I knew I wanted to mess around with a reflective surface (thanks Tim!). I'm saving lockers for another day...

Shot with a 50mm lens at f11, 1/250th, iso 100 with a single 430EX bounced off some foam core board.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Footbridge to Lower BP

Sounds like a magical place, doesn't it? On a beautiful spring morning I crossed the footbridge from Upper Benson Prairie to Lower Benson Prairie.

It's not a place, however, it's a condition. As in: Lower Blood Pressure.

My day job has me sitting on me arse all day long. The only body parts getting exercise are my fingers as I type away on my keyboard. Add in to the mix that my job can put a bit of stress on the day, and it's a recipe for high blood pressure.

One of the ways to help stay off corrective medications is to get out and walk. So, that's where my heart lead me today, out onto an old railroad grade that has morphed into a walking/biking trail.

Shot at 200mm, 1/125th, f5.6, iso 100.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Arrival!

Today's theme is "Perspective" - thanks Lance.

This one kept me up late trying to conjure up something creative, I mean, it's due on Sunday and I'll have some time to play with it. So, what to do?

This idea hit me at 3:14 AM. I wanted to get up right then and work on it. My bride refused to rise with me at that crazy hour. OK, in all honesty, I didn't dare wake her to ask.

Shot at 17mm, 1/40th, f13, iso 200, with 3 speed lights - see the setup shot here.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chord Strike

After stumbling onto Zack Arias again, and watching this flick, I was a little numb. I mean, I've seen some neat stuff from the guy right? He shares what he knows, his One Light courses are well received and he seems to be making a go of it.

But his video brought to the surface something I hadn't yet put my finger on.

Before photography, I was deep into model helicopters. The kind that require all your attention to build, maintain & fly. In the summer I rarely missed a day of flying - burning gallon after gallon trying to improve what I could do with them.

Too soon winter would arrive and with it weather that was not supportive of my interest. Come February I'd be ready to quit my job, move south and live in my van until I could re-establish. A good friend suggested I needed a winter sport, like skiing, to take the edge off.

Then I got into photography and I thought maybe that'll change. Hey, one can make a picture anytime, right? The nastier the weather, the better the mood. Or so I thought.

Zack's video pointed out that maybe I've not changed after all. Maybe I need to be a snowbird and migrate. Maybe I am moody.

Today's pic is there to remind me that I'm not yet food for worms. Hopefully, I'll hold off on pushing daisies for just a little longer.

Spring is supposed to be just around the corner...

Shot at 17mm, 1/250th, f5.6, iso 100, bare 580EX on a stand lighting the crosses.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Age & Deception - Youth & Speed

Tim has been using his daily photo post to do some experimenting - see here and here. I thought, what a cool idea - learn something from all that snappin' - why not?

So, today I did my own experiment. I decided to find out what the differences are between shooting with my film camera and my digital.

I have a Canon EOS 3 that I just love. The build quality, the feel, the HUGE viewfinder, the speed of the autofocus - there's just a lot there to like. I have a Canon 40D that isn't too shabby either. It'll shoot 6 frames a second, it's got plenty of pixels, and the AF is pretty good too.

I bolted on a 50mm 1.4 to the 40D and an 85mm 1.8 to the EOS 3. (Because the 40D has a smaller sensor, the two lenses provide nearly the same field of view). I loaded Ilford 400 speed XP-2 into the film camera, natch, and set the 40D to iso 400.

One of the things I was interested in learning is which one handles high contrast better. So, the middle of the day with the sun overhead provided the test conditions. I used the sunny 16 rule when setting both cameras to f16 at 1/400th.

And the results are: I can't decide. They both have their places. I like film because I have a darkroom that is a magical place to make pictures in. I like digital because I learn right now if what I'm trying is working or not. I like film because it slows me down a little and makes me think about what I'm doing. I like digital for the convienience: wrong iso? Change it. Want color and b&w at the same time? No problem.

One caveat, the scanning done on the film was the regular garden variety 1 hour photo lab hustle it through job. To really see if there's more in the film, one would want a real scan done.

Final note: Do you like one over the other? Do you know which is which?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Frosty Walk

I had an eye doc appointment this morning early just down the boulevard from here. I used to work just around the corner and have been down this path many times. In the fall it's the most amazing place with lots of color above and in the litter of leaves below. The feel in winter is very different, which I tried to accentuate with a few adjustments in Photoshop.

Shot at 200mm, f2.8, 1/640th, iso 200 - morning light filtering through low lying fog.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Brick & Mortar

I gotta put more effort into getting out when the light is available. This wandering out after dark makes for some interesting panic attacks: 'I GOTTA get a photo!' and 'What could I POSSIBLY find to shoot tonight?!'

Actually, it's a good exercise: keep the eyes open and see what grabs the imagination. Tonight it was the local museum, formerly City Hall back in the day. I love the detail carved into the Chuckanut Sandstone masonry.

Shot with 50mm 1.4 at f5.6, 1/50th, iso 800 handheld lighted by some big 'ol klieg lights outside.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Color Me Red

No time today - too many things on the plate that need doing. Still, there's this flower here from Valentines day that lights up the room with it's color.

Shot at 85mm with 25mm extension tube, 1/30, f2, iso 400 under the tungsten kitchen lights.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A River Ran Through It

Not to overdo the use of 3-D, but I felt like this just might be a better example than my last.

There was more than a little flooding around here earlier this year. We had a lot of water in our neighborhood, but we're high enough up that the water only paid us a visit and then found it's way further down the hill.

It's down the hill that got hammered by it. Today's photo is an example of how water can undermine something and leave it hanging. These tracks were in use sometime in the last decade or so, though I don't know when the railroad stopped moving cars along here.

Shot at 17mm, 1/250th, f4, iso 100 - with the big softbox in the sky providing a nice even blanket of light.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Not Enough Blanket

The weekend theme is "Pet Peeve" and I've got one. Mmmm-Boy, have I got one.

Shhh, truth be told, I'm probably the real blanket thief in the marriage...

Shot at 17mm, 1/5th, f5.6, iso 400. One 430EX outside playing moonlight.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Valentine

Nothing better on valentines day than watching the sun set with an arm around your loved one. Dress warmly and huddle close, that breeze off the bay can be felt crawling all the way up the pant legs. Maybe that's why cupid's day is in winter, to give the guys an excuse to put an arm around their sweetie.

Shot at 17mm, 1/250th, f8, iso 100 with a 580EX in softbox to bring up the foreground a little.

P.S. The logo on the grubby hat says: "Life is Good"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Coffee Water

A little oasis on the waterfront serving coffee and warmth on a cold winter evening along the path from downtown to southside. Looking at the mocha colored water, dark and alive down there under the boardwalk, made me think maybe, just maybe, the hot drinks being served up are supplied by the chocolate in the bay.

It doesn't take much imagination to realize buying a little stock in this outfit might be a good idea...

Shot at 105mm, 8 seconds, f16, iso 200.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Toy

Jan got a new toy today. The school district that provides her employment supplied a new digital camera to a number of classrooms including hers. It seems she'd passed the technology quiz and qualified to get some equipment upgrades. So she brought the new gadget home to get the feel of it and charge the batteries. We've already filled the puny little 32mb SD card that came with it. Remember when 32mb in a postage stamp was mind-boggling?

Dave Barry once commented on how cars were getting bigger and cell phones shrinking down to the size of a Chicklet chewing gum. This camera is about that size, being smaller than the battery charger that came in the same box.

By the way, she's next in line to get an interactive white board...

Shot at 17mm, 1/20th, f8, iso 400 with a little fill light from the AB800 in a softbox.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

All Played Out

Now and then I feel like a nap, though I may not look like it, it's true. There was a time when I would come home from work and just lay flat on the floor for 20 minutes or so and wake up feeling great. Now when I try to do that I end up with a warm sloppy tongue on the cheek, so I quit.

Here's our dog Sheba (PITA for short) stretched out just like I used to do after a busy day. So rather than be envious, I thought I'd get down on her level and capture the moment.

Oh, and no sloppy wet tongues were involved...

Shot at 150mm, 1/10th, f2.8, iso 400 lit by the overhead room lights.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Don't do that, they'll STICK

Remember that thing you're mother told you? Don't cross your eyes, they'll get stuck that way! Well, in the age of the World Wide Web you can actually find instructions on how to do things you shouldn't do. And now, here I am to tell you what you can do with that new found skill.

Look at the above pair of photos for a moment. Now, cross your eyes so that your right eye is aimed at the left photo and the left eye at the right. As your eyes cross, you'll see a point where the two images line up and appear to have much more depth than either image on it's own.

Follow this link to learn more.

Shot at 21mm, f5.6, 1/10th, iso 400, overhead tungsten track lights.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Good Night Moon

Watching the full moon tonight on the drive home was amazing as the clouds rolled by in the wind. Note to self: remember to keep your eyes on the road.

I went down to Bloedel Donovan park by the lake to give it my full attention. It was not one of those things that you miss if you blink, but it was ever changing as I stood in the cold and watched the show for half an hour.

Shot at 20mm, f22, for 30 seconds on iso 400.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

No Evil

Lance has been encouraging me to play with Photoshop, so with a little time on my hands tonight, I did.

Shot at 35mm, 1/250, f13, iso 100. AB800 in softbox right overhead - I moved it along with me for each shot.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Street Urchin

This weekend's theme is "Film Noir" - and this is my hurried attempt to answer that call. We borrowed the neighbor kid, nicknamed "Dennis", and headed down to Fairhaven. I put a 430EX on a tall stand with an extension as high as it would go to be the street light on the right (there's a real street light in the photo too). Then tried to coax him into emoting "sad". The poor kid doesn't know what sad is, now how sad is that?

It got cold out, and past his bedtime, so we had to wrap after shooting about 7 frames. Had we more time I woulda, coulda, shoulda, put another 430EX up high with a grid spot to fill in the missing pool of light under the street lamp on the left.

Shot at 70mm, 1/25th, f4.5, iso 800 with the 430 at 1/16th power.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Another Volley!

I got this box of blocks for a birthday present. It was a birthday past my 40th, though I don't remember exactly which one. It has been one of the best toys in our house - especially when other kids come over, even if they're past 40 too.

You build 'em up and tear 'em down. How quickly they come down is all in the aim of the catapult.

And aren't we at our best when we're playing anyway?

Shot at 95mm, 1/125th, f16, iso 200, AB800 at 1/4 with 20 deg grid lighting the castle, 430EX with DIY grid on 1/4 power lighting the catapult.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Old School

Every now and then I like to get back into the darkroom and smell the old way of doing it. I can't say "back in my day" and get away with it, because I never was in the darkroom back then. Oh sure, I shot plenty of film in all different flavors. It's just that someone else did all the wet work.

So a few years ago, when it appeared that digital was going to conquer the world, I bought an enlarger at a garage sale. In messing around with it I found that there's magic in them there tanks. What a wonderful thing to watch an image come to life in the developer.

Shot at 17mm, 1/2 second, f2.8 iso 400. Lighting provided by the safelight and enlarger *.

* No flashes were harmed in the making of this photo.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Spotlight on High

I took a short walk today at lunch time. We live near a very nice walking park, so I strode through there with my camera, watching for things highlighted by sunlight filtering through the upper branches.

Here was a tree, well past it's prime, with a bunch of hangers-on taking over. It being rather dark deep in the woods, the spot of sunlight made these leaves really stand out.

Shot at 50mm, f5, 1/50th, iso 100 - with just the right amount of sunlight.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Crowd Goes Wild

I didn't make it to the stadium for the Superbowl, nor did I make it to Washington DC to see the inauguration. Both events were interesting to me in that they brought large numbers of people together in one place. Not that it's for me, I feel claustophobic surrounded by huge numbers of people.

It did get me thinking though, what can I find in the house that, photographed properly, might look like a huge crowd of people blurring into the distance?

Shot at 50mm, 1/60th, f1.4, with a bounced 580EX. Spoiler alert I used a 36mm extension tube so I could get closer.

Monday, February 2, 2009

End of the Line

They're tearing up a section of railroad track near my office in Skagit County. Not sure who "they" are, but the work is progressing at a measured pace. I thought I would explore the slow decay of the rail ties and the rust development evident on the rails.

Shot at 50mm, 1/1600, f1.6, iso 400. The big soft box in the sky was my light source.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Handyman

I've been planning to get deeper into some software technologies, and have found some excellent resources to help me get up to speed.
The first order of business is to get my HP lapop ready to handle the memory footprint imposed by installing the latest and greatest development tools. To that end, I've purchased more memory and a larger hard-drive. There are terrific bargains to be found on eBay - I got this particular new-in-the-box drive for a song.

Now, if I can only figure out where it'll fit...

Shot at 26mm (17-35 zoom), 1/200, f8. AB800 overhead in the soft box. The yellow work light gets the credit for the work a 430EX with grid spot is actually doing.
//Edit: Lance suggested trying the burn tool on this version. The above copy is the result of that attempt - clearly I have some practicing to do...