Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fun Project

This is a fun project I'm working on.  I set the camera to shoot at a speed of 3.5 frames a second and this is what I got.  I may need to bump it up a bit - the transition between the fourth and fifth image is not the same as the others.  But for a first effort, it has potential.  I need to work on a background and have some solid ideas.  One of the issues I ran into is that the camera and or memory card will only transfer so much data at speed.  I shoot with a large JPG format (Large + Fine) and RAW that the shots often overrun the cards ability to write.  It would write fast enough to lock up the camera.  So I bought a faster card.  $$$ could solve everything.  So even if I bumped up the speed of the frames, I may not be able to complete the cycle.  So next time I go out and try this, I'll have a faster card.  I also may drop the RAW aspect.  In these shots, I set the camera for ISO 800, Speed priority to 1/1000 and manually set the WB to cloudy.  Colors on the subject came out just right.  I tried to get some batting shots, but the picture was always too crowded - you couldn't tell who the subject was.  I have time to work that angle.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gull on Post

This is another Port Huron resident.  While I was moving around, trying to get some Duck photos, this Gull was hidden over an embankment until I move to the edge.  The focus on this shot to me is remarkable. The eye is clear.  With any other background, I might try blurring the water - but here it is just where I would like it.  The definition of the wood is pretty good as well.  This is a ISO 400 shot with no noise.

1/400 f/9
Aperture Priority
ISO 400
Focal length 220 mm (330 mm for 35mm film)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Gull in Flight

If anyone would have told me that I'd enjoy taking photos of birds as a subject years ago - I would have dismissed the thought.  Entirely.  
The flight of the birds is so quick. What are the chances I'd be able to get a shot like this - in focus.  There is a lot cropped out on this - but the point is for a 'swing and shoot', it turned out OK.  
I took a few hour trip to Port Huron for some freighter watching and as a bonus the critters were out.  Lots of ducks and gulls.  And there were a few river vessels.  This by far is the best bird photo I've ever taken.  My workflow brought out the sky - and look under the wing.  That is slick!  
My trip to Port Huron was to play with shooting at higher speeds by boosting the ISO.  As a child of 35mm cameras, I never really ventured out of the ISO range of 100 to 400.   And since I've been in DSLR - never out of 100 for the D80 and 200 for theD90.  (Both are minimum settings)  So jumping to 400 for the day was a big thing for me.  I've read that in the Nikon I can go to 800 without much noise - so we'll have to see.
If this goes to club competition I'll smooth out the sky a bit - but other than that it is good to go.

1/1600 f/11
Aperture Priority
ISO 400
Focal length 120 mm (180 mm for 35mm film)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Point Betsie Lighthouse - Wow

This is different.  For a project I'm working on, I stumbled on this effect.  I kind of like it.  Out of the box, there isn't much to change here.  If I really wanted to tweak it - I might play with the roof a bit.  Not much of a story here - other than I now have a new effect.  This is going at some point to the club.....

April Club Competition Results

Back to the friendly confines of my own club.  4 of my 5 entries were voted HONORs.  That means at least three other people thought they were better than average.  The SPLASH photo did not make the HONORs - and that is on my work PC for the background.  (Connect the dots here, that means I like it the best!)  There was lots of good discussion around the grunge versions of the Grand Haven Lights and the Point Betsie Lighthouse.  I have a photo of two ducks in the surf taken a few weeks ago on the West Coast of Michigan weekend that did well.  (That's why I don't judge yet - don't' understand that one.)  
This month's subject was READ ENDs.  There were a few shots of the back side of some buildings in Flint that had some very unique paint jobs - bordering graffiti.  There were two really good shots.  One was the back of a building with the fire escape stairs and some A/C units that was real interesting.  The paint job on the back of the building was very patchwork.  The second one I liked was the back of an old building with more pronounced artistry.  The shot had a lot of potential - I think the colors needed to jump out more.  (Of course I would say that - that is what I do!)
So it was a good meeting.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April Club Competition

Tomorrow night is the April Club Competition.  Not to be deterred by the St. John's showing - I am looking forward to this.  (I am relatively certain I will not see a tree frog.)
In the Manipulated category, I will be entering the Point Betsie Lighthouse and the Grunge version of the Grand Haven Light.  I like both photos.  The Point Betsie shot is one you have to double take to verify that it is not a straight photo.  And the Grunge version of the Grand haven light is so different with the bright red of the structure and the sun in the clouds.  to me, just plain awesome.  (The St. John's judges had no room the for the Grand Haven light - let's see how the local club views it!)
In the Nature category, I have a photo of two ducks that was taken on the West (Michigan) Coast weekend.  The tow of them were on the beach, just out of reach of the surf.  If they were closer to each other, I could really get a good subject shot.  The colors and patterns of the two are really good.
In the Open category, I am submitting the Splash photo and the multiple gulls on a river piling.  The Splash photo is a favorite - also I know what I had to do to get that shot so that adds.  The light through the wave is really interesting to me.  I doubt it will be mild interest - either really like it or see it like the St. John's judges did.  The gulls on a river piling was taken last summer in during a trip to North Carolina.  I cropped a lot out of this one and it turns out OK - if you like Gull photos.
This month's subject is "Rear Ends".  Earlier in the month, I just couldn't put together any good ideas for this one.  Now that I think about it - there are lots of opportunities.  We should be getting the subject list for next year soon - so I should not get caught like this again.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Point Betsie Lighthouse

This is the Point Betsie Lighthouse.  This was the last scheduled sight on our West Coast Weekend.  The house looks to be in great shape - although there was ice and snow in the vicinity.  The waves were not necessarily big - but it wasn't calm either.  Lots of great background noise.
I like the Grunge effect on this.  Colors just jump out.  And the more I look at this one, the more I like it.  (It is the current background on PC.)

1/250 f/9
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal length 55 mm (82 mm for 35mm film)

Shut Out......

While I did not expect to have all my entries be appreciated, I did not expect that none of them would make the ACCEPTED round of the SWMCC spring competition.  I'm not bitter.  Much.
This competition is much different than the club competition.  There are percentages involved here.  Under half will make will make the ACCEPTED round.
I could see that a lot of my shots as submitted did not focus enough on a single subject.  There were very few 'landscape' shots that were judged well.  So as a lesson, I guess very few competition shots come straight out of a camera.  There must be some cropping.  Technically, I thought my shots were on par with most - although I did see some real stunners.
As far as subjects go, these judges seem to like small critters.  There was not one shot of a tree frog that failed to advance.  (And the fact that the person who took all the tree frog shots was present at the judging and was giving a demo on how to shoot tree frogs I'm sure had nothing to do with it.  Seriously....)  Other bugs did very well as well.  I don't do bugs.
My HDR (and ALL others) did not do well either.  I heard some nice comments on my Rt 381 shot - but not from the judges.  There were some HDR shots that were fantastic - but even in the creative category the judges panned them all.
As I've said before - judging is a thankless task.  I'm sure they didn't start out, have some sort of secret signal that identified me, to pan my work.  Just worked out that way.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Frankfort North Breakwater Light

Our first light on the last day of the West Coast Trip started with this light, only minutes from where we were staying.  The morning was bright and not too cold.  this is a fairly standard photo with HDR applied to bring out the blues in this case.  The sun was in the right place - and I was at the right time.  So much nicer when it all comes together.  I knocked down the EV 1/3 and used a polarizer (almost a necessity when shooting around water).  With that I could get most of the light and keep the colors.

1/320 f/9
Aperture Priority  (EV-0.67)
ISO 200
Focal length 130 mm (195 mm for 35mm film)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Manistee North Pier Light

On the West Coast Tour, at the end of the full day of travel and lights brought us to the Manistee North Pier Light.  We arrived just in time to get some great sunset shots.  This is the only shot of all the locations where HDR did not improve the photo.  This is how the D90 adjusted the colors.  Couldn't do much more with it.

1/60 f/5.6
ISO 450
Focal length 78 mm (117 mm for 35mm film)

Southwestern Michigan Council of Camera Clubs

I found out that the Flint Lensmen Camera Club is part of a larger group of camera clubs, the Southwestern Michigan Council of Camera Clubs.  It looks like a collection of 15 camera clubs in the lower Michigan area.
This weekend they are having a photo contest.
I've submitted 10 photos in the contest.  There are three categories that I have entries for, OPEN, NATURE  and CREATIVE.
Open Category:
Ligonier Gazebo:  The photo for me that will not quit!  We'll see if it scores better with a larger audience.
Splash/Crash:  I have very high hopes for this one.  This will go in the local club competition this week.
Barn in Snow:  This gets lots of comments.  Let's see what a larger crowd will see.
Sailboat Row:  I like this one a lot.  it may not score well, but this is hanging in the house.
Nature Category:

Bird on a Rope:  One of my first good close ups.  I've taken the positive feedback from the club to frame this better.
Gulls on Piling:  This is a good shot that is made better by cropping,  this is also going the local club competition next week.
Creative Category:
Rt 381:  Grunge effect of a road through a canopy of fall leaves.
Chairlift in Fall:  Grunge effect of a chairlift through trees in fall.
Crisp Point:  Grunge effect on a shot of the Crisp Point Lighthouse with rotted dock in foreground.
Grand haven Light:  Grunge effect on a shot of the Grand Haven Light with the sun in the clouds.So I'll go out this Saturday, meet some now folks and see some great photos.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Big Sable Point Lighthouse

North of Ludington, in the Ludington State Park is the Big Sable Point Lighthouse.  The light house is a 1.5 mile walk through the park on a leveled path.  When we were there, the house itself looks to be in very good shape - fresh paint everywhere.  The light, like Little Sable Point is quite tall.  Most of the photos I took had a lot of distortion due to wide angle properties.  In this shot, I had to correct the tower.  Didn't turn out too bad.

1/200 f/11
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal length 25 mm (37 mm for 35mm film)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ludington North Pier Light

The West Coast trip continued through Ludington.  I was at the point in the day where the sun wasn't being friendly - even though it was a beautiful day.  While approaching the pier, the view of the light through the dune caught my eye.  This works well, although I'd like a little more size for the light but I'll take it.  Neat effect.

1/320 f/13
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal length 65 mm (97 mm for 35mm film)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Arthur M Anderson

Yesterday was just a great looking day.  After work, did a quick trip to Port Huron to get this shot.  I saw that the Arthur M Anderson was upbound entering the St. Clair River around 3:00 PM.  Plenty of time for me to get into a picture position.  Trouble with shooting freighters is they are so larger, if you get the whole vessel in the shot -evrything is small and un-interesting.  So here is the Pilot House.
Of all the freighters on the Lakes, this is the prize capture for me.  (I wouldn't have driven a hour for one ship for any other ship.)  The reason to me is the history of this ship with its relation the the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  The history is fascinating - as it is brave.
On this shot, I departed from my usual method of trying to get the greatest depth of field - and go for speed.  In this case it worked.  DOF is not much of a concern here.  I wanted more speed due to the long focal length. It worked well here.  The original is very sharp.  Even with a sharp shot, when you blend shots as in my workflow, some of the sharpness is lost.  You can get some if it back with post processing - but not like the original.  If i was going to do something more professional with this shot, I might some serious decisions to make as to what path I'd take.

1/800 f/6.3
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal length 155 mm (232 mm for 35mm film)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pentwater Pier Light

Back to the West Coast (Of Michigan) trip - this is the Pentwater South Pier Light.  The directions we had were for the other side of the canal - the fog horn side.  As this is more of a Spartan design, if I couldn't get close to one - this was it.  In fact, getting close to the fog horn side was interesting.  The Fog Horn itself is very non-descript, just a white tower with a green stripe.  I didn't know what these were until I saw the noise warning.  Me, in the age of GPS, figured that for horns were no longer necessary.
This shot is almost into the sun.  Being on the north end shooting south - well you do the math.  You can see the glare on the water.  In the original shot, the light structure is completely dark and the sky wasn't much to work with.  It turned out OK.

1/500 f/11
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal length 30 mm (45 mm for 35mm film)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Port Huron Passing

Taking a break from last weekend's tour - I spent a few hours in Port Huron to see some of the early shipping movements.  I got photos of four freighters that were new to me, one was an Atlantic vessel.  If I understand all the messages, this is the first freighter from the Atlantic this year going to Thunder Bay, Ont.  This is the upbound Atlantic Huron passing on the far side of the downbound Montrealias.  I'm fairly certain that passing on a curve on the St. Clair River is not in the playbook.  You could hear and see the Atlantic Huron going into a reverse mode - which didn't mean much.  So no collision - no photos for CNN.

1/160 f/20
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal length 50 mm (75 mm for 35mm film)

Little Sable Light

Continuing up the coast, the next stop is Little Sable Light.  This is still an active light and the lens can be seen.  The light is surrounded by a beach that looks like it would be very nice in the summer.  Lots of dunes are in the area.  The original light had a house attached, but apparently it is long gone.  The light itself looks like new brick.

1/250 f/13
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal length 35 mm (52 mm for 35mm film)

Friday, April 2, 2010

White River Lighthouse

Our next stop on the tour was the White River Lighthouse.  The Lighthouse itself is some distance off the lake, which is odd.  From the looks of the tower height, it really doesn't look like the light will clear the trees - when the trees are full.  The Lighthouse is in good shape and in the summer months is a museum.  We saw folks entering the house - looks like they are gearing up for the tourist season.

1/80 f/10
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal length 65 mm (97 mm for 35mm film)