Monday, May 31, 2010

Night Balloon

This is a continuation of the Balloon Fest in Frankenmuth.   This is the evening balloon glow.  About 15 of the balloons 'fire up' at the end of the day to give this spectacular show.  There are a few count-downs to having all the pilots hit the gas at the same time and when they do it is quite memorable.  There are always one or two who don't get the message - and the balloon in the center here is one of them.  Still - quite a show.
Up to this point, I have not done much with night photography.  This was a real challenge.  In the 35 mm days, I would have to to wait to see how to set up the camera when the photos were returned.  Although it was quick timing, I could take plenty of test shots so when the full glow happened, I had better than an even chance to get a good shot.  I was trying to stay away from the higher ISO settings - above 800.  The D90 seemed to handle this at ISO 640 and upping the EV by 1.  I also learned at night to shoot with Shutter Priority.  (That little nugget would have taken months in the 35mm days...)

1/60 f/3.5
Shutter Priority  (EV +1)
ISO 640
Focal length 18 mm (27 mm for 35mm film)
Photo set

Day Balloon

This is from the Balloon Fest.  Prior to the balloon races, a few balloons set to flight with meeting organizers and VIPs.  This was interesting as they departed is a semi-orderly fashion.  But the real fun was to watch the balloons go from storage bag to the conventional shape with which we are familiar.  There were about ten of these that left over a 30 minute period - so you could watch them for some time.
On the technical photo front, this was a doozie!  Even with the blue sky and no real haze at the time, I was still getting a burn with conventional settings.  ISO was as low as i could get at 200.  Had a polarizer on.  And for the final touch, I had a -1 EV.  The original shot was quite dark - but no burns or blown highlights.  As I've always said before, If it is under exposed a bit - I can save it.  In the end, it is one of the best colored skies I've been able to capture - almost into the sun........

1/1600 f/7.1
Aperture Priority  (Exposure -1.0)
ISO 200
Focal length 23 mm (34 mm for 35mm film)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Balloon Day - 2010

Saturday was Balloon Day for us.  We started with our long awaited and multi-scheduled Balloon flight.  The rest of the day was spent in Frankenmuth, MI for a balloon festival (and doggie festival).  The holiday weekend so far has been wonderful and except for a Friday night/Saturday morning work issue - has been perfect so far.
The total day has expanded my use for photographic tools and tricks to get some really good shots.  So far this weekend, there have been over 150 shots.  I had to throw away about 10 for either unfocused or some other rookie mistake.  For shots in changing environments - and no shots in AUTO - it was a good day.
The ISO minimum on the D90 is 200.  For the day, I could have used much lower.  So I was really forced to using some tricks - and for the most part came away with some really good shots.
First, I used a polarizer almost all day.  For the early morning balloon ride, there was enough light at 6:30 AM to allow the polarizer to work.  Later in the day, with full sunlight I could set the WB to Daylight and back off the exposure by one full step.  That setup seemed to work for most of the day.  As dusk approached, I could move the exposure back to normal in increments.  For the balloon glow, I had the ISO set to 650 and the exposure upped by a step.  For the most part, the night shots turned out real well.
So it was a great day - had a lot of fun.  And have a better idea for the Nikon settings for a sunny day!

1/50 f/8
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal length 50 mm (105 mm for 75 mm film)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Port Sanilac Docks in the Fog

Took a little roadtrip (9 Hours) today.  Started in Port Huron where I was treated to an interesting bit or river navigation by the freighter Cuyahoga.  The freighter was downbound - did a 180 in the middle of the river, right in front of the observation station.  Adding to the effect was a layer of fog all along the river.  With the sun out.
The next stop was Port Sanilc.  I've never looked for the lighthouse there and today was the perfect day.  On arrival, the area was covered in fog.  Very interesting effect.  To see the lighthouse, the best view is to walk out on a pier.  But again, the fog.  So, didn't see the lighthouse, but did get close to the some of the boats at the dock.
In the original shot, there is much more fog.  My processing seems to have 'lifted' the fog and the result is a much cleared vision of the boats.  Still, the color of the water is interesting and the windows on the center boat are visible.  Very interesting.

1/250 f/10
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal length 18 mm (27 mm for 35mm film)
Photo set

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Belle Isle Fishing Pier

On my recent day-trip to Belle Isle, I walked on this old fishing pier.    In the background is the city of Detroit skyline.  This would be a great place to freighter watch.  I'm not real happy with the light pole on the right, but if I try to remove it, the light fixture on the left front pole disappears.  And I'd like to get it so that it isn't straight out from under me.  (When I learn to hover above objects - I'll get it right!)  As in all these types of shots, I like the wood grain.

1/250 f/29
Aperture Priority
ISO 400
Focal length 42 mm (63 mm for 35mm film)
Photo set

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mackinaw Boat Slip - Revisit

This is a re-visit of one of my favorites, the boat slip for the retired ice breaker Mackinaw in Mackinaw City done in the Grunge.  I cropped this one down a bit.  In the original there is an old tire that may lend a bit of character in some cases - but not this time.  What really caught my eye on this is the wood grain.  Others point out to me the texture of the water is unique.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Robin in Grass

I went to Belle Isle yesterday to see what the freighter watching possibilities were.  I arrived just in time to see the stern of the Canadian Olympic drift by.  Ten minutes earlier - and I would have had some great freighter photos.  but the day was not lost.  the island community was a great place to spend a few hours.  Lots of people there doing all kinds of activities.  There is a Great Lakes Museum, an Aviary (I think), a navigation Light.  There was some sort of equestrian event going on, saw lots of horse trailers.  I also saw a Cricket game in progress.  So there was a lot to see.  Other than freighter watching, I was there to see the William Livingstone Memorial Light.  To get to the light is a few hundred yard walk from the closest parking lot.  On the way back, I came across this little guy. 

1/160 f/16
Aperture Priority
ISO 400
Focal length 240 mm (360 mm for 35mm film)
Photo set

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Point Betsie Lighthouse - Another View

For my portfolio project - more experimentation. This is my favorite shot of the Point Betsie Lighthouse with a bit of a different twist for me.  I'm trying to go with a sketch effect.  I started out trying to get the red roof selected. but just didn't work lout for me.  Trees are in the way.  So started looking for more options.  I stumbled across this sketch effect.   Something new for the bag of tricks.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Butterfly on Flower - Alternative

I've been trying to expand my eye and talents.  I read somewhere that the singular color object is out.  It may be, but I like this one.  The photo is a butterfly in a flower bed.  The flower bed is on the south shore of the UP, at the visitor's center.  We were traveling from the Soo to deliver Julie to Grand Traverse.
The original photo is much larger and unfortunately has some sidewalk in it.  That had to go, and any chance to blow it up much larger also went out the window.  (Somewhere - there is a fractal in my future!)
Anyway - for a project I'm working on I need to take a photo and make variations.  One of the variations was a Sepia effect - which would be my first shot at that.  While playing around - this showed up.

1/800 f/7.1
ISO 400
Focal length 135 mm (202 mm for 35mm film)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

South Haven Ducks

This was taken at South Haven.  In late march.  Cold.  Windy.  I was walking out to the light, and these two were strolling on the beach.  I like this because of the contrast of the mallard and hen.  The difference in the sand is interesting as well - and the reflection of the critters.

1/125 f/16
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal length 240 mm (360 mm for 35mm film)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tahquamenon Falls in Winter - 2010

I am going through all my recent photographs to make a collection.  I stumbled across this one taken last February at Tahquamenon Falls.  This is one of the few where I like it no matter what finish I put on it.  (When that happens, I go GRUNGE!)  In a perfect world, the sky would be a bit more on the clear side.  I really like the different shading of the snow in the trees.

1/125 f/20
Aperture Priority
ISO 100
Focal length 38 mm (57 mm for 35mm film)