Sunday, July 3, 2011

Algoma (Essar) Steel II

This is the Algoma Steel area on the Canadian side of the Soo.  This is one of my favorite subjects to shoot when I'm in the area.  Lots going on in these photos.  And it always reminds me of the Pittsburgh days when I was a kid.  The original shot isn't nearly this dark, but I think any shot I do of a steel environment will be dark - because that is just the way I remember the J&L buildings.
I've been looking for a way to return the 'crispness' to my shots.  During the HDR processing, the shots will soften a bit.  Any attempts to reduce the halo will soften it even more.  I still like the processing, but I've always thought it could be better.
I've found a way to return some of the crispness without reintroducing the halo.

1/100 f/9
Aperture Priority
ISO 400
Focal length 38 mm (57 mm for 35mm film)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lake Huron Rocks

Between St. Ignace and Detour Village there are a number of roadside parks where you can walk to the beach.  At one of the areas these rocks were just off shore.  The water is so clear - no polarizer needed to get at the rocks just under the surface.  The surface is so calm, but with definition.  The sky has some character as well.

1/500 f/14
Aperture Priority
ISO 400
Focal length 35 mm (52 mm for 35mm film)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lake Reflection

As I look at Black and White variations of some photos, I am beginning to see many possibilities.  The colorized version of this photo is good, but this one is - well - really good.  and the print is even better!  This is sunset behind a small dammed lake on Drummond Island.  I took a number of 'real' HDR photos - and this is one of them.  Depending on the map used, this is either at the end of DAM or DAMIT road.  (I've noticed that most maps differ on the road naming conventions on the island.) 

1/30, 1/125, 1/8   f/8
Aperture Priority
ISO 400
Focal length 20 mm (30 mm for 35mm film)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rock at the Mac

Going to the UP for the weekend.  And always have to stop in Mackinaw City.  And always have to take a shot or five of the MAC.  On our way up, the weather was just great.  And for a Michigan spring this is a real bonus!  I was walking along the shore to the bridge and saw this larger rock.  This was fairly easy to picture in my head.  When the light is there - it is easy.

1/640 f/14
Aperture Priority
ISO 400
Focal length 18 mm (24 mm for 35mm film)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bottle Rocket

This is one of my fireworks photos from last summer of a bottle rocket taking to flight.  I like the silhouette of the (IC Lite Beer) bottle.  This was a fun project.  For fun, I did a B&W version.  That turned out really well.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rt 381

Route 381 - through Rolling Rock Farms.  In fall, no place other place I'd rather be.  So I don't live there, but every fall it is worth the trip back.  This is a very neat piece of road - lots of line here.  The road, road paint, fence lines and trees are all very interesting.  When I first posted this shot, I liked with with more saturated colors.  I'm starting to dial back a bit of the saturation.  I'm still against a 'true' photo shot and lean more toward an 'enhanced' shot - but I'm moving a bit.  The one characteristic of this shot that isn't where I'd like it to be is the sky.  It is so flat, it is washing out part of the tree line.  Some time I will get back when it all falls (get it - fall) together.

1/60 f/5.6
ISO 200
Focal length 32 mm (48 mm for 35mm film)

Crisp Point Lighthouse - 2009

This is one of my favorites of Crisp Point.  The whole area is a great place to take photos, not only of the lighthouse but of all the natural landscape.  The area is not littered with lots of traffic - you just don't come across this place.  It is a destination.  And even with the best of directions, good luck.  A GPS helps.
In the foreground are the remains of a pier.  What stories this pier could tell! 
Now to the photo stuff.  This is one of the first photos I really had to THINK about what the final image would look like.  Depth of field is everything here - as well as the angle of the shot.  To say I was grounded would not be stretch of the imagination.  To a certain extent I was very lucky.  It was a mostly cloudy day and for about 30 minutes the sky cleared a bit to what is shown here.

1/400 f/10
ISO 200
Focal length 18 mm (27 mm for 35mm film)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sailboat Row

This is another photo lost during the blog changes.  This one hangs over the home fireplace - I like it that much.  In the final days of February last year, we took a trip to the UP.  I wanted to see ICE.  And I was not disappointed.  We stopped in Mackinaw City on the way to the Soo.  It was snowing - so as with a lot of my winter shots there is no sky.  When we got up there all the worker's cars were gone from this area and this sight just got to me.  In one of the rare moments of thought process, I had enough focal length to keep the masts straight.  This time around, it was not a mistake.  A year ago - I took this with an AUTO setting.  These days, the set up would be much different.  And then again, maybe the numbers would be the same.  Great depth of field - that could have been a disaster as well.  All in all - a good AUTO shot.

1/250 f/8
ISO 100
Focal length 35 mm (52 mm for 35mm film)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Way back when - before I started this the third blog - I had published this photo.  This photo was taken in August of 2008 while on the Somerset County Covered Bridge tour.  Between the Pack Saddle Bridge and the Baronville Bridge is an area where trains have to stop while waiting for another engine to arrive to help them up the next series of grades.  (I know this because I talked with the engineer of this train.)  In 2008 I wasn't sure of my photos - or what I was trying to tell with them.  Lucky I got this one!
This photo means a lot to me for a few reasons.  I am not a train person - but being that close to that much metal is pretty amazing.  I have a few train friends who are borderline fanatical about the subject and have turned their basements into shrines to prove it.  I can see why they are who they are.
One of the reasons I like this shot is the opening door on the front of the engine car.  It is very dark in there, yet I can pull out the interior well enough to read the stenciled message.  This is the first photo I worked with where I could get the trees along the track to look the way I liked them.  With this photo, I started to see photos differently.
The other reason I liked this shot is it taught me one of the first lessons about the subject of a photo setting.  I entered this shot as an after-thought in one of my club competitions and it scored well.  I was amazed - partially because the other shots I entered that I liked didn't do so well and this one did.  When were were talking about the shots after the judging, I found it it did well because there is no guessing what the subject is and the environment around it is nice, but not threatening.  I practice this when I can - but.........
This shot was taken with the camera on full auto - from settings to focus.  The most exciting science to this shot was I probably used a polarizer filter.  Now, I shoot most new shots with Aperture priority to control the depth of field and auto-focus off to better 'see' what I'm doing.  (All the other times, just point and shoot!)

1/200 f/5.6
ISO 125
Focal length 75 mm (112 mm for 35mm film)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Next Steps..............

As this hobby is moving along, I'm moving (slowly) to a more complete product.  I want to move on from DIGITAL presentation and smaller print formats to PRINT in a larger format presentation.
I am passing the year mark since Channer turned me on to HDR and that leap has really provided a hobby that entertains me.  There are so many great photographers - I really wanted to find a niche that I liked and was extremely comfortable with.  I'm OK with some saying it is not real photography I am doing with the blending of light.  I'm happy with ART.
I am continually inspired by my association with the Flint Lensmen Camera Club and have learned much from them.  (Even Bob....)  The members are all very diverse with a wealth of experiences and different takes on what is good, bad and ugly.  Most of all, although there are a few hecklers in the rear, no one has tried to change my style - just hints on how to be better technically.
So the next step to 'building' a final product is the presentation.  I didn't think much of this aspect until talking with some of the club members.  A few meetings have centered on the art of mat cutting.  So I bit and bought a mid-range model.  I've been working with it for two weeks - and aside from a few mistakes the results are fairly good.
For now - it is an exponential gift.  Another layer to my ART.
These are my first three efforts.  
The first effort is a black mat on a B&W (Algoma Steel) photo.  It is fairly idiot-proof.  I'm sure I still have a lot to learn on what colors to mat a photo with - what adds to the final product.

The next effort is a photo of seven birds on a rail that really doesn't translate well into a 'standard' photo size.  With the mat, I can size the photo to any that best enhances the photo.  That was an unexpected gift.

The third effort is a double mat.  This photo of the Rockland Breakwater light in Maine is a real favorite.  My dilemma was what color to go with - either a green or red.  Went with green.  Worked great.

 Still have a long way to go - but this is fun.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

10th Street Bridge

I've been away from Pittsburgh for so long, I'm not sure why they paint the bridges yellow.  At one point, the bridges were a blueish-purple.  There may be a few that still sport that color.  But I like the yellow.  I'd like a better color sky.  There was enough low clouds in an otherwise flat sky that I could work with.  It will be good to get back when the weather is nicer.

1/80 f/16
Aperture Priority
ISO 400
Focal length 20 mm (30 mm for 35mm film)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Seven on a Rail

While walking around Pittsburgh (not really around - we were heading for an ice cream parlor...) I saw a number of these bird sitting around on the fences and posts.  And then I saw this seven.  Being Super Bowl week - I saw an interior line. There is the Center, Guards, Tackles, one tight end and a slot receiver.  Made sense to me.
This photo is interesting to me on many levels.  The wire and the top rail are actually level.  The building blocks are a bit off due to the angle of the shot.  One of the unknowns is that the sky was so crappy that I was happy to use the wall as it was.  I also like the multiple shades of brown on the back of the birds.
This is also first attempt at a photo in a non-standard size.  I have an old 3 4x6 photo frame that I used for this.  I cut a mat - still made some rookie mistakes but... - and put it all together.  Looks good.

1/125 f/5.6
ISO 360
Focal length 130 mm (195 mm for 35mm film)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Under the 10th Street Bridge

Trip home to Pittsburgh offered a great opportunity to shoot subjects that are new to me.  No wilderness, no ice formations, no lighthouses, all new STUFF.  I have seen some interesting HDR shots of bridge undersides.  Just had to get my own.  In a perfect world - there would have been blue skies with a wisp of a cloud or two.  But this is Pittsburgh - in February.  I'm happy it wasn't snowing and windy!
This is a true HDR shot.  I'm getting better at hand holding the camera in these situations.  Still not comfortable lugging the tri-pod around...........  This brings out the best of a HDR - light on the underside.  Not sure this is suitable for much more than a screen saver - but it does give me high hopes to get this is a better light in October.

1/15, 1/25, 1/13   f/16
Aperture Priority
ISO 400
Focal length 24 mm (36 mm for 35mm film)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Flint River Walking Bridge

This is a walking bridge across the Flint River in a county park.  The area is really nice and a favorite photo shoot destination.  With the recent snow, the bridge is looking really nice.  Not many people around - in fact none.  The park is closed to traffic although snowmobiles are allowed.  So it was a nice hike out here.
We finally have some blue sky - first time we've seen the sun in a week.  There are a lot of small trees around - which takes away from the scene to me.  I thought I'd post this shot because of the sun - pretty bright.  I had some different angles but I like the sun position and the reflections on the glass.  I'll probably enter this in a club competition - just to get a discussion going.

1/100, 1/320
Aperture Priority
ISO 400 f/5.6
Focal length 70 mm (105 mm for 35mm film)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

South Haven Light in January

This is the South Haven Light - in January.  Lots of ice build up here - and it was snowing heavily.  The lake effect was producing lots of squalls.  And it was cold.  On this trip i learned a lot about shutter speed and what it does with the snow patterns.  This weekend, the snow was horizontal.  I had to keep the speed down a bit because I wanted to keep the DOF a large as possible.  So the snow isn't showing the travel pattern - but they are large.

1/320 f/16
Aperture Priority
ISO 400
Focal length 130 mm (195 mm for 35mm film)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

St. Joseph Light in January

It was COLD.  Really COLD.  Last year I was out on the west coast of Michigan in late March and at that time all the ice was gone.  I think it is still growing at this time of year.  Unfortunately it was snowing all the time - I'd say lake effect was in full motion.  It is really tough to separate the sky and ice and snow.  This shot cleaned up well.  The front range light is covered/caked in ice - and that was the point of the day.  The shot may be on the dark side, but adding any more flattens everything.  And in a weird coincidence, this light is actually on the right side of the histogram!

1/320 f/16
Aperture Priority
ISO 400
Focal length 170 mm (255 mm for 35mm film)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tahquamenon Falls Trail

This is the trail to the Tahquamenon Falls from the upper falls lot.  There was a fair amount of snow.  I didn't expect to see the amount of leaves that survived fall.  I like the texture of the trail and the clouds in the sky.  I might work this a little more to get the green of the trees in the background to come put a bit more.

1/160 f/18
Aperture Priority
ISO 100
Focal length 25 mm (37 mm for 35mm film)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Algoma (Essar) Steel - Redux

I really like the B&W effect on this shot.  What I didn't like on the previous shot was some of the sky in the center right of the photo was washed out - no definition.  The effect may work at some point - but I wanted more definition in the sky.  The other shot is a single HDR photo.  This shot is seven different exposure levels - and the sky came out much better.  There is a lot more definition.  Seven levels is the most I've ever tried before.  I like this much better.  New Trick.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Algoma (Essar) Steel

This is a photo from last - well now two - year.  The Soo Lock Boat tour includes a pass through the Algoma (Now Essar) Steel property,  Depending on what time of day you get through there - a lot can be going on.  Anything from freighters to large equipment to gas blow offs can happen.  So what happened here?  Not much going on - but great backlighting!  So I was cruising through some old photos and thought this might be good in B&W.  Exceeded my expectations.

1/640 f/13
ISO 400
Focal length 32 mm (48 mm for 35mm film)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Whaleback Light

This is a shot of Whaleback Light at the head of the Portland River from Fort Foster park.  A bit deceptive, but the light is a fair distance away from land.  This was an interesting shot with the light between the trees.
The real story about this shot is the processing.  I'm trying to frame the shot better by lining up major points of the shot into the rule of thirds.  The water level fits in nicely for the rule.  The trees could go either way, but this line up seems to work for me.

1/200 f/9
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal length 85 mm (127 mm for 35mm film)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Rockland Breakwater Light II

Wow - that is dark.  Certainly the day was dark - it was threatening to rain most of the time.  If it wasn't threatening to rain - it was raining.  So I'll go back to - Well everyone has a sunny photo of this.  
This is a single photo HDR.  I had forgotten this series until I saw one of the breakwater photos used as a screen saver this afternoon.  I do like the photos of the lighthouse.  The rust drainage on the wall is very interesting.  (Note to self - next time take a close up or what you like.......)

1/100 f/11
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal length 38 mm (57 mm for 35mm film)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bike in Woods - Winter

This is the same bike I photographed earlier in the year.  To get to the location was easier earlier in the year - it is just off a trail that is easily accessible.  This time of year, the best term I can use is trudge.  I had been thinking about this shot for a few days and was not disappointed.

(1/320, 1/640, 1/160)   f/10
Aperture Priority (HDR)
ISO 400
Focal length 70 mm (105 mm for 35mm film)