My photo
... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Thursday, December 29, 2011

An Overlooked Lens

Deborah and I kept Zoey this afternoon. She had on a shirt with the message "I Am Ready For My Closeup" so I had to do some new pictures. She was on the couch with Deborah, they were playing, having a big ole time so I grabbed the camera. I dug out my old 50f1.8 Nikkor lens last week and decided to shoot with it.

THis is the original Nikon kit lens. Back in the day, if you bought a Nikon body with a "normal" lens, this was it.  A really fast lens compared to today's kit lenses, Usually you get a short zoom that covers the 50mm lens, but it at least an f3.5. Can hurt if you want to shoot in low light.

These were shot in our living room, a pretty dark room. ISO 1600, at f2.8 and around 30th of a second.
On the digital camera the 50 is about a 70mm when you figure in the 1.5 magnification factor. Makes a handy piece of glass. Great for low light, great for blowing out the background.  If I had used the 28mm, I would have had close to the lens speed, but even wide open a lot more background. Plus with these the compression was kinda nice. 

I had forgotten about this old lens, it has spent most of its life unused sitting on a shelf. My friend and fellow Nikon shooter Erica Lewis had emailed me a while back looking for a 50F1.4. After talking with her I decided to find my 50 and give it a try. It is going in my bag.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Food With A 28mm

I usually use a longer lens for food photography. Like doing portraits, they are supposed to give a more pleasing image than a wide angle. Like anything else with a wide angle, you need to get in close, and watch the distortion. Backgrounds are more important due to the extra depth of field. Composition is composition, regardless of subject or lens choice.

The top photo needed the extra depth to make this image work. The chip poised halfway between savory sauce and anticipating palate. A longer lens would have thrown the bowl a bit more out of focus, plus I could not have held the chip and shot the picture this close with much of anything else. Wider than 28mm would have been too wide.

The bottom photo really illustrates my life-time love affair with a good wide angle.  You can get in close, use the exaggerated perspective to put emphasis on one part of the photo. In this case your eye goes to the taco ingredients while you still take in the overall textures, get a good look at the burrito and the rice.

Your focal point will almost always be an element that is nearest the camera, you have to slide around til you get it where you want it.  Shapes and lines in the image can help draw the viewers eye. I guess that years of telling a story with one photo for a newspaper have led me to see this way.  

And again I must say that a good 28mmf2.8 is a great addition to your gear. It is fast, focuses really close, and is very lightweight. A great one lens to have on when you want to travel light. Just remember, you have to get really tight most of the time. 

But what image can't be made better by just getting a little closer?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Check That Camera Strap-NOW

Most of us take pretty good care of our camera gear. Keep our lenses clean and secure, regularly clean our sensors, do all the regular maintenance. The one thing that we so often neglect is about the cheapest piece of gear we buy. But it is so important. And too often we don't realize how important it is until it fails us.
Check your camera straps, and often.

I have, or had two Nikon straps that had two swivels located near the camera body. Great idea, especially with a heavy camera and lens combo. Last night, my D200 with the 70-200f2.8 zoom fell to the ground. My strap failed me. Luckily no damage done. 

The strap has some age on it, and the whole where the tab on the swivel fits through had worn enough that it just pulled out. No breakage, just slipped out of the hole. This camera and lens does have some heft to them.
I regularly check ny straps and also the lugs on the camera. Straps really wear at this location. Never occurred to me that I should be checking those swivels.

Anyway, I was very fortunate not to be sending a camera and lens off for repair this morning. So, go check you camera straps.  Don't take any chances. Keep them clean, and untangled. 

Merry Christmas to you all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Try A Little Motion

A friend asked how I shot photos that show movement like the two images here. The secret is to use the combination of slow shutter speed to get movement and a flash to stop part of the action. Use your camera meter to find a workable shutter speed that will cause the subject to blur. The top photo was 1/13 second. I metered to see what lens aperture would be correct for the shutter speed in the room light. I used the appropriate aperture to get correct exposure for the flash, and the slow shutter speed for the movement.

In the bottom photo, I did the same thing with aperture and shutter but I also moved the camera at the same speed as the golf cart, getting a blur in the background.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Cool Is This?

There have been thousands of Red-wing Blackbirds in a field of  millet alongside Highway 96 the last several days. They fly back and forth between the millet and a sod farm across the road. I had to shot today and get a photo or two.
The birds will land, and nibble a while, then rise up and wheel across the field in a huge wave before landing again.

Not only is it an awesome sight, but the sound amazing. When the rise and turn, the number of little
wings beating the air is quite loud.  Kinda freaky when they span the highway.
It is fascinating looking at the individual birds in each photo. So many shapes and postures.
Nature is way too cool.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Very Good Friday Night

I shot the Peach County-Worth County playoff game last night. I have not been real happy with my football this year. As I was getting my gear ready yesterday I began thinking about this year's work, and what I was doing different. I realized the only thing I was doing differently was shooting the 300/f2.8 from
a monopod. 

I just don't have the movement with the lens that I have hand-holding. I guess I had decided that at my old age I should give it up and go the easy route. The last several years I have hurt Saturday morning after football
and decided to go easy on my old self.

Last night I shot without the monopod and it felt like football again. Really happy with what I shot. I know some games just work out better than others as far as art, but I could feel the difference last night.
For me, it makes a difference not being stuck on a stick.

The photos show here are a nice series. The top photo shows Worth County quarterback Rodney Farley as he was trying to pass. The Peach County defense was all over him all night. Debarrious Miller got a hand on him in the top photo, then Lamont Wray hit him(middle photo) and knocked the ball free.  The ball bounced loose for a while, then Wray grabbed in and scored. The bottom photo shows him crossing the goal line with the ball.

Not bad for an old man.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Raindrops and Blossoms

Found these blooms in the rain early yesterday morning. Too pretty to pass up. Love the detail.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Praying Mantis

Deborah found this guy in the garden yesterday. He didn't mind posing, being quite patient with me 
as I moved around him shooting.  The few times I have tried to photograph a praying mantis before,
the little creatures have been rather shy. This one looks me in the eye several times. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Take A Look A Some Great Images!!!!

I mentioned last week that my photo group from church had a photo expedition to Rose Hill recently. 
I just wanted to share some of their work. I love sharing the passion I have for this wonderful art, and it is so cool to see others discover their talent.  The top photo is from the camera of Brian and Melissa Edwards.

Bruce Tamker did the cool photo of the wrought iron above.

Erica Lewis put my fisheye to good use with the pyramid and sun.

Mike Slayton got in close on this statue showing the detail.

Celia Tamker showed her skill with the composition of her "Thinking Lady"
while Vanessa Fields worked with the light and textures in the image below.

From the moment we arrived these folks were out shooting pictures. They have learned how to see the world on a different level, finding the different and the beautiful. Not only are they finding interesting subjects to capture, but they make them work photographically.  Using the light, the angle, the right lens for what they see with their hearts.

They do truly inspire me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Go For a Walk, What Can You See?

Take a camera and go for a walk. Take your time, look around.
You will be surprised at what you see.  Explore.

These were from a walk yesterday morning, on he way to the gym. I took the long way.
Morning light, sweet images.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Field Trip To Rose Hill

I lead a photo group at my church, Harmony Community Church. We went on a little field trip to Macon's Rose Hill Cemetery yesterday. For those of you not from Macon, Rose Hill is an incredible place to visit with a camera. It dates back to 1840. The  Ocmulgee River entrance is shown above. It is in the Holly Ridge section of the cemetery.. It has had its share of vandalism over the years.  The graffiti has been added since my last visit.

The second photo is a tighter view of the right side of the top photo. We spent several hours looking and photographing. Hope to share some of my friends pictures with you all soon. We will meet next Sunday and share our work.  Photography is a very personal art form, but it still helps to share your work with other photographers. Everyone can learn from the discussion, and from looking at others work.

Several of us shot the same subjects, and I can't wait to see how the others saw the images we photographed. 
I am sure we will all have our own interpretation.  I encourage you to find a photo group near you and check them out.

If you want to know more about Rose Hill follow this link: Rose Hill Cemetery

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bill and Billie Cox, Celebrating Life

 I went to a very special surprise birthday party last Saturday. It was Bill Cox's 100th birthday. That is special.
But it gets better. Bill married his wife Billie on his birthday, so the two were also celebrating their 66th wedding anniversary. Wow. That is Bill and Billie in the photo above.

I had been following them around as they were greeted by family and friends. The two finally took their seats and Bill picked up the small picture from the table. "This is me 100 years ago," he said.  I was close enough to quickly grab this shot.

That is why I love my 15mm for doing candids. I know folks can get tired of me being right in their face, but you are tight enough for those sweet moments, and get some environment in as well. One picture tells the story.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More HDR

I continue to play with the HDR software. These were some from a shoot with Courtney last year. The HDR is not for glamour work, but is neat with a model with good skin.

I will definitely keep playing with this software.
Love the look.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 911

I was like most other Americans after 911, dazed, wondering about the way we as a country would react.
We had been seemingly so divided for such a long time. Viet Nam, Nixon, so many things had left so many folks feeling apart. 

Later in September, a huge celebration had been planned for Robins Air Force Base's 60th birthday. A huge bash at the Museum of Aviation. Lee Greenwood was scheduled to preform. The Band of the Air Force Reserve had their Bag Pipers on hand. The largest American Flag I have ever seen was flying high.

So many people, so much emotion. I was very glad that I was assigned by the Telegraph to cover the event. 
Definitely one of those Kodak moments, actually many, many Kodak moments. And I was still shooting with the old Kodak DCS620's. 

A time for everyone to open up, share their fears and pain, and more importantly to share a common hope for the future.

So many flags, so many who were proud to be Americans.

Lee Greenwood finished his performance with "God Bless The USA."  

I knew half way through his song that America would be okay. We would heal, but more importantly as a country we would bond.

God Bless The USA

Saturday, September 10, 2011

New HDR Find

I have been playing with HDR photography off and on for about three years. I have come close to buying Photomatix Pro several times, but decided it was not worth the price for what I wanted to do.
I have tried quite a few free programs, and like the results from Picturenaut about 60% of the time. 
It just does not have enough variable control.

The new Popular Photography has a cool article on HDR and got me cranked up again. 
A little surfing brought me to a new free program.

Well, it is really not new. It was formally Qtpfsgui, now Luminance HDR 2.1.0
I downloaded it yesterday and have been really playing with it. It works with RAW and JPG files, and you can use it with multiple exposures or with one. The photos here were all generated from one JPG exposure.

 Give it a try, it's free. But if you like it, send them a little donation for their efforts.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Getting Snooty Wit The Hibiscus

Our Hibiscus was looking really good yesterday morning and I decided it needed shooting. 
I shot a couple in the overcast light and wanted to bump it up a notch. I got a flash and a light stand, and then decided I wanted to concentrate the light. I have this old snoot I made from a cereal box and duct tape. Took me a while to find it. Have not used it in a while. 
I shot several angles on the bloom, and liked this one best. The light(shown below, duct tape and all) was directly across from me and above. It was coming in at about a 60 degree angle. Like the results. 

Light modifiers for shoe mount strobes have gotten to be the rage. Back when I made this one, you really could not find anything much. It does work.

The photo above was with the snoot, one one below without. You can see how the light spreads.
Not bad for a Cheerios box.

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