Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas - What's new

The new lens arrived from Santa! I'm really pretty excited to finally have a longer focal lenth lens.

This is the first official picture I took with the new lens. A still life of some nummy Christmas treats.

Unfortunately, we have many Christmas celebrations, so it might be a day or two before I get to spend some quality time with my new treasure!
Santa was also generous and got me two new books!

This first book, "The Digital Photography Handbook", by Doug Harman - Photography bt David Jones. It's a simple guide to digital photography. At first glance, I'd say this book is much more of a reference than a page turner.

It has some neat checklists for different types of shoots. Things that you need to remember to bring or think about while shooting.

Some of the stuff seems more than simple and directed at the completely inexperienced.

I don't think it will take me long to get through this one, but some parts I can see coming back to in the future as a reference.

The next book, "Photo Idea Index", by Jim Krause, is a book that I'm really excited about. I first discovered this book while waiting to get started on the Cityscapes Photo Safari.

This book is gonna get read a lot. Its full of idea and techniques for creating great pictures. I also find it very inspiring.

The book is also bound in vinyl. This will come in handy when I'm taking it places. Just thumbing through this book is very motivating.

There are many examples of simple things you can do and ideas for subjects that really make the mind wonder.


Now that Christmas is over...who's up for another photo adventure??? Is there anyone out there?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas From Our Home To Yours

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hoar Frost - Thanks Mark!

Hoar frost is formed when the air is moist and the wind is low, or stale.

This morning we woke up to this most beautiful sight. This is one of those things that we here in the north country love about winter. It makes for some beautiful scenes.

This picture is take from Bob's road very near the barn picture. I would have loved to spent more time this morning shooting, but it's Wednesday. It's a work day. DANG! Why doesn't this happen on a day I'm not working and the Mrs. can stay home with the kids!

I did alter this picture in Photoshop. I turned it to B&W and then fixed the levels to improve the contrast. It was extremely foggy today.

Let me know what you think!

Friday, December 14, 2007

I got a great call last night

I got a great phone call last night from a good photographer friend of mine. Doug Ohman, (this link isn't working for me, I'm sure he'll be fixing it), he's got several published books for sale, and is doing what a lot of strive to do...he's making a living taking picture and he's not doing portraits and weddings! He's also one heck of a great guy.

Every year, I get to see Doug at the Red Wing Arts and Crafts show run by my parents. At this show, when he's not busy selling out his photos, we chat about the business and the art.

This past year, he offered to put a couple of my shots in his collection and see what happens. Well, last night he called to tell me he was going to be in Rochester and wanted to deliver to me the money from the sale of one of my pictures! The barn picture sold!

Can't quite the day job, but it's actually pretty exciting to think that someone was willing to pony up actual cash to put one of my pictures in their home!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Shh...I couldn't wait til Christmas

As you probably have already figured, I'm getting a new lens for Christmas. It's the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens. I couldn't wait for Christmas to "Make sure it works."

Here's the first frame taken by this lens! works! Now to put it back in the box and many days? YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

Oh me, oh my - I'm dancing like Homer!

LOOK! LOOK! IT'S IN MINNESOTA! I think it's safe to say that I'm getting nothing done at work today. My new lens should be delivered to the office sometime today...I think I feel the flu coming on...anyone else?

December 11, 2007
11:06:00 PM
Departure Scan

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Lens update

December 7, 2007
04:38:00 PM
Shipment picked up from seller's facility

Friday, December 7, 2007

May I have your attention please!

Sorry, no picture today. Just a very important announcement.


That is all. Please return to your regularly scheduled blog reading.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

More from the archives - Winter arrives!

Winter finally hit Minnesota this weekend. Normally, the fresh snow provides many of us with a little added desire to take some pictures. Unfortunately, this snow got topped off with a layer of ice and a wind that still whipping. So it looks like I'll be waiting for the next snow fall for some fresh snow adventures.

Congrats to Mark I! He finally got his new camera. I can't wait to see and it and get see what it inspires you to do.

This week, and I do hope to get back to more regular shooting, I found this picture in the archives. It was take at Quarry Hill Nature Center, here in Rochester. A wonderful facility that provides hands on learning about nature to local school children.

This picture of a lone turtles just gets my brain in storytelling mode. And pictures that tell stories keep us coming back for more.

This picture has been modified in Photoshop. I did a little color correction and a rare cropping. This particular crop was done to fit in a 4 X 6 frame, but also ended up being my favorite crop. I'll try to get it right in the camera next time.

Monday, November 26, 2007

More of the classics

I took this picture a couple of years ago with my old HP point and shoot.

I've always been fascinated with movement and long exposures. This is one of the fun random pictures you get when you are just sitting around and playing. I set the camera in a manual mode (what could be manual) so that I could get a longer exposure.

I was merely guessing and playing with the functions. My daughter was spinning around with her sparkler at the cabin on 4th of July weekend.

Some just worked.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving - Time to reflect

I mentioned this in the last post, this is the hardest time of the year for me to get excited about photography. Where I live in southern Minnesota, everything is just tan. That, and I can't imagine my family life being any busier.

Thanksgiving weekend has given me some time to look through the "Archives". Since I can't seem to get inspired to do much shooting and no one seems to calling me with ideas, I'm gonna try to post some "Best of the Never Been Posted."

This picture here was altered in Photoshop to be black and white. Otherwise the frame is "As Shot."

This was one of my first adventures out with my new camera. It was shot last December it what could only be described as a horribly drawn out fall. If I remember, it was about 60 or 70 degrees on this day. December. More proof of Global Warming.

It was taken at the Olmsted County Historical Museum. On the site, there is Hadley Valley Schoolhouse. There is more information about this on their site, but needless to say, it was really interesting to take my kids their. I explained the best I could about one room school houses. And no, I didn't attend one.

Mark P. will remember this day...I called him several times to see if he wanted to shoot that day. He declined repeated attempts.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Must be that trasition from Fall to Winter

For some reason, I've just never been able to get inspired about photography in the transition from autumn to winter. I love the fall colors and the anticipation that builds when you realize that summer is over and the change to winter is here. But right now, the leaves are gone and there is no snow. Everything is just tan.

I haven't been using my camera much lately for creative purposes. I volunteer at my daughters school doing their yearbook. So my camera has been busy, it just not a great creative outlet. Also, those aren't pictures I can share on the Internet without getting model releases...way to much of a hassle.

I noticed that I haven't posted anything for a while here. I've been taken photographs for a long time and only blogging the last few months. So I might just take this opportunity to post some pictures from the past that I really liked.

This one is from the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC. I took a bunch of pictures here in standard tourist mode, but was travelling with a co-worker that didn't mind waiting for creativity to happen.

I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Jefferson and wanted to capture a picture of him that reflected that. To get this picture, I exposed the picture for maximum detail of the bronze statue. This caused the entire background to wash out. I also chose this angle as it helped to make him stand tall and proud. From the perspective of the viewer, you know you are looking up to him.

If you read this and think...Man are you missing out on some great fall photos....why don't you...please fill in the blanks in the comments!

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Monday, October 29, 2007

On the bluff with Grandpa Jim

Yesterday was a pretty full day for our family. Grandpa Jim had invited us down to go exploring the family hunting land to see the fall colors and maybe get some really cool pictures.

He couldn't have had a better idea. The area we went to go visit is probably best travelled by ATV. You can walk it if you like, but we had a bit of a time problem, and one of the people on the trip has 4 year-old legs.

These first 2 pictures are my first attempts at doing panorama's with the new Photoshop Elements v 6.0. I think I'll need Mark's help with this and my camera, I'm noticing some dark spots that must be dust in my camera some place. Mark, you are the Photoshop guy!

To take these pictures I follow the following steps:

  1. Take a meter reading in P mode of the center picture
  2. Switch the camera to M (full manual) mode and use the settings from step 1.
  3. Take 3 pictures quickly using these settings.

This seemed to produce the most consistent exposure across the separate frames.
These next two pictures require reader intervention. I really like both of these pictures, but I'm really wondering which one is better?

Maybe they are both kinda junky? Leave me a comment!

This first one is a horizontal. I was really surprised to find ivy out here. This is the foundation of a old barn that had burnt to the ground.

This is the vertical of the same shot. I actually think the debris at the bottom adds to the picture and gives it more texture.

The contrast between the finished concrete and the weathered concrete provides patterns of interest to me. The moss and the ivy also bring life to this spot.
The last thing is the reason we drove out here. We came out here to shoot some family pictures. At least that's what Brenda had in mind.

This was a candid I got while the girls were waiting for me to get set up. I just love this one!

They called this area the yellow forest. 2 weeks ago, these leaves were all yellow and on the tree. Mark and Mark...this might be a place to go next year! The views were spectacular!

I got some great family portraits and I'd love to share them with you. But many of the readers of this blog will be getting to see them in a much more solid fashion. The Christmas card photo is fantastic! Others of you...will just have to wait and see the final version in a frame!

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Something was missing

I realized I've never posted this picture on the blog before. This is still one of my favorite pictures. Since this blog is where I like to share my photos with the the world, I should probably put it up here with a little of the backstory to go with it.

I grew up in Red Wing, MN. It's a small town along the Mississippi River. Since I live no where near a real river any more, it's nice to get back there once and while. The Mississippi River Valley is one of the most beautiful areas any where. Sandstone bluffs cut by the glaciers and the river covered in hardwood trees.

Every so often, we are graced by the presence of a large river boat. Truly a interesting sight these days. This picture is of the Delta Queen. A historic treasure of the rivers of the central US. 2 years ago, I happened to be in Red Wing visiting my parents when the boat docked in our town.

I love the lines created by the contrast of the white and red. Circles and supports.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Return of the riverboat

The American Queen docked in Red Wing, Minnesota on Saturday night. Wow...two posts for two different subjects from the same day!

Shooting this boat at this time proved to be really challenging. If you look around the top of the boat, you'll see some spotlights. These things were in the absolute worst possible spots.

From each location I tried to shoot the boat, there was usually one spot shining directly at me. In this particular picture, I seemed to miss the spots, but just to the right of the paddle...a big lit sign from a bar accross the river.

My only other option - get wet and jump in the Mississippi River.
I just went through the history of this blog and realized that I have never posted when of my all-time favorite pictures.

It's a picture of the paddlewheel on the Delta Queen. A much small and older riverboat that was anchor in Red Wing a few years ago.

These next to pictures are new attempts at capturing something I find really fascinating.

This first one will look familiar to the first paddlewheel I just mentioned. One big difference this time is the fact I'm shooting at night. That posses some real challenges.

This next picture I found I really liked when I was going through all my pictures.

The lighting is a bit harsh at the bottom, but the contrast really makes me look deep into this frame.

I found it really hard to shoot for another reason, my family was exhausted in the car. We've had a long couple of days and now Dad is off taking pictures of a boat.

It was still fun and I think the results were worth the effort.

There are some days I definitely miss living on the river. Rochester doesn't really have any rivers. Guys...the Zumbro is much closer to a creek than the Mississippi River. Now that's a river!

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Must be almost Halloween

I must be in the mood for Halloween. I took this picture Saturday night. Have I mentioned that I love Canon's Image Stabilizing lenses?

This picture was taken freehand. I'm not really noticing much for motion blur. The star pattern is not an effect. It's just how the clouds and the light interacted. It looked that way with the naked eye.
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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Frontanac State Park - The Final Cut

It took quite some time, but I think I finally narrow today's pictures down to 10 (Ten). It was an absolute blast today. Mark was right, we were doing what we love.

In these 10 pictures are some experiments and just some things I found beautiful. I'd love to hear people comments, thoughts and impressions.

This first picture was one of the first of the day. I really thought that none of these pictures turned out.

Mark P. and I found a scenic overlook. We were going to try and shoot the sun rise but we were very distracted by the bald eagle you see here.

The background really worked well here and the eagle turned just right look quite majestic.

When we got to the river, the first thing I saw was the tree branch reaching for the stone.

I love the illusion of this branch reaching into the frame.

The slow rolling waves behind produce a textured backdrop and the whole scene is relaxing.

This next picture was a most spectacular spider web in the moss.

The lines of the web are so vivid and strong.

It almost looks like there is something wrong with the lens or the exposure, but this is what it looked like.

These next two pictures were a bit more of the macro mood I was in for a while. I really liked the textures and the colors.

In the field, their red/brown colors mixed together and were really interesting.

This next picture, was back to the camera tricks for me.

We really struggled to find pictures with fall color in them. I struggled with this tree. The blue sky was there and the yellows and reds of fall were there, but this dang dead tree was in the way.

So I spun the camera. I don't know why, but I really liked it.

What do you think?
Next, we have a fluke of nature. You can save a ton of money on filters if you just once and while let nature do it for you.

The humidity in this area was really high and we kept changing altiude.

When I reached the top of the bluff again, my lens filter fogged right up. I noticed it was clearing from the center out and decided it was time for some diffusion.

It's funny how sometimes things just work out.

In the next 2, I found these in these exact positions. I don't know that I'm really creative enough to move things around to get them the way I like them.

The fall colors and the decaying wood mix well. I think the horizontal picture of the leaf in the redwood is probably my favorite of the whole day.

Lastly, we mix the green leaf with the orange and tan of everything else.

I never realized until today just how cool mushrooms can be. We saw a lot of them. Couldn't tell you what type they were, but they were everywhere.

Today was a total blast. It was both mentally challenging and physically demanding. I really need to thank Mark and Mark for including me in this day.

Leave a comment and tell me what you think. We only get better by practicing and listening. I'm always listening.

A day at the park

Frontanac State Park

Today, Mark, Mark and I went to Frontenac State Park. This is was a photo safari without a guide.

The plan was travel before sunrise and see what we could find for fall foliage. I took more than 200 pictures today. I will be going through them for a while and posting them as I get some ready.

To get things started. I found these two pictures.

Each tries to capture each Mark in the natural habitat. Doing what they love.

This first is Mark P., eyeing up a shot along the river.

This next picture is Mark I. Enjoying the view and a most beautiful day.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Rev. Raven Plays the Whisky Bones Roadhouse

As I mentioned earlier, Friday night was show and tell night for the Cityscaped Photo Safari. After the review, me and the guys headed over to the Whisky Bone Roadhouse, here in Rochester.

This first picture is the interior of the venue. Its actually a pretty cool place. It's roomy and clean and well lit with incandecent and neon...unfortunately...its well lit for patrons, not a camera.

I think this shot show it off nicely!

These next few frames are of the band. I used to love shoot the bands that came to my college. Besided the finanial advantage of having a press pass, it was a lot of fun trying to capture the musicians doing what they do best!

Last but certainly not least, in what seems to becoming my signature, the ceiling! Not sure why this always captures my attention, but I always seem to find something interesting in the ceilings. I really like the purple reflection and the way the neon lights the red pipes. The colors just are what really get me.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Upon further review...let's crop it

At the recommendation of the leader of our Photo Safari, I've tried recropping this picture. I think the suggestion really works!

What do you think?
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