Friday, September 28, 2007

Hmm...more to get this to the wife...

As luck would have it, there was a post the blog of Digital Photography School (DPS) called Shooting Landscapes with Longer Focal Lengths. Huh...I need a long focal length you think if I printed this out and gave it to the Mrs...she'd understand and tell me to order the new lens?

Any help from the female readers on how to sell this to the wife would be greatly appreciated!

With fall arriving as we speak...I'd love to try it out in a river valley with the leaves on the trees all pretty.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cityscapes - Community Ed Photo Safari

This past Friday, I joined the other Rochester Shutterbugs in another Community Ed Photo Safari. This was to downtown for a night of Cityscapes. These are a lot of fun. I get to hang out with a great group of guys who share my passion for photography.

This particular night I had high hopes for. I was a bit disappointed in the choice of locations and the city as a whole was uncooperative. There was no one around and it was a Friday night!

Here are some of the pictures I took. Mark P. and Mark I already have their pictures up. Hopefully, these too will stir some discussion!
We started the evening in Peace Plaza. As luck would have it, it's under construction. The outside of the historic Chateau Theater (now a Barns & Noble) mixed well with the modern glass buildings behind it.

The hardest part for me was horrific foreground. I just could never quite figure out how do shoot it.
I played around with different in camera effects all night. Since I only have the one lens, I tried to find ways to look at things in a different way.

This image uses the rotate the zoom effect. I think it actually worked here. Other places I tried it just looked odd.
This picture also uses the changing zoom effect. One thing were supposed to try and do was to tell a story in our picture. The streets were void of people...except us.

If you look closely, you can see some of the others doing their magic!
I never really got this one the way wanted it. I might go back and keep trying. People looking over my shoulder when I was going through trying to find the frames that would make the cut for this post, were really excited about this one. I don't know. I might just be disappointed in how it turned out in that I was seeing something different when I was looking at it.

Maybe a longer lens would help!
This picture here is of a gate on Second St. I have no idea what the story is for this gate, but when you see it, it really attracts your attention.

This is a rare thing for me, but I did modify this picture in Photoshop. The only change is the removal of color. The lighting here was mostly nasty. I have no idea how to white balance this one. I think the B&W convey what I was trying to express.

Mark I. has a very interesting take on this same fence. Something I never thought book worked fabulously! He focused THRU the gate so all you get is a fuzzy feeling that the gate is there.
This next image is another story to tell. Again, we seemed to be the only people out. Mark P. kept wanting to find a grizzled hobo, but no luck with that.

I like the silhouette of my classmate shows the dedication we had that evening.

These buildings can be quite beautiful in the night.
This picture officially came after class. We were on our way to Newt's for a pint when I saw these. There are a pair of these lighted posts on the stairs to the old government building(?).

The light was bright and I didn't have a tripod. This was freehand...seems the guys were getting thirsty and I was just slowing them down ;-)
Finally, one of our assignments was to find the wolf on display downtown. I believe this is it. This is a couple of pieces of marble on the outside of the Eisenberg building. I removed the color from this image in Photoshop.

I'm not sure when the next adventure of the Shutterbugs will be. I'm looking forward to what ever it is. I had a lot of fun. Maybe when Peace Plaze is done we could head back there. I'd also like to go down to the river and shoot from there.
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Friday, September 21, 2007

Excited to shoot some frames tonight!

I have another community ed opportunity to shoot tonight. This weeks theme is shooting a city at night! One of my favorite settings!

We really need to get a Shutterbug group going in Rochester...anyone interested?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Oxbow Safari Photo Safari

Today, Mark P., Mark I. and I participated in a photo safari lead by Karen I. Davis. The event is coordinated by Rochester Community Education. We met at Oxbow Park in Byron, MN. This was a really fun way to make sure we got out and shot some pictures!

We started in the Learning Center. In there are some snakes and hands on things for kids to play with. I also discovered that my battery was low. Not a great way to start. Our mission is to learn how to take better photographs at a zoo.

I liked the texture of this snake. It spiralled together nicely.

We got to spend about 20-25 minutes talking about things and looking around. This gave me ample time to get the battery charged enough for the day.

I used the iPhone for a while to shoot in the building, but, for some reason, the pinhole camera on that one isn't nearly as satisfying as my 30D.

We moved outside. Most of the animals that were outside, were in cages. The badgers were in a tank, and we were moving to midday sun. I think I'll need to fix the white balance on this one, but it a fairly clear shot of her.

The turkeys were a different story. For some reason, their colors weren't very bright, but at least I could get a shot through their fence. I had a very difficult time shooting with the fences. Unfortunately, my 17-85 lens, just doesn't have the focul length necessary to blur out a fence

I don't know if Mark or Mark know this...but I NEED A LONGER LENS. There...I said it.
We got to another area of the park, where the big game were. I decided to take Karen's advice and try to "Frame" the picture.

I got down on my knees and snapped this one of a bison. It tells a much better story. Adding the fence and vegitation really made this a completely different picture.
I turned my attention to something I feel more comfortable with, abstract stuff. There are these old farming machines not far from the bison. They are definitely old and well weathered.

I think this one of the chain is probably my second favorite picture of the entire day. The lines, the textures really draw your eye to the image!
This is an example of something I learned at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography. Keep the lines of the picture moving in the picture. This one definitely does that. The circles are moving towards the center.
These next two pictures are of the same gear. When a bit farther away than the other. I like this first one, the growth on the metal adds some really neat colors.
This is my favorite picte from the whole day. The range of colors, the lines and the depth to me make this something I love to look at.
Right by the rusted machines, was an old farm house. This door was pointed out to me by Mark P. He was right when he said the different colors of the wook made for a great picture.

This shot was up close. The weathered wook of the outside was grey and worn, while the inside of the door still had the reds and browns of new wook..

The lines of the seams also makes this picture interesting to me. You get the square edges of the boards twisting with the grain.
Inside the barn, you could the methods used to seal up the house. A mortor was used between the logs to keep things out. The age of the house, also made it a bit unstable. There were steal trusses around to hold things together.

I will probably try and fix the color of this one, but again, the different textures and lines make this really interesting.
Outside of the house, I wanted to find new ways of capturing the lines and contrast of the windows to the siding.
This one used something I learned on the Digital Photography School website. I was trying to find a way to capture the contrast between the painted windows and the siding. It look really boring shot straight, turn the camera and wa la!

Not sure how I got the angle just right.
These next two pictures are courtesy of Mark P. He had the original idea. When we first started shooting, the sun was directly over head. I came back a few minutes later and the sun had moved. I think that really helped. The added shadows created an even more interesting picture.
This last shot is the same door. It is just framed differently and taken closer. I like it, but I'm not sure I like it better than the first one.

Any ideas?

As usual, your comments are always welcome! Next Friday night we will be doing another photo safari...downtown Rochester at night! I can't wait!

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Monday, September 10, 2007

More Pictures from the Norfolk Botanical Gardens

I'm still pouring through all the pictures I took while on vacaion. I came across these shots that were obviously done for more artistic reasons. They are not my father's vacation pictures. Feed back is always welcome!
This first one is probably my favorite. I didn't stage it at all, I just found it like this one beach. The line in the sand with the line made by the weed are just cool. Everything is strangely symetrical
I found these two just sitting by each other. This also was unstaged. It felt really ying and yang to me. The flow of the sand around the objects provides some really cool texture.
There is this beautiful fountain in the heart of the gardens. I took this one several times and I think I found an exposure that really worked to get the motion of the water just right.

A warning to others, when on vacation with the family...don't take too long getting it right, a 4 year old gets a bit impatient when they know the playland is not to far from you.
This last picture shows these amazingly sparce trees that grow straight up. The texture of the bark is really cool. I like the way the scene seems to point together to the top of this one tree. I just wonder where all the branches are...there's no scaring!

I'm gonna keep looking though the vacation pictures. I will be going on a "Photo Safari" this weekend to a local zoo and park. They recommended a 300mm lens...I ain't got one of those, so we will see what I come up with.
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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

This was one of the hardest places to shoot photos I've been at for a while, and not because of anything more than I felt like a 12 year old boy walking into his first big league park.

I've been going through all of our photos from vacation. I took more than 1200 images in one week. Now granted, most of them are either duplicates or complete crap, some were even taken by my 4 year old.

This first picture made me glad I bought the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens for my 30D. This ballpark was amazing. This is a view from the concourse in center field. We timed the arrival at the park to close for comfort, so I have no pictures of the outside. Come on, I'm at my first away Twins really think my #1 priority is pictures???

The design of the park helps it blend into the surrounding area. It's in the middle of a bunch of warehouses, and the outside looks like part of them. But inside, the eye candy was everywhere. This clock tower was just one of those.

It's simple, it full of ads (that part sucks), but you can see the brick facade at the bottom with the iron gates. This is the theme of the whole park.

It looks like a warehouse!

The other big problem we were having this evening was thunderstorms were on their way in. Capturing this ballpark with lightning in the background would have been really cool, but remember, I'M AT MY FIRST AWAY GAME!

The picture on the right, shows the concourse I took the first picture from. The really cool thing about this park is it feels like you are walking on the sidewalk next to a warehouse and this all just part of the city. really are, but you in the PARK!

The building on our right is a warehouse. There is a developed floor in the concourse that has little shop like things, but the wall is edge of the stadium.
This last picture wasn't taken by me, but as any good Twins fan will, when you are at an away game...make sure everyone knows where you stand...CIRCLE US BERT!

Note: He never did. We were so bummed. We actually got more air time on the broadcast from the Orieles. Click here to watch the game!

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