With this blog I have begun a journey to improve my photography skills. My goal is to take photos everyday, and post my favorite photo from that day on this blog. So far, I have learned a lot, and try to share my experiences. Many of you have made comments on the blog, via email, or when you see me in person. I really appreciate all of them. I learn a lot from each of you.
I hope that you will join me in my journey, and help me along the way. I have so much to learn.
I know, I know, not another crocus photo. I think after the monochrome of winter, my eye is ready for some color. The blossoms of the croci catch my eye again and again. I think this is also true of some of my other photograph blog pals, and you know who you are.
Change is important. I'm ready for some new things to photograph. Next week I should have some great subjects to photograph. Stay tuned.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/100 sec, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 21 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, hand held.
My son and his girl friend were playing ping pong. I didn't have my photo for the day, so I asked if I could photograph them. They said sure. While they were playing, my son accidentally dropped the paddle, and started using his hand for the paddle. We all began laughing as he was doing this.
Lessons Learned (or at least attempted)
Lighting: I began with the normal lighting in the room, but it was too dark. I think brought my reading light from the bed room to add some side light. It was still too dark. I think grabbed my son's shop lights and tried them. (I need to invest in some better lighting.) They were probably to bright, but it made for an interesting contrasts.
I think that people who are occupied with something other then the camera look more natural in the photos. I prefer to photo people in action then attempting to take still portraits.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/1000 sec, Aperture f/2.0, ISO 3200, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, handheld.
While I was waiting for the bus I immediately noticed this Cornell Fan walking toward the bus. We were not near a sporting event, and this was an uncommon site. His enthusiasm was a lot of fun, so I asked him, and his family if it was okay to take his photo. They very generously said yes, and explained that his mother is an Alumni of Cornell. I think that we might be looking at a future Alumni as well. Thank you for the opportunity to take the photograph, and for spreading your enthusiasm on the Campus.
On the photography side, I forgot and had the ISO set way to high. I've been better about this, but when I was swept up in the moment I made a mistake.
Be bold, and ask people to take their photographs.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/800 sec, Aperture f/6.4, ISO 3200, Focal Length 20 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, hand held.
The Ithaca Commons is a unique part of Ithaca. It has several interesting shops and restaurants. Many times during the year many people will come and participate in the special events like the Chili Festival, and the Ithaca Festival.
Judy and I went to the Commons to stop at the State of the Art Gallery. They were having an exhibit of local photographers. What an incredible exhibit. I hope to submit some of my photographs next year.
We also stopped at one of our favorite restaurants, Viva Taqueria. Viva is known for it's Mexican Food that isn't very authentic, but it is delicious.
I highly recommend both the Gallery and the restaurant if you are ever in the Ithaca area.
I learned that I know very little about the various printing techniques. I need to learn more.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/60 sec, Aperture f/6.4, ISO 200, Focal Length 19 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, hand held.
Everybody, except me, had the 2 cheese burger Garbage Plate. These consisted of macaroni salad, home fries, 2 cheese burgers, mustard, onions, and a special sauce. Being a vegetarian, I decided to try the veggie version. Instead of hamburgers I had veggie burgers, and no special sauce on mine. (The special sauce also contains meat.)
The atmosphere is this old building is very interesting, and is a must. The owner has an interesting sense of humor, and there is a lot of banter between the customers, and the owner. I highly recommend it.
Needless to say, I couldn't finish my garbage plate.
I have to be quicker with my camera settings when I'm photographing people. It's not polite to keep people waiting while I'm attempting to take a photo.
Cropping was useful. The edge of this plate had some food grease on it. The photo looks much better with the grease removed. The food is also tastier than it looks.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/25 sec, Aperture f/1.8, ISO 400, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, handheld.
We are starting to see new evidence of spring. The snow is almost all gone. Although I we did have some on the ground this morning, but it did melt quickly. The crocus are blooming, and the bees are out. Spring is in the air.
Today was a very busy day, and very little time for photography, but I did catch a few shots on the walk to my car.
I think that my wife and I are starting to see the same things. Both yesterday and today we either talked about or took the same photos. We didn't know the other person was taking similar photos. Happy Birthday Judy.
A 50mm lens with a small focal length can create interesting artifacts in macro-style photography.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/4000 sec, Aperture f/1.8 ISO 100, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, handheld.
We had a second day of rain, and most of the day was foggy. The fog moved from place to place. I saw a couple of opportunities that I would have like to photograph while I road the bus, but was unable to stop. On my way home the fog wasn't as thick as it was during the day. I took this photo about 1/2 mile from my house.
I like the grainy look of the photo. Even though it is an ISO of 100, the fog created a very grainy look.
Fog works very effectively as a filter. If you want a image that is fuzzier and less defined move further from the subject in the fog. The more moister there is in the air the less defined the image becomes. Because the fog wasn't as thick, I took this photo from across the field.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/80 sec, Aperture f/13, ISO 100, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, handheld.
I went for two walks this afternoon. The first one I took my cameras and our dog Tank. Needless to say, there wasn't much photography. I took Tank for a walk in the woods with the neighbor, and his dog. They had a great time together, and I got a work out trying to hold the leash. He seemed to have a great time smelling everything in sight.
The second walk I took only my cameras. I walked through the old orchard behind our house. This led to a field with a hedge row. I followed the hedge row to the woods beyond the field. There is an old stone fence all along the hedge row. In some parts it has fallen down, in others large trees have fallen on it. I took a lot of photos.
On the way back I noticed something on one of the tree branches. When I got closer I notices it was part of an ear of corn. It looks like some animal took and put it on a branch to chew, and look over the fields. It is a seat with a wonderful view. All that is needed is a candle.
I tend to find many things to photograph when I take walks in nature. It's a good way to get a photo for the day. Many times it is difficult to choose which photo to use.
I can more easily see what light works, and what light doesn't work when I'm getting ready to take a photograph. This helps in that I don't waste as much time with things that I have a pretty good idea that won't work. I guess this could be a blessing or a curse, in that I might miss some serendipitous photos.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/160 sec, Aperture f/4, ISO 400, Focal Length 34 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, hand held.
We headed to the original Dinosaur Bar-B-Que for dinner this evening with the family. I just found out that the restaurant was voted the best place to get BBQ in the Good Morning America Weekend online poll.
While inside the dark restaurant I used my 50 mm lens. Because of the closeness of the people sitting around the table, the photos were extreme close ups.
I like this photo because the subject has a look of fear. (Perhaps this was after he found out that the wait time was 1 1/2 hours.)
Extreme close ups of faces can yield interesting photos. I took several of the people around the table.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/250 sec, Aperture f/1.8, ISO 3200, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, handheld.
Judy and I went for a walk after dinner tonight. On the way back to the house the sun was shining brightly through the trees of the woods.
I like the patterns of the trees silhouettes, and the color of the Sun as it filtered through the trees. It's great to have warmer weather once again to take walks outside.
Today was Dragon Day at Cornell, and I forgot my camera. I didn't follow my own advice to always carry a camera. (Dragon Day is the day the School of Architecture builds a huge dragon, and parades it across campus. The Engineers respond with a Pheonix. The Dragon is burned at the end of the event.)
Photo details: Exposure time 1/1600 sec, Aperture f/2.8, ISO 100, Focal Length 80 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L, handheld.
I stopped at Ludgate Farms on the way home from work. It's a great store, with lots of heathy food options. Since this month's challenge is food, I asked if I could take some photographs. They said yes. As I wondered near the produce, I noticed the sun light on the lemons. I liked the effect that it had.
Lighting is what much of photography is about. I'm finding myself spotting interesting contrasts in light more often.
I'm finding this food challenge a lot of fun. I didn't think I would like it when I started.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/320 sec, Aperture f/4, ISO 100, Focal Length 30 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, hand held.
After my run at lunch time, I was talking to another guy in the locker room. We were talking about what a great day it was. I said that because we get so little Sun, we REALLY appreciate it. He said, YES. He then went on to explain how he was from India, and he used to curse the Sun, and reminded me to be careful what you wish for. He also really appreciated today's Sun.
My family came down, and met me and some of the cool local artist at the Chapter House for a beer, or two, after work. Walking back up the hill there was an incredible sky, and beautiful lighting on McGraw Tower. I just had to take a photo.
A big change in the weather can make almost everything beautiful.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/60 sec, Aperture f/7.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 32 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld.
My children are all here for the weekend, so it's been very busy. Today was a very cold windy rainy day. I chose to take today's photo inside. I decided to work on the food theme for a third time. This is my son and his girl friend. They were eating lollipops, so I asked if I could take their photo. They were great models, and allowed me to take several photos.
I played with Photoshop to modify this photo. I first selected the lollipops by a color range. Then I copied and pasted the lollipops into a new layer. I then converted the main layer to black and white, and adjusted the brightness, and contrast.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/50 sec, Aperture f/1.8, ISO 1600, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, handheld.
This months photo challenge for our local photo club is "food". This is not an area that I have a lot of interest in photographing, but I'm taking it as a challenge. Here's my first attempt. I think that stepping outside our comfort zone can teach us new things. Perhaps this will be more fun than I thought.
I have a friend, Jen Yu, that takes incredible food photos. (as well as many other types) Take a look at her blog
I lens with a wide aperture seems to be a good tool when taking food photos.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/6 sec, Aperture f/1.8, ISO 100, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, tripod.
A couple of weeks ago I had a photo of a simple line of a snow drift curving around a tree. Last week I attempted to photograph some shelves that had several bowls, and cook books. I didn't like the second photo, and asked for your suggestions on how to make the photo better. One of the things that some of you said was make the shelves less cluttered. (or simple). This has me wondering if it is possible to take good photos of very busy photos (chaotic), or I should say what makes a good chaotic photo? I don't know the answer yet. I think of my children's "I Spy" books, and the photographs are beautiful and very busy, but not chaotic.
This is another chaotic photo. I like it a little better than the shelves photo, but it's still not quite right. I think I should have tried from a different angle.
What do you think? Is it possible to take a good chaotic photo? Do you have any examples?
Experimenting is a lot of fun, and can be a learning experience. Other times it can be frustrating. Sometimes the lesson is, this method didn't work.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/25 sec, Aperture f/5.7, ISO 100, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld.
We're on our 4th day in a row of Sunny Skies. People around here are in shock, and thinking of spring. It looks as if the Mallard Ducks are as well.
I think that the colder and darker the winter season, the more we appreciate spring. There are smiles on peoples face everywhere. Life is good.
I think that when photographing birds the photographer either needs to be very fast, or very patient. Because of a lack of time, I went for speed on this photo as the ducks retreated up river. That caused a lack of clarity because I was holding the camera instead of using a tripod. I also had some blurry photos of hawks. I think that setting up and waiting for birds will result in better photos.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/800 sec, Aperture f/2.8, ISO 100, Focal Length 200 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM, handheld.
As I was coming home this evening, the sun was low in the sky and creating great shadows on trees. I had my 50mm lens with me. I pulled it out, and started photographing the light and the shadows on the trees.
I'm trying to see in black and white, and looking for large contrast between the light and the dark, and how they play together. Tonight I saw it.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/80 sec, Aperture f/6.3, ISO 100, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, handheld.
We've had 2 sunny days in row, and the temperatures were much warmer today. It's nice to go outside without a hat and gloves.
The sun was so bright. I concentrated on the shadows on the snow. The shadow in the foreground is one of my favorite trees. I like the color of the barn, and the barn roof as a contrast to the whiteness of the snow.
Take advantage of whatever the lighting circumstance happens to be. The bright Sun was fantastic for shadows today.
I am able to take my camera on my dog walks, and still take some photos. Our 70 pound lab is very strong, but he's becoming a little more tolerant of my stopping to take photos. Perhaps he is getting over being a puppy.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/1000 sec, Aperture f/16.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, handheld (Any blur in this photos is cause by the dog pulling my arm. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :-)).
Last night was the last Varsity High School game of the season for the Groton team. They lost the sectional game to Moravia. Moravia has a great team, and plays very well. I hope they do well in the state tournament.
I have a great sadness in my heart today. It's not because of the loss of the game last night. They are a great group of kids, and have worked hard. They've had one of the best sports season on record. Their football team won the Section for the first time in the history of the school, and went on to the State Quarterfinals. In basketball this is the first time in the past 25 years that they have played for the Section Title. Their achievements have been fantastic. I rejoice in those achievements. They have worked hard to achieve them.
The sadness comes from knowing that these guys will never play as a team again. My son is a senior this year.. He's been playing basketball and football with the same group of guys since for almost 10 years. A majority of them will be graduating this year and going on with their lives. The sadness comes because I'll miss watching them play together as a team. May they come to treasure these moments in their lives, and have great success in all that they do. They have learned some incredible lessons along the way. I think these success will help propel them into successful lives as adults.
As far as the photo is concerned my son is on the left in this photo getting ready for a rebound against Moravia's top scorer. I thought it was a great action shot.
Some professional sports arenas have incredible lighting. This was by far the best place to take basketball photos that I have ever encountered.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/250 sec, Aperture f/2.8, ISO 3200, Focal Length 200 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM, handheld.
I'm not sure why I like this one, but I do. It's the old gravel bed on Conger Blvd. in Groton, NY. It's been years since it has been used as a gravel bed, and now trees are beginning to grow. Perhaps that's partly why I like it.
Have your camera with you always. I've learned this lesson over and over. I just noticed the sun setting when I came out of the town hall paying for my dog's license. I immediately grabbed the camera and began taking photos.
The 50 mm lens is very small, and easy to carry.
I took the time to learn how to set the settings on my new camera for the type of black and white photos that I like to take. I now have a custom setting for it.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/125 sec, Aperture f/9.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, handheld.
Mustang Mike and I met for our weekly lunch. We stopped at Stellas in Collegetown for our weekly coffee. Stella's is an old style coffee shop that people come and study, and drink coffee.
Mike leaned his little helper against the wall, and I thought it would make a good photo. I like the lines in the wood on the handle.
I think that Coffee helps my creative process. :-)
I think that places like Stellas has a lot more character than the chain coffee shops, and have many more opportunities for neat photos. I think the uniqueness of these places help to make for unique photos.
Photo details: Exposure time 2 sec, Aperture f/1.8, ISO 100, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, sitting on a table for a tripod.
My wife likes bowls and cook books, and collects both. We have several bowls from local potters (you know who you are.) There's also a bowl from a local artist (you also know who you are.) There are bowls from Italy, and antique bowls from her mother. These are just a few of the bowls and cook books that she has. I like the variety of colors and shapes.
I like the subject matter for this photo, but I think it needs something. Since this blog is about learning, I'd appreciate any suggestions that you might have.
I think I'm at the stage where sometimes I can take a good photo, but it takes a very conscience effort. This isn't one of the great ones, but it has potential.
Photo details: Exposure time 3.2 sec, Aperture f/6.3, ISO 100, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, tripod, a couple of lamps for lighting.
This subject matter had me thinking. I see fewer and fewer pay phones. I think it's probably because that most people now own cellphones. I think that maybe in ten years younger people will wonder what this is. Photos that we take today, may very quickly become historical photos. It gave me food for thought about photographing transient items.
Several years ago a few of us put together a slide show of photos from the past in our town, with current photos of those same sites, or other sites that were new. Many of the businesses that we had photographed at that time are no longer in business. It has already become a historical piece.
Here's a challenge for you. Take a photo of something that you think will quickly become an interesting piece of history.
Photography expands the way that I think. (Even thought they are not always deep thoughts.)
Photo details: Exposure time 1/80 sec, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 200, Focal Length 33 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld.