Thursday, April 29, 2010

Week 52, Day 364, April 28, 2010, The Purple Valley

The Purple Valley is a local favorite band in the Ithaca, NY area.  They have some up coming gigs that required a new photo.  John asked if I could come out and take some photos.  We had a great time, and this was my favorite.

The Purple Valley has a curse.  Every time they have had their photo taken, they have had somebody leave the band.  Immediately after this photo was taken the drummer said that this was the last time he was going to play with the band.  Then he smiled and laughed.  One advantage for me, is that they might ask me to take another photo when/if a new member joins them. ;-)

Lessons Learned:
  • I haven't taken a lot of photos of people where I have had to pose the people.  Fortunately they had some idea on what they wanted to try.  They set up, and I made a few suggestions.  I then began take several photographs of them as they joked with each other.  I think this worked best because they became more relaxed, and looked more natural.
 Photo details: Exposure time 1/50 sec, Aperture f/4.6, ISO 400, Focal Length 19 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, hand held.

Week 52, Day 363, April 27, 2010, Convicted

This photo reminded me of the old newspaper gangster photos. 

Tank, wanted for cat food robbery, chewing items that don't belong to him, and laying on the couch when people are not in the room.  Be careful, this dog cannot hold his licker. He will easily win you over with his puppy dog eyes.  Do not attempt to pursue him on foot. You'll never catch him.

Lessons Learned:
  • I had some fun with the flash on this one, and tried different things.  I like the effect, especially on a black dog.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/200 sec, Aperture f/5.0, ISO 6400, Focal Length 70 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM, hand held. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Week 52, Day 362, April 26, 2010, Another Rainy Day

April showers bring May flowers. What do May flowers bring?  (Anybody?)

Today was another all day drizzle.  The rain drops made great interfering waves in the puddle.  I thought the photo looked somewhat abstract.  I'm not sure if I like it yet.

Lessons Learned:
  • Some photos I fall in love with right away, and then they loose their charm.  Others grow on my over time.  I have to wait on a lot of my photos before I know if they are any good or not.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/500 sec, Aperture f/6.4, ISO 800, Focal Length 40 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, hand held. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Week 52, Day 361, April 25, 2010, An Old Solution to a New Wrinkle

It was another rainy day for us, but we had a great time.  We visited my son, and his fiance in Rochester for the day.  We were busy having great food and conversation, that I didn't have a lot of time to take photographs.

When we returned home, I began thinking of ideas of what to photograph.  I wanted to attempt to photograph something that other people might not have, or see everyday.  We have an old Iron that we use as a door stop.  I think that somebody put a different handle on this one.  I've never seen another quite like it.

Lessons Learned:
  • I started by just photographing the iron on a wooden chest of drawers, then I moved to a larger wood surface because the chest of drawers wasn't large enough.  I thought the plain wood was just to bland, so I took my shirt off, and used it as a surface. I think it was a better result.  I'm still not quite sure I like the lighting.  I may return to this subject the another day.  I guess the lesson is, experiment and try a lot of different things when photographing stills.
Photo details: Exposure time 6 sec, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, tripod. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Week 52, Day 360, April 24, 2010, Bryan

We had dinner with some friends tonight.  This is Bryan.  He's a great model for photography.  He has many great facial expressions.

I like how it looks like there is fire coming from his finger.

 Lesson Learned:
  • Nothing that I can thing of for today.  I didn't take a lot of photographs.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/8 sec, Aperture f/2.2, ISO 400, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, handheld.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Week 52, Day 359, April 23, 2010, Portion of the Moon

Ever since my wife bought me the 2x extender for my zoom lens, I've wanted to photograph the moon.  I decided tonight was the night.

I think that it did well.  I love looking at the craters.

I'm submitting this photo to Momochrome Weekend.  Check out all the cool monochrome photos on that site.  There's a lot of talented people out there.

Lessons Learned:
  • I need a better tripod.  Even with the ring on the zoom lens, it's just to much wait to hold the lens at the steep angles.  Does anybody have suggestions on their preference for tripods?
Photo details: Exposure time 1/125 sec, Aperture f/5.6, ISO 100, Focal Length 400 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM, 2X Extender, tripod.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Week 51, Day 358, April 22, 2010, Red Bud Branch

The Red Bud Trees are in bloom around Cornell University.  They add a lot of color and beauty in the spring.

Lessons Learned:
  • I think that for the first time this evening I realized how a narrow depth of field can add a very 3 dimensional dimension to a photo.  I like how it worked on this photo.
  • I also took some photos of a friend today.  I think I'm actually getting better at posing people for interesting photographs.  I think I'll try this more often, and hopefully increase my skills.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/1600 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.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Week 51, Day 357, April 21, 2010, Dramatic Lighting

It was a cloudy afternoon, but the clouds began to break.  I noticed the Sun shining on a buttress roof on the Law School directly across from my office.  I grabbed my camera, switched it to black and white and took a few shots.

Lessons Learned:
  • Once again, lighting is so important.
  • I think to get great natural shots you need to be around them frequently.  Different times of the day, different weather conditions, different times of the year, all have effects.  Being near them allows you to spot the best times to take photos.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/200 sec, Aperture f/8.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, handheld.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Week 51, Day 356, April 20, 2010, Attack of the Killer Rabbit

I think this is one of those future subject photos.  I took a few photos of some rabbits in my back yard.  The next thing I know, they are running around and "playing".   I hope to catch them "playing" again some other time, and I'll have my camera set to a faster speed.  They are very quick.  I think I'll name the one with the black mark on his face "Al Capone".

Lessons Learned:
  • I'm still attempting to learn how to use the 2x extender.  I definitively need to use a tripod when I use it.  I think I also need to shoot at higher ISO speeds for a quicker shutter speed.  It's very easy to blur the image.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/125 sec, Aperture f/5.6, ISO 1600, Focal Length 400 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM, 2x extender, tripod.

Week 51, Day 355, April 19, 2010, Birds of a Different Feather

On the way home from work, I stopped by the Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University for a few minutes.  If you are ever in the area, and like birds, this is the place to go.  There are a lot of wetlands, and great walking trails.

On the way back to my car I noticed a Mallard Duck, and a Canadian Goose settling down.

Lessons Learned:
  • Birds in areas where there are a lot of people are not as skittish.  It's much easier to take photographs of them.  (It feels like cheating.)
  • The other day, I forgot to mention another lesson.  During the Skunk Cabbage Classic Race I used 2 cameras.  One had a wide angle lens, and the other had a telephoto.  I forgot to sync the dates and times on the two camera.  One was off by an hour due to Daylight Savings Time.  When I sort the photos by Creation Date, they are not in order. Note to self, sync my camera date and time.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/60 sec, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 40 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week 51, Day 354, April 18, 2010, Budding and Flowering

The Trees are budding and flowering n the 20-acre wetland that Cornell owns in Groton, NY.  It's interesting how different types of trees take on different hues in the spring.  I attempted to capture this photo in the fog this morning, but the fog lifted before I arrived.  I think it still worked out well, because the colors seem more defined.

Lessons Learned:
  • I have to be careful of the whites in photos like this.  I think they are over saturated in this photo.  There is an easy way to check in on the camera, but I forgot to do so.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/200 sec, Aperture f/5.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 145 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM, hand held.

Week 51, Day 353, April 17, 2010, Waiting for a Hair Cut

You might recognize this building from the "Doggy in the Window" post.

Today over 100 students from Cornell University, and many students from the High School got together for spring cleaning in Groton.  The volunteers braved the elements of rain and cold to spruce up the town.  They did an incredible job. The Greater Groton Photo Club was asked to take photos.  As we were photographing the students, I noticed Don and Wilson waiting for a hair cut across the road.  I asked Don to look down the street, so they would look more natural.

Lessons Learned:
  • This is a photo that I like the composition, but it's blurry.  I needed a faster shutter speed.  Many times when people are involved I find myself feeling rushed to capture the moment, and I'm not as careful with my camera settings.  I need to remember this, and try and improve my technique.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/40 sec, Aperture f/8.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 40 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Week 51, Day 352, April 16, 2010, Through a Window Dimly

One of the really fun things that has happened with this blog is that I have met a lot of fun people.  Friday nights many of them gather at a local pub called the Chapter House.

Tonight I tried an experiment and photographed from outside the pub looking inward.  I found the effect very interesting.

Lessons Learned:
  • Gary makes a great subject for photography, and is always a willing participant.  Thank you Gary, and Tom.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/2000 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.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Week 50, Day 351, April 15, 2010, Small Flowers

After one of my meetings I was walking back to my office.  I noticed a whole hill full of these small flowers.  The sun was out, and shining on them.  I didn't have my camera with me.  I returned to the same hill after work, and the Sun was no longer shining.  I tired a few photograph of the hill, but they weren't very spectacular.  Instead I began getting down very low and taking photos close up.  I think the colors are brighter because of the lack of Sunshine.

Lessons Learned:
  • It's important to be able to adapt to the situation as it presents itself.  Lighting and environment can change very quickly.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/100 sec, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 40 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld, circular polarizer filter. 

Week 50, Day 350, April 14, 2010, Skunk Cabbage

I went for a walk through the von Engeln Preserve after work.  I've never been there in the spring time before.  I almost feel like it's my own personal preserve.  I have been there several times, and have never seen anybody else.  I think that very few people even know that it exists.

I know that there is a small pond in this preserve, and I hoped to catch a glimpse of some ducks or geese.  I did find two geese on the opposite side of the pond.  They were both sleeping or resting.  I took some photos, but didn't think they were as good as this one.  I plan on returning at various times to see if they will nest, and raise their young on this pond.

  There is also a large bog in the Preserve.  The Skunk Cabbage is pushing it's way through the moss all through the wet areas.  It seems to have an alien look to it in the early stages.

Lessons Learned:
  • Geese are an interesting subject.  I can easily go to areas where they are familiar with people, and get very close to photograph them.  Somehow I find it more special to find them in remote areas.  It's much more difficult to take great photos of them, but somehow it seems more natural.
  • Like a lot of places the von Engeln Preserve takes on a different look at different times of the year.  It's worth returning time and time again, and look for the changes.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/100 sec, Aperture f/3.2, ISO 100, Focal Length 195 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM, tripod.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Week 50, Day 349, April 13, 2010, Low Clouds

    I had some fun with today's photo.   I began by taking photos of  the long shadows of the trees across the corn field.  At first I was attempting to take photos of just the shadows.  Then I noticed if I walked down the hill the shadows were looking much more interesting from the bottom of the hill.  I then tipped the lens up and started to see the cumulus clouds.  I liked how the shadow of the trees began to look like the shadows of the clouds.  Now all we need is some cool mountains to set the tone. :-)

    Lessons Learned:
    • Taking photos up a hill can make the clouds in the sky look closer to the ground.
    • I can really see the effects of the circular polarizer filter in the sky.  I like the effect, but it definitely doesn't look completely natural.    I may tone it back a little next time.  What do the rest of you do?
    Photo details: Exposure time 1/100 sec, Aperture f/8.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld, circular polarizer filter. 

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Week 50, Day 348, April 12, 2010, Corn Husk

    I'm not sure why, but I find myself drawn to photographing corn.  I was walking through a corn field tonight and found the husk left from last years crop very interesting.  I think I have a collection of corn at it's various states from the past year.  It might be interesting to put them in a collection.

    Lessons Learned:
    • I forgot one lesson from yesterday. Taking 5500 photos tires the index finger.  I had to switch to using my middle finger to push the shutter button during the end of the race.  I didn't have enough strength left in my index finger.  I didn't mention it to the runners, because I don't think they would show me any sympathy. :-)
    • Trees are blossoming all around, but I don't feel drawn to photograph them.  I enjoy their beauty, but somehow they seem to obvious a choice for photography.  I've taken several photos, but I just don't seem to like them very well.  It could be that I just haven't captured them in an interesting or new way.  What are your thoughts?
    Photo details: Exposure time 1/80 sec, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 40 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld, circular polarizer filter.  

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    Week 50, Day 347, April 11, 2010, Stewart Park Willows

    It was a beautiful day for the Skunk Cabbage Classic 1/2 marathon, and 10k in Ithaca, Ithaca New York.  Congratulations runners!  I took over 5500 photos of the runners, and I'm in the process of sorting through them.

    As an added bonus one of the runners had a birthday today, and her husband had a surprise birthday party at Stewart Park.  She's had the dream since she was a little girl to have a new pair of socks everyday.  Her husband asked that we each bring a pair of socks, and had hoped for 50 pairs to commemorate her 50th birthday.  I think that the goal was reached.  When she opened the 15th pair of socks, she realized that her dream was coming true.  Happy Birthday Nancy.

    While we were in Stewart Park, I noticed the wind swept willows.  The breeze blowing off of Cayuga lake was very strong.  The color of the willows in the spring is an interesting yellow, and is very beautiful.

    There's also another special birthday today.  Kyle, my son, turns 23, and is enjoying his birthday in Hawaii.  Happy Birthday Kyle.

    Lesson Learned:
    • Sorting through 5500 photos takes a long time, and a long time to upload.
    • I've been to Steward Park several times, and each time the willows have a different look.  I think it's important to continue to return to the same places throughout the year to look for changes for photo opportunities.
    Photo details: Exposure time 1/100 sec, Aperture f/9.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld, circular polarizer filter.  

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    Week 50, Day 346, April 10, 2010, The Horse is Out of the Barn

    It's officially spring time.  The neighbors horses are out of the barn.

    Lessons Learned:
    • I stopped by the Main Street Gallery in Groton, NY.  I'm ashamed to say that this is only the second time that I have been there.  (I think it's similar to many people who live in NYC have never gone to the Statue of Liberty.)  I'm very glad that I did.  The art was fantastic, and the owners are very nice people.  I came away with more ideas for my own photography.  So, today's lesson is take time to look at other people's work.
    • I took off my UV filter from this lens, and just put my circular polarizer filter.  I think that the quality of the UV filter wasn't the best, and was degrading my photos.  I'll keep you posted on my success.  I did put my circular polarizer filter on the lens to protect it.
    Photo details: Exposure time 1/400 sec, Aperture f/3.2, ISO 100, Focal Length 155 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM, handheld, circular polarizer filter.

    Week 50, Day 345, April 9, 2010, Pitcher Pump

    Some of you know that we live in a house that was built in the mid 1800's.  We also have an old hand dug well.  We have an old pitcher pump that we sometimes use to pump water for the garden from this well.  It's interesting how simple the pump is, and how efficient it works.

    This is one of those photos that I want to redo.  I think the subject is interesting, but I haven't captured it's essence yet.

    Lessons Learned:
    • Interesting subjects still need a lot of thought to achieve a great photo.
    • I think I should have taken the circular polarizer filter off, to see the sparkle in the water.
    Photo details: Exposure time 1/3 sec, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 36 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, tripod, circular polarizer filter.  

    Week 49, Day 344, April 8, 2010, Inside the Forsythia Bush

    As a child I enjoyed climbing underneath trees and bushes.  We would build "forts" in  areas like this.  Today when I was looking at the forsythia bush, I began taking photographs.  The photographs looked like typical forsythia bush photos showing the bright yellow blossoms of spring.  I then  crawled under the bush, and found myself transported back to being a child, and seeing things from another angle.

    Enjoy life, and don't forget to look at things from different perspectives.

    Lessons Leaned:
    • I think the paragraph above describes the lesson that I relearned today.
    Photo details: Exposure time 1/30 sec, Aperture f/5.4, ISO 100, Focal Length 22 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld, circular polarizer filter.  

    Thursday, April 8, 2010

    Week 49, April 7, 2010, Bennington Battle Monument

    We decided to take the scenic route home from Maine.  As we traveled along Route 9 through Vermont we saw an obelisk near Bennington Vermont.  The obelisk is part of the Bennigton Battle Monument that commemorates the Revolutionary War's Battle of Bennington that happened on August 17, 1777.

    In this photo a statue of Brigadier General John Stark in front of the 306ft (93m) obelisk.  The plaque has a quote stating, "There they are boys! We beat them today or Molly Stark sleeps a widow tonight!"

    Lessons Learned:
    • I took a series of photos.  It was a bright day, and was difficult balancing the light between the dark statue, the tower, and the bright ski.  I ended up pulling it into Photoshop and adjusting the levels on the tower and the statue.
    • I found having the statue in the foreground to be a much more interesting photograph, than just the obelisk.  I took various angles with the statue to the left of the tower, and the right. I ended up choosing this photo becuase of the interesting cloud patterns in the background.
    Photo details: Exposure time 1/250 sec, Aperture f/8.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld, circular polarizer filter. 

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Week 49, Day 342, April 6, 2010, Old Mills

    I walked along the streets of Biddeford, Maine this morning.  As I walked along the river I came to the old mills.  The brick buildings are huge, and some have been renovated into shops.  The windows on this section were very interesting, and a pigeon seemed to be nested in one of the holes in the wall.

    Lessons Learned:
    • Once again, a walk revealed many interesting things to photograph.  I think this is especially true in areas that I have never been.
    Photo details: Exposure time 1/60 sec, Aperture f/8.0, ISO 200, Focal Length 24 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld.  

    Week 49, Day 341, April 5, 2010, Sunrise at Biddeford Pool

    We awoke early to head to the beach before the Sun rise. We were treated to a high tide, cool breezes, and just enough clouds near the horizon for a spectacular view. 

    Lessons Learned:
    • I remembered to set the White Balance to flash for warmer colors.  I like the effect it has on Sunrises and Sunsets.
    • The light changes very quickly during a sunrise, and gives interesting effects.
    Photo details: Exposure time 1/80 sec, Aperture f/8.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 29 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, tripod.  

    Monday, April 5, 2010

    Week 49, Day 340, April 4, 2010, Goat Island Lighthouse

    A trip to Maine wouldn't be complete without at least one photo of a lighthouse.  The Goat Island Lighthouse is still in used to guide boats. 

    It's been great weather, and very warm for this time of year.

    Lessons Learned:
    • A Telephoto lens is a must at a beach settings.  The distances are deceptive, and things are much further away then they seem.
    Photo details: Exposure time 1/200 sec, Aperture f/8.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 200 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM, handheld. 

    Sunday, April 4, 2010

    Week 49, Day 339, April 3, 2010, Evidence of Waves

    What a great day to be at the Ocean.  It's hard to believe that it's April. 

    This photo is from the beach next to Biddeford Pool in Maine.  Last night we had the opportunity to walk along the beach as the sun was setting.  It's great to smell the ocean air, and hear the gulls.

    Lessons Learned:
    • Once again being in a new area, I see lots of opportunities for photographs.  It's difficult to choose just one photo.
    Photo details: Exposure time 1/80 sec, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 36 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, hand held.  

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    Week 49, Day 338, Tree Shadow Veins

    The sun was bright, and the lighting was harsh, and the shadows were very well defined.  As I waited for the bus I noticed the shadows of the trees on the wall, and along the grass.

    Lessons Learned:
    • Different Lighting causes me to look for different types of photography.
    Photo details: Exposure time 1/1000 sec, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, hand held.  

    Week 48, Day 337, April 1, 2010, Rolling Hills

    This is Summer Hill.  There are many stories on how Summer Hill was named.  Some people it's because Summer is the only time that you can get here.  Others say that it was an attempt to attract more people to live here. Some say that it is named after a town in Ireland.  I prefer the first story, because in the winter there is a lot of snow.

    Summer Hill is also the birth place of Millard Fillmore the 13th President of the United States.

    It's also home of the "Empire Haven Nudist Colony".  There will be no photos from the Colony on this blog.

    More recently there have been several farms that have been purchased by Amish families.  It's very common to see a horse and buggy along the road.

    Lessons Learned:
    • I used a fill flash on this photo.  The first couple of photos the sign was to dark.  The fill flash did a good job to highlight it.
    Photo details: Exposure time 1/100 sec, Aperture f/8.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, hand held.