Monday, May 31, 2010

May 30, 2010, Dinner Time for Grakle

I spent a lot of time watching Grackles circle the pond looking for food.  They would grab bugs, tadpoles, and frogs from near the pond in Summerhill, NY.

I like the colors of their eyes, and the dark purple colors near their head. 

They are a very timid bird, and fly quickly if you get near them.

Photo details: Exposure time 1/125 sec, Aperture f/4.6, ISO 100, Focal Length 200 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM, tripod.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

May 29, 2010, Memorial Weekend Campfire

For our family part of the Memorial Weekend tradition is gatherings at my Uncle's Pond in Summerhill, NY.

I waited much of the day to have the opportunity to take photographs at the campfire.  The subject presented himself perfectly with a Tom Sawyer type of look.  No props were needed.

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.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

May 29, 2010, Monochrome Time

The el Caminos were at the Haunt in Ithaca NY last night.  They put on a great show, and were recording at the same time. 

I had a great time photographing in Black and White.  I like the outline of the fiddle player in this photo.

A Good Time was had by all.

This Monochrome concept came from Aileni at Monochrome Weekend.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26, 2010, Blurred Butter Cup

It was fairly windy, and the flowers wouldn't stop moving, but I still took a few photographs.

Although the photo is blurry, I really like this one.  It seems more like a painting than a photograph.  I like the colors and the interesting patterns in the background.

Lessons Learned:
  • A photo doesn't always have to be crisp to still be interesting.  (I think Ben Marlan mentioned that he like blurry photos.) 
Photo details: Exposure time 1/200 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.

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010, Family of Crows

We have a family of crows living in a tree in our side yard.  I think this is the first time in the 21 years that we have lived here that we have seen a nest of crows.

We can hear them call to each other in the morning, and they are very quiet when they are in their nest.  

In this photo, the nest is the dry sticks on the left.  An immature crow is out on one of the branches.

Lessons Learned:
  • When I'm tired at the end of a long day, it's kind of relaxing just sitting there watching the birds.  Remind me to never get wrapped up in a TV series again.  I stayed up to late last night watching "Lost".  
Photo details: Exposure time 1/160 sec, Aperture f/3.5, ISO 100, Focal Length 200 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM, tripod.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 23, 2010, Hand Dug Well

We live in an old farm house, and it has a hand dug well.  There is a cover on the well with a little hole that supported a hand pump.

This month's theme for the photo club is "depth".  I decided to take photos of the old well. 

What a project it turned out to be.  The well is about 30 feet deep.  The lighting was very tricky.  

Lessons Learned:
    • At first I tried an incandescent bulb on a trouble light.  I lowered the light down near the water.  The photo didn't work very well.  It was light near the top of the well, and light near the bottom of the well.  It was difficult to see the rocks.  I then covered the top of my camera to reduce the sun light.  This helped, but was still two dark near the top of the well.
    • I next tried Christmas Tree lights to try and give lighting throughout the well.  This failed as well.
    • Finally I pulled out a halogen Flood light and put it in the top of the well shining down the well.  I had to offset the light so that the camera could have an unobstructed view of the well.  I used a clamp and a 2x4 to clamp the light off to the right of the photo. 
Photo details: Exposure time 20 sec, Aperture f/13.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 21, 2010, First Cut

The farmer up the road began Organic Farming several years ago.  The large round bails of hay are much different than the smaller square bails of my childhood.  These large bails are very quickly wrapped in plastic, and resemble large marshmallows.  Because they are so quickly wrapped, my time window for photographing the unwrapped bails is very limited.  I stopped on my way to work to take this photo.

Lesson Learned:
  • Try not to miss photo opportunities.  Circumstances can change rapidly.
  • I tried side lighting on this photo.  This tip was from Scott Bourne .
  • I should have used a narrower aperture in this photo.  I did take some with a narrow aperture, but I framed the photo differently.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/800 sec, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 200, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld, circular polarizer filter.

May 20, 2010, Bird

This is one of those photos where I'm amazed at the camera equipment.  I was using the telephoto lens from a long way away.  I had to crop the photo substantially so that the bird wouldn't look like a dot on the screen.  I'm amazed that the photo came out this clear without using a tripod.

Do any of you bird watchers know what type of bird this is?

Lessons Learned:
  • Take photos even if you think they will be failures.  You never know when they might work. This is especially true with digital cameras, because there is very little cost.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/1000 sec, Aperture f/2.8, ISO 100, Focal Length 200 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM, hand held.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 19, 2010, Dinner Time, and Puppy Dog Eyes

As I was cooking on the grill, tank was enjoying the smells.  I chased him around with my camera to try and take some interesting shots.

I hope you enjoy.

Lessons Learned:
  • My Dog is becoming as camera shy as my children.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rochester and Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

I really enjoyed the project 365, but in some ways the format was rigid.  Now that it's behind me, I can do other things.  I don't have to post photos everyday, but I can also post more photos on one day.  I choose to do that for today's post.

We had a wonderful, and busy day.  It began with breakfast with my parents, my sister, and her family.  My sister and her family were here for a couple of days from South Carolina.

Rochester Lilac Festival

No, this isn't my sister.  Although I do call her "ugly", and she calls me "uglier than me".  (Reminiscent of fights that we had as children.) Don't tell her that I don't think she's ugly. She might think I'm getting soft in my old age.

This iguana was at the Lilac Festival that we attended in Rochester NY.  My son and his fiancée invited us out for the event.  This years spring came very early, so most of the lilacs were near the end of their blooming.  You can see a few blooming in the background of the photo above.  The Lilac Festival takes place in lovely Highland Park.  There are great walkways with beautiful trees and flowers.  The Festival is heavily attended so be prepared for the crowds. 

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

We headed back from Rochester early, because my son and his fiancée had other plans for yesterday evening.  This gave us an opportunity to visit a place that we have driven by several times, the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.  This place is incredible, and I highly recommend it.  We spent a few hours walking around, looking at birds, and ....

CARP!  The Seneca River flows next to the refuge.  According to the sign below, they are all trying to get into the Refuge like fans entering a Rolling Stones Concert.

All in all a good day was had by all, except possible a few Carp.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I have had the honor in becoming part of a group of bloggers known as BABB which is an acronym for BAMF Art Blog Bunch.  The day that I was asked, I began to feel like I was standing on the shoulders of Giants.  This is an incredible group of Artist Bloggers, that have some of the most interesting blogs, and great art work. 

Check out their Blogs, and their work:

Gary Rith, Blogger, Potter, and a bunch of other stuff that you'll have to read his blog to understand.

Kasey Baker, aka Captain Awesome, Reverend Awesome, KC an illustrator, graphic designer, painter, artist, comic, and designer of the BABB Logo.  As with Gary, you need to read her blog to appreciate her work, and humor.

Becky Jo potter, artist, trucker, peanut butter enthusiast.  You've gotta check out her blog.

 Lizzie is an artist that works with clay, and fiber. As defined by BABB, her Blog is awesome.

Painter, artist,  Ben Marlen.  Check out Ben's blog for all sorts of updates on his work, and odds and ends.

Christi is a painter, an illustrator, a designer, a handstand expert,  and find out the rest of her story at her blog.

Keep an eye out for upcoming BABB events, and announcements.  I'm sure it will always be interesting. 

Thank you gang for having me as part of your bunch.

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14, 2010, Artist at Work

I think that Gary is a great model. He's always willing to pose in an interesting situation. He can be a little creepy if the photo calls for it, or whimsical as in this case.  Either way, I enjoy photographing him, his wife Maude, and his friends.

Photo details: Exposure time 1/125 sec, Aperture f/3.2, ISO 400, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, handheld.

May 13, 2010, Foggy Morning

There was some dense fog this morning. I can usually see McGraw Tower at Cornell from the building where I work.  When I looked in that direction, there was no sign of the building.  I had to move a lot closer for this photo.

Lessons Learned:
  • Fog is an interesting and fun element in photography.  It can be used as another type of filter.  If I want more of a filter, I move further from the object and it fades.  If I need more clarity I move closer to the object.  It can create all kinds of interesting effects. 
 Photo details: Exposure time 1/50 sec, Aperture f8.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 36 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld, circular polarizer filter.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 12, 2010, Trillium

This photo was an interesting exercise for me.  I returned to a place that I took photos almost 1 year ago.

There are some changes since 1 year ago.  The first change is that the Trillium are past their peak.  We had some warm weather earlier this year.  There are quite as many blossoming this time.  Although it's still very impressive the number that have blossomed.  Many of them have a purple tint to them this year.

The second big change is in my photography.  I was able to take this photo with just a few shots( 24 vs 303), and I believe it to be a better photo.  I paid special attention to the flower on the bottom left to make that a focal point.  I paid a lot of attention to the colors, and used my circular polarizer filter to enhance the colors.  It was a foggy day today, so I new the colors would be more brilliant today.  (I don't think I would have known that a year ago.)

Any of you that are doing the 365 challenge, I would encourage you to return to some of your previous subjects that you took when you were first starting.  Take a look at how far you've come.  It's a great feeling.

Keep Shooting.

Lessons Learned:
  • I am improving.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/2 sec, Aperture f/14.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, tripod, circular polarizer filter.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May 11, 2010, Reach for the Sky

This photo was another experiment.  It was inspired by all those cool photos of Redwoods out west.  These are some tall pine trees near my house.  I think that a logging company planted them, and is now harvesting this area.

I like the effect, but it's not quite what I want.  I think blue skies would have a better effect, but I do like the black and white look to this photo.

Lessons Learned:
  • I really wanted to take photos tonight after taking two days off.  Although I didn't have a lot of time to do so.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/60 sec, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

May 8, 2010, Second Trip to Wixom Farms

Today was my second trip to Wixom Farms.  Wixom's is an ambitious farm that is practicing regenerative land use. Today they were planting hops, and I also was able to see their new Scottish Highlander Cows. 

While their horns look like they could do some damage, these cattle seem very docile.  They like to be brushed.  Katie the owner is brushing this one.

Lessons Learned:
  • The lighting was tricky.  One moment the sun would be out, the next moment it was cloudy.  I was having to change the settings on the camera frequently.
  • RAW format made a big difference.  I set my camera to record both the RAW and JPEG.  In many of the photos the JPEG would develop into a completely white sky, while the RAW would show some of the textures in the clouds.
 Photo details: Exposure time 1/20 sec, Aperture f/8.0, ISO 200, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, handheld.

May 7, 2010, Harmonic for "The Purple Valley", Player at Castaways

It was a night of celebration. "The Purple Valley" was playing at Castaways in Ithaca.  Sue the keyboardist was having a birthday.  A large crowd of her friends came and danced and listed to some great music.  Sue, thank you for sharing your birthday with us.  We had a great time.

Lessons Learned:
  • I can use a fairly high ISO with black and white photography.  Black and White photography seems to work great in low light situations. Castaways was very dark for photography.

Photo details: Exposure time 1/60 sec, Aperture f/2.8, ISO 6400, Focal Length 200 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM, hand held.

Check out other Monochrome Weekend images! 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May 5, 2010, Law School Arches

Walking by the Law School on the way home, I began looking at the arches again.  I don't think that I have photographed them from this angle yet.  I liked the results.  I think this might be the best one yet.

Lessons Learned:
  • It's very difficult to set up a symmetrical photo with a wide angle lens.  Does anybody have any tips?  Anybody?
Photo details: Exposure time 1/30 sec, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 400, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, hand held (I didn't have my tripod with me.  I think I want to go back when the sign isn't on the door, and I have my tripod).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 4, 2010, Does anybody make Dandelion Wine?

There is a field full of dandelions near our house.  A few days ago I photographed with a narrow depth of field, and published it.  Today I thought I would go back and try a different approach.  I used a narrow fstop to try and photograph more of the field.

I like the effect, but I think the dandelions of a few days ago looked better.  They were fresher at that time.  I will try and go back when they have all gone to seed to see what that looks like.

Lessons Learned:
  • I applied a graduated tint to make the sky a little darker.   This also made the back of the field a little darker and gave the photo more depth.  I wasn't expecting that.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/25 sec, Aperture f/18.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 17 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, tripod.

May 3, 2010, The Tenacity of Life

I noticed this maple tree growing in the hollow part of a stump that was cut just a few years ago.  I am amazed at the tenacity of life.

I like the contrast of the green with the dead wood, and the dark cavern around the tree.

Lessons Learned:
  • Be Observant.
  • I need a circular polarizer filter for my 50 mm lens.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/100 sec, Aperture f/5.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 50 mm, 35 mm equivalent focal length 82mm, Lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, handheld.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May 2, 2010, So many flowers so little time.

My Grandmother used to say that dandelions should be called Mother's Day flowers, because every child brings them to their mother.  She loved dandelions, and would have enjoyed this year.  They are very plentiful.

We used to have a neighbor that hated dandelions, and would spray them every year.  He came over once and told me what to spray on our lawn to get rid of them.  I told him that I liked them.  He looked at me kind of funny, and left.

Lessons Learned:
  • This was one of those surprise photos.  I didn't know the bee was flying through as I was taking the photos.  Sometimes I get lucky in my photos.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/800 sec, Aperture f/2.8, ISO 100, Focal Length 145 mm, Lens Canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM, hand held. 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May 1, 2010, Nature Photographer 1 Year plus 1 day.

Gary and Maude invited me for a hike to show me paradise.  What a great place it is.  There are two creeks, brooks for those of you in New Hampshire, that come together in one spot.  There's a nice pool of water where the two creeks meet. 

Penny and Tank (our two dogs), got along very well.  I think they enjoyed the hike.

Here Maude is taking some nature photos at one of the creeks.

Lessons Learned:
  • It's difficult to take photos, when you bring along a dog.  But, it was worth it.  He had a great time, and so did I.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/60 sec, Aperture f/5.6, ISO 100, Focal Length 24 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, hand held.

Week 52, Day 366, April 30, 2010, 365 Has Been Accomplished!

I have just completed my "Year in Photos".  It feels great to have completed it, and it's been an incredible journey.  I plan on writing a more complete summary of the journey. 

I plan on continuing for as long as I can with this blog.  I'm not sure if I'll take a photograph every day, but I do plan on taking several a week.

I want to thank all of you who have viewed, read, or commented on the blog.  Your critiques, encouragement, and ideas have all helped me to become a better photographer.  I couldn't have done it without your support.

Today's self portrait represents the hours of looking over the photos, posting to other blogs, and looking at other peoples work throughout the last year.  

Lessons Learned:
  • After looking back over the last year, I was surprised by how much this project means to me.  It has become a big part of my life.
  • I learned how to control my camera from my computer.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/10 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, camera sat on top of my printers as a tripod.

Week 52, Day 265, April 29, 2010, "What is it?"

A while ago Andrew Broekhuijsen posted a photo, and asked his readers to guess the subject.  When I saw this photo, I thought I would do the same.

Any guesses?

Lessons Learned:
  • Cameras can see things in ways that the eye cannot.
Photo details: Exposure time 1/80 sec, Aperture f/4.0, ISO 400, Focal Length 40 mm, Lens Canon EF 17-40mm, hand held.