Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Gear Dilemnas

Over the years my subject interests in photography change, change back and change again. Some of this is because of what my opportunities are, sports, concerts, landscapes, wildlife, etc. Some of it has to do with what gear do I own to do what kind of jobs at a particular time. The gear required to effectively shoot sports, wildlife, events and landscapes are quite different. There is some overlap but not much.

Sometimes, the opportunities are out of synch with the gear. I'm not capable of maintaining a collection of gear that's capable of doing each type of photography at the highest level possible. A lot of photographers aren't but when they've got paying jobs they can rent what they need, especially if they're located in a big city.

At one time I had some long Canon L series telephoto lenses I used for bird and wildlife photography. I sold them to upgrade to full frame camera bodies which are more suited for events, landscapes, etc. I've now got a nice set of gear for that type of photography with the occasional sporting event thrown in.

Then, along comes a Bald Eagle nest I can walk to from my home. Until the leaves come out in May this will be an amazing opportunity to document the nesting pair and eventually the young birds. All I need now is the gear.

I'm working on it, although what I end up with won't be at the level I previously had at my disposal. At present, I'm using a Canon 7D body with an EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens. The 7D is fine but ideally I need both longer focal length and better image quality. I can probably pull off one or the other.

In any case, here some 100% crops from yesterday morning with the setup I described. Eggs should be present really soon, which I'll know when the nest is never left unattended. Yesterday, they were both off the nest quite a bit.

Remember, to see the full size image, click on it and then click on it again.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Late Winter Sunset

Even though the clouds were somewhat sparse yesterday, I walked down to my usual sunset location at the confluence of the Hudson and (two branches of the) Mohawk Rivers. My usual bracketing sequence for sunsets, especially where the sun is still visible, is -1, 0, +1, +2 and +3 EV.

Both of the following images were made at f/6.7 and 100 ISO. Shutter speeds for the first image are from 1/500 to 1/30 second. Shutter speeds for the second image are from 1/350 to 1/20 second. Both were made with the wide end of my 24-105mm f/4L lens. Image stabilization on the lens enabled both the slower shutter speeds and the hand held bracketing.

My usual practice is to process the RAW files from the camera in Photomatix Pro software without any prior processing of the files. Here are the results of that processing using the software's Painterly preset.

Noting the darkened corners, I decided to take the extra steps to first process each of the RAW files in Canon's DPP software to correct for peripheral illumination, among other things. I then saved the files in TIF format and then processed them in Photomatix Pro.

With peripheral illumination corrected, I was able to process the files a little more aggressively in the HDR software. I ended up preferring the results using the Painterly 5 preset. Here are the final results.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Between the Storms

Yesterday we had snow, freezing rain and rain. Tomorrow we're scheduled for 3 to 6 inches off snow, etc. As this morning was dry, I took the opportunity to walk over to and around Waterford in between storms.

I carried my EOS 5D Mark III and 24-105mm f/4L lens. I bracketed five shots +/- 1EV for all scenes but ended up using three or four of the files for HDR processing, except for the bench which uses all five files.