Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last Post for 2015

With only 30 blog posts in 2014 I resolved to be more active in 2015. While I didn't reach my high of 73 posts in 2013, given that I only had 6 posts at the end of March (bad eye infection), a post a week this year is not bad.

This final post of the year features some shots from the family's Tuesday day trip to New York City to see the awesome musical "Allegiance" featuring George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung and others. It's an amazing show and probably my favorite Broadway experience.

But you can't visit The City without taking in the usual sites, especially at holiday time. I brought my 5D Mark III and EF 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens in a small ThinkTANK Photo Mirrorless Mover bag. None of these are great photographs but it was a fun time.

See you next year.


Bryant Park - f/2.8, 1/750 sec., ISO 800

f/2.8, 1/250 sec., ISO 800

f/2.8, 1/500, ISO 3200

f/2.8, 1/45 sec., ISO 3200

Friday, December 25, 2015

No Wintery Material

It was 72 degrees yesterday and close to 60 degrees today. Not much chance of shooting ice, snow, etc. This shot of the Christmas Eve moon is about as close as it gets.

This version of the image was processed as a single file HDR in Canon's DPP software. It was made with my EOS 5D Mark III and EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens. Details are in the photo caption.


54mm, f/2.8, 1/15th sec., ISO 6400

An alternate version processed normally to de-emphasize the background is also nice but I like the sky better in the HDR version.




Sunday, December 20, 2015

Winter Flora on the Old Champlain Canal

I took a walk this morning along the old Champlain Canal north of Waterford, one of my new favorites. I brought my 5D Mark III and my EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 lens which I hadn't used in a while.

The image quality of this lens is not stellar and it's a bit on the slow side, light wise. But it's small and compact and sometimes the 24-70mm L lens is a bit limiting on the long end. It hasn't been really cold, and there's no snow so there are some interesting scenes involving weeds, shrubs, etc.

Here a few. I also shot the Capital Area Flute Club performing at Crossgates Mall this afternoon. That will be another blog post.









Monday, December 14, 2015

Beaver Lodge Up Close

This is more a nature post than a photography post, but it does include photographs. One of my walks is up along the old Champlain Canal trail North of Waterford, NY. It's about a four and a half mile round trip from my residence and I try to make it once a week.

About a half mile North of Division Street, where the trail heads North, in Waterford a Beaver has decided to build a lodge along the side of the trail, built into the bank of the canal. Now, I've never seen the Beaver but the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming. Gnawed off trees, trails where branches have been dragged and, of course, the lodge itself.

The first time I noticed the lodge was this Spring. I can't say if it was there before or not. I seldom walked this route prior to this year. This shot is from May 9, 2015:




The next two shots are from December 12, 2015. You can see the progress the beaver has made building up the lodge over the Summer and Fall.






It will be interesting to see what happens if this portion of the canal is drained this year, as it usually is. I'll try to keep heading up that way, snow cover allowing, of course. So far so good.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Holiday Lights

The Soldiers and Sailors Park in Waterford, New York is nicely lit up for the season. I walked over there this evening to get some shots of the lights. A couple of these will probably end up in the 15 with the 50 project as all were made with the 5DIII and 50mm STM.

ISO was 3200 and aperture was f/4. Shutter speeds ranged from 1/10 second to 1/90 second. The last image is of a private residence a block away from the park.












Sunday, December 6, 2015

HDR Withdrawal

I've been avoiding processing and posting HDR images as a part of the 15 with the 50 project. But that doesn't mean that I've not been bracketing just in case.

This morning, for instance, I was out on a very foggy morning with the 15 with the 50 setup and bracketed five files +/- 1 EV. The conditions were so unique I wished I had my 24-70mm L zoom but all I had was the 50mm.

So at least I had my HDR fix. The first shot is the single image from the project followed by four HDR processed shots. The final image was processed with the B&W Natural presets on Photomatix Essentials.











Thursday, December 3, 2015

Some Shots from the 15/50 Project

You can visit the project page via a link under TrulandPhoto Resources on the right side menu.










Thursday, November 26, 2015

The 15 With the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Project

Starting on Thanksgiving Day I'm going to add an image made with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens every day for 15 days. This combination of Canon's third most expensive camera (behind the 1DX and 5DS/5DSR duo), currently $2500, and Canon's least expensive lens, currently $110, should make for an interesting exercise.

In addition to the camera and lens combination I'll use a small Canon 270EXII Speedlite and my old set of Cokin Series A filters which consist of warming, graduated gray and blue, neutral density, circular polarizer and a combination warming and soft effect filter called SunSoft. I'm going to eschew HDR processing and have some fun the old fashioned way. I also will not be cropping for composition.

I'll add each day's photo, which may or may not have been taken that day, at the top of the images on this page and occasionally post a blog entry with some photos and a link to the page.

Here is the first image:


11/26 - Rusting in the Woods - f/2, 1/350 sec., ISO 400

Thursday, November 19, 2015

School Production of The Wiz

Last evening was my annual volunteer shoot for my local school's musical production. This year they are doing The Wiz with a cast of over 70, including elementary children as munchkins.

In addition to shooting the "dress rehearsal" I do somewhat informal head shots just prior to the rehearsal. From start of the shoot to the end of processing and uploading took about eleven hours this year. I had almost 600 images from the rehearsal and almost 80 head shots to process from RAW files.

I feel that shooting in RAW is necessary to be able to adjust highlights and shadows or white balance as needed. I've learned over the years not to worry so much about white balance as the varied color lighting they use makes certain scenes look strange and that's not my issue.

I used a 7D and 24-70mm f.2.8 lens for the head shots so that I could wirelessly control an off camera flash and fill with the built in flash. For the rehearsal I used my 5D Mark III and 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. The 5D Mark III has better high ISO performance than bodies I've used in the past so I used ISO 3200 with no trouble. I'd even go higher if necessary to get needed shutter speeds.

Here are a few samples followed by an embedded slide show:









Friday, November 13, 2015

A Nice Compact Backpack Kit

This is my current "only the essentials," take everywhere kit packed into a Think Tank Photo Streetwalker backpack. I'd prefer a shoulder bag but backpacks lay gear out in a single level and that's what I'm used to and prefer.

I never wear any of my photo backpacks like a backpack. I just carry them by the handle and transfer some of the gear to a small shoulder bag if I need to carry equipment covered for any distance.

Here is an iPhone 6 Plus photo of the bag followed by a description of the gear it contains:




Starting at the bottom left and continuing clockwise in the main compartment we have my EOS 5D Mark III with an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens attached.

Next is an EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM lens with lens shade and a small size rocket blower.

Next is an EF 40mm f/2.8 STM, EF 50mm f/1.8 STM and ProOptic 20mm extension tube attached to an OP/Tech dual end cap and a Canon 270EX II Speedlite with STO-FEN Omni Bounce.

Next is a Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 and a Canon Anti-Fog Eyepiece in its case.

Next is an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens with lens hood.

Next is a Canon 77mm 500D closeup filter, Hoya PRO1 77mm filters of the UV and CPL variety along with a Tiffen 77mm 3 stop neutral density filter.

Lastly is a spare Canon LP-E6 battery and body cap and lens end cap. Missing from this compartment is a Greenbatteries.com nylon battery wallet and 4 Eneloop AA batteries which are in the charger at the moment.

The zippered sections contain a jar opener for filter use, a swab and cloth which comes with the anti-fog eyepiece, 58mm to 77mm filter adapter, lens wipes and a lens cloth.

The bag's all weather cover is in an outside compartment. I never understood keeping the cover inside the bag so if you need it in the rain you have to open the bag. This leaves some outside pockets empty for whatever.


Friday, November 6, 2015

Autumn Moves Forward on Peebles Island

The scenery has changed since my last last post of Peebles Island scenics on October 19th. There aren't many leaves left on the trees at this point. This time I carried my EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens instead of the 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 lens.

I also processed these images for a more natural look than the ones from October 19th. These are also five file HDR processed images but with different settings. The shot with the tree roots in the foreground is particularly more natural and better, in my opinion. This is s tough scene to capture due to the great contrast in lighting between the sky, forest background and the roots themselves, shadowed on the hillside.








Sunday, November 1, 2015

Water Drops on Fallen Leaves

I was walking around this afternoon and noticed the reflections of water drops on fallen leaves that for various reasons are still lying on what sometimes is a combination of grass and weeds. I grabbed my 5D Mark III and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L lens with 500D closeup lens/filter attached.

I noticed that the water drops only formed on the under side of the leaves. Leaves that had fallen right side up did not have the drops on them.

I came up with two reasons for this. The upside down leaves are concave and the drops stay in their shape while the right side up leaves are convex and the water runs off. Also, it could be that the tops of leaves are designed to absorb water and the bottoms not so much.

This is unfortunate as the underside of the leaves are not nearly as colorful as the top. In any case, here are four shots - no HDR this time.













Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Version II of EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 Lens

I received my other copy of the lens I blogged about here. This copy is designated "II" and was made in Taiwan. It is in better condition and still only cost $105. Interestingly, despite supposedly having identical optical formulas these two lenses have different lens profiles in Canon's DPP software.

I grabbed the lens for a quick walk down to the Hudson River last evening hoping for a decent sunset as chicken breasts marinated in my fridge. I bracketed as usual for HDR purposes but in addition to the five +/- 1 EV bracketing I added +1 EV exposure compensation. The resulting images then were normal, -1 and +1, +2 and +3 EV.

The first three images are HDR processed composites while the last image is a single file as the ducks were moving.










Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Poorly Lit Athletic Field

Alfred University met Union College in an NCAA Division III men's soccer match last evening. Union College's soccer field has to be one of the poorer lit pitches, college or high school, I've shot at.

With lighting only on the corners of the field, the darkest portion of the pitch is in the midfield. I positioned myself in a corner of the field in order to take advantage of the best lighting but still had to use ISO 4000 at f/2.8 and 1/750th of a second and still was underexposing a bit on most shots. Between the high ISO and having to increase exposure a bit in post processing, the images are noisier than I am usually comfortable with.

While I used my EOS 7D and 70-200mm f/2.8L USM for reach and frames per second, if I were to shoot at this field at night again I'd consider using my EOS 5D Mark III and concentrate on action closer to my location. ISO 6400 on the full frame 5D Mark III should have noise characteristics similar to ISO 3200 on the 7D.

Here are some examples. Obviously, images reduced in size will not show the noise as obviously as when looking at the files at 100%.











Monday, October 19, 2015

Birthday Hike on Peebles Island

What better way to spend a birthday morning in sub freezing temperatures than hiking at one of my favorite location, Peebles Island State Park in Waterford, New York. I brought my 5D Mark III and my soon to be replaced EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens. Replaced, that is, by a slightly more recent version without (hopefully) the physical issues my $65 version has. Details to come.

It was a delightful morning with the leaves dropping like snowflakes after the first freeze of the season. These are all five file HDR composites made during my walk around the island.