TrulandPhoto

Monday, February 27, 2017

Right at Flood Stage

I noticed yesterday afternoon that the National Weather Service in Albany had issued a flood warning for the Hudson River here. The projected crest was forecast to be just a couple of inches above flood stage at about 7PM.

I decided to stop in at Waterford Harbor which sits at the Eastern terminus of the NY State Canal System and the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers. I arrived at 4PM and the water was exactly at the top of the harbor wall, which is just about flood stage. Here are some shots documenting the conditions. All are 5 file HDR images made with my 5D Mark III and EF 24-105mm f/4L lens.






Sunday, February 26, 2017

Capital Area Flute Club 20th Anniversary

Yesterday I was making photos at the 20th anniversary gathering of the Capital Area Flute Club based in Albany, NY. This was a combination reception and open rehearsal.

I used my 5D Mark III and EF 24-105mm f/4L lens at f/4 and ISO 800. I kept my 430EX II flash attached and turned it on some but mostly just used the ambient fluorescent lighting. The entire gallery can be viewed at http://trulandphoto.zenfolio.com/cafc20.

Here some samples:











Saturday, February 25, 2017

Gear Dilemma Solved - Sort Of

As I wrote the other day, the Bald Eagle nest at Peebles Island State Park motivated me to work on improving my options for long range wildlife shooting. I decided to go for longer focal length rather than improved image quality. I mentioned that doing both wasn't financially feasible.

There's an actual camera store about a forty-five minute drive up the Northway from me and they had a used Sigma 150-500mm lens for sale which I managed to obtain by trading in several of my lenses, including the Canon EF 70-300mm lens I was trying to improve upon. While the image quality is not an improvement over the Canon, the range certainly is.

Here is a shot from this morning, cropped to the same size as my photos from the other day. You can see the increase in focal length. It was overcast as I was testing the lens which is a cause for less contrast than the photos from the other day. Quality should be similar in similar conditions.




One difference is this lens is big and heavy. Almost four pounds without the camera body. Here it is extended to 500mm attached to my 7D with grip.




While I shot with it hand held this morning, there is a broken off sapling trunk at just the right height to rest it on at just the right location. In the future I'll make sure to use my monopod.

UPDATE 2/25/17:

I reprocessed the RAW file with DxO Optics Pro 8, which was free once later versions were released. This software downloads definitions for camera/lens combinations and corrects lens aberrations, much like Canon's DPP software will do with Canon lenses. Here is the same image above, corrected in DxO Optics and then slight contrast and sharpness added in DPP.



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Gear Dilemmas

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.