Sunday, January 17, 2016

33" Water Main Rupture

I was walking back from Waterford this morning when I ran into flooded intersections, then torrents of water cascading down city streets. I actually had to walk about a half mile out of my way to bypass the water and get back home. I had my EOS 7D and EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens with me and documented some of the scenes. A gallery of full size images can be found at

As I process photos and write this blog, the water is still pouring out. I am one block away from the worst of the flooding and luckily dry and likely to remain that way given the topography of the streets. Many other homes, however, have had to be evacuated and had their power and gas shut off.

I heard estimates of eight hours or so before the busted main is shut off.

UPDATE 1/18/16: Amazingly, everything was back to almost normal by evening. Some homes remain without power or gas and, a day later, the street lights in this first photo still aren't working. But it's a credit to all the city workers that the leak was stopped and water rerouted to everyone so quickly.

Friday, January 15, 2016

A Backup Crop Sensor Kit

I've been trying to sell my last remaining EOS 7D on both Craigslist and eBay but, with one exception, no one was interested in coming up with a fair price. The one exception was, unfortunately, after I decided to hang on the the 7D as a back up and bad weather, sketchy situation option to my 5D Mark III.

The one decent offer arrived after I had picked up an inexpensive lens to use with the 7D. Without the 7D the lens would be useless and I'd have wasted $140. The lens in question is an EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens which has the field of view of a 27-136mm lens in full frame terms. With $400 the best offer for the 7D and a $140 lens, I've got a useable alternative to the $3,000 combination of 5D Mark III and L lenses.

I'm going to include my 50mm f/1.8 STM lens with this kit as a low light, portrait option with the 7D body. I may or may not eventually pick up a 24mm pancake lens to complete the kit.

This morning was dark, cloudy and cold but I wanted to test the lens out after I picked it up at the Post Office.  The subject is the now drained canal between locks E3 and E4 in Waterford.

These are 3 file HDR images with +/- 1 1/2 EV bracketing. HDR adds lots of noise to the image and accentuates chromatic aberration in lenses. The single files are quite decent once corrected in DPP software they just don't have the range of exposure and color to get a nice finished product.

61mm, f/5.6, 1/750 sec., ISO 400

85mm, f/5.6, 1/750 sec., ISO 400

17mm, f/5.6, 1/750 sec., ISO 400

30mm, f/8, 1/500 sec., ISO 400

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Strange Weather Day in Upstate New York

It's January 10th but the weather is more like April or May. We broke a temperature record with 55 degrees this afternoon and there were alternating periods of rain and sun with thunder and lightning and rainbows thrown in.

During one of the sunny periods I grabbed some gear to shoot rain drops on branches and some other subjects. I hand held the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens with Canon's 500D closeup lens attached. You don't normally see moss like this in January and the Burdock's are far less pleasant when they're stuck in your dog's fur.

I stopped in the police parking lot in Cohoes, New York on my way home to shoot this rainbow. This is a five image HDR composite.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Mini Tsunami on the Old Champlain Canal

Twice this year I witnessed an interesting phenomena along the old Champlain Canal trail North of Waterford, New York. It occurs when the old canal, which serves as overflow for the current canal, is draining out due to lock E2 being filled and then the water abruptly rushes back in with the emptying of lock E3.

The first time I witnessed it early this past Summer I thought it was a dog, deer or person in the water but then the wall of water about a foot high came rushing past with the level remaining at that height after the crest passes. That first time I wasn't prepared to document the wave but since then, I've been looking out for it, prepared to take some quick shots.

On October 27th, I was walking along the path with my 5D Mark III and 28-105mm lens, heading South back toward Waterford when I heard the wave coming. The canal had been draining out, as before, just prior to the influx. I grabbed these shots as the wave swept past.

This particular spot is about a quarter mile North of the village.