Friday, December 18, 2009
Hey everyone! As you were probably expecting, here’s a picture of Mt. Baker. This actually isn’t the picture I had in mind earlier this week when I said I was going to post an awesome shot of Baker today. I still have that one, and I still love it, and it’s still awesome. I don’t have a good excuse for why, but I decided that I’d rather go with this one instead. Do I think this one’s a better picture? No. Like I said, I have no reason. I just followed my instinct. Because that’s what they tell you to do, follow your gut. Which is really easy for me, because my gut has a pretty good head start, it sticks out past my feet. So I have plenty of time to react when it changes direction without notice.
This was taken on the Yellow Aster Butte trail, which is accessible from a little forest road that shoots off the north side of the road (Highway 542 I believe) that goes up to the Mt. Baker Ski Area and Heather Meadows. It’s a fantastic trail any time of year (that it’s not covered with snow) because you can actually get out of the trees and get some great views. But it’s particularly great during the early fall. There’s a ton of low-lying ground-cover type bushes and grasses that change colors nicely. But it peaks significantly earlier (a couple weeks to a month) than the trees that are at lower elevations. So make sure you time it right. But it gets you right up there among some huge peaks, so it’s a great way to spend a day. And if you bring a flashlight and stay out a bit later than you normally would, you can get some great late-afternoon views of Shuksan and Baker.
I noticed that my traffic plummeted the last couple days, down to less than half of normal. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming any of you. But I am thinking that a lot of folks are travelling for the holidays. So I’m considering making this the last entry until things calm down a bit. I’m not personally going anywhere, but why waste some good shots when there’s nobody there to see them, right? My supply of pictures, while not small and not about to run out any time soon, is finite, and it WILL run out sooner or later. (Although it’s true that some weeks, particularly during the summer and fall, I’m able to maintain a pace of producing more than 5 new pictures worth posting each week, that definitely does *not* hold true in the winter.) So, if you’re still around, and you want me to keep posting, either just let me know, or hit refresh on my page a bunch of times, preferably from different computers and browsers, and it would help to clear your cookies each time too. That way I’ll think you’re 50 different people, and I’ll totally feel the love. I’ll be keeping an eye on my traffic, because I’m obsessive like that.
Have a great holiday!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Tamron 28-300 mm VC lens. 1/100s, f/9.0, ISO 200. Focal length: 92mm.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
See? A bug and a flower, just like I said. Man, I’m really good at predicting stuff. It’s almost like my today self somehow sent a message back through time to my yesterday self saying exactly which picture would be posted. Almost eerie, really.
Those of you who were with me earlier this year, you know that this summer I went on a mini-odyssey of sorts, exploring several different cheapskate methods of macro photography. The extreme case was of course the reverse-mount adapter that I used to get that picture of the fly a few days ago. That one, while extremely powerful, is also extremely difficult to use. Today’s solution, while it won’t get you nearly as close, is in a lot of ways more pleasant to use. It’s a Macro Kit, which consists of a set of these magnifying-lens type filters that you attach to the front of your lens. They magnify a bit and allow you to focus more closely than you would be able to otherwise. So they get you closer than you would be able to otherwise, but with a whole new set of limitations. (Your depth of field is very small as you would expect, although not as drastic as with the reverse-mount. Also, the area outside of the in-focus range gets blurry in a weird way. I guess I’d describe it by saying it gets “foggy” rather than “blurry”. And, the longer your focal length (distance from the front of your lens to your sensor) the foggier it gets, to the point where, if you’re using a superzoom lens, and your lens is way extended, the whole frame will be foggy, even the stuff that’s in focus. It’s weird, really.)
As with any accessory though, they are well worth playing around with, despite their limitations, especially given their really low price (20-30 bucks.) Again, you’ll definitely get better results with a true macro lens, but you’ll also be paying a heck of a lot more than most of us can afford to spend on such a niche-use lens. So, if macro seems fun (it totally is), go buy one, using that link above, so that I get a kickback from Amazon. We all win! Woooo!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-300 mm lens with Hoya Macro Kit. 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 200. Focal length: 168mm.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Well, it’s Wednesday. Awesome, right? Yeah, exactly. Today’s picture is from Mayflower Gulch, which is a little ways up a little trail/4×4 road just off Highway something-or-other in Summit County, Colorado, the one that goes from Copper Mountain to Leadville. It’s a really nice alpine basin, with the standard set (for Colorado, anyway) of broken down, abandoned houses from long-gone miners. I suppose there are a couple trails that leave from right around here and explore more remote places too. But I didn’t have time for that when I was there.
The weather was kind of a mixed bag when I was there. No rain (not yet anyway), but clouds that were constantly moving through. That meant that most of the time I had in the actual basin was spent under cloud cover. That actually affects your pictures quite a bit, because it makes a surprisingly large difference in your exposure whether your foreground is in the sunlight or in the shade. Generally, I prefer sunshine as you can imagine (although if you can get one of either your foreground or your background in the sun and the other in the shade, it can provide some really nice contrast), and I would have preferred that for the day I was here, but alas, you take what you can get. As a result, I had to expose the shot more than I would have liked, which resulted in losing almost all of the color out of the sky. (A polarizing filter would have helped, but I don’t yet have one that fits my wide-angle lens, which is what I was using here.) I really like that little spash of sunshine on the peak there in the distance, without it I think it would have just kind of been washed into the background, leaving a much less interesting shot. This way, it’s kind of peeking out, saying “HEY! I’m here too, damnit.” Wait, your pictures don’t talk to you? Oh.. Weird.
Anyway, in an unusual moment of foresight, I’ve come to realize that tomorrow I’ll be posting a picture of a flower and a bug, and Friday is going to be a really nice shot of Mt. Baker. So be sure to stick around for that before you abandon the picture of the day for ever and ever. Until then…
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tokina 11-16mm lens. 1/250s, f/6.3, ISO 100. Focal length: 16mm.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Welcome back everyone. Today’s shot takes us back to my honeymoon a few years ago, in (among other places) St. Thomas. St. Thomas is in the Caribbean, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, for those of you who need a quick geography refresher. This was the view at sunrise from our hotel complex. It was really hazy while we were there, which may very well be the way it usually is, I really have no idea. But, it made for these somewhat unexpected colors during sunrise and sunset, kind of cool.
I went back and forth for a little while about which picture I should post today, this one or a similar image, taken horizontally, which didn’t have nearly as much sky in it. In a lot of ways, that one is a better image, because this has all the interesting stuff way at the bottom, and just a bunch of dead space up top. Except that it’s not quite dead space. It’s got that huge color gradient, from yellow to deep navy blue. The other one cut off right where the yellow turned into the mud brown. So in the end I went with this one, since it was the amazing color that made me want to take the picture in the first place.
Be sure to check back tomorrow, because I’m going to post another picture of… actually, I have no idea, but I’m sure it’ll be utterly fascinating. See you then!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, 18-55 mm kit lens. 1/400s, f/5.6, ISO 100. Focal length: 30mm.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Hey everyone, hope you had a great weekend that wasn’t completely wasted on recovering from the stomach flu! If so, that means you’ve got me beat.
Today’s shot was taken last fall (as in, 2008) in the Kubota Garden, which is the “other” Japanese garden in Seattle. (Although that’s probably not quite fair, because it’s actually quite a bit larger than the one in the arboretum, so that one probably deserves the distinction “other”.) Until Julie suggested heading there that day, I didn’t even realize it existed. It’s pretty nice though, and it’s ripe for getting some nice shots, especially in the fall.
If I were to go back though, I’d definitely try to be more prepared. As in, I’d try to bring a tripod. Well, maybe a gorillapod since they frown on bringing full-on tripods into the garden unless you pay for a permit. Most of the shots I found myself wanting to take ended up being well-shaded, so I was pretty limited without one. This was a case, though, where having an image stabilized lens helped me. I took a bunch of shots that day with shutter speeds of between 1/30th and 1/60th of a second. None of them really came out spectacularly, but a fair number of them are passable. Like today’s shot. It’s just sharp enough to not be painful to look at, although it’s definitely not crystal clear. Worth posting, but not worth hanging on the wall. Also, since it was pretty dark in there, I was forced to crank up the ISO (to 800 for this shot) and open up the aperture all the way just to get even to a 1/30th second shutter speed. With the new camera (Rebel T1i), the high ISO wouldn’t have hurt as much, although I didn’t yet own it at the time. Maybe next year?
BTW: this is your last chance to order your 2010 calendar! Well, that’s not quite true, you can always ask me for one, and I’d always be happy to send you one. But this is your last chance to get one before 2010. Also, if you’d like any other memorabilia (prints, tshirts, photo mugs, signed concert posters, anything available from snapfish, shutterfly, or pick your favorite print-your-own-photos place), that can, uh, also be arranged.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Tamron 28-300 mm VC lens. 1/30s, f/3.5, ISO 800. Focal length: 33mm.