Monthly Archives: February 2010

February 19, 2010 – Purple Coneflower

Purple Coneflower

Friday, February 19, 2010

See? We’re back on schedule, just like I promised. This is a purple coneflower, I saw it when I was walking around my neighborhood late last summer. It was just before sunset, so the light was doing some really cool stuff, both giving a nice warm glow to the petals, as well as lighting up those little spiky things in the middle, making them seem like they were lit up from within. I thought it was a pretty cool effect. The difficulty comes in because of the short depth of field I was using. Depending on if you focused on the very tip of the spiky things, somewhere in the middle, or back on the petals themselves, you’d end up with wildly different shots, some of which just.. didn’t look right. In this one you can see that I went right in the middle, but I have examples of the others that I may post here someday so you can see the difference.

Back to the illumination for a minute… having that warm light come in from the side and a little bit behind can make for some really cool effects. The most dramatic use I’ve seen for it is with fall colors. If you can get the light just right, the colored leaves (or flowers, or whatever) really shine out with color, it can be really spectacular. On the other hand, if you just have the light shining directly on the subject (ie if the sun is behind you), they just look flat and kind of dirty. You can get a similar illumination effect by having the sun directly in front of you (as in, behind the subject), but that has other issues; you lose your shadows, and it can be so bright that it can wash out the colors you want, or you’ll lose your blue sky, stuff like that. Of course, like any supposed “rule” in photography, even if something in general is undesirable, there are absolutely cases where you can use it to great effect. So, whatever, ignore everything I just said. If you see something nice, take a shot from every angle you can think of, in front, from behind, off to the side, whatever. We’re all shooting digital, right? (Right???) so who cares if you waste a few frames? Take them home, and see what you like best. Here’s a dirty little secret: a lot of the time when I’m taking a picture, I don’t actually have the exact picture I’m going for in mind. I just see that there are a lot of interesting elements, and I know that they can fit together somehow to make a great picture, so I take a whole bunch, trying out different sets of parameters in each one, hoping that I’m able to find the magic mix. Sometimes things look a lot different once you look at them on the big screen, you’ll see some detail that you missed before, that can really pop and make the whole picture. I’m rambling. I’m going to stop now. Have a great weekend!

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Quantaray 70-300 mm lens. 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 800. Focal length: 300mm.

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February 18, 2010 – Mt. Rainier from Crystal Mountain

Mt. Rainier from Crystal Mountain

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hey everyone! We’re back! And, hopefully, stable for awhile now, with no more last-minute swapping of web hosting services required. (Once again, I’ll take a moment to remind you that Lunarpages sucks, Lunarpages is awful, they’re a joke of an organization, take your cashmoney elsewhere.)

You’re looking at Mt. Rainier, a huge volcano that could explode at any moment, which will inevitably wipe Tacoma off the face of the Earth. But it probably won’t any time soon, so you shouldn’t let the threat of looming death deter you from, for example, visiting the Point Defiance Zoo (which I’ve heard is lovely). This is the standard shot, taken from the standard spot, just off the top of the Rainier Express (Rex) lift at Crystal Mountain. Pictures can never do it justice, unfortunately, there’s no substitute for just heading on up there and seeing it for yourself. Pictures make things so small, but it’s really quite spectacular when you see it looming there in front of you, it really is impossibly huge. This view is in itself worth the price of admission on a clear day.

So I’m not sure how closely any of you actually read these posts, as opposed to just checking out the pictures, but the answer is yes, this picture was indeed taken just this past Monday, when I decided to head up skiing instead of posting an image here. So selfish, I know. But it was a gorgeous day, I got several shots that are picture-of-the-day-worthy, so you’ll no doubt be seeing them soon-ish. Probably the day after I force you to sit through another Shannon Creek or Shi Shi Beach shot. Won’t that be fun!

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 lens. 1/400s, f/10.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 21mm.

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February 17, 2010 – Strange Vine revisited

Strange vine revisited

Strange vine revisited

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hey again everyone, sorry for the late post today. It’s been a tough day trying to catch up on everything that I missed from yesterday (the hockey game was AWESOME! Maybe I’ll make a special post sometime with some of the results from me playing sports photographer for the day), so I’m only getting a chance to post something now. I promise, tomorrow we’ll be back on our regular schedule.

This is another take on the crazy curly vine thing that you last saw back in December. To sort of paraphrase what I said about it back then: I don’t know what it is, but I thought it was kind of cool looking. So, I took a picture. Actually, I took a lot of pictures. But this may be the last picture of it you see. Maybe not, we’ll see how I feel in April.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-300 mm lens with Hoya Macro Kit. 1/250s, f/4.0, ISO 800. Focal length: 35mm.

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February 15, 2010 – Parrot



Monday, February 15, 2010

Hey everyone, I’m back! You probably noticed that I haven’t posted anything since last Wednesday. It’s all true. Turns out, my old webhost reached a new level of suckage (suspending my account for using too much of my unlimited space?? what??) so I had to scramble to find a new web hosting business to slowly suck the life out of me. For what it’s worth, if you’re looking for hosting services, LunarPages sucks, so look elsewhere. (I’m with DreamHost now. It’s of course too early to say, but so far they’re looking good.) So during the crazy DNS dance of the past several days (half of the world would land on the new server when they hit, the other half would still land on the old one) I never got a chance to post anything.

And, to make it even more interesting, I actually get today off work, so I’m minutes away from heading up skiing, and tomorrow I’ll be heading up to Vancouver for the Olympics. So if I didn’t post anything now, it’d be a full week of no posts. So I figured I’d toss something up here real quick before I headed out.

What, the picture? You want to know about the picture? Oh… it’s a parrot.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Tamron 28-300 mm VC lens. 1/200s, f/10.0, ISO 200. Focal length: 184mm.

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February 10, 2010 – Shannon Creek

Shannon Creek

Shannon Creek

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not too long ago, I posted another picture of Shannon Creek. This one came from the same day. That day, I spent awhile playing around among the rocks and the stream. I got quite a few pictures that were at least good enough to bring into Rate Dave’s Photos to see how they looked at this size. Not all of them are any good, but they’re at least all interesting in their own right. Also, as you can see here, I played around with making a lot of them black and white. If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know my thoughts on black and white (in the digital age, it’s kind of cheesy, it’s like a cheap parlour trick to add drama to a shot – or at least that’s how it feels when I try it..) But I figured it would be fun to try on these images.

The obvious difference between the black and white shots and the color shots is that it immediately changes the emphasis of the shot. Before, in the full-color shot, my eye was drawn to all the different shades of green and brown mixed in, both in the rocks and plants above the water, but those under the surface as well. Once you make it black and white, suddenly each rock changes from one unique shade of brown to a mashup of texture. Still unique, but for a different reason. The focus of the shot becomes how all the different textures (of the rocks and the water surface too) play together.

I gotta be honest though, I’m still a color-guy. I’m still just not feeling this black and white stuff. Probably because I’m not very good at it, but still.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Tamron 28-300 mm VC lens. 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 200. Focal length: 39mm.

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