Wednesday, June 30, 2010
It’s the end of June, folks. That means fall is right around the corner. I’m saying that with a particularly cynical attitude, given that here in Seattle we’re still waiting for our summer weather to start. A common joke around here is that summer in Seattle starts on July 5th. And this year it’s holding particularly true. We’ve still only had I believe one day that hit 75 degrees in Seattle this year. One. Effing. Day. As I write this it’s hovering “comfortably” in the low 60s. But, sometime in the mid-morning on July 5, our summertime high pressure is supposed to finally arrive in earnest, and next week is supposed to be gorgeous. But until the 5th, we’ll be struggling to hit 65 degrees. Sigh.
Right, anyway. Here’s another picture taken in the fall along the Merritt Lake Trail. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you might start to wonder if the Merritt Lake Trail is the ONLY trail I’ve ever hiked in the fall. But the reality is, if you just consider the last couple years, you’d be exactly right. (Amazing what having a kid will do to your best laid plans…) But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a FANTASTIC trail in the fall. Lots of crazy bold colors that don’t seem like they should naturally occur in nature, especially not in that quantity. (Maybe not QUITE as unnatural-looking at the explosion of fluffy pink cherry blossoms in the springtime, but bringing those up is playing dirty.)
Anyway, enjoy the rest of your June. If you don’t live in the Pacific Northwest with me, you’re probably outside having fun instead of hunkering down inside with a jacket on reading stupid blogs on the internet.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200s, f/6.3, ISO 100. Focal length: 28mm
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
So as long as we’re on a Jamaican kick, I may as well keep it going. This is yet another shot that I got when I was in Jamaica earlier this year. This is a hibiscus flower. Or, this is *an* hibiscus flower. Normally, I tend to be one of those obnoxious folks that’s always snarkily pointing out glaring grammatical flaws. (My two personal favorites are using an apostrophe to pluralize a word (using apostrophe’s to pluralize your word’s), and using “less” instead of “fewer”. God I hate that.) But, in this particular case, I don’t know how I feel about it. I mean, I KNOW that you’re supposed to use “an” with words that start with h. But I just don’t buy it. It doesn’t feel natural. H is a consonant. It sounds like a consonant (most of the time, anyway). So why should we treat it like a vowel. Grrr, it eats me up inside.
Anyway, right, hibiscus. Cool, right? Yeah. I took this one with my ordinary walk-around lens (Tamron 17-50), but I used a cheap set of diopters aka macro lenses aka “a macro kit”. Basically, a couple little magnifying lenses that you screw on the end of your lens like a filter, that magnify the subject and let you focus closer. They’re a great way to dip your feet into macro photography, because they’re cheap. I mean, sure, if you’re a Canon purist, you can of course find a way to spend hundreds of dollars on one. But you don’t HAVE to, you can get an off brand (I have a set from Hoya and a set from Opteka. Different sizes, to fit different lenses, that’s why I have two) and only spend 20 or 30 bucks. I read a blog once from a guy that spent WEEKS researching which way to go, and eventually he decided to get the cheap ones, and he was just AMAZINGLY disappointed. He actually went so far to include the words “BIG MISTAKE” in his blog post. Yeah, that’s total crap. They’re not that bad. And besides, you spent 20 bucks on the goddamn things, how big of a mistake could it have really been? For things that are cheap like that, there’s no reason NOT to try them out. Sure, they may not be fantastic, but you may be surprised, and regardless, you’re only out like 20 bucks. Personally, I’m pretty happy with the cheapie cheaps. Sure, they’ve got their limitations, but as long as you realize that, you can work with it, and you can do some cool stuff.
Okay, rant over. Sorry I missed yesterday. I may also miss tomorrow, just sayin’.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens with Opteka macro kit. 1/1000s, f/4.5, ISO 200. Focal length: 30mm.
Friday, June 25, 2010
So I realized yesterday that seeing an image taken in the middle of the winter may not be the most appropriate thing to post at the beginning of the summer, so I decided to send you all off to your weekend with a nice beach shot. That’s actually a totally garbage anecdote, I just needed a way to start off today’s post, other than just saying “Hello, everyone!” Hope you enjoyed it.
Yes, this is another shot from my Jamaican vacation a little while ago. I’ve still got a ton of pics left from that trip, but I’ve basically covered all the major themes. (I’ve got a beach shot, a beach shot with a boat, a sunset shot, a sunset shot with a boat.. you get the idea.) But, as long as I space them out a bit, I figure it’s ok.
Now, for the meaty part of the post. I believe I’ve mentioned at least once or twice before how useful a polarizing filter can be. (In fact, I think I said something along the lines of “If you go to the beach without one I’ll hunt you down and say derogatory things to you until your self-esteem is significantly worse than it was before.”) So it turns out that, while I was in Jamaica, I was playing around a bit with the video feature on my current SLR (Canon T1i), and I took a couple movies with the polarizer on there, so you can see what it actually does for you. It’s one thing to talk about it, but it’s another thing entirely to actually SEE it. In case you’ve never seen or used one before, a circular polarizer is a filter that you screw on to the front of your lens like any other filter. However, unlike most filters, it’s actually comprised of two pieces, such that the actual glass part of the filter can freely rotate on your lens, because the polarizer does different things depending on the angle of the light. In practice, this changes the effect of the filter from being almost negligible (well, it basically changes it just into a neutral density filter, which has the effect of just dimming the light, like sunglasses, without affecting the color at all) to being full-on polarized. Thus, when using one, you rotate the filter to get the effect you want, then you take the picture. So, in the video below, that’s what I was doing, just rotating the filter while recording the video. This doesn’t really require explanation if you actually watch the video, but watch what it does to the water, and you’ll understand why you should never go to the Caribbean without one.
Right, on that note.. Have a great weekend!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens with circular polarizer. 1/200s, f/9.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 50mm, cropped.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Apparently this week’s pattern is to post pictures from cameras of lower and lower quality each day. Monday, it was a photo from my most modern SLR body and the “new hotness” lens. Yesterday, it was my old SLR and my crappy lens. Today, it’s from a no-longer-current pocket point and shoot. Tomorrow? It’ll be a pencil sketch on notebook paper.
This was taken from near the bottom of the Summit Central ski area, which is one of four that make up the Summit At Snoqualmie. Summit Central was known as Ski Acres only a couple years before I moved out here, but that’s not relevant.
In other news, I suppose this is a fine opportunity to once again give a tepid encouragement for all of you to vote for me in the Blogger’s Choice Awards. For those of you who aren’t familiar with those awards, it’s a website where you can nominate yourself, and then tell all of your readers to go vote for you. Thus, it’s totally just a dirty trick to get folks like me to do their marketing for them. You have to register an account (with a valid email) to vote, so it seems pretty skeezeball. However, I *can* say that, since I gave them my email a year or so ago, they’ve never send me any kind of spam or anything. That’s not to say they won’t ever, but it’s definitely not QUITE as skeezeball as I expected it to be. The award itself is meaningless, but what ISN’T meaningless is the traffic they send to my page, simply by me being in the running. So, if you feel like helping a guy out, go ahead and vote for me. Here’s how:
1) Go to bloggerschoiceawards.com. I’m not going to link to it, because I don’t want to give them my linkjuice. But type that into your browser’s address bar, and create an account.
2) Go to the Best Photography Blog category. (Also, Best Travel Blog, Best Hobby Blog, and Best Blog About Stuff. I know, I know, shut up.)
3) Vote for me. At the time I’m writing this, I’m in second place.
Notes: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS (Point and shoot). 1/250s, f/14.0, ISO 80.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Wow, I just realized it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted a picture from Colorado. It’s sad that I don’t live there anymore, and thus don’t have a steady drip of new pics from the area coming in, but still.
You’re looking at Hahn’s Peak, which is a little ways outside of Steamboat Springs. I was in the area a couple years ago for my wife’s family reuinion, so I got pretty familiar with the view up at this guy, since it pretty much dominates the valley where we were staying. This particular shot was taken from right near the trailhead that takes you up to the top, to that little fire lookout that you can see there. In a nice dose of typical Colorado late-summer weather, it was almost perfectly clear when we started our hike, but a few thunderstorms rolled in soon after we got down off the top. I guess it’s good that we weren’t running any later than we were, you definitely don’t want to be exposed out of the trees during an electrical storm…
In other news, I keep mentioning how disappointed I was in my Tamron 28-300 VC, but yet I keep posting pics from that lens. You may be wondering why that is. I mean, I certainly am. The reality is, that was the only lens I used for basically an entire year, and the non-VC version of that lens was my primary lens for essentially another year before that. So, all of the pictures I took from that timeframe used it. So while it’s true that the quality of most of those pics isn’t quite what I’d like, that’s the only pics I’ve got from then. Also, I’m still in the midst of really going through all of the pictures from then and doing whatever processing I’m going to do. (It’s tough to power through it when so many of the pics that I thought would be fantastic just aren’t because of my equipment, so I end up putting it off, A LOT.) So, even though this is a two year old picture from a lens I didn’t like, I just recently got around to digging it out of the pile. And there are plenty more where this one came from. So I’m sure you’ll continue to see them from time to time. Get comfortable.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Tamron 28-300mm VC lens. 1/125s, f/14.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 154mm.