Monday, August 30, 2010
Hello, dear readers! It’s Monday again! Woooooo!!!!! What, not feeling the enthusiasm?? Yeah, me neither. Sigh. I went out of town this last weekend though, that was cool. Headed up to Whistler, and did a little bit of hiking. That’s not where this picture is from though. More on that in a bit.
I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this already or not, but I have a new (ish) rule of thumb: I refuse to look at my pictures on the big screen until at least a couple days have passed since I took them. Sounds like a weird self-imposed rule, right? Well, see, there’s a reason I had to do it. I’m always excited at the pictures I’m taking. For whatever reason, they always seem to look FANTASTIC on the little screen on my camera. So I take a few, and I get stoked that I got THE SHOT, and that forever after I’ll be finally satisfied that I captured the perfect image, and that I’ll get home and be able to retire the camera forever. But… it never quite works out that way. Ignoring for a minute the fact that taking pictures is just like a drug (you can never get enough! Even when you get the shot you dreamed of, it never satisfies you – you immediately start dreaming about your next hit.), for whatever reason when you look at them on the big screen, they’re never quite as sharp as you thought, or the color’s not quite right, or there’s a blemish that you didn’t see before, or you just missed the most interesting part of the mountain, whatever. And that just crushes my soul. It sucks the excitement for the pictures right out of me. I mean, these issues are usually very minor, and usually aren’t even noticeable at web-size. But, instead of going to bed riding the glow of “I got some AWESOME shots today!” I end up going to bed really sad, and then I don’t want to look at them again for weeks. On the other hand, if I just enjoy the euphoric high for the rest of the day or whatever, and wait until it fades away naturally, then I can approach the photographic results with a more level head. I’ve told myself I’ve had this rule for awhile, but I’ve only really gotten serious about enforcing it lately, the last few weeks or so. And it’s been working out GREAT! So, long story short, I’m not going to be looking at my pictures from this weekend for at least another day or two.
So, in the meantime, you get a picture from Colorado, from last summer. This was taken with my wide angle lens (Tokina 11-16) in a spot called Mayflower Gulch. It’s a really short trail (a mile-ish?), because I only had a tiny bit of time that day. The trailhead is a little ways south of Copper Mountain along highway 91 (which I believe has the nickname “Top of the Rockies Highway”). I think the trail keeps on going (or there’s probably several trail choices once you get to the gulch) but I didn’t have time for any of that. I was able to get to a nice setting, and that had to be good enough for me. My buddy Trevor (who lives up in Summit County) took me out there, after I asked for a short trail that would let me get some nice pics. This choice worked out perfectly!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. 1/250s, f/9.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 12mm.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Anybody know if this is a bee or wasp? I think the answer would lie in what the stinger looked like, or if there even was one. Unfortunately, you can’t see it. Sigh.
UPDATE: A reader named Joan Knapp (see her blog here) pointed out that this is actually a fly, “Genus Spilomyia”. So there you go!
What do you mean that flower looks familiar? Umm, right. This may or may not have been taken at about the same time as yesterday’s picture. Actually, all three pictures I’ve posted this week came from last weekend. I think that’s actually the first time I’ve ever done that. Normally I try to spread things out so as to not saturate the blog with one subject. Plus, then I can post two pictures that are really similar but yet a little bit different months apart, and nobody says anything. Oh, wait, nobody says anything anyway. Right.
Notice how the eyeball patterns are different? Weird. Have I mentioned lately that you guys should all sign up for Flattr?
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro lens, cheap macro ring flash. 1/160s, f/18.0, ISO 100.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Well, okay, whatever, maybe they’re not daisies. Seriously though, what are they?? I don’t know, and none of you ever feel like telling me. So, eff it, they’re daisies.
I like a lot of the elements of this picture. But I’m only posting it today so I can talk about what I *don’t* like about it. Because not only do I feel that it didn’t live up to its potential, I don’t even think it’s a particularly good picture. Why? Well, it’s too dark, and there’s not enough contrast.
For whatever reason, things that are really strongly red or orange really play tricks with the camera sensor. The redness maxes out way too early, leaving the rest of the image a bit dark. I tried to brighten this one up, but when I was able to get it to the point where I was happy with the overall illumination, the deep red and orange petals were way beyond blown out. So, the only way to be able to maintain ANY of that red vs. orange details (which is the most interesting part of those flowers, if you ask me), was to keep it kind of dark like this. And I guess if you’re not looking at it in the context of any other pictures, it’s not too bad. But I’m not super happy with it.
Then, there’s the contrast. I was trying to go for the effect of having those two flowers in front really pop out, but I also wanted to create the idea of them being in the middle of a huge flower bed full of them. Unfortunately, in this result, it’s hard to catch the difference. There’s just not enough of a difference between the in-focus ones and the out-of-focus ones for your eye to grab on to. A lot of times, you can use focus vs. bokeh to provide that contrast that I was going for, but with the strong reds and the lack of a sharp edge on the far petals, in this case they just blend together. Another option would have been to put a little bit of green just above that close flower, I should have gone with that. It’s of course easy to say that now, I just wish I had thought of it then.
Oh well, maybe next time, huh?
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i. Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro lens. 1/320s, f/9.0, ISO 400.
Monday, August 23, 2010
My original plan for this weekend was to FINALLY get out backpacking, since I haven’t yet been able to make it work this summer. But, once again, the weather intervened. Not that it was supposed to be particularly BAD up in the mountains, just that it wasn’t going to be good enough to make it work out. All of the forecasts I checked made it sound like it would be pretty nice Saturday, but then on Sunday it would just be cloudy and a bit chilly, with perhaps some rain mixed in. The chilly part didn’t bother me, but there’s a very particular kind of overcast that we get out here in the PNW that makes landscape type pictures pretty bland. Featureless grey, with nice flat light. So, since we had a bunch of stuff to take care of around the house this weekend, we decided, again, to bag it. Sigh.
Fortunately, that still left open the possibility of doing other stuff. So, as a result, we were able to check another item off my list: we drove up into Canada and checked out Manning Provincial Park. Manning Park is just across the border from North Cascades National Park, similar to how Waterton Park is Canada’s answer to Glacier National Park in Montana. There’s a highway that traverses the park east-to-west, which is about 3 and a half hours from Seattle. There’s a couple viewpoints where you can see some nice big craggy peaks to the south, almost all of which are actually across the border in the USA. (Although since vehicular access is basically nonexistent in NCNP, you can see American peaks from Manning Park that you would never see in the states without hiking for several days.)
So, here’s a Manning Park view. This was looking southwest-ish, so I believe those peaks you’re looking at are around the north end of Ross Lake, which is a narrow north-south lake (it’s a dammed river) that stretches all the way from Highway 20 (the road through North Cascades National Park) up to just past the Canadian border (about 23 miles to the north). There’s a small ski area in the park, which is now on my list of places to check out. So, while I checked one item off the list, it simply got replaced. Oh well, that’s how these things go.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 55-250mm IS lens. 1/640s, f/10.0, ISO 200. Focal length: 208mm.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Oh man, I was so excited this week to pick out a mediocre image for mediocre image Thursday. But I missed it! I totally missed my chance! Dang! I mean, that’s not to say that Thursdays are any different from any other day of the week. But, it’s always nice to get a chance to explicitly call out mediocrity when you see it. You know, get rid of all the pretense and such. It’s liberating!
Today, we’re back to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. I think this one is from this year, but I can never keep that straight. I, uhh… don’t really have a whole lot else to say today. Since it’s already late. See you all on Monday!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Quantaray 70-300mm lens. 1/640s, f/5.6, ISO 100. Focal length: 271mm.