Friday, October 22, 2010
Wow, it’s Friday already?? That week went quick. To celebrate, here’s a shot that I took while hiking a couple weeks ago. I realized a couple days ago that, as happy as I was with the pictures that I got from this hike, I’ve so far only posted one here on the blog. So, here’s number two. Yay! In the interest of full disclosure, this one wasn’t my favorite shot that I got from the day, not even from that general part of the hike. But, this is the one that got the most comments of “ooo, I like that one.” Personally, I think it’s messy, since I didn’t do a great job of not having random little branches poking into the frame. Now that I’ve pointed them out, you’re probably all focusing in on them, which is probably getting in the way of you enjoying what you previously probably thought was a nice little picture. Ah well.
This was taken from very near Maple Pass, which is in North Cascades National Park, accessed via the trail that has the somewhat obvious name of “Maple Pass trail”. I don’t know what the name of that mountain is, but my best guess (based on looking at the map) is Black Peak. As you can probably tell, the fall colors that day were stupendous. Although, it’s not the same kind of color that you see elsewhere (like in New England, where I was last weekend..) At least in this part of the state, in the high country – it’s all pine trees. But, there’s a lot of little bushes and such that change colors pretty dramatically, and once you get really high, you start to see more and more of these larches, which are pine trees that actually change color and drop their needles. I knew there would be some along this trail, but I thought we were a couple weeks to early to see them this colorful. Apparently we nailed it right at the peak. Go us!
Have a great weekend, everyone! Try to get outside to see some color if you can. Out here, I’ll be hunkered down due to weather. But I’d bet you’ve got some good color going on where you are, I want to see pictures!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200. Focal length: 29mm.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Hey look, it’s the return of Mediocre Image Thursday! With even less fanfare this time!! (Meaning, I didn’t call it out in the post title. That’s what passes for fanfare around here.) This picture was taken while hiking around on Blackcomb Mountain (part of Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Resort, of course), a couple years ago. This was taken before they had any officially designated trails on Blackcomb (they did have several on Whistler though), a couple of years before they opened the new Peak-2-Peak gondola. To get up to the top, you just followed the routine for those who were skiing on the glacier, which is to say, you rode 2 chairs up from the village, then took a bus over to the bottom of the 7th Heaven chair, and rode it up to the top. (And then the glacier is on the other side of the ridge, and is lift served by two t-bars.) So, if you’re a hiker, you just get dropped off on the ridgeline, and you can scramble around on the rocks and stuff. This is overlooking the 7th Heaven area, looking into Garibaldi Provincial Park (and I believe that’s Overlord Peak and the Overlord Glacier in the distance.)
This, like many other pictures I’ve posted recently, was taken with my crappy lens (my old Tamron 28-300 VC), and thus had to be post-processed somewhat severely to even bring it into the realm of respectability. Even so, it seems like I screwed up the colors a bit and maybe oversharpened it, but that’s standard operating procedure for me. For some reason, this is one of the most highly rated images on Rate Dave’s Photos, although that’s not entirely fair to say, because it’s only gotten 3 votes. (2 10’s and a 9.) Needless to say, I don’t feel that it deserves those ratings, but hey, whatever floats your boat.
Come back tomorrow, and I’ll post something better! I don’t know what it’ll be yet, but it’ll be the best thing ever. Maybe.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Tamron 28-300mm VC lens. 1/60s, f/22.0, ISO 200. Focal length: 28mm.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Wow, I just realized just before I wrote this sentence that I haven’t posted a vertical picture in exactly one month. That’s… not really that interesting, but it’s definitely statistically anomalous. So, given that… umm.. *this* is the picture I chose to break the dry spell? Hmm.
Some days I have a pretty clear idea of the picture I want to post ahead of time, or at least the general theme I want to go with. But other days, I have no idea. On those days, I generally just start flipping through my pictures seeing if anything catches my eye. (Generally I do this by just flipping through Rate Dave’s Photos just clicking on the “see next picture” link, until I find 5 or 6 decent candidates, then I pick one.) This one floats by from time to time. It’s not my favorite, but I do like the colors. So, I decided to go out on a limb today and toss it up on the wall.
This was taken on the Seattle City Light tour of Diablo Lake. Diablo Lake is up in North Cascades National Park. It was formerly a river, but now it’s got a couple dams on it that provide a decent amount of power for Seattle. (Ross Lake, the one that stretches just over the border into Canada, is formed by the dam at the top of Diablo Lake, for what it’s worth.) On the tour, they toss you on a boat and take you from one dam (at the bottom of Diablo Lake) up to the other. It’s fairly interesting, definitely worth the time to do. Plus, the views are really nice, although the tour takes place right in the early/mid afternoon, when the light is the absolute worst for taking pictures of those views. But it’s fun, and it gives you an excuse to hang around in the park for the day.
And yes, the water really is that milky green color. It’s all glacial meltwater, so there are tons of minerals and stuff dissolved in it. Depending on the time of day and angle of light, it can really be striking, it can look really strange if you’re not expecting it. I have run out of things to say today.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Tamron 28-300mm VC lens. 1/60s, f/6.3, ISO 100. Focal length: 42mm.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
What were you expecting, more fall colors?? Nah, not today. Instead, we’re going to go with an insect picture, just because I know how much my friend-in-law likes them. (That’s what you call somebody who is your friend by marriage, right?)
This one wasn’t taken with my normal macro setup. So I think that’s worth talking about. I took this one while out hiking, whereas most of my insect pictures are taken around my neighborhood. The macro stuff I usually use (macro lens, extension tubes, macro flash, sometimes a tripod or a monopod) can be kind of bulky. It’s fine if I know I’m going to be looking for bugs, but on a hike, bugs aren’t really the goal. So, that led to the question of what I should bring along. Ideally, if I did see a cool bug worth taking a picture of, I’d want to be able to do so. But, all the stuff I’m already bringing on hikes (camera, 3 lenses, plus filters, extra batteries, etc) is kind of annoying, so bringing even more stuff, like a lens specifically for macro and a flash, is not really desirable. So, as a compromise, I’ve started just bringing a couple extension tubes. They’re pretty lightweight and small, and they’re pretty rugged, so you don’t have to take as good of care of them as you do lenses. After doing some experimenting, I decided I could get “close enough” by using the tubes with my telephoto lens. (That worked better than with my wide angle or my standard range lens, for what it’s worth.)
The day I took this picture was really the first time I really tried it out in actual use, and I was glad to see that the hacked-up setup did indeed work “well enough”. It definitely wasn’t as pleasant to use as my regular setup, but it got the job done. Good thing, too, since I was on a hike that was supposed to have really great views (but didn’t, they were only mediocre) on a day that was supposed to have really nice weather (but didn’t, it was that bland featureless overcast that just kills me. And then it started raining), so it was nice to have other things to take pictures of. Although the fact that I didn’t have a flash meant that I had to crank up the ISO, but the results were still passable.
So, to summarize, here’s the setup I bring with me on hikes these days, for those who are curious. Camera (Canon EOS Rebel T1i), with Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens attached. I usually have that in my hand the entire hike. Then, I have a small camera bag attached to the side of my backpack. In there, I have two lenses (Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 and Canon 55-250mm IS), two extension tubes, two filters (circular polarizers for the 11-16 and 17-50 – need to get one for the 55-250, but haven’t bothered yet), 3-4 spare batteries (they’re super cheap on eBay), a couple spare memory cards (that I haven’t needed to use in years), and a lens cleaning cloth. That’s all the important stuff anyway. Then, I sometimes also (when I remember) bring along a gorilla pod, but I basically never get around to actually using it. I really should use a tripod more often, for those times when I want to slow down a river or get some depth of field. But… whatever.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 55-250mm IS lens with Opteka extension tubes. 1/250s, f/7.1, ISO 800. Focal length: 55mm (Well, that’s what the lens was set at..)
Monday, October 18, 2010
Hey everyone! You may have noticed that I failed to post a picture for most of last week. The reason is, I was out of town! I have decided that in general, it’s probably better if I don’t mention it ahead of time, since, umm, then one of you might decide to come break into my house and steal all my stuff. That would be really disappointing for both of us, believe me. But, I’m back now! So now I will post more pictures!
The logical next question is of course, “Where did I go??” (Well, the question would actually be “Where did *you* go”, because most likely it would be “you” asking it, not me. And you was in quotes because it probably wouldn’t actually be you per se asking it, but it would be whoever was playing your part in the conversation in which the subject came up.) The answer is: to the northeast! I had a wedding to attend in New Brunswick, New Jersey over the weekend. So we decided to head out a few days early to go check out the fall colors in New England, since that’s been on my to-do list basically my whole life. And, unfortunately, since we had such a short time there, I’m now even more determined to go BACK someday, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Yeah, it’s pretty incredible, there’s a reason it’s got the reputation it does. We flew in and out of Newark, NJ, then rented a car to drive up to Vermont. If you beeline it, it’s about a 5 or 6 hour drive, but we took our time. So, as a result, we didn’t get up to Vermont proper until it was already dark. We had one full day there, then the next day we had to drive back. That was NOT enough time. We barely saw ANYTHING. Plus, some bad weather rolled in on our dedicated-to-Vermont day, and got even worse for the day we drove back. That didn’t dampen the experience, but it did have a huge impact in my ability to take the kind of pictures I was hoping to take. I still got some that I’m pretty happy with, but I’d need to be up there for way longer than a day to really do what I want to do up there. (Also, most of the good pictures that I did end up getting weren’t even from Vermont, including this one.)
Those of you who are my friends on Facebook should be familiar with this picture – I’ve already posted it there. My original intent was to get a different picture ready for today’s post, but unfortunately after I got back to Seattle yesterday afternoon, I was so tired from flying and driving that I passed out before 8pm, and slept straight through the night. So, since this one is the only one that’s handy, I decided to roll with it. For those of you who were hoping to see another one, umm, sorry.
As I hinted earlier, this picture was NOT taken in Vermont, which was our destination for fall color. This was taken on the way up, in Harriman State Park, which is in southern New York. The colors were fantastic the whole way up and back, so we ended up spending more time than we had intended in non-Vermont locales. (If we had gone straight to pick up our car, then driven to Vermont without stopping, we could have gotten there around noon. As it was, we rolled in around 8:30 pm.) The best weather we had was also on that first day, but since we were driving, most of the pictures I got from that day were either right along side the road, or of the road. Shrug. Also, most of the second half of our drive was along a road called the Taconic Parkway, which heads north through New York. It was a really beautiful drive, highly recommended, but there are very very few places where you can pull off if you wanted to take a picture. There aren’t even shoulders on the road. It’s probably better that way, since had I been able to pull off, we would have rolled in even later, but it also limited the number and quality of the shots I was able to get. I just need to go back, that’s all there is to it. Hopefully that can happen in the next couple of years, we’ll see.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. 1/250s, f/13.0, ISO 400. Focal length: 17mm.