Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Hey look, it’s the same picture that everyone who has ever been to Hawaii has already taken! That’s right folks, I was a tourist just like everyone else while I was there, and I went to a luau at some hotel, and I took long-exposure pictures of the guys doing the fire dancing. I wish I was original, but I so totally am not.
In other news, I decided today to stop posting links to Rate Dave’s Photos. Because it’s dumb, and ugly, and I wouldn’t want anybody to go there anyway. I don’t even have a good reason for why I was putting those links there this whole time. So, I stopped. You probably don’t even know what I’m talking about, which is good, because it’s dumb. Right, good, let’s get on with the rest of our day.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 55-250mm IS lens. 1/10s, f/5.6, ISO 400. Focal length: 200mm.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Hello, welcome back! (That was directed at me more than anyone else.) Those of you in the US probably already know why I didn’t post anything yesterday. (It was a holiday – Independence day!) Those of you *outside* the US probably also had a strong suspicion that you knew why I didn’t post anything yesterday (because I am lazy), but you were wrong! Actually, no, you were right, but that was only the secondary reason.
Regardless, I didn’t post anything. But today I did. It’s not a new picture or anything (yeah, I don’t take those anymore), it’s from last summer. Well, last spring. Whatever. Last year. This was taken on the east side of the mountains here in Washington state. For those of you unfamiliar with the topology of Washington state, it’s … kind of weird. The western part of the state (where I live, in Seattle), is extremely lush and green. We get rain *all* *the* *time*. Seattle has the reputation that it does for a reason. But, nearby to our east are the Cascade mountains. The effect of the mountains on the weather is kind of like squeezing a sponge. Basically, if you drive just a couple hours east of Seattle, over the mountains, you get to a desert. Yeah, it’s weird. But it’s the way it is.
So, that’s where this was taken. Before the Columbia River forms the border between Washington and Oregon, it heads basically straight south for awhile through the heart of Washington State. And Highway 97 runs along it for awhile. And that’s where I took this picture. So this is not the “Columbia River Gorge” that you hear a lot about, which is also pretty. But it *is* a gorge-like area formed by the Columbia River. So, there you go.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. 1/160s, f/9.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 11mm.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Hey again everybody. I apologize that the last two mountain-y pictures I’ve posted have both been wintertime shots. That wasn’t really the intention, it’s just kind of the way things worked out. But, I figured this one was appropriate because I just used it (earlier today!) to enter some cheeseball photo contest that Crystal Mountain (the ski resort) is having. Normally I make it a policy not to enter photo contests. Officially, my reasoning is that photos themselves (and the “quality” thereof) is entirely subjective, and thus the judging of photos to choose the “best one” is completely absurd. That there can be no such thing as a “best” photo, and so to pretend that you are judging photos as such is kind of insulting. Unofficially though, the real reason is because I know I wouldn’t win, and then I know that would make me feel bad. I generally prefer to not feel bad, so I save myself the trouble and I don’t enter, convincing myself that the *real* reason I didn’t enter was the one stated above.
So.. why did I enter this one, then? Not really sure, I guess I was just in a photo contest entering mood. And that’s a total lie. The reason I entered this one is because they were showing some of the other photos that had been entered so far, and they all basically sucked. I mean, like, photos-taken-with-cell-phones sucked. So I basically qualified my reasoning from above, by adding the clause “once the photos meet a certain, fairly low quality bar”. As in, “Once the photos meet a certain, fairly low quality bar, there can be no such thing as a ‘best’ photo”. I still don’t think I’ll win, because I figure the chances are pretty low that mine will be the only “real” (ie non cell-phone) photo entered, and it’ll probably be fairly arbitrary which one is picked as the winner (meaning, “somebody else will enter a picture that’s actually really effing cool”), but hey, we’ll see what happens. The rules were somewhat strict, in that it had to be a picture of Mt. Rainier taken from somewhere on Crystal mountain. But, since you can basically only see Rainier from the ridgeline at the top of the resort, most of the photos entered looked… basically the same. This one’s just a little bit different from the standard view (an example of which can be seen here, which was almost the one I submitted), so I’m hoping that counts for something. I had some *really* different shots, zooming way in so you could just see some of the trees you can see in this shot against the glacier in the background, but it wasn’t readily identifiable as Mt. Rainier, so I figured that might be a bit of a stretch. So, I settled on this one, and then moved on with my life. Which is also a lie, because clearly I’ve been talking about this stupid little photo contest for two paragraphs here on my entirely unrelated blog, so obviously it’s been on my mind most of the day, which is absurd. But, there it is.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 55-250mm IS lens. 1/200s, f/14, ISO 100. Focal length: 65mm.
Monday, June 27, 2011
I’m going to call this a daisy. It might not be a daisy, I don’t really know. I don’t even remember for sure which lens I took it with, so the one listed below is not much more than just a somewhat educated guess. Educated in that I know which lenses I own, so there’s a pretty good chance it was one of those.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200s, f/9, ISO 200. Focal length: 50mm.
Friday, June 24, 2011
So, here’s a ladybug. I used my Tamron 90mm macro lens that I picked up used at Glazer’s a year or two ago. The more I use it, the more I’m convinced that it doesn’t result in quite as nice of images as my Minolta-mount Kiron 105 that I got on Ebay. But, it’s a heck of a lot easier to use. That’s because it’s actually a modern, electronic lens that is designed for working with a Canon body, as opposed to an old, physically actuated lens that was designed for a mount that I’m not even sure they make anymore. The reason that makes a difference in usability primarily comes down to the aperture. With modern lenses, the aperture is held wide open as you’re focusing and composing, then it’s closed down to the desired size when you hit the shutter button. The minolta-mount lens has the same idea, but it’s done physically – meaning there’s a little spring-loaded rod in the mount that, when moved to the side, holds open the aperture. When you hit the shutter button on a camera that uses that mount, it then moves something out of the way that was previously holding that rod in place, thus the spring that I mentioned then closes down the aperture. But obviously, a modern Canon-mount camera doesn’t support that.
So, the upshot of all that is that when you’re using the Kiron lens, you have to close down the aperture before taking the shot. Which means that you’re restricting the amount of light that you have to focus with, sometimes severely so. And, to make matters worse, you’re enlarging your depth of field at the same time. So it becomes extremely difficult to tell if you’re focused on just the spot you want, particularly so when you’re taking macro shots, where being off by a millimeter or less can ruin the shot. Yeah, it’s hard. So, that’s what I mean when I say the Tamron is easier to use, because you can use the wide open aperture to focus, and it’ll automatically step down when you take the shot. But the images aren’t as nice. So it goes.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 90mm macro lens with Opteka extension tube and Phoenix macro ring flash. 1/160s, f/16, ISO 100.