Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The images that I’m using for Mediocre Image Thursday are so mediocre that I can’t even manage to keep a schedule! Alternatively, you all behaved so well over the last 6 days that I decided to give you your mediocre image a whole day early! Wow!! Next week, I promise it’ll be on Thursday again, which really doesn’t matter.
This image goes waaaaaaaay back into the archives. This is a super old picture that I took with my old 35mm SLR and scanned in. Most of the 35mm shots I’ve used so far were at least near the end of my 35mm experience, but noooo, not this one. This one was from right in the heart of it.
You’re of course looking at Niagara Falls, which is somewhere up near Buffalo, NY. I thought this was taken on the Canadian side of the falls, but looking at the map I’m not sure if that’s possible. Although this was taken long enough ago that they may well have rearranged the border since then, how the heck would I know?? I’d like to head back up there some day, but I don’t have any plans to do so yet. Maybe it’ll never happen, we’ll see.
Notes: Pentax ME 35mm SLR, unknown 40-80mm lens. All other details unknown.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
As promised, here’s another lightning storm from a ridiculously active storm that I was watching from the deck at my parents’ house.
I’ll keep the comments short because I’m stupid-busy at work today, and I’ve already said most of what I’d say in the post about the previous lightning picture, way back when. Go look for that one if you want to know more.
As I mentioned before, usually with lightning pictures, you have to keep a somewhat wide frame, since otherwise you’ll miss all of the strikes. But this storm was so amazingly active and CLOSE that I was able to get away with slapping on the huge telephoto lens. And, as you can see, on this shot, I got TWO strikes that were right across the valley from me. (You know how when lightning is really close, there’s no gap between the lightning and the thunder? Yeah, both of these.)
The other amazing thing about this shot is that it was taken with my old 35 mm camera. Which means a couple things: 1) I had no idea if I had even gotten any strikes in my pictures. I just held the shutter open for 45 seconds at a time and hoped. It wasn’t until several days later when I got the pictures back that I saw the results. 2) I was using film. Which meant I only had 24 chances per roll to get it right.
If I had been using digital, I would have not only been able to see if I was exposing it right before the storm ran it’s course, I would also have as many chances as I wanted to nail it. So I’m pretty happy that I was able to get both of these shots during just that one storm. And, actually, it was shortly after taking this picture that I just started getting a little too freaked out. Keep in mind that I was standing out on a deck in the rain next to a tripod while these strikes were hitting less than a mile away. Oh, did I mention that my parents’ house is on top of a hill? And that there’s a system of lightning rods on the top of the house because we get lots of lightning up there? Hmm. Yeah, I got my tail inside.
That’s it for today. I can’t think of a good way to wrap up this entry.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009.
Vote on this picture:
Another super old one today. This one was taken at a rest area in I think it was Oregon, when I was in the process of moving out to Seattle. As in, I was literally driving the Uhaul out here, and stopped to pee. There were a bunch of prairie dogs at the rest stop, that were apparently used to people being around, because those guys were absolutely fearless. Normally, it’d be pretty tough to get close enough for a picture like this, but I was able to bribe this guy with a couple graham crackers. (I have another picture of him munching on an entire cracker that I gave him, pretty cute. Actually, “gave him” is not quite right, in reality I had it sitting on the ground in front of me when I was taking pictures of this guy, when his buddy snuck up between my legs and grabbed it. Whatever.
I took this one with my old 35mm SLR, using the big macro lens that I had for it. That lens could be tough to use, especially for animals, because it had such a small depth of field. (Meaning, it was really hard to get the part you wanted in focus.) Even in tihs picture, you can see that starting around his shoulder, it’s already getting fuzzy. So if either the subject moves, or you accidentally move forward or backward by half an inch, suddenly your picture is worthless. Plus, this was in the days before digital, so you wouldn’t know it until you got the roll developed. So then you’re faced with either wasting half of your roll to make sure you got a good one, or just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. Man, I hated the 35mm days. Some purists try to claim that something was lost when we went to digital, that film is the only way to go. I think that’s stupid, no offense intended. Well, okay, a little bit of offense intended. Digital is amazing, I’m never going back.
Notes: Old Pentax 35mm, unknown lens, unknown details.
May 19, 2009.
Today’s pic is from way back in the day, about 10 years ago. This is way before I got involved with digital, this one is a scanned in 35mm shot.
As anyone who has ever lived there knows, Colorado Springs gets some capital-c-Crazy storms that roll in off the mountains on summer afternoons. Back when I lived with my parents, I dabbled from time to time with trying to get good shots of lightning. The basic idea is pretty straightforward: You point the camera where the lightning is, and hold open the shutter. Since it’s usually dark out, you can hold open the shutter for 45 seconds or a minute, and the frame won’t be overexposed. Then, when the lightning actually flashes, you can let the shutter close.
However, there’s two problems with that: 1) that only really works if it’s nighttime, because otherwise you can’t just hold open the shutter like that, and 2) lightning is sort of hard to predict. So you usually have to keep a pretty wide angle to even get it in the frame at all, and then it usually looks pretty small in the resulting picture.
There was one storm in particular though that let me get around those issues, I’m pretty sure it was when I was back at home during summer break from college. I started out with the usual wide angle, but the lightning was hitting so hard, often, and CLOSE that I decided to try putting on the big telephoto lens, and see what came out. I got a couple great shots from that storm, this being one of them. (The other good one actually has TWO strikes in the frame, but it’s also got a bunch of houses and stuff, so I always go back and forth over which picture I actually like more. Maybe I’ll post that one sometime later.)
Here’s the map for this one: http://tinyurl.com/r9fvtp
Notes: Old Pentax 35mm camera. Unknown lens, f-stop, shutter speed, probably 200 ASA.