Tuesday, March 9, 2010
I don’t like this picture. I mean, I *really* don’t like this picture. The foreground is all muddled up with a shapeless mess of green stuff, and not only does it not nicely frame the mountain in the background, it actually partially blocks it. I really really don’t like this picture. But for some unknown reason, it seems that everyone else does. At the time I’m writing this, it’s got 53 votes, with an astronomical average of 8.96!! What?!? I mean, I can understand the odd high vote here and there, but normally by the time a mediocre picture gets 53 votes, sanity has prevailed and the average rating has fallen to a more reasonable level. But not with this one.
Am I wrong here?? What do you people see in this picture that I’m missing? There’s got to be something, right? Anyone??
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, 18-55 mm kit lens. 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 100. Focal length: 22mm.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Today brings us back to Mt. Shuksan, and the Heather Meadows Recreation Area in northwestern Washington state. This was taken from the usual viewpoint, but it’s a bit of a different setup than you usually see. It’s of course hard to argue with the usual shot, because if you can time it right when the lake is mirror-smooth, it’s such a classic image. But I still like this setup too. I’m actually a bit disappointed in the quality of this image though. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to try to use a small aperture and keep the mountain totally in focus, or if I should open it wide and really focus on the tree. So instead I went to this annoying in-between state, where it looks like it’s supposed to be in focus, but it’s just not quite there. And then I over sharpened it a bit to compensate. Sigh. Oh well, good enough for a Thursday. And, actually, at the time I probably THOUGHT I was getting it perfectly in focus. This was back when I was still using my Rebel XT, which had a tiny little screen, so it probably looked razor sharp at the time, just not on the big screen. That’s one of the big reasons I upgraded this summer to the T1i, to get the nice big high-res screen. It definitely doesn’t *eliminate* moments like that, but it definitely does make them less frequent. (That’s not meant as a dig on the XT though, it was still a fantastic camera, and I was really happy with it for the entire 3 years that I used it.)
Okay, see you all tomorrow…
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Quantaray 70-300 mm lens. 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 100. Focal length: 70mm.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Hey everyone. In the past I’ve posted a couple of pictures of the view of Mt. Shuksan with Picture Lake. This is also Picture Lake, but seen from the other side. In fact, if you know where to look, you can see where I took those pictures, on that opposite shore.
I just realized now as I’m writing this that this isn’t the picture I intended to post today. Meh, whatever.
Notes: Canon PowerShot S230 (Point and Shoot). 1/500s, f/2.8.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Once again, I’ve got to send out a big welcome to all of today’s new subscribers. We’re up to 224 now, so welcome, welcome, welcome!
When we passed 100, I told number 100 that she could pick out today’s picture, so this is the one she chose. It’s pretty similar to another picture from a month or so ago, but it’s still worth talking about.
This is Mt. Shuksan and (the very aptly named) Picture Lake. It’s in the Heather Meadows Recreation Area, just outside of North Cascades National Park in Washington State. It’s somewhat interesting to note that I’m standing about a quarter of a mile from what serves as the parking lot for the Mt. Baker ski area in the winter. This place gets A LOT of snow in the winter. In fact, Mt. Baker holds the world record for snowfall in one season, with 1,140 inches (29 meters, 95 feet) of snow in the 1998-99 season. As you can imagine, that amount of snow takes quite awhile to melt each year, so it’s well into the summer (sometimes into late August) until this area is snow-free.
It’s pretty simple to get a fantastic picture from this spot. Just about any time of day is great, but I’ve found that the ideal time is around 4 or 5 pm. The sun at that point is shining directly on the mountain, and the daytime breezes are usually starting to settle, so you start to get a really nice mirror-like reflection. (Not as much so in this picture as in several others I have, but hey, this was the one that was picked. What am I going to do, pick my own picture or something? Pshaw.)
Quickly worth noting: the other picture that I mentioned I’ve already posted was taken about 4 or 5 years later (almost to the day). I figured it would be worth heading back up there since I had much better equipment than I had the first time around, and the weather conditions were working out to be almost identical. Okay, now that that’s been said…
One of the themes I’ve touched on several times in the past was that you don’t need a big fancy camera to get some fantastic pictures. Don’t get me wrong, having a big fancy camera is awesome, and no, you can’t have mine. There are definitely pictures you can get with that type of camera that you can’t get otherwise. But just because you don’t have one doesn’t mean you can’t still get fantastic pictures. This was taken back in 2002. At that time, I usually carried two cameras with me: my old 35mm fully-manual SLR, and my **2 megapixel** pocket point-and-shoot. The idea was, since it was so much easier to take pictures with the point and shoot, and since I didn’t have the limitation of only a set number of pictures on a roll, I’d take most of my pictures with that one. Then, if there was a picture that I thought I’d potentially want to enlarge later, I’d bust out the 35mm.
This picture was actually the first big step I took toward fully adopting digital, and tossing the 35mm in a box in the basement. I took this scene with both cameras, and found that I ACTUALLY LIKED THE DIGITAL ONE BETTER. As in, the picture from the stupid little pocket sized camera with only 2 megapixels and the little tiny lens gave me a result that I felt was at least as good as that from the SLR. I enlarged both of them up to 12×18, and they both looked fantastic. This went against everything I had thought I “knew” about digital up to that point. It was a really earth-shattering moment for me. Since then, of course, I’ve gone through a whole smattering of cameras: a 3.2 megapixel (Canon), a 5 megapixel (Canon), an 8 megapixel (Fuji), a 7 megapixel (Canon), another 8 megapixel (SLR – Canon), and.. I’m losing interest in the list. Whatever. There were a lot of them. That’s the point. But after taking this picture and seeing the results, I only ever busted out the 35mm SLR a couple more times, but even then I knew that it was over between us.
So, don’t use your lack of expensive equipment as an excuse. Just take pictures. The concepts are all the same no matter what you’re using. The most important things are the composition and the exposure, and even those can be tweaked easily after the fact if you’re shooting digital. There, how’s that for inspirational? Don’t get used to it, I’ll be grumpy again next week.
Have a great weekend! And tell your friends!! (Also, for the new folks: You can also follow the picture of the day at http://davefry.net/potd – the quality of the images themselves is much higher over there, since they don’t have to go through Facebook’s shrink-it-down-for-web-viewing cycle.)
Notes: Canon PowerShot S200 (Point and Shoot). Details unavailable.
June 17, 2009
I’ve been meaning to get this one out of the way for quite awhile. This is Mt. Shuksan and (the very appropriately named) Picture Lake. It’s up near Mt. Baker, in the Heather Meadows Recreation Area, which sits on the boundary of North Cascades National Park. The parking lot(s) for the Mt. Baker ski area are very close by, if that means anything to you.
Similarly to how the view of the Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake outside of Aspen is *the* prototypical Colorado view, this is *the* view for Washington State. (Well, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch – the real Washington State view is probably the view of the Seattle skyline from Kerry Park, or something involving Mt. Rainier or the Pike Place Market. But that makes this Picture Of The Day entry less interesting, so shut up.)
Heather Meadows is a great place to go hiking or even just to drive in to visit, since you can drive very high up, basically to the top of the ridge between Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker, so the views even from the road are jaw-dropping incredible. However, it takes a LONG time for the snow to melt. (Mt. Baker Ski Area holds the *world record* for snowfall in one season – not just among ski areas, but among any location where snowfall is measured – 1.140 inches, or 95 feet. So it’s usually well into August before the hiking trails are clear. (And of course, by October it starts building right back up.)
This picture was taken in the late afternoon, probably 5 pm or so, in early September. Right around then is when the lake calms down enough to allow the mirror-smooth reflection, and the sun is shining right on the mountain, bringing out all the detail. It’s fairly predictable, actually, and I’ve got almost this same exact picture from about 5 years earlier that I took with my previous-generation camera. (Now that I have my “new” (at the time, it’s since been replaced) digital SLR, I went back to take it again.) But, it’s a fantastic view, and you see it pop up here and there in interesting places.
One such interesting place, as it turns out, was on a t-shirt in a gift shop in FRISCO, COLORADO!! Here’s a picture of it:
(Apparently, Colorado is the only state that’s licensed to have mountains, so any mountain scene must therefore be contained somewhere within.)
So, if you find yourself in the Seattle area, and have an afternoon to kill with a super-nice drive, I’d say head up to Heather Meadows. Well worth the time.
It’s worth panning around the map to look at Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, 18-55 mm kit lens. 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 100. Focal length: 18mm.