Friday, April 29, 2011
So, today’s post wraps up the month of April. Another month, come and gone. Man, I should have something poignant to say about that.
This is (I think, although I haven’t verified) the last weekend of this year’s Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. they bloomed late this year, so I’m sure it’ll be fantastic up there. (And, the tulips will probably last past this weekend, but I don’t know what the deal is after the festival officially ends.) I was up there earlier this month, right after they started blooming. As you can see, a lot of them hadn’t opened up all the way yet (and there were a lot of steps that were still totally green.) So, I think I’d recommend heading up there later in the bloom cycle (like, say, *now*) as opposed to hitting it at the beginning. But, take what you can get I guess. The weather’s looking good this weekend though, so if you haven’t made it out there yet, just freakin’ go!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 55-250mm IS lens. 1/500s, f/7.1, ISO 200. Focal length: 250mm.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Hey everyone! It’s tulip time here in the northwest, so in a rare break from my usual behavior, I’m actually going to post a picture here to the blog that was actually taken in the last 24 hours. Crazy, right? Totally.
So, as you’ve probably guessed by the title of the post, this was taken at the 2011 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. I can’t tell you exactly where I was at the time, because I was just walking around some random field of tulips that was off the side of the road. But it’s tough to go wrong once you get up there – just find some flowers and go look at them.
Sadly, this was about the only good picture I got this year. I’m not sure why, but I have a few theories. First, I just wasn’t really in that much of a picture-taking mood this year. So, I snapped a few, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Then of course there was the problem of this freaking annoying cloud that was just hovering right there between me and the sun for most of the time I was there. It wasn’t blowing by like most clouds should, it kept billowing around and reforming right where it was the most inconvenient. So about two thirds of the time I was there the light stunk. Probably the biggest problem was that I didn’t really think through ahead of time what kinds of shots I would want to try to get. I did that last year, and correspondingly I got a lot of shots I was happy with. This year, I of course fell back on some of the same ideas I used last year, but since I already got them last year, I didn’t really try at all this year, and thus the ones I did get were junk. So, umm, whoops.
I still totally recommend that you go check it out yourself – especially if you’re a photographer. As I’ve mentioned in the past, there are TONS of great themes you can play around with. But, it’s definitely worth the time to do some planning. I realize that may be tough if you’ve never been there before and don’t know how things are laid out, but it’s still worth doing. Just sort of make a mental checklist of things you want to play around with, different ways of putting all the elements together. Some of the primary themes are of course the expansive fields of color, all made up by mostly-repeating (but all subtly different) patterns and flower-shapes, the orderly rows of flower beds, the contrasts between plots of different types of tulips, and of course the external elements (like barns, mountains, trees, and clouds). But beyond that, there’s lots of things you can do, lots of different lines and colors and elements to work with. It’s can be a great time.
Unless you’re lazy, like I was this year. Then it’s just meh. But, do go check it out. And plan on traffic being a bit annoying. And plan on paying 5 bucks to park each time you stop. Plan on hitting a few different fields, to get different combinations of colors. And, definitely plan on seeing plenty of people, and having to be creative to keep them out of your pictures. If you go into the experience planning for those things, you’ll have a much better time when you’re there. (Oh, and head north to Highway 20 on the way out, otherwise you’ll be hating your life.)
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 55-250mm IS lens. 1/2000s, f/5.6, ISO 200. Focal length: 194mm.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Hey everybody! It’s been awhile since I’ve put anything up here (I’ve been busy!), so here’s a quick shot of some flowers to tide you over.
These are from the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival near Mt. Vernon, in Washington State. It’ll be coming up in here in a month or two, so, umm, dot dot dot.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Quantaray 70-300mm lens. 1/400s, f/7.1, ISO 100. Focal length: 300mm.
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.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Umm, is anybody actually there? I figure by waiting until late in the afternoon on the Friday before a holiday weekend, I’ve already lost my entire U.S. audience. Well, whatever, they don’t know what they’re missing. Me and the rest of you guys can do without them.
Here’s another picture from this year’s Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. I found myself playing around with the boundary between tulips of two different colors. Some shots came out pretty well, others, not so much. I found that, in general, I was happiest with those where the very last row of the tulips of the color in front were in focus. I definitely played around with other focus points, and some of them definitely worked out okay, but “in general” (with big air-quotes), this is what tended to work the best. (Other things I tried were: focusing somewhere near the middle of the color in the foreground, focusing at the extreme front, and focusing on the closer flowers in the color that was further away – similar to the idea of focusing on the back of the front color, but definitely different.)
For this picture in particular, I was using my really old Quantaray telephoto lens. To review, that’s the first lens I ever bought to go with a digital camera. It’s passable, but it’s definitely not the best lens I’ve ever seen. But this all comes back to the idea that it’s really hard to find a “really good” telephoto lens that isn’t tremendously huge and doesn’t weigh several pounds. Obviously, there are those huge Canon lenses, the white-ish ones, that are all metal, and are a foot and a half long and like 6 inches in diameter. Those things are fantastic. But a) they’re not anything that resembles cheap, and 2) they’re HUGE, so the idea of taking them hiking is laughable. And recently I saw a reasonably-sized Canon lens that got decent reviews, but it was I think close to 1000 dollars, which is well more than I want to pay for a lens in that range. So this one isn’t that great, but any of the reasonably-priced, reasonably-sized alternatives aren’t quite enough of an improvement to justify the price. With the caveat that, I actually DID replace it recently, with the Canon 55-250, which also got what I’d call “reasonably” (I’m loving that word today) good reviews, and was in the realm of decently affordable. After using it for awhile, it’s.. fine. It’s not blowing me away, but it’s got image stabilization which is nice, so I guess it’ll do for now.
In other news, some random, totally awesome guy with fantastic taste put little old me in the list of his 5 favorite blogs. Neat!
Have a great holiday everyone. Or, if you’re not American, have a great Friday and Saturday, and at least a passable Sunday!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Quantaray 70-300mm lens. 1/800s, f/7.1, ISO 100. Focal length: 248mm.