Budding Photographer

A quick portrait by the fountain in Riverside Park, Neenah.  This photo was taken with the beautiful afternoon light during the “blue hour”.  The f/4 aperture should be obvious as the fountain is not in focus.  I could have done more depth of field but that would have meant cranking up the ISO = more noise.  I was at 800 ISO which for this camera is just fine. 

What makes this photo “work” is the good compositional elements.  When we see a photo our eyes are first drawn to the brightest part.  I did a curves and color adjustment to the picture to show the brightest parts.

The upper left is blown out and our eyes start there. But we also see that her skin and hair are very bright so our eyes are also pulled there.

 

We also see there are natural lines in the picture.  The vertical poles and trees lead us down; the base of the fountain lead us right; the lines of her leg and arms lead us to her face. Even the falling drops of water pull our eyes down into the picture. 

   

Finally, she is about 1/3 of the way in the frame (from the right) and this is usually an appealing position (rule of thirds). 

So… was all this in my mind when I took the picture?  Probably not!  But I do think some of it was on purpose and a lot is internalized from years of practice. So take lots of pictures!

Canon 5d MkIII | Canon 24-105 f/4 L | 47mm | 1/50s at f/4

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Pelican at Sunset

There has been an unusually large number of pelicans by the dam on Doty Island this year.  I estimate 300-400!  Not sure why but they sure put on a show.  We went bird watching in the evening and I planned ahead and brought my 70-200 with a 2X teleconverter.  This shot was taken at 400mm and the bird flew directly overhead.  The feather detail is just amazing.  These birds are so big and such wonderful fliers.  God sure is amazing when he solves an engineering problem! 

With the extender the lens is a f/5.6 so with the lateness and the need for high shutter speed (to freeze motion) I ended up at 500 ISO.  No problem with the 5d!  The focus here was set to servo and I tracked using the center “cross type” focus point. 

Canon 5d MkIII | Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L II with 2X extender III | 1/1600 s | 400mm f/5.6

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Blue Angels over Lake Winnebago

We went cruising last Saturday and enjoyed the water on Lake Poygan.  My love made a suggestion we cruise down to Oshkosh and maybe we could get a glimpse of the 5:00 airshow at EAA. 

As we entered Lake Winnebago at Oshoksh we could not believe all the boats just around the corner!  There must have been 500!  Good idea dear!

Finding a nice spot to drop anchor we were treated by an awesome display by the Blue Angels.  While I did not have my professional camera I did get some nice shots using my Lumix LX7.  I also caught some video – coming soon. 

  The planes are moving fast so it is imperative to use a fast shutter speed – this was at 1/500 second.  I also used a pretty closed, for the Lumix, aperture of 5.6.  Why?  To get a good depth of field and also to make sure everything was in focus. 

You never know what is around the next corner so have your camera ready!

Panasonic Lumix LX7 | 1/500s | 17.7mm at f/5.6

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Playing with Fire

Another picture from the Menasha food truck event thing!  We were just laying on the grass and enjoying the music where a group of fire performers moved in. 

Hot lady in more ways than one!  Just kidding!

Taken with my Panasonic Lumix LX7 – a handy little camera with a great lens.  Only 10mp but who needs more.   I purposely slowed down the shutter just a bit to get some movement blur – especially the flames. 

Panasonic Lumix LX7 | 17.7mm | 1/125s at f/2.3

 

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Hey Mister!

Hey Mister!  What ya doin’ down there?

The things you see laying on the ground in Menasha!  This was taken on a Thursday evening while watching the clouds go by. 

You don’t need a fancy camera – just carry a camera with you and have it ready at all times.

Panasonic Lumix LX7 | 4.7mm f/3.2 | 1/250s

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Just Sittin’ Here

I’m just sitting here – enjoying the cool water!  Well, maybe not.  Given the river I don’t think I would be making friends if I had actually sent her out there so this is just a composition i.e. Photoshop job!  Just 2 pictures blended together and so much fun!

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Great Lakes Waterfall Tour

For our wedding anniversary this year we went of a tour of waterfalls between Neenah and the Minnesota / Canada border.  I had 33 on my list and we managed to visit 26.  The good news was the heavy rains lately made for spectacular water falls!  The bad news was the heavy rains lately made for lots of mud and some of the falls were unaccessable.   Oh well, that is life.  Enjoy a few of the falls below.

Coming soon – a water fall tutorial!

Posted in Blog, Landscapes Tagged |

Confirmation – 2017

Again this year I did the pictures for St. Mark’s confirmation. 

Such a nice group of young adults! 

Group pictures can be a challenge especially at St. Mark’s where there is a lot of back light from the windows at the front of the church.  The natural light has to be balanced with the flash on the people to turn out correctly.  I used 2 Alien Bees B800 strobes with 64 in white shoot through umbrellas.  The strobes were placed just behind and above me to the left and the right.

Everything was shot in manual.  Knowing I wanted most everything in focus I set my EF 24-105 lens to f/11.  I then did a few shots without strobe to get the background reasonably bright.  It worked out that 1/50 sec at ISO 400 gave me a good background.  I then set the strobes at about 1/8 power and did a few test shots.  The goal here is to get a good exposure without blowing out any of the details – I specifically looked at the white gowns to make sure they were properly exposed.  

So the recipe here is:

  1. Set the camera in manual
  2. Set the aperture for the depth of field you desire
  3. Set the shutter speed and ISO to get a reasonable background exposure with the flash off
  4. Turn on the flash and set the flash power to light your group being careful not to over expose the highlights

 

Canon 5d mkIII | Canon EF24-105 f/4 L | 1/50s at f/11 | 2 Alien Bees B800 strobes at 1/8 power

 

 

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How to Photograph a Sunset – Part IV

I love sunsets!  There is just something so stirring about the end of the day.  It is almost magical for me.  Of course I also love sunrises.  I just don’t love getting up in time for the sunrise.

So, how do you capture a sunset?  First find a good place where you can see the sunset.  Then find out when the sunset is going to happen (https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/) and get there early enough .  I usually try and arrive 30-60 minutes early as sometimes you need time to find the best spot – also some nice pictures can be had before the sun hits it’s peak. Also plan on sticking around 30-60 minutes after sunset – the blue hour – because the light is just amazing.  

Gear – well anything will work but you do need a solid tripod or some sort of support.  Why?  well the light is dropping and you will need a longer exposure time if you are going to keep the ISO noise down in you pictures.  

So last night I decided that the sunset would be perfect with the nice clouds and all so keeping with my advice above I jumped in the car 45 minutes before sunset and raced to High Cliff State Park – which is 30 minutes away!  Don’t worry, I followed all posted speed limits, kind of, at least when I was stuck behind slow poke Jones!

I went up the cliff to my favorite spot – and the lake flies were enough to block the sun out!  So I raced to the lake shore where there was enough wind to keep them at bay!  I set up my tripod, grabbed my trusty Canon 5d mkIII and Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 lens.  Set the ISO to 100 in manual mode, set the aperture to 7.1 which I knew was a good depth of field but still very sharp.  I used the camera’s meter to set the shutter speed for 1/125 seconds.  I set the shutter button to 2 second delay – to make sure the camera stopped vibrating after I pushed the button.  I pushed the button and 2 seconds later I captured the picture above! 

350 shots later with a variety of lenses and exposures and I was done.  And my first shot (above) was probably the best of the night!

Below are a few more shots – see if you can figure out the focal lengths and exposure times…

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blog, Landscapes Tagged , , , |

Easter Morning

A beautiful young lady on a beautiful Easter Morning!  A special portrait with the wonderful light streaming in from behind.

 

Canon 5d mkIII | Canon 135mm f/2 | 1/60s f/2.8

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Working Photographer

Somewhere in Death Valley, California, the not so young man captures his next masterpiece!

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A Face in The Crowd

Weddings are so much fun!  Too much work. maybe!  Just a fast portrait at my last wedding – so much joy in her face!

Canon 5d mkIII | Canon 24-105 f/4 L | 58mm | 1/50s at f/4

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Somewhere in Death Valley

Matt enjoys Death Valley – I don’t remember where!

 

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The Bottom of The World

A 360 degree panorama from Badwash Basin, Death Valley.  The lowest point in North America – 282 feet below sea level.  This picture was taken by setting up a perfectly level tripod and taking a series of photos with about 1/3 overlap.  The pictures are then stitched together to form a panorama.  Next you need to carefully crop so that each end perfectly matches – including the horizon.  Then the polar filter is used to make the little planet.

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Dante’s View

5,500 Feet up and hard to catch my breath!  Matt doesn’t seem to have any issues perched on the edge – so maybe I should learn to relax!

 

Canon 5d mkIII | Canon 135mm f/2 | 1/320s f/11

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