Ran away for breakfast the day after Christmas and had a great time looking at the blowing snow on the mountains around us here in Utah. Just had to take a picture. Was wishing I had my long telephoto not my standard zoom to work with but you do what you can with what you got right?
One of the fascinating things for me about photography is how changing the focal length of the lens you are using can subtly or dramatically change the look of a photo. Going from say 17mm to 300mm would be dramatically different. Which is the subject of a post I want to do someday, where I try to keep the subject approximately the same size while changing the focal length drastically... say from 8mm Fisheye to 300mm Telephoto.
What I wanted to see here was how differently a photo would look using a 100mm v. a 200mm lens. This was spurred on by taking this first shot of an ornament given to my family by my brother in law for Christmas. After taking the first one I found myself wondering if I could take essentially the same shot with my old manual focus 200mm lens.
I was intrigued by how similar they looked after processing. The older lens lacked contrast and the exposure was not quite the same, but they are quite similar upon initial examination. If you look closely though there are subtle differences some due to having to move the tripod further away to keep the relative size of the ornament the same and some due to the change in focal length exclusively.
I think I need to pursue this line of investigation more closely. It would be a fascinating thing to explore in a blog post when I have the time to sit down and write in a lucid manner.
I won't go over all the reasons that I love Photographing the Temples of my Church. Suffice it to say that I love it, and that Christmas Lights make it even more enjoyable.
It was unfortunate that I only had an hour and half on one night to go. Fortunately it had snowed recently and it looked fabulous! I stayed on the East side instead of running around through the crowds, and managed to mostly stay dry and warm. Hope you enjoy the photos!
At most of the Mormon Temples in Utah they will put up a nativity scene, very simple and plain. The one at my local temple has the statues facing the temple instead of away like many. When I dropped by one morning I thought the clouds would make a nice background. It was quite tough to make the scene look good, the lighting was MUCH brighter than the sky. Needed some serious HDR magic to make it look like I wanted it to.
In a park my hometown there is a large tree that has been heavily lit the last few years. It makes for some interesting photos and is really cool to visit.
This is more like it looks to the naked eye. The mountains were difficult to capture on camera and required a LONG exposure and HDR to blend it.
For some reason I used to find my 28mm lens restrictive in field of view, don't know why. So I haven't used it that much. Deciding to rectify that situation I carried it for a few days on my commute. The sunrise was not much, no clouds, but the light on the partially frozen lake was kind of nice.
After making it onto the train, I decided to try and process a couple of the shots "In-Camera". I don't know if all brands allow you to take a RAW file and process it using just the camera controls but my Pentax does. After doing that I then came home and took the original files and did my usual processing on them. They are paired up here below. The first one is my version, and the second is straight from the file processed in the camera. I think I do a little better job at home with Photoshop.
I have always been fascinated by the ability of the camera to compress or expand time, distance and/or perspective. I have done this before I just don't get tired of it though. Holding the camera against the glass behind the light rail operators head and taking a longer exposure. Streaking the lights, showing the motion. Kind of like being in the Millennium Falcon in Hyperdrive.
The clouds this time of year tend to fascinate me so... I especially love it when the mountains cast shadows on the clouds as the sun is first just starting to come up. It will stop me in my tracks, this morning did. Made me miss my train, but I didn't care! These are all multi shot panoramas taken with my Pentax SMC 24mm f2.8.
More clouds over where I work. Yeah I went all HDR on it, but it looks OK I think.
So... I have been wanting to try this for awhile. What have I been wanting to try you ask? Focus stacking. A method of increasing the area of a picture that is in focus, by combining multiple individual photos focused on different parts of the image into one image.
Who cares you say? Me. And a few friends. I am just as interested in selective focus on a single part of an image as the next guy. That is why I have lenses like my DA* 55mm f1.4 which can give me a VERY thin slice of a photo in focus and blur the rest especially when set to f1.4 (or wide open). In Macro photography, due to how lenses work and how close you are getting to your subject, even if you stop your lens down to f11 or f16 you are still going to get just part of the subject in focus.
Because of that some clever chap decided to find a way to combine, or stack, parts of different images into a single image that shows only the in focus parts of the image. So, if you take enough photos with the focus point just shifting slightly between each photo, you can get a picture of something close up but have the WHOLE THING in focus.
Here are just three of the 9 images I used for my first stack.
This one has the leading edge of the flower in perfect focus, but the rest of the flower is not even though the lens was stopped down to f8.
Here the focus is further in.
And here the focus is on the rear petals of the sunflower.
And here is the finished product, nicely stacked, blended and in focus.
I have a way to go in mastering this technique, but I hope to get quite facile with it, when needed.
Here is the source of my knowledge so far: https://photographylife.com/how-to-focus-stack-images
The second night of shooting for my local HOA, there was a band called Van Lady Love whom I had never heard of. They were pretty darn good and I enjoyed shooting them. My concert photography muscles were a little flabby, but I got a few I liked. They were pretty energetic and it was tough to get shots that were really clear. I think the movement in this one adds to the shot.
Part of me still wishes I had exposed for the sky and had silhouettes for these two.
I really like this kid on her dad's shoulders, capturing a cool moment without intruding is fun for me.
I was recently asked to shoot some promo photos for my neighborhood. That is part of why I was quite absent from my blog and posting a lot of things. I was too busy working on this stuff! I shot on multiple nights and in different locations. And had to process all those photos too! I will be presenting a few favorites of mine that were not purchased by Daybreak along with more verbiage than I would normally use. In an attempt to explain what I was aiming for in composing the photos.
This was an unusual thing for me to take pictures to try to meet my perception of what others wanted rather than just shooting whatever caught my eye. I really don't know how successful I was really, they did choose many photos but not the ones I would have chosen as my favorites.
Like this one: I just love the light on the metal man and the color in the sky. Maybe I could have included more of the people around it, but the shadows made it hard to bring them in. Maybe I just like the top 1/2 of it? This is why I try to not fall in love with photos, just because I love them doesn't mean others will.
I wanted to capture a sense of movement and excitement in the crowd. Panning to follow a subject with a slow shutter speed allowed me to control the amount of blur and how many of the people could be seen well enough to be identified. That is always a consideration, will somebody get mad if they can be seen in a picture?
I like the fun fountains and stuff for kids to play in, again a slow shutter speed blurs things intentionally.
The cheery warmth of the light in the store, the people, the bikes. What is not to like? This shot required my tripod as it was getting darker. I really am much more comfortable with small apertures, and tripod and a remote release in my hand.
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Any photo on this blog can be custom printed for you, please contact me at the above e-mail address if you are interested in purchasing any of my prints.