Any time I have to wait for the train to arrive is torture, especially when it is cold. Seeing as I had my camera with me (recurring theme!) I was able to play and get some fun shots! All taken at the Moran Eye Center on the University of Utah Campus. K200d and SMC 24mm f2.8
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Yeah, I get bored/crazy and try interesting things sometimes. I like to pretend my Sigma 17-70 is really a 17mm prime and can be shot wide open at f2.8. I may not be all that crazy. It seems to work quite well sometimes.
First shot, indoors, wide open, of a tree made of strings of lights.
Same tree from further away, pedestrians silhouetted against the light, the ENTIRE image deliberately Out of focus. Crazy no?
Later the same evening, melting snow on my windshield with lights behind, zoomed out to 70mm but wide open again. Whether these are "good" shots or not I leave up to you, but when you are feeling like there is nothing to shoot, try breaking some rules and get crazy. Could be fun!!!
Monday, December 2, 2013
I have the honor of having a job that is actually necessary, and even vital enough to have to perform on holidays and days when I would rather be home with my family. Thanksgiving it gave me reason/opportunity to be up at the right time of day with camera in hand to take some photos I am VERY pleased with. The clouds were just perfect and the light was too.
Now a few technical notes. I tend to use HDR to even out exposures with brightly lit skies and darker foregrounds, with my newer camera, a Pentax K5 I am able to do more with one exposure than I could with my older body. So I decided to take one photo that was a single exposure and push it as far as I could to make it look as best I could. I was surprised at what I was able to do. This first image is the single frame, the second is the HDR. They were taken from slightly different spots and the single exposure first so the clouds shifted a little, but they are similar enough for my purposes. I had to throw some vignette on and a little blur to hide noise I created while pulling and twisting the exposure like taffy but as I said I was VERY pleased, though I like both of them a lot.
Wanting a little more sky portrait orientation was my choice, I should have thought to shoot extra images to stitch and make a HUGE sky! Oh well..... DRAT!
At the behest of my lovely wife after viewing this first attempt which she found too dark, I re-processed it to look less heavy and dark.
This was my final cut and I like it too. In fact I just ordered a print of it, curious to see how it turns out!
Saturday, November 23, 2013
I hate the "s" word (Slump) but have I felt that with the weather and the insanity of my schedule I have not had the chance to just go out and "discover" the world recently, I need the relaxation of focusing, being in the moment, and looking for the details and patterns around me. Took a few minutes at lunch and then after work to just allow the crisp fall air to empty the cobwebs from my brain. Well worth it, though I didn't take a "WOW" photo, I found myself 'seeing' again at long last.
That seeing helped me to finally find this shot, for some reason this staircase has frustrated me, I like the looming knife edge of the cancer center but I could not blend that with the staircase in a way I liked. I'm still not sure I am done, the railing is almost too obvious of a leading line, however it is better than what I have done. (24mm @ f8 K200d)
Wide open at 24mm and f2.8 this leaf was caught against the fence at the train station, blown in from however far away, what was it's journey?
24mm, .5 seconds at f16, I wanted to capture the movement of the train, the power and speed.
Switching to my somewhat neglected (until recently) SMC 135mm f2.5 I got off the train at the Library station and crossed the street to the Salt Lake City/County Building, a really COOL old building that has also frustrated me, the longer focal length allowed me to look more for details than a wider lens, rewarding me with the texture I was looking for. This may even be a candidate for my SMC 200mm f2.5 Rhino Beater.
At first I hated this shot, then it kinda drew me in, the shadows and colors... the texture of the weathered sandstone.
While I am not a fan of lawbreaking, tagging and the accent it brings to run down urbania does make for interesting photos at times.
Somehow I have missed this wall before, what cool oozing mortar frozen in time. Will definitely revisit I think.
And my old friends the flying weathervanes at the light rail station. The color was not there yet (never did really come...) but I just loved the feeling of the clouds being pushed away as the top figure speeds through the sky.
All in all, a good afternoons shooting. Glad I could share it with you!
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Sometimes having a camera in hand that may not be the BEST camera ever made or a lens with you that may not be the SHARPEST lens ever made, but that is WITH you makes all the difference. I have taken the habit of trying to keep a camera with me when I am commuting to work. Sometimes I forget and I hate myself, and sometimes I take it and nothing photo worthy ever shows up.
I luckily have two DSLR bodies. My oldest and first one is a Pentax K200d. This is still a great camera. AA batteries, and a sensor that just renders colors very very nicely. It also pairs well with my older lenses, as much as I love them I realize that they may not resolve quite as well as more modern lenses and using a 10MP sensor camera allows them to perform reasonably well. I have been carrying three lenses recently: Pentax SMC 24mm f2.8, Pentax SMC 50mm f1.4 and the Pentax SMC 135mm f2.5. I find I use the 24 and 135 more. All of these subsequent shots were taken with one of those lenses, some are panoramas stitched from multiple shots, others HDR. But they were all grab shots that I got ONLY because I had a camera in hand. Funnily they were all taken within 1/4 mile of each other. Near or at the light rail station in Daybreak Utah.
This is a 6 shot Panorama, though it could have been done with less, I just tend to be extra careful in case I have to discard an image because I had shakey hands. This looks over the Utah Valley and Mount Timpanogos with the Point of the Mountain in the foreground. I loved the layering and the color. Some of my FAVORITE panoramas are ones taken with a telephoto lens that compress the distances and show the world a little differently than you see it with the naked eye.
These two were taken 2 days earlier also with the 135mm, but they are single shots, and somewhat cropped. I was walking to the station and saw that the sun was just about to come up. I had to rush to get the camera out but I got it done. I just love mornings don't you?
The rays coming off of the sun are caused by the aperture blades, in this lens there are 8 rays because there are 8 blades. Funnily, other lenses have different patterns, lenses with odd numbered blades have twice as many rays as they have blades, but even numbered blades only give you the same number of rays as blades. I have no idea why they just do. Interesting eh?
11 shot panorama here all with the 135mm again, It is not super sharp at 100% I was breathing kind of hard, but it gives me ideas for the future, shooting off of a tripod. ;-)
Now, here is where I had a lot of fun, I like HDR, I really like altering reality to make it hyper reality, not as crazily as some people but I do like it. I was shooting with my SMC 24mm f2.8 right as the sun came up. Shooting directly into the sun is hard, exposure is tough to guess and often the meter gets it wrong. I tend to bracket like crazy in these instances and either merge them or just pick the exposure that has the best potential. I shifted a little between each exposure or set of exposures. So exact comparisons are not valid, but I still think it is ok to compare at least the first to photos. The first is a HIGHLY tweaked single exposure. The Second is a HDR pushed a bit, and the third is a different set of exposures merged in HDR but with a much more reasonable bunch of settings. You can decide which one or ones you like the best.
I was actually pleasantly surprised by the single image and what I was able to do with it.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I try to not take the same shot over and over, but sometimes you have to until you get it right. I have been playing with the trains as they arrive on the light rail platform trying to get the right shot. This first one is close, but needed the shutter started a second later, or open for a second longer. Considering I had the camera sitting on a trash bin on the platform I will take it but I can do better. (Pentax K24mm f2.8 on K200d)
I have heard of the tradition of doing this on a bridge in Paris, but apparently it is starting to be done here in Daybreak by the lake. Interesting. (Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5 on K5)
I loved the delicacy of the last light on the higher clouds, I had to work to bring the shadows up a bit without it looking like crud, but while it is not amazing, I like the choices I made with the light that was available.
A few minutes later than the shot above at the lake the sunset was heating up. I'm a sucker for them. Total sucker! Sunsets that is. (Also Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5 on K5)
More trains, This one was stopped for a few seconds while the shutter was open, really need to take the old tripod with me and make a serious effort to get this concept right. (Rokinon 8mm f 3.5 Fisheye on K5)
Sunday, October 20, 2013
I guess this could be considered a "still getting to know a new lens" thread because these were all taken with my new 55mm, but it is less about the lens and more about the fact that yes I am still taking photos! Despite time and energy constraints, work being what it is in the fall and needing to get things done around the house etc..., I am still taking photos when I can and enjoying it a lot! Just not in the volume I would if I were on a trip to Southern Utah.
I am trying to keep an eye out for the cool things I see everyday but don't "see". Walking out of work, I noted the water on these leaves but didn't even think about photographing the scene until 30-40 feet later, retracing my steps I pulled out my camera and started shooting. The fact that it was my 55mm on my camera is simply due to the fact that I have kept that lens on my camera almost exclusively while getting to know it better.
For this photo I would have been better off with one of my longer lenses, but again, it is what I had with me. I LOVED the clouds rolling over the top of Mt. Timpanogos. LOVED!
Commonplace everyday things are what stick in my mind. For some reason, when I think about my sunglasses I almost always visualize them sitting in this spot.
This is purely about the bread, I BAKED BREAD!!!!!! Yes me!
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Back in late June I got to do my second Engagement photo shoot, first on digital. I was very pleased with the outcome, and I think I may want to do more. I gave them 2 hours out at the lake by my house and shot a 16GB card FULL! Here are a few samples of my favorites, you can see the whole gallery here. The photos at the end are the processed shots, the first 522 are quickly converted JPEG's for the clients to look at.
Some of these poses are the brides idea, some mine, some of the mother of the bride. All in all for a first shoot, I think I did OK. All shots were with my Pentax K5, Sigma 17-70, Pentax 55-300 or Pentax DFA 100mm f2.8 macro.
I approached each photo as it's own unique shot, not trying to make them all look exactly the same.
It helps to have good models to work with, this was a VERY cute couple!
This was not a favorite of the bride or groom, but I liked it. I tried to leave a certain amount of room for text boxes around them.
My 100mm lens worked very well here, it gave me a bit of distance from them but still allowed me to frame tightly enough. I probably could have gone with a wider aperture and separated them more from their surroundings, but I didn't want to leave only part of one person in focus.
This was the brides idea and it turned out AWESOME! I was glad I had my longer telephoto with me for this shot!
This was with my old Manual Focus 50mm f1.4 wide open, part of what inspired me to look for my new DA*55mm f1.4.
So... if you need some engagement photos taken, I work cheap and try hard! And maybe do halfway OK.