Ospreys at Fort Pickens

I took a total number of 63 photos during my time at Fort Pickens over Easter (not counting my iPhone).  The weather was generally terrible..cold and windy even when it wasn't pouring.  Between the weather and trying to catch up with 30 family members, well, you end up with 63 images.  

Here are a few of the numerous Ospreys that seem to be everywhere in the Park.  I kept waiting for the little patch of clear sky to arrive overhead to cast some nice light on the birds, but it never happened.  Here's a few to share anyway.  They've been cropped and edited a bit.


Fisher Price Little People Family

I saw a cool photo somewhere on the internet. It was a macro shot of some fisher price little people that was enlarged and framed in a family rec room. I decided to play around with taking photos of some little people. I ended up using my (very) old 28-105m lens. Originally I had ideas of using a tripod and messing with off camera lighting, but I got impatient and just propped up a sheet of white paper on a picture frame and used 430EX Flash bouncing off the ceiling (this was just sitting on my kitchen counter).

As a child my "favorite" little person was the kid with the pot on his head (calling him "pothead" and all of them collectively: "potheads") so I featured him in the front. Because of his "hat", his face kept showing up in shadow. Eventually I turned the head of the flash around and bounced it off the wall behind me and the light hit his face better.

I really should have gone with my original plan to see if I could have gotten sharper images and nicer lighting. Maybe next time.

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Long Layoff - It's October!

Longest gap in posting yet! Busy with long summer days, getting a kid off to college, preparing for a vacation and then taking it!

Lots of photos from California, but I realized that I didn't end up taking some of the photos I had composed in my mind before going. That's fine, because it just means that I spent more time enjoying our vacation than documenting it.

This photo is from Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, which is just south of Carmel. Point Lobos is certainly better known for it's gorgeous coastline, but I decided to post this photo. This photo is Straight Out Of Camera but looks JUST like a photo that's been selectively de-saturated. It probably helped that it was such an overcast, gloomy day.

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50mm Charleston

Unfortunately we didn't have much time in Charleston aside from the soccer itself, but we did make a trip to the historic areas for a quick walk around the waterfront. I just grabbed my camera with the 50mm on it and off we went. I had considered getting up really early and heading downtown alone to get a chance for some creative photography, but a room above us leaking into our hotel room at 4am scuttled those plans!

So here's Charleston in 50mm! (Oh and the photos were also taken/metered using the unintended Spot Metering settings, but I guess I got lucky that the area metered wasn't solid bright/dark.)

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Mistakes in Metering

So I just spent two days taking photos and having a helluva time getting the exposure correct. I figured out stupid mistakes I was making here and there (thought I was in Aperture Priority when I was really set on manual, had the ISO set wrong, etc). But I still wasn't getting photos worth a crap. It was a hectic environment (very hot, in a rush, lots of people around) so I never took the time to totally reset and evaluate ALL the settings on my camera.

It wasn't until this evening, 24 hours after I'd been home, that it dawned on me. I had left my camera in Spot Metering Mode (I used Evaluative Metering Mode 98% of the time). I wasn't sure why two photos I'd taken in the same place, both in Av mode ended up such different results. I found myself saying "maybe it was that black shirt...." and that's when it dawned on me...spot metering. I ran back to my camera and sure enough...that's what it was set on. Really stupid mistake, but lesson learned. Thank goodness I managed to get enough "good" photos even working with the situation. This explains why I had to use exposure compensation in situations that seemed unlikely. This also explains why I had so much trouble with family photos at Graduation with unexpected results. It also shows how not shooting for a few weeks can really hurt your photography!

Somewhere, I have a small laminated card that I made with a list of settings that I *should* review before heading out to take photos. It's a check list of things I might have changed or need to review for exactly this reason. I have no idea where that card is, but I will find it.

So here's the mistakes, SOOC.

OVEREXPOSED (metered on the dark blue jersey). Taken during a hot and chaotic time that didn't allow for me to logically figure out why this was so bad. I used exposure compensation to take a few decent shots.
Overexposed (Spot Metering)

UNDEREXPOSED (metered on white tshirt). Taken a few minutes after a perfectly fine photo was taken in the same spot with the same light. I didn't even review the photo because it seemed way too simple to screw up. I was able to fix it in post, but this was the photo that really weighed on my mind as to something strange going on.
Under Exposed (Spot Metering)

GOOD EXPOSURE (metered on the trophy with both dark and light areas). This photo was taken a few minutes before the one above. Looks fine.
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And the funny footnote is that I'd put my camera in Spot Metering Mode for the Senior Assembly when I was trying to take photos of the skits and performances on stage. Eventually I switched my camera into Manual mode, then set it and forgot it (and I haven't even done anything with those photos anyway). Some good lessons learned.

7D vs. G12 Spring Flowers

I got a Canon G12 at Christmas in order to have a lightweight camera (but with SLR-like control) that I can take on longer hikes. I really haven't used it much unfortunately. In April, I took the G12 and my 7D out to a neighbor's flowering tree to take a few quick comparison shots. I thought using backlighting would challenge the camera (and me) a little for the test too.

The photos are Straight Out Of the Camera (SOOC), except some cropping to make them more similar for comparison's sake...not other adjustments in post processing.

First, the G12
ISO 100
Shutter Speed: 1/640
Aperture: F4
G12
Now, the 7D
ISO 100
Shutter Speed: 1/1250
Aperture: F2.8
7d
I'm really pleased with the G12's photo. The deeper depth of field does make a difference, it almost looks like a different bloom with the focal point being so isolated for the 7D shot.

Intensity

I've gone to a few wrestling matches in the last few weeks, but nothing quite like the first home dual meet at Sanderson last night. Seriously tense and pretty amazing what these wrestlers put themselves through.

I thought it would be simpler to shoot than some other attempts in the poorly lit gym, but not so much. There was a photographer from the other team that used flash units on light stands with a remote. I'm going to try to find his photos on the web and see how they look. Would be interesting to try since I've got the equipment (for 1 unit anyway).

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Fun with Pets!

I decided to give G a calendar with photos of our dog, Noodle. Using big C as my assistant/treat giver/prop holder, we were able to snap off enough photos for 12 months. Some themes worked better than others, but here's an example of some of the shots.

Some things worked.......
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And some things didn't........

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