Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Toys

Happy Holidays, Everyone! It's the 29th of December and I'm in the middle of a one week vacation so I'm relaxing at home with my family. For Christmas I received some new photography toys. The image here is the result of the new "nifty fifty", a 50mm f1.8 prime lens, which has great clarity and sharpness. This image is a shot I took when I went for a walk in the neighbourhood yesterday. I have to play with this lens for a while to figure out how to make my images sing but I think you can see that it has a lot of promise.

I was a bit disapointed in the other two gifts. A circular polarizing filter and a UV filter. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate them immensely, however, I had asked for and receieved 58mm filters but the new lens is a 52mm mount. The 58mm filters fit my kit lens which is very handy but I can't use them on my new lens. Maybe this is a common problem in the lens world but I'm still kind of disappointed - it makes me choose. Clarity and sharpness but no filters or filters on the kit lens which is very convenient since it's a 18-55 zoom but not as sharp. I'll just have start saving for more gear I guess. Photography is such an expensive hobby!
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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I took my camera and went for a walk in the woods on Sunday to get my first look at winter through the lens of my camera. Despite the cold wind and snow on the ground, it was a beautiful day in the woods. The trees kept most of the cold wind at bay and the sun offered up a bit of warmth.

Thick clouds were playing hide and seek with the sun which made shootin' a little tricky as I would set up a shot with the big softbox that is a nice cloudy sky and the sun would come out and drown me with light. Or I would set up the shot with bright sunlight shining through an icicle and before I pressed the shutter a cloud bank would turn the twinkling ice dull.

I did manage to get a few shots on Sunday that I am happy with and the one to the left is one of them. I loved the the way the snow clung to the tree branches and how the white contrasted with the bright blue sky. This shot shows some of the beauty of Halifax. Even though you are in the "big bad city" you can always find a piece of nature nearby to appreciate.
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Well, the Halifax Public Gardens will close for another season on Monday. This week, before it closed I decided to take a walk up to The Gardens for one last photo expedition before it closed. It was a wet day with a light mist but I went anyway thinking I might catch some interesting shots with water involved.

When I saw the water drops on the leaves of the few trees and bushes that still had them I was hopeful. Lunch goes by so quickly but I still managed a few shots and this one was, I thought, the top of the heap. I find, even with the viewfinder and the wonderous instrument that is the histogram you never really know how good the shot was until you see it on the computer screen.

I'm certainly happy with the result. I hope you enjoy viewing it.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

On the Way to Work

Heading to work the other day I pulled out my camera for a walk along the waterfront. I'm always looking up, down, and sideways for that shot that others miss. I'm sure I still miss plenty of opportunities but I also find a lot more than I used to find. This is one of them. I really liked the reflection of the downtown Halifax "hamster-tunnels" in the puddle on the red brick walkway. The only problem was that it was still missing something. I paused and waited for someone to walk through the tunnel and voila! The image was complete. Keep your eyes open while you are out for a walk. There are lots of interesting things going on in the world that we often walk past without noticing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reflecting at the Park

Got lucky with this one. Had gone downtown to re-shoot Charmichael St. from the Parade Square in an attempt to get a decent shot for the November Photography.ca assignment.

Not having any luck I decided to go home and on the way I wandered past the Public Gardens and noticed the way the sun was streaming across the park as it was starting to set. I parked and went for a stroll in the park where I spotted a gentleman sitting on a bench in the sun. I noticed the reflections in the water and the man reflecting on his thoughts. I thought the two fit together nicely and framed up the shot.

There was a fair bit of luck involved in showing up at the right time and the right spot but there was also a fair bit of artistic vision when the opportunity arose. Keep your eyes open and keep shootin'. If things aren't working out the way you want then go for a drive and maybe a new venue will present new opportunities.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Did some shooting yesterday morning. Perfect opportunity for some great shots - the sun was rising, the air was quite warm for November, and the light was kinda cool. Checking them out last night and noticed that they all seem a bit noisy. That's when I noticed I had left the camera on ISO 800! D'oh! My checklist wasn't working so well for me. I did better this morning. I changed the ISO and got a couple of decent shots which might work for this month's photo assignment at http://www.photography.ca/ - portrait landscapes/cityscapes.

Hoping to get out shooting for an hour at lunch. Not necessarily the best lighting conditions but it's a great time to go shooting otherwise.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Went for a walk today and found this interesting door knocker on someone's door. Thought it made a good shot. I really like all the blue colour. Of course, the first few shots I took (some back stairs of a building) were done with a screwed up white balance. I really need to come up with a mental checklist of settings. There really aren't that many but I always seem to forget one.

The other thing I noticed is that with the lens I have it's really hard to get a narrow depth of field. It's a P&S so I guess I shouldn't expect much from it but the only way to get a narrow DOF is to shoot in macro mode which means I have to be close to the object. Can't wait for my DSLR!

So, my checklist should consist of:
1) White Balance
2) ISO
3) Aperture
4) Shutter Speed

There are other settings but those are the big 4 which I find I change the most and mess up the most.
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Saturday, February 21, 2009

The artist in me? It's weird. I have never really considered myself an artist yet I have this desire to use my camera to create art. I'm not really sure if that counts or not. Artists to me were always a different breed. I'm a geek and very science oriented and I've always felt that art is something separate and different. Instead of a simple shot of city hall I take this one which is a picture of the building reflected in one of the large Christmas balls adorning the city's Christmas tree this past Christmas. I do this because I think it's artistic. Does that make me an artist?
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Wow! I cleaned the space for use and then promptly forgot about it! Doh!

Snapped this one after a trip to Sir Sanford Flemming Park. I was driving my shooting partner back to his house when I caught this group of ducks squeezed into this little stream. This could have been a good photo but it isn't. Here's why:

1) The shadow in the foreground really messes up the view. It takes up about 1/3 of the photo but it's not showcasing anything. There's no reason for it to be there. It just is.

2) The ducks are so far away that you really can't tell what they are. Ideally I would have been down on the bank of the stream and got a nice close up of some of the ducks with the rest of them trailing off into the distance.

3) Exposure is off. The left hand side is clearly over-exposed.

All in all, a great photo opportunity wasted. I know what was going through my mind at the time. I'm parked on the side of the street and my shooting partner is sitting in the car and I stopped to just take a quick shot. I recognized the possibilities as I was driving by but never took the time to do it right. I really need to slow down and take my time. Work on composition more. Double-check exposure. Once I get better at that these quick shots will be better.
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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Cleared the space and made it ready for my first post.  Will post tonight when I have time to think and a photo to discuss.