Friday, December 30, 2011

My Photo Got Published – Again!

This is 5th time that my own photo got published in newspaper, this time it was my picture of Snowy Owl that I have posted December 13th. I am glad that Marjo talked me into sending it to the editor. Another newspaper clipping on my computer room wall.
Here is a link.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

First Snow of Winter 2011-2012

View through livingroom patio door.

Last Tuesday night, December 27th we finally got our first snow of winter 2011-2012. Even though it was onlyabout 1-1/2 cm I still did shovel the driveway. Three days later all driveways are dry, even the ones that never got cleaned. Forecast is for plus 6 °C for next few days so I guess the snow will be gone by Sunday. I just love it! Actually, there is a golf course about 20 minutes away that is still opened. Iam surprised because it is one of the best golf courses in area called Tarandowah, Scottish links type golf course with lots of deep bunkers. We just love this course with tight fairways and crapload of hazards. We drove by 2 weeks ago and the course was packed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More Strobe Photography

As I was working my way through a book on Canon strobe (electronic camera flash) I always came back to photograph on the cover – raspberry dropped into a glass of water. It is a stunning composition but there isn’t any detailed description as to how the picture was taken, just a passing note that 2 strobes were used hooked to radio trigger. I took it as a challenge and after about 5 hours of experimenting I have managed to get somewhat similar image. No raspberries in refrigerator so I used frozen strawberry. I am sure that I could have taken better picture but I ate my prop. I’ll be perfecting the technique once I buy some fresh strawberries.

Oops…I forgot to clean the wine glass in between shots!

My setup. One flash was placed behind and to the right of camera and second flash behind white screen. The flash on left is one from behind. Both flashes were triggered by radio trigger that was mounted on camera’s hot shoe.

I have tied steel nut to a string and then lowered the nut to position where the strawberry will be dropped. When the nut was dead still I focused on it manually and I was ready for the drops.

Book that challenged me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Photo Excursion December 13th

I just love to get out early in the morning! From early spring to late fall it usually means getting out on golf course or out to the garden but in the off season if the weather is OK I like to get out and shoot some pictures and if the weather is lousy it is either computer or kitchen work. Here are some pictures I took yesterday morning before heading out to London. First three pictures were taken just one minute apart and last two were taken 10 minutes later.

 The Sun is poking through the trees just above number 7.

On the way to London we have spotted and photographed Snowy Owl (previous post) and on the way back driving through Amish settlements we saw two Amish man loading corn on horse drawn wagon and taking it to the barn for storage. The corn was harvested more than 2 months ago and the corn stalks were neatly stacked into a 6 foot high pyramids. All their storage bins were full with corn cobs so it looks like they are set for winter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Snowy Owl in Our Neighborhood

When I say “neighborhood” I mean anything within 20 minutes’ drive and since location of where we spotted the owl falls into this category then this owl is in our neighborhood. Now that general geographic location of this fairly rare bird for South-Western Ontario is established let’s get down to details.
This morning about 9 o’clock we were driving to London taking a scenic country road route. Nice sunny day, just few clouds on horizon and not a fleck of snow anywhere. The country roads here are quite chopped up so it is constant left turn and few kilometers down the road you do a right turn and so it goes until you zigzag your way in diagonal North-Westerly direction to Highway 401 or all the way to London just 45km away. Shortly after I made one of these direction changes I spotted bright white bird in a plowed corn field and immediately said to Marjo: “We’ve just passed a snowy owl.” I stopped immediately about 70 meters past the spot he was sitting, got out of the car and slowly opened up the trunk where I had all my camera gear from this morning sunrise shoot (yes, another one) including my heavy Manfrotto 500 tripod. I mounted Canon75-300mm zoom paired with 1.4X extender on the camera which was the longest lens in my bag, I left my Vivitar 120-600mm zoom coupled with 2X extender at home (never again!) and started to move towards the owl. I didn’t want to take my tripod because it is big and it would look threatening to the bird. I definitely regret that decision since I use tripod all the time, I like sharp photos. I was astonished how calm that bird was, he did pay attention to me as you can see from his expression but he was too busy getting at his meal that looked like a groundhog or rabbit, it was dark grey brown and fairly large. He lifted it few times but I never caught it on camera. I will go back tomorrow with my long lens and see if I can relocate him again. The location where he was to day is at  42°53'13.69"N, 80°53'53.00"W, which is on north side of Wilson and west of Pigram Rd. in Elgin County, south-east of London.

Most of the time, I was ignored. Too bad I didn’t use my tripod!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Interesting Morning Photo Shoot

Yesterday (December 10th) I have witnessed very rare occurrence when sunrise and full moon set coincided within minute of each other. It was quite coincidental discovery for me. I was driving west to shoot a sunrise over a local wood lot when I have spotted huge moon setting in north-west direction. The moon was full, huge and had a yellowish tint while the ground was almost red because of dramatic sun rise at the same time. I shot about 20 frames of each. For the moon I was lucky to have my 600mm with 2X extender with me, that gave me 1,200mm long tele lens. The Sunrise was even more dramatic, blood red and for about half a minute all the fields were red like Savannah in Africa. Now I have to find out when the sunrise and full moon set will coincide again but I guess that it is quite rare, maybe once in a lifetime occurrence when you factor in the weather.
Celestian information from Garmin MapSelect.

Canon Rebel T1i, 160mm lens, f/5, 1/3,200, ISO 400

Canon Rebel T1i, Vivitar 120-600mm zoom plus 2X extender, f/5.6, 1/60, ISO 400

...and most incredible Full Moon Set. Once in the lifetime chance to see both at the same time!
Note: These are raw and un-altered pictures.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Strobe Photography – Part 2

I did more strobe pixs of water droplets but this time instead of white card to bounce flash I used old calendar page with yellow sunflowers and white daisies. It came out pretty good. Later on I took my camera, strobe and tripod outside to take some early morning pictures of dew on peach tree branches and leaves. Then I packed my gear and drove to Lake Lisgard to take some foggy morning photographs. It was a good day.

The cedar that reflects in dew drop is only 1 meter behind the twig.
50mm Macro, f/16, 1/16sec., ISO 800, off camera flash at 1/32 power fired from left side.

Lake Lisgar at 9 o'clock.

Sunrise on Lake Lisgar
18mm lens, f/10, 1/400sec, ISO 100, CP filter

Strech of Trans-Canada Trail system.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Strobe Photography - More Fun with Camera

As I was surfing YouTube I came across interesting movie about photographing water droplets. Since I had everything needed for this specialised form of photography, generally called “strobing”, I just had to try it. I needed solid tripod, flash, radio strobe trigger set and lots of time on hand. The fact that I also have a light tent for close-ups was big advantage. Here are the results. Watch the video on YouTube to see how the set-up and focusing works.

In this shot I used Cloudy White Balance setting. Rest of the photographs were taken with Tungsten White Balance.

Canon Rebel T1i, Manual mode, 1/60 shutter, Macro lens 50mm 1:3.5 set at f/16 and 1:3 magnification, ISO 400, Yongnuo Digital flash YN468 at 1/16 power, Jianisi PT-04TM radio trigger, Cullmann 2904 tripod and head.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It is Nice to Have Indoor Hobbies

Today was a typical rainy, cold and windy day. No outdoor activities for me, no sir. Since I hardly watch any TV at all and I didn’t feel like reading even though I have 2 books and 2 magazines started, it left cooking and taking some indoor pictures. As far as cooking goes I made a load of pot-stickers for tonight’s meal and for freezer. That took over 3 hours and then it was camera’s turn. I love close-up and macro photography and I have all the equipment to do it so it was just a question of a subject. Close-ups of sandy or pebble beaches are always interesting and I do have a tiny pebble beach in our Japanese Garden but there was no way that I will crawl on wet ground and in the rain. There was only one solution: beach has to come inside. Piece of cake! Styrofoam plate used for packaged meat was base for my “beach”, spray water bottle provided the “rain” and my light-box finished the set-up. Yup, it is nice to have multiple hobbies! J

"Pebble Beach on Rainy Day."

Or, is it?

And here is the set-up. 2 fluorescent fill lights and 1 off camera TTL flash bouncing light from reflective top of the light box. f/22, 1/8 second, ISO 400, 55mm lens

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fun with Camera – October

I know that lots of people like Fall but for me it is not a favorite part of the year. I know that for few weeks it is very colorful time of the year, especially here in Ontario, and that it offers tons of picture taking opportunities, but for me it is a sad season. Everything around me in nature is dying or coming to rest and I just don’t see beauty in that. I love Spring when everything is fresh and growing and everywhere you look there is new life. I guess I have to wait 6 months for that so meanwhile, as far as picture taking opportunities go, I’ll shoot some leaves and the usual fall pictures.
Last month I bought variable neutral density filter (ND) for my 18 – 55mm and 70 – 300mm zoom lenses. What an incredible piece of equipment! It lets me stretch the shutter speed and gives the picture very interesting quality. You see pictures of waterfalls, rivers, lakes etc. in magazines and calendars but most people don’t know how that blurry, sort of dreamy look was achieved. Last few weeks I around with this ND filter and here are some examples.

Ornamental grasses on a windy day.
f/11, 1.3 second, ND filter, ISO 100, Aperture Priority. Thanks to longer exposure made possible by use of ND filter you can see the movement of the grasses.

Lake Lisgar, Tillsonburg.
f/16, 15 seconds, ND filter, ISO 100, Aperture Priority. With ND filter set about 3/4 maximum the lake looks flat, not even a ripple. Anytime I use the ND filter I rely on my super heavy Manfrotto tripod.

Lake Lisgar, Tillsonburg.
f/20, .5 second, ND filter, ISO 100, Aperture Priority.

Otter Creek, Tillsonburg.
f/5, 1/20 seconds, +1ND filter, ISO 100, Aperture Priority
In regular shot the rapids look fast and choppy.

Otter Creek, Tillsonburg.
f/11, 1.6 seconds, ND filter, ISO 100, Aperture Priority. With longer exposure the rapids appear slow and smooth.

Port Bruce, Lake Erie.
f/10, 1/8 second, ND filter, ISO 400, Aperture Priority. Here the ND filter acts as a regular polarizer filter, which it basically is, and darkens the sky.

Black Walnut, Sparta, Ontario.
f/7, 1/200 second, ND filter, ISO 400, -1 Exposure compensation, off camera flash with E-TTL on. Since I was shooting straight against the sun the flash was a must.