Painting is just another way of keeping a diary ~Pablo Picasso

Thursday, October 28, 2010

October 28, 2010

Well at least I'm posting today which is an improvement on this past week!  It was a hectic week, and pretty rough actually.  It's hard to feel creative in certain moods.  Today is the first day I actually felt like picking up my camera, but I have to say it felt good, so I'm happy about that.  I spotted these puffer fish-like berries walking Clover this morning.  The colors caught my eye, and so I mainly tried to photograph color.  I've used the +10 macro filter again, but I think the effect is different this time because the change in focus isn't so apparent...the front berry is in focus and the background berries are not.  I see this with f/2.8 lenses, and so I'm happy to have created this effect with my filter!  The color is nice, but the thing I like most about this shot is definitely the focus.  These clusters of berries were growing on a large tree in someone's yard.  I don't know what kind of tree, but we're calling it puffer fish.
f/5, 1/25, +10macro filter, 55mm

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October 21, 2010

Well this was either my third or fourth attempt at photographing rice at the Yolo Bypass, and opting for another photo instead.  That is rice in the background, but as for a closeup I have no idea how to compose that shot.  I think this field will be harvested very soon.  I did see harvesters out in the vacinity, and this field has been drained and dried for several weeks now.  So it was the dried mud that ended up being the most interesting, especially all the tracks.  I tried focusing on the track in the foreground, I think it's probably raccoon.  This is my f/5 shot, but I ended up going with it because the composition was better than the higher aperture attempts.  I wish I had this composition with f/22. I also don't really like the darkness of the shot.  The sun was still pretty low, and if I photographed the patches in the light the contrast was way too harsh.  I probably should have switched to manual here and overexposed a little.  Or bracketed.   I alwasy forget about that setting.
f/5, 1/60, 18mm

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October 20, 2010

So the good news is I found my filters.  I left them at a stop in the Sierras yesterday.  I should say the bad news is I had to drive all the way back to get them, but the fact is the drive is lovely so I didn't mind a bit.  And everytime I've been up there this week I've driven through this controlled burn.  The first day I actually rolled down the window to try some photos, and my van still smells like a smoked ham.  This one is taken through the glass.  It's another moody "see the light" photo, but all my aspen photos were starting to look the same, so I decided to post something different.  I was trying to make the photo dark and moody, so I was working in manual to underexpose, probably by three or four stops. 
f/5.6, 1/200

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 19, 2010

I headed back for the hills today, i.e. Sierras ;)  along with many other photographers based on the number of cars parked along the side of the road and people with cameras.  No one else at this spot though, which was sort of surprising; the red barn was  It's a bit harsh, but this is how the light was today.  So here's a very primary color photo...
f/10, 1/160, 34mm

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010

I spent some time working on this photo, I have to admit.  Getting the water droplet in focus was difficult.  This was my best focus, but it's also the shot that was the most underexposed and the highest saturated.  I don't mind the high saturation...just noting.  It's my 10+ filter which I'm afraid I might have lost (along with all my other filters *sadness!)  but it still didn't get as close as I wanted.  So I ended up cropping this one so the droplet would show up better on the blog.
f/25, 1/30, +10macro filter

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 16, 2010

Referencing Jim Brandenberg for a second day in a row:  This time I'm thinking about Looking for Summer.   That's definitely not difficult here.  The problem for me this month is more like "Looking for Fall"!  So today I drove up in the Sierras south of Lake Tahoe and even though it's mostly pine, there are some groves of Aspen to be found and they were very colorful.  I had my choice of photos to post today (finally!)  
f/22, 1/6, polarizer, ISO100 

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15, 2010

Today's photo has lots of references.  For starters, Jim Brandenberg's Chased by the Light, because this is the only photo I took today.  I took this photo for my class blog topic "togetherness".  I was trying to use an abstract/modern style here, but I think I'm pushing the envelop because abstract photos aren't supposed to have meaning, and I've purposely used this style to impose my own meaning.  So it's editorial/abstract;  I really love this photo.  I love the texture and shapes, and the solitary togetherness.  Clover's pathetic face helps (she hadn't had her walk at this point). 
f/2.8, 1/800, ISO80, spot meter

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October 14, 2010

I really needed a change of pace after yesterday's sunny adventures.  This closeup was done with my 10+macro filter.  I should have used this one for my class "What Is It?" topic.  I kept the ISO at 100 here but used a low aperture so the focal plane is very small but still clear.  I love the calm color on this one; it's converted from a raw file which gives more muted tones.  Enough said.
f/5.3, 1/2sec., ISO100, 10+macro filter

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 13, 2010

I really wish I had something else to post today.  I went on a photo outing with a group today to see Sandhill Cranes.  They're beautiful birds, but the lighting was so awful I can't bear to post any of the photos here.   We got there at high noon and it was hot, hot, hot!  We continued on to a Consumnes River trail where I took this photo.  I've only focused on the backlit orange leaf, but it's the blurry water background that I like most. And the color.
  f/5.6, 1/200, ISO400, polarizer

October 12, 2010

Photo from the 12th.   This is some sort of soil preparing plow that gets pulled behind a tractor.  It's a great photo of the dust around here; this place is so dusty!  I was driving and pulled over to the side of the road to try this shot, liking how the morning light was filtering through the dust (ha!), but forgot that my aperture was set to f-25 so the shutter speed is so slow and there's lots of blurry movement included which I don't really like.  If I'd known that the rest of the day was going to be so busy I would have tried a few more shots here. 
f/25, 1/10

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010

Windy day!  I tried to see if I could photograph that at the UCD Arboretum and Putah Creek.  This is using my highest aperture and polarizer to expose for a long enough shutter speed to capture a gust of wind.  I wasn't expecting to see the wind moving across the water too, but I'm glad that is was.  Initially I didn't intend to include the sun in the shot, but I ended up liking how elemental it felt.  I really don't like the color here, and I don't like the light pattern on the water either, but I'm going with this photo today because I do think it's cool that you can "see" the wind and the sunshine.
f/22, 1.5 sec., 19mm, polarizer

Sunday, October 10, 2010

October 10, 2010

Variation on a theme.  I took this one this morning when I was out with Clover, wondering how the leaf would look in the early morning light.  This was in the park near our house and the sprinkler system had already run, so there's lots of water droplet reflection, which is sort of dreamy.  Between the two photos I like yesterday's better; this one tries too hard.  It's also true though that I'm not quite as wild about yesterday's photo when I look at it today.  It needed to be just a little bit brighter.  Oh well.
f/5.6, 1/160, 165mm

Saturday, October 9, 2010

October 9, 2010

Boy does this photo suit my mood perfectly today.  I heard James Taylor on the way home, and I was just thinking that I can listed to James Taylor no matter what sort of mood I'm in and it feels right.  Plus his music always reminds me of fall in New England.  Today this photo reminds me of a James Taylor song.  I really love the setting sun feeling of it, plus the really shallow depth of field that makes the pavement glitter in the waning light.  If I could have taken this photo one minute earlier it would have glowed even more.  I tried just setting my camera on the ground and letting the auto focus search but it wouldn't lock in on anything.  So I had to cast off my pride (and my shoes) and lie down on the pavement to take this, and in that short amount of time the light had dimmed considerably.  It still gives me a really easy-going feeling though, and I like it today.  I'll have to see what kind of staying power it has and look at it again when I'm in a different mood...
f/5.6, 1/25, 200mm, portrait

Friday, October 8, 2010

October 8, 2010

This is a really nice blue for a sunset here; usually the sky gets very orange.  It's also a rare occasion when I feel like I've accurately captured the sky color too.  I was out taxiing when the sun was setting, and when I realized it was going to be so pretty  I tried to think of where I could go quickly to silhouette something against it; this cactus patch came to mind.  I didn't realize I'd get all the power lines in the photo, but I'll definitely notice them driving past this spot again, that's for sure!  Anyway it seems a nice end to the week, and appropriate since I started last Saturday with a sunrise photo.
f/8, 1/25, 18mm, polarizer, vivid

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October 7, 2010

I was just playing around with photographing old farm equipment in the Ag Farm area at UCD today.  I ended up picking this photo because I liked the angle on it, although I realize I mostly photographed a plank of wood.  I think the angle gives it a lot of visual depth which is interesting.  I wish I would have set up my tripod and used a really high f-stop here so the gears in the back were in focus too.  The thing I found amusing about this location was that the building next to this was named "Antique Mechanics"!  Ha!
f/5, 1/40, 18mm, vivid

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October 6, 2010

These little birds fly in huge flocks, and the move like a school of fish.  It sort of reminds me of a stadium stunt, like the wave or a placard routine, as they shift from all brown showing to all white showing.  I wonder how they know to move in unison like that!   I especially like the three bird landing sequence in the right of this photo, so that's what I cropped for.  This photo took a pretty big crop; it was too busy in the uncropped version, so I focused in on the landing plane.  I remembered to work in shutter mode (1/400).
f/10, 1/400, 145mm

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 5, 2010

This guy is called a Western Scrub-Jay.  He's about the same size as a Blue Jay, which we don't have out here.  He's the western cousin.  He was hanging out on an airconditioner at UCD this evening.  I inadvertently left my camera set to 1/80 shutter priority and ISO 1250 which is a crazy number for outdoor photography, but I think he still came out pretty nice. I especially like the colors.  This photo complements yesterday's pretty well, and since I'm heading back to the marshes tomorrow, I'm sticking with a theme.
f/20, 1/80, ISO1250, 150mm

Monday, October 4, 2010

October 4

There are a good variety of shorebirds staging at the Solano and Sonoma County Marshes.  I saw them yesterday on our way to Point Reyes, and wanted to photograph them right away because I'm not sure when they'll take off for their next migration stop.  Could be they stay here all winter, but I highly doubt it.  As for the photo, I was really happy to catch this blue-stocking bird landing.   I'm not totally wild about the overall effect, and I'm not sure why.  As if often the case, I didn't have a lot of time here today, but I am going to pack a lunch and head back in the next day or two to really spend time photographing.  I'm not sure bird photos are by best photos, but definitely my favorite to take!
f/9, 1/320, 165mm

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October 3

We visited Point Reyes National Seashore today.  This photo of the Point Reyes Lighthouse doesn't adequately show how desolate this place is.  Once we entered the park, we drove for over 20 miles on a narrow winding road to get to the lighthouse at the tip of a peninsula.  And we never saw another car during the entire drive.  We thought we'd be the only ones out there, but not the case.  Still, an amazing location.  This was my best angle with the stairs and railing as the lead in.  It was actually pretty foggy, so this shot is overexposed by either two or three stops. 
f/4, 1/400, 55mm

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October 2

When I got up this morning and read in the paper that today is Annie Leibovitz's birthday, I thought I'd do a portrait today (I'm currently reading Annie Leibovitz at Work).  I was up at the crack of dawn to go to a debate meet so I thought I could take some photos there.  But a few things got in my way.  First I had to drive into an inspiring sunrise, and second, I'm not all that comfortable with portrait photography.  It seems so intrusive.  So I chickened out, which was easy because I had already photographed the sunrise.  This is approaching the Yolo Wildlife Area from the west.  I like the power lines in the photo a lot, but I wish I'd given the grain house a slightly higher spot on the horizon.  It really was an inspirational sunrise, and so I think the photo falls short.  Too bad I couldn't have given it more time.  It's the first time I've been really excited about photography all week!  I'm going to try resuming daily posting, but if I don't have time or don't like what I've got then I just won't post that day.  So that's the plan...