8 Feb 2013 – Baby it’s cold outside!

Here are some of my images from the past week or so, I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them!

There is an irrigation pond not far from my home where the ‘old timers’ like to gather and fish.  Not having good ice traction, I wasn’t able to talk to this gentleman, other than to ask if I could take his photo.

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I was able to borrow my friends’s wide angle lens (Tokina 11-16mm), so I brought it to Avery Point in Groton, CT to try it out a little bit. As it was my first time with the lens, I wasn’t too impressed in general w/ my images, the lens is fun, though it feels almost like a prime. I think I’ll try the Canon 10-20 next 🙂

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Wednesday night, after teaching a class to kids on photography, I felt inspired to shoot some night photography. I shot these from a pedestrian bridge over Rt 32 in Waterford, CT. In the first image you can see the athletic complex for ConCollege in the foreground and the town of Groton across the river. The brightest lights lights across the river, on the left side, are SubBase New London (yes, it’s in Groton) where I was stationed before I got out.

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These last two I took today. I had a green glass bowl that I had used to make banana bread that was in the drying rack over the portion cups I used to pre-measure my ingredients. It looked pretty cool as the muted sun glinted off the now-green cups.

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Day 340 (5 Dec 2012) Power

On my way to class I thought I found a  great thing to shoot; I saw a large electrical substation that was lit up (for security), and the way the light fell on the shapes of the components was compelling!  I took a few minutes during class to look at it on Google Earth to see where I could park and get close to shoot.

So after class I drove the short distance, but after parking, I felt there was too much traffic and someone might think I looked suspicious shooting a large electrical distribution center at night, so I chickened out.  But across the street was a power line cut in which several different types of power lines ran.  It looked kinda neat as I was standing there in the cold wind, so I set up my tripod and made several exposures.

Between the dead weeds, mixed lighting, and busy scene, I wasn’t thrilled with the results.  I did a black & white conversion with some cropping and a little cloning, but it’s not how I pictured it in my minds eye.  The alternating light and dark sections of the wires (from the multiple passing cars) is distracting to me, and I did not do a good job in establishing a singular point of focus.  I will chalk this up as a learning experience and choose my composition better next time 🙂

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I have to admit, its a lot easier to say “I don’t like that image” about one I made than it is to actually spell out what it is exactly that I feel I didn’t do well at in creating it.  I’ve never been good at proofing my own work (writing, etc), and it’s not different in photography.  But from what I’ve read, and from my (minuscule) experience, it’s one of the most powerful things you can do to improve your photography (other than practice).  So I challenge you to on occasion look at a final image you have created and critique it; whether it’s one you love or one you are not fond of.  Figure out what it is about it that you love/hate!  It’s HARD! But worth it 🙂

UPDATE (2 min later): Right as I was about to hit “publish” for this post, I recieved an email from Flickr (where this image is hosted) stating someone had marked this one as a “favorite.”  I don’t know why; maybe they just randomly do that to drive traffic to their images or maybe they really like it?  What do you think?

Day 338 (3 Dec 2012) Sunrise in the fog

This was one of those mornings we have here in New England where a warm, humid day is followed by a cool night, resulting in patches of dense fog.  There is something about fog that lends an air of mystery to the landscape, that just draws me into it.  I just want to enter in and see what it’s hiding my sight.

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Mystery In The Field

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Morning Fog

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Morning Commute

This project is winding down, with less than a month to go!!  I’m excited about that fact!  This has been a HUGE commitment, more than I could have ever imagined when I began 338 days ago.  While I’m on track to meet my goal of taking a photo every day, other goals have been pushed aside to reach this one (most notably my goal to read 24 books this year, I might get to 16-18).  However, I have learned A LOT and my skill has improved more so in the last year than the all the previous years combined!  From my photography side of things, it has been worth it, but overall, taking into account the time I should have been studying, reading, doing house/yard work, etc, I’m not sure.  And to be honest, I’m not sure it matters at this point.

I will not be doing another 365 project in 2013, but I will still be very active with my camera still!  I will spend a lot more time learning and studying techniques, learning more about editing, and not feeling the pressure to come up with an idea at 10pm when I should be sleeping, just to say I shot that day.  If you have a lot of time, or really want to improve your photography, I do recommend a 365 project.  If you don’t have a lot of time, a 52 project (one a week) might be more fitting.

Now as this project approaches completion, I am looking for an idea for my last post of the year; something to top off a year of shooting some great images with style!  I’m open for suggestions, but with the caveat that I do have to work the 31st.  So fire away!

I’m also looking for ideas of what you would like to see in the next year.  I will be posting my best images, at minimum.  But I could start creating some tutorials on my favorite styles/techniques (both to help y’all out, and to make me learn them better!), and maybe do some gear reviews, of the stuff I have used (which is limited).  I don’t see this as a profession, but maybe someday I can make some money to by new gear 😀

Day 329 (24 Nov 2012) Blue Hour

Right after sunset is “blue hour’, in which the sky takes on a deepening and darkening blue as it transitions into the black of night.  I think that this time of day is the best time to shoot sky photos, especially since if the clouds are just right, the sun will shine a beautiful array of reds, oranges, and purples onto them as it sinks lower below the horizon.

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Day 325 (20 Nov 2012) Blasted Weather. . .

Well, It isn’t anyone’s fault but mine for thinking the sky would be clear tonight, and that I would be able to get the shot I had planned.  Better luck tomorrow 🙂  So, here is what I shot, not exactly the plan, but I did get to try out my new-to-me 75-300 zoom!

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Day 317 (12 Nov 2012) Winter Tree

I was driving around Sunday afternoon and stumbled upon an open hilltop bordering a semi-industrial area and saw this tree.  Its one of the few I’ve seen that is in such an open area, near the top of a hill.  It makes this perfect to shoot against a cloudy sky.  There is too much light pollution to shoot with stars in the background unfortunately, but the way the light from the town plays on the clouds is worthy of spending time with my camera outside 🙂

The last image is pretty close to the natural color, but I started playing with the white balance and and tint in LR to get the colors in the first image, which I really like.  I also like the black and white treatment, esp. since there wasn’t much color to begin with.  When I saw the view of image 3, I saw that there seemed to be a sharp difference in light levels split by the trunk and tried to capture that.

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Day 307 (2 Nov 2012) Norwich Waterfront

About 10 or so miles up the Thames river from Long Island Sound is a town called Norwich.  It’s not anywhere near the shoreline, yet there is a marina there.  It’s a quite place after dark, but beautiful with the colors reflecting off the water’s surface.  The are is pretty well lit so one can walk around and enjoy the area even late at night.

Tonight was a little breezy, as you can tell by the second photo.  I tried to capture the movement of the trees in the wind.  Not sure how well it shows, but I did like the clouds.  I did leave the shutter open a tad too long, as the stars were starting to trail (a 30 second exposure when it should have been 20-25 seconds).

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I have a question for all y’all out there, is there a better WordPress theme than the twenty twelve for a photo blog?  I prefer to link my photos from Flickr vice hosting them here, if that makes a difference.  Thanks!

Day 303 (30 Oct 2012) Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy hit hard Monday.  Wind gusts over 80mph.  Power lost.

The first shot is shot through a rain-pelted window.  I intentionally focused between the window and the trees.  The second is the same trees, but showing blur from the drops on that same window.  the last one is a longer exposure shot after the moon peaked out of the clouds for a moment.  The wind was still blowing well over 35mph, so everything is blurred.

I came out of the storm in good shape.  I lost power for 48 hours, and had no damage.  Only thing that happened is the roof blew off of my shed, but since it’s a module plastic shed, I can simply put it back on and snap it in place 🙂

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Day 305 (31 Oct 2012) Flower After The Storm

On Wednesday my college had power, so I headed in for classes.  The clouds had thinned slightly and allowed some of the setting sun’s light to penetrate.  I saw this nursery and thought it made a good foreground for the sky, esp. since it shows the flowers knocked over by Hurricane Sandy (this is several miles inland, where the wind wasn’t as bad).

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Day 306 (1 Nov 2012) Sandy’s Clouds

Hey everyone!  I’ve got power back! It’s a great thing to have it, even after a short period (I got it back last night).  My part of CT had very minimal damage, unlike the shoreline and areas south, and for that I’m grateful.  I just lost power for about 48 hours, and the roof of my plastic shed blew off (I can just put it back, easy enough).  But my thoughts and prayers go out to those who are still suffering from Sandy’s wrath.  I hope none of you were in her path.

I shot tonight’s images from a small bridge on a dirt road just across the main road from my street.  I like how the moon glows behind the remnants of Sandy, and how some of the stars are starting to come out 🙂  Nothing too fancy, but I enjoy this kind of night/long exposure photography 🙂

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I did manage to shoot Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but I’m just now uploading the photos, so I’ll post those in a day or so.

Day 302 (28 Oct 2012) The Calm Before the Storm

Tomorrow the East Coast will begin to get pounded by Hurricane Sandy.  We up in southern New England will get the northern part of the storm.  The last time we got hit w/ a huge storm, power was out for over a week, so everyone has been preparing.  I myself am fully prepared and ready, “Sandy, Bring it!!!” lol

I took a trip to Ocean State Beach in New London, CT, to see what was preceding the storm.  The clouds added a bit of drama to the sky, and the wind was whipping up the surf.  We in CT don’t see real surf, protected as we are by Long Island.  I have to admit its very tempting to brave the storm to see the storm surge, but I think I’ll just stay in and play it safe 😦

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Day 301 (27 Oct 2012) Fall Trees and a Stone Wall

Took a short walk this afternoon, under the cloudy sky, which provided nice texture to the sky.  I also noticed the moon out tonight before it got dark and thought it looked good 🙂  I’m not sure which version I prefer, so I posted both 🙂

This weekend I’ve been working my way through my photos from Spain, and I’m about halfway through; feel free to check out my Flickr Photostream Spain set, though it’s not complete yet.  I’ll repost the link once I’m done with them.  I don’t think I’ll make up the posts, but do one that has my best/favorite photos once I’m done.

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Day 299 (25 Oct 2012) Night at the Boneyard

In my town, along a narrow, windy road that leads to the landfill, is a graveyard, a graveyard for the ones that are powered by engines.  To me it’s a sad place; there are many vehicles from the classic car era that are rusting, smashed, and have trees & plants growing out of them.  It’s almost enough to make me cry, almost.

I thought I would shoot there tonight, as the moon is near full, and the sky containing some light clouds.  I exposed for 5 min, ISO 100, f/11 and edited in Lightroom.  It’s been a while since I’ve shot long exposure shots like these, so I didn’t catch that the moon was in the wrong spot to get a good exposure on both the ground and allowing the sky to be shown.  But that’s ok.  I thought about going B&W on all of them, but like the subtle colors that are captured on a night like this.

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Day 295 (21 Oct 2012) Wedding Bells

On Sunday I attended the wedding of a couple friends, and as I was asked to help set up a little, I arrived early enough to get some shooting in before everyone else arrived.  I was also hired to shoot the last hour or so after the pro photographer left (I’m not a pro, esp. for weddings!), especially of the bride and groom leaving the bridal suite, saying good by, and getting into the limo.  It was an honor to be asked to shoot that (and get a little $ for it, too), esp. since I wasn’t asked to develop the photos (the bride will do that on her own time).  But anyway, here are a couple of my “personal” photos from that day.

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Camera Bling

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Center Pieces 

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Reception Hall

Day 297 (23 Oct 2012) Creek in the Woods

On my way home from work on Tuesday, I took a short detour to get an image.  I find it difficult to capture forest scenes to my satisfaction.  Maybe it’s because my memory of the scene is much more vivid than what my camera captures?  I don’t know.  But I’ll continue to try till I get it right 🙂

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Day 293 (19 Oct 2012) Rainy Autumn Day

It’s been raining since before I awoke today.  So I shot a few images from my spare room’s window.  I shot a long exposer using a 4x ND filter so that I could catch the mist/rain better.  I softened them a tad and boosted the saturation a hair to bring out the colors.

Then I saw a video on Adorama TV and tried to replicate the idea.  It was pretty fun!  Try to guess what was held behind the screen 🙂

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30 mm, 2 sec, f/22, ISO 100, 4x ND filter (Autumn Rain)

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60 mm, 0.6 sec. f/5.0, ISO 100, 60mm macro lens (Rainy Screen)

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60 mm, 0.6 sec. f/5.0, ISO 100, 60mm macro lens (Green Screen)

Day 262 (19 Sep 2012) Sculpture

I got to campus about 30 min before class started today because there is a huge red-painted sculpture on the campus I wanted to shoot.  I made several images from various angles, distances, etc.  It’s very interesting with the hard and soft edges, the arcs and angles.

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Day 261 (18 Sep 2012) Stormy Sky

Today has been very stormy; lots of wind, clouds, and rain.  My area of CT is currently under a tornado watch, and I’ve lost power 3 times while trying to edit the photos and post this blog!  On my way home I swung into Gay City State Park and shot a few images of the sky and pond.  I would have loved to say longer and watch the clouds race across the sky, but it was raining, and I had stuff to do, as always.

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18 mm, 1/40 sec, f/8, ISO 200 (Storm Over Pond)

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18 mm, 1/40 sec, f/8, ISO 200 (Sky Drama)

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18 mm, 1/15 sec, f/8, ISO 100 (Stormy Sky)

Tomorrow will probably be my last post for several days; Thursday begins my trek to Spain with a drive to my gf’s parent’s house to stay that night and work from there Friday, before my flight Friday to Barcelona for 2 weeks.  I will land Sat morning and get to see her for the first time in 6 months!  As you can probably guess, I’m a bit excited 🙂  I know I won’t be posting daily while over there, but I will still be shooting every day (yes, she is a photog, too!).

Day 259 (16 Sep 2012) Down by the Tracks

Today I took the scenic route home from church, which ironically is shorter distance-wise than the ‘normal’ route.  As I was driving and enjoying the fall sunshine and scattered clouds in the sky, I saw a sign for a boat ramp I had not explored yet.  So hit the brakes, hoping they guy behind me was paying attention and cranked the wheel to aim my car down the heavily potted road down to the river.  I parked, took a stroll to the tracks that parallel the river, and did a little shooting.  As you probably know, I have a thing for trains and rail road tracks (I have several posts that feature rail road tracks, such as this, this, and this.)

Enjoy!

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18 mm, 1/100 sec, f/11, ISO 100 (Into the Distance)

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18 mm, 1/60 sec, f/11, ISO 100 (River and Rails)

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18 mm, 1/40 sec, f/11, ISO 100 (Rail Road)

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18 mm, 1/40 sec, f/11, ISO 100 (Low Rider)

Day 257 (14 Sep 2012) Disappearing Lake

Last night on my way home from Providence, RI, I took a slight detour to shoot a lake from a different perspective than I normally see and discovered this really neat dam.  As I approached the bridge, I could see a hole in the lake!  I think I’ll go back here during daylight to explore it a little better 🙂

I shot at ISO 100 last night and the issues I had the previous night shooing at ISO 200 were not present. I guess I could say that I learned that my camera does much better w/ very low ISOs on long exposures. Which is fine, I usually don’t mind waiting the extra few minutes, as I usually shoot something I enjoy looking at 🙂

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18 mm, 4 min, f/8, ISO 100 (Disappearing Lake)

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18 mm, 4 min, f/8, ISO 100 (Hole in the Lake)