Day 332 (27 Nov 2012) A Snowy Road

Winter in New England means snow!  I love the snow; I love watching it fall, snow ball fights, hiking in it (gonna go for snow shoes this year, I think), driving in it, and LOVE snowboarding 🙂

I took my truck for a drive down an old farm road in the woods near where I live on my lunch break and took these shots.  It’s not a lot of snow, yet, but it’s still November 🙂

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Tomorrow I’m going to try for an early AM shot, so lets hope I can get up on time!!

Day 312 (7 November) Winter Has Arrived!

not officially, but the season’s first snow is falling.  Last week was a hurricane, this week snow via a Nor’easter.  This is New England!

There wasn’t much accumulation before dark, and with the wind blowing, I snuck outside during my work day to shoot a couple images of the grass peaking through the snow.  I should have taken more time to frame them up and check focus and DoF, but there is always tomorrow!  Plus, I should have more light and not have to fight the wind 🙂

I like the idea of the first image, I just need to work on the execution.  The second image is of the ball-shaped flakes as they started to accumulate on my deck.

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Day 138 (17 May 2012) Fire & Ice

Have you ever lost your creative drive?  Had a time when you couldn’t think of anything to shoot?  Gotten stuck in a photography rut?  Try this: pick some random, possibly mundane, object and try to shoot it.  Don’t stop shooting till you get an something that is completely different from how you saw it before.  Try different angles, perspectives, lighting types/placements, depth of field, shutter speed, editing techniques, etc.  If you have a macro filter or lens, shoot something small or just up close and personal.  If not, try a longer exposure while twisting the zoom or focus ring.  Start doing that every so often and you will always be able to find a way to create a new image that will break you from your ‘box!!’

Today I did just that.  I thought I would try and shoot an ice cube.  That’s a pretty mundane and ordinary object, that we see all the time!  It took many different shots before I finally tried something completely different.  I was trying to use my speed light to cause it to glow and highlight the air pockets.  I didn’t like any of those (till I editing a couple).  Then I grabbed my laser pointer (It has had an appearance in a couple of posts, a chair and fruit), and It got me excited seeing what was happening on my live view 🙂  It was totally unlike anything I’ve done with ordinary objects.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I did creating them 🙂

Fire and Ice

60 mm, 1/5 sec, f/5.0, ISO 100, 60mm macro lens (Fire & Ice)

Ice on Fire

60 mm, 10 sec, f/5.0, ISO 100, 60mm macro lens (Ice on Fire)

Ice Cube

60 mm, 1.3 sec, f/10, ISO 100, 60mm macro lens (Ice Cube)

Day 113 (22 April 2012) A Rainy Welcome Home

I just got home about 2 hours ago from a weekend long retreat with about 35 guys from my church; It was an amazing weekend! But at the same time, exhausting. Sometime after lunch, it started raining, so we were all welcomed home to pouring rain, but that’s ok, because as exhausted as I am, the rain will just help me feel better about going to bed really early 🙂

Since it’s dark and rainy, I figured I would give you a shot that shows that. The ‘attitude’ of the photo in no way represents how I’m feeling ( a mixture of joy, elation, and tiredness), but about the weather only.

Rain on the Screen

60 mm, 1/20 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600, 60mm macro lens (Rain on the Screen)

 

I still have a lot of catching up to do on your comments, and of the blogs that I’m following. With the exception of posting real quick during a break to my blog, I’ve been on a media blackout from Friday afternoon till about 4pm today. So please be patient with me 🙂

Day 65 (5 March 2012) Moon in Tree

I know this shot’s been done almost to the point of cliché, but I still think it’s cool to see the moon during the day, esp. when there is something interesting to frame it with.  Being my typical busy Monday, I shot this right before I ran back out the door.  I didn’t want to stay up any later by finding a cool spot to freeze while shooting for 45 min tonight.

I did do some minor editing (increasing the exposure a little while decreasing it on the moon) so you could see the features of the moon.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll try a HDR shot so I don’t have to play with brushes (I know it’s not a great job I did here, but I’m still trying practicing a steady hand w/ the mouse).  Anyway, I at least love the color that the sky was, and maybe I should have shot w/o the moon in it.

Moon Tree

87 mm, 1/30 sec, f/11, ISO 100, Sigma 50-200mm lens (Moon Tree)

Day 62 (2 March 2012) The Edge and The Pond

Tonight I bring you two different shots.  The first one is a test of my new close-up filter kit.  I shot the blade of my Letherman (which I carry everywhere except the airport).  I can’t wait to have some more time to experiment with these lenses.  I’ve been wanting to break into macro photography for a while, but haven’t had the cash to get a good macro lens.  The $12 I spent on this kit will allow me to keep putting money aside for a quality lens.

That was going to be my only shot for today, but on my way home from a friend’s house, I took the shortest way (according to Garmin), and ended up passing the pond in the second shot.  I probably wouldn’t have noticed it, as I was paying more attention to the pot holes on the dirt road that my GPS directed me along, but there were several deer in a field bordering the road, so I slowed down then noticed the pond.  Sometimes deer near a road are a good thing 🙂

The Edge

55 mm, 1/20 sec, f/11, ISO 1600, 18-55mm kit lens w/ 10x close up filter (The Edge)

The Pond

18 mm, 30 sec, f/11, ISO 800, 18-55mm kit lens (The Pond)

Day 60 (29 Feb 2012) Leap Day

Happy Leap Day!  I hope you did some leaping, jumping, and hopping today!  I know I did 🙂

Leap Day

18 mm, 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600, 18-55mm kit lens (Happy Leap Day!)

Leap Day

33 mm, 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600, 18-55mm kit lens (Leaping Lizards!)

Now you know what I look like 🙂

Day 55 (24 Feb 2012) Snow Day Special

Today it was actually like a New England winter day!  I awoke to about 3″ of fresh snow for the first time in almost 2 months!  I have been missing weather like this 😉

I love the peaceful quite that the snow seems to bring, and the way it completely changes the landscape from the dead brown to a winter wonderland!

I didn’t take many photos today, but instead set up my camera to do a time-lapse watching the snow all day.  The temps were above freezing so I wanted to watch it melt off the trees 🙂  It’s not super exciting, but time-lapse is still very new and experimental to me.  let me know how I can improve!! I apologize if the image quality seems low; I forgot to turn my camera from a medium-sized jpg (that I was using for the vid files) to full-sized RAW.

 

Tree In A Drop

50 mm, 1/640 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100, EF 50mm f/1.8 ii (Tree In A Drop)

Tree Top

50 mm, 1/640 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100, EF 50mm f/1.8 ii (Tree Top)

Day 51 (20 Feb 2012) Night Time on the Rails

Tonight’s photo is the night version of this post.  Because it was so dark, it didn’t turn out quite as bright as I had hoped, even though I shot at ISO 200 for 10 minutes.  I’ll try this under a full, or near full, moon to see how different it might be.

A credit to the capabilities designed into our eyes is that I could clearly see the tops of the rails just from the incident light from the stars and lights across the river, but it took 10 min for my camera to pick them up!  I’m still learning the limitations of my camera, compared to my eye.  It is very evident when looking and shooting a hight contrast scene; my eyes can pick out color/detail in the shadows and bright areas simultaneously.  My camera does not have that dynamic of a range.  I may have to try HDR photography at some point to see how close I can get what I see to the screen.

The Tracks at Night

18 mm, 10 min, f/11, ISO 200, 18-55mm kit lens (The Tracks at Night)

Day 50 (19 Feb 2012) Church

Today marks Day 50 of my Project 366!  I have not missed a day so far!  Though at least a few photos posted were just to have one up, but hey, at least I’m still on track!  I’m kinda surprised that I’ve made it this far, and it’s encouragment that I will finish this project 🙂

I was trying to think of somthing I could shoot that would be in line with a theme of “50”; either the number somewhere or 50 of something or whatever.  But I didn’t give it enough thought and on my way home tonight I realized that it was too late to be super creative.  So I chose another subject.

This old Congregational church in Norwich is quite beautiful to look at.  It was built in the 1850s and is in great condition.    During the day you can see it in its redish color and really appreciate its architecture.  I thought I would be great to shoot at night, since it looks cool all lit up at night.  But with the mix of lighting on the building itself, along with all the street lights that are in that area causes this to be very challenging to shoot.  There are much better sides to this building than what you see below, but between the lighting and interfering objects (power lines, poles, etc), in addition to my own lack of experience in shooting something like this, most shots came out w/ areas over exposed and others under exposed.  So I settled on the shot below which is the most evenly lit (or un-lit) side so I would not have to spend hours in Lightroom adjusting exposure on each area.

If you have any tips on how to shoot a building like this at night, please share them!  I would like to try this building again 🙂

Church

21 mm, 61 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100, 18-55mm kit lens (Church)

 

Day 49 (18 Feb 2012) Weekend Jaunt

Today my gf and I decided that we would like to walk the Gold Star Memorial Bridge over the Thames River (I-95) between Groton and New London, CT.  It is about 135 feet (41m) tall and 6000 feet (1800 m) long, making it CT’s longest bridge.

I’ve driven over this bridge hundreds of times, but never walked over, and since today’s weather was nice (45 F and sunny) I figured, why not 🙂

This first photo was shot from near the apex, towards the Groton side.  The industrial looking complex you see in the distance is the New London US Navy Submarine Base, where I was stationed before I separated from the Navy.

Thames River and Sub Base

39 mm, 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 18-55mm kit lens (Thames River and Sub Base)

This second photo was from under the south-bound lane, facing West looking into New London.  I really enjoyed looking at the geometry of the bridge’s support structure.

Under the Gold Star Memorial Bridge

55 mm, 1/20 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 18-55mm kit lens (Under the Bridge)

This last shot is of Horse Pond, north of Waterford, CT, as the sun was setting.  My gf noticed the view as we drove by, so I pulled a U-turn and came back so we could shoot it.

Horse Pond

18 mm, 1/40 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 18-55mm kit lens (Horse Pond)

Day 47 (16 Feb 2012) The Commute

This afternoon was a rainy afternoon here in CT.  And as such, everyone on the freeway decided that they couldn’t drive more than 35 mph.  So I decided If I was going to crawl along at a snail’s pace, I would detour and parallel the highway on city streets.  My thought was that I probably won’t lose any more time, plus I’ll get to see an area of town I normally don’t get to see.  And maybe I would see something worth shooting.

Red Lights In The Rain

55 mm, 1/30 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400, 18-55mm kit lens (Red Lights In The Rain)

But alas, the surface streets were crawling, too.  It took over 30 min to less than a mile.  As I’m sitting at a light I’ve watched turn green many time, I let my mind drift from my predicament and my focus locked onto the red dots in the rain drops on my wind shield.  And since my camera was near by, I grabbed it and was able to improve my mood a bit 🙂

But as I continued to crawl, all I saw was red.  Not anger (ok, maybe a little), but the sea of red tail lights stretched out in front of me like a slow-moving ribbon.

Ribbon of Red

49 mm, 1/8 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400, 18-55mm kit lens (Ribbon of Red)

Day 44 (13 Feb 2012) Star Light, Star Bright

I’ve shot in this field before (see post Life and Death), but I really like how this lone tree in the corn field stood out against the glow of the town just past the horizon.  The sky was clear, and the moon was not set to rise for 3 more hours, so I pulled over just before I reached home and set up my tripod and took a few shots.

I was trying to keep from having star trails, so I limited my exposure to 30 seconds, but had to boost the ISO up to 400, so I did get some noise which I tried to reduce in Lightroom.  But in this small size it doesn’t show up too much. The tree is a little out of focus, and the noise reduction didn’t help it, either. Days like this were I don’t have time to really plan out a shot result in being rushed. But I am learning something each time I analyze a photo I’m not 100% pleased with. 🙂

Tree in Corn Field

18 mm, 30 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400, Canon 18-55mm kit lens (Tree in Corn Field)

Day 43 (12 Feb 2012) The Tracks

So I probably should appologize for yesterday’s posting, but I’m not.  This is MY blog, after all 😉

But seriously, I spent the day with my gf, and since it was our Valenties Day, spending any time in “photography” would have been to have ignored her.  Even though she is a budding photog, too, yeasterday was “us” time.  But I didn’t want to miss a day on this project, so I comprimised by snaping a pic of the dipping oil as we were about to leave the resturaunt.

But now back to using my real camera vice my old Droid Eris.  The photo’s from today were taken at the same location that I wanted to shoot when I posted the “hope” shot on Thursday.  It was 25F and windy today, so I didn’t want to linger, but I still hope that I was able to capture the beautiful sky and the Thames river.  I will try the night version again, so stay tuned!

The Tracks and The Thames River

18 mm, 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO 100, Canon 18-55mm kit lens (The Thames and the Tracks)

Side-Tracked

18 mm, 1/50 sec, f/11, ISO 100, Canon 18-55mm kit lens (Side-Tracked)

Day 40 (9 Feb 2012) Hope

No, this post has nothing to do with inspiring you to any type of hope, unfortunately.  It’s titled that way because I’m hoping that my shot came out OK.  Why would I have to hope, you ask?  Good question.  It’s because that as I’m typing this right now, my camera is still processing the 11+ minute exposure I just completed.  I hope that the composition is good.  I hope the image is in focus.  I hope that it wasn’t over or under exposed.

Why would I leave today’s photo up to hope?  Well, I had not intended it to be that way.  I had picked out a great spot to go with the current conditions (near full moon, clear sky) that was along my way home from helping a friend pick up and transport an entertainment center they just bought (I’m that guy w/ a truck you hope will help you).  I set up the tripod, leveling the head, planned out a few angles to shoot the scene, put the camera on the tripod and turned it on.  I was left very annoyed when all it did was flash the dead battery sign.  My other battery was in my other bag in my other vehicle (the one I drive almost all the time).  So, I packed up everything and came home, more than a little disappointed in myself.

Being quite tired due to the time and how late I stayed up yesterday to get yesterday’s shot, my body wasn’t enjoying the 28F air too much, so I set up the camera inside (all but focus), pointed it at something I think will be interesting, used a flashlight to set the focus, and opened the shutter.  About 11 min later I went back outside and closed it.

The camera just now finished processing, so I’m headed to Lightroom to convert it and upload.

Ok, it’s uploading.  And it’s not terrible.  My composition could have been better, but I’m not complaining too much, as I didn’t want to spend a long time lying on the ground getting it just right tonight.  Exposure is good (adjusted a little), and noise wasn’t too bad (fixed a little, too).  Color was pretty good, IMO.  I was so tired, I didn’t even consider that I would have star trails, but, I managed to catch the North Star just barely, so I think it adds to it.  But this is just me rambling at after 11 pm.  Maybe I won’t like it as much in the morning.  But it is, what it is, so please share your thoughts on how I could improve on this for next time.

Moon Lit Tree and Star Trails

18 mm,11 min 28 sec, f/11, ISO 100, Canon 18-55mm kit lens (Moon Lit Tree and Star Trails)

Day 39 (8 Feb 2012) The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow

There are those to go through this life always striving for more; more pay, a bigger house, a nicer car, more ‘power’, higher social status, that legendary pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  When they do finally do reach the end goal, and find that pot, this is what they end up with:

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18 mm, 4 min, f/3.5, ISO 100 (Pot of Gold)

They end up dead with nothing to show, except a tombstone and an empty, broken, rusty pot.

And yet, “Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:6

Remember what is important in life: God, family, friends, and helping others.  Don’t forgot to take time to enjoy life, this is where you will find your true treasure!

Day 38 (7 Feb 2012) Dawn Breaks

This morning as I was sitting at my computer enjoying some granola, I was able to enjoy the  transition of the sky from night to light; I feel really blessed to have this view from my office! the first shot is that view (but shot from outside), the second is from my front steps (looking just to the right, or south, of the first one).  It was almost a shame to disturb the moment by grabbing my camera and running outside (still in PJs), but I’ll just savor it tomorrow morning 🙂

Dawn Breaks

18 mm, 1/15 sec, f/5.0, ISO 100, 18-55mm kit lens (Dawn Breaks)

The Coming Day

18 mm, 1/15 sec, f/5.0, ISO 100, 18-55mm kit lens (The Coming Day))

Day 35 (4 Feb 2012) The Back Woods

Today my girlfriend and I decided to take a quick walk in the woods behind my yard.  I wanted to show her an old beaver pond since we had talked about some photos I had taken last summer out there.  There wasn’t much life out there today, but we did come back with some good photos.  I can’t wait for the spring to go back out and shoot it in its full color.

Pond and Sky

20 mm, 1/80 sec, f/13, ISO 100, EF-S 18-55mm IS kit lens (Pond and Sky)

Red

49mm, 1/50 sec, f/5/6, ISO 100, EF-S 18-55mm IS kit lens (Red)

Day 33 (2 Feb 2012) Hartford and the CT River Ghost

Many a day I’ve admired the view from I-291 as it crosses the Connecticut River; For a minute you forget you are in a heavily populated area as suburbia gives way to river and woods.  But there is a point along the bridge that where you can catch a glimpse of downtown Hartford, CT, and at night or in the early morning, it is a beautiful sight!

I’ve also noticed the pedestrian portion of the bridge on the northern side, but wondered how to get to it, so using satellite photos on Yahoo maps I found the entrance on the western side.  As It’s hard to get a good shot through a dirty windshield while driving in heavy traffic, I decided to park at the walk-way entrance and walk to a spot on the bridge that afforded a good view and set up my tripod w/o fear of the traffic flying by.

Since I was using a small aperture, I had a slow shutter speed to get a good exposure; this allowed me to catch the infamous CT River Ghost on film!!

CT River Ghost

39 mm, 30 sec, f/18, ISO 100, EF-S 18-55mm IS kit lens (CT River Ghost)

Hartford, CT at Night

104mm, 30 sec, f/18, ISO 100, Sigma DC OS 50-200mm HSM lens (Hartford at Night)

Behind the Fence

53 mm, 30 sec, f/18, ISO 100, EF-S 18-55mm kit lens (Behind the Fence)

Day 31 (31 Jan 2012) Farmington River

Today marks 1 month down!  No days missed 🙂  But starting next month, I’ll actually have to remember what number I’m on instead of just looking at the date!

On my way home from work I decided to stop at a little park next to the Farmington River near southern Windsor, CT.  I thought it would look cool to do a longer exposure of the river, like I’ve done with waterfalls, just to see what happened.  I like how the first one almost looks like it was painted; I may print a large size of it for my wall 🙂

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51 mm, 2 sec, f/36, ISO 100, EF-S 18-55mm IS kit lens (Painted River)

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18 mm, 0.4 sec, f/22, ISO 100 EF-S 18-55 IS kit lens (Branch in Water)

Blue Water

18 mm, 2 sec, f/22, ISO 100 EF-S 18-55 IS kit lens (Blue Water)