Finding Nemo – I found him!! 11 Feb 2013

Wow!  What a storm!  I was lucky enough to receive 3-4 feet of snow!  Well, lucky in that I have a good shovel, a 4wd truck, and a back strong enough to shovel a few hundred feet of driveway.

Well, anyway, I survived, didn’t loose power, and took a break after shoveling to break out my camera and enjoy the winter wonderland 🙂  On Sunday I took a few moments to visit a small beach to see what snow on the beach was like.

Please let me know what you think of these photos!

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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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Days 353-363 (18-28 Dec 2012) Catch Up Post, and GOOD NEWS!!

These past several days have been crazy, busy, and awesome!  I have not had a chance to post, but I have taken photos every day (even if just with my iPhone), so I am still on track for this project!!!

Below are some of the photos, the most important/best ones of these several days.  Some have not been processed yet, and others (such as the iPhone snapshots) are not worth posting here.  Starting next year, I will move my blog to another WordPress address; I have a few reserved, but will let you know the new address to subscribe to.  I will not be doing another 365 project, but I will still be making photos all the time, and posting.  My goal is to have a site (WordPress or other) where I can post not only a blog, but also galleries to show off my best work.  I will also be buying a domain name (or two) and professional hosting.

Please take a moment and view below what is my absolute favorite photo of all time!!

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She said YES!!!!!

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Christmas with my Fiancé

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Maine Lobster Pots

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FIshing Boats in Portland ME

2012_Dec_26_Lensbaby_024Rain On A Window (Shot with my new Lensbaby Spark!)

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Latte (Shot with my new Lensbaby Spark!)

Day 352 (17 Dec 2012) Reflections

It just dawned on me that reflections is the perfect follow up for my journaling post for yesterday!  Yet I didn’t even plan it out, lol 🙂

I drove around town a bit trying to find good puddles; it had been raining all day.  I wasn’t feeling very energetic, but after driving a bit, I finally found something usable.  There were not a lot of good puddles in the parking lots (at least not where the traffic was non-existant, lol), but this will work 🙂

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Day 348 (13 Dec 2012) Star Trails, or Lessons Learned

So the night of the 13th ended up having an amazing meteor shower!  I saw lots and lots, from really bright to dim in the two hours I was out watching.  Prior to going out I planned my shoot to a T, I thought: I found an image stacker designed to make star trails from individual images (the best way to make them w/o lots of noise or being affected as much by light pollution), had my camera settings set, used a dark sky site to find the darkest area around here, located several candidate sites, make a thermos of hot coco, dressed in LOTs of layers (it was 24F / -4C), put toe warmers in my boots, packed a sleeping bag to wrap in if needed, loaded all my camera gear (inc. the wired remote) and headed out.

First lesson learned: remember to pack my camp chair!  I wasn’t going to foul up my sleeping bag on the rocks/dirt.  Second: don’t forget to put the extra hand warmer on my lens.  I brought an extra for that reason to keep it from icing.  I forgot till too late.  Third: it appears most meteors are visible around the horizon (I didn’t catch any in an hour, yet saw dozens).  I pointed at the Gemini constellation, as thats where I read most would start from, which was almost straight up.  Also, pointing up more exposes your front lens element to space more, which will cause it to cool to colder than the air and get ice/condensation faster (leave a comment if you want the science behind this, and I’ll explain)  Fourth: a scraggly tree does not provide a good foreground subject against streaks of light.  Fifth: don’t knock over your glass-lined thermos on the rocks, because the glass inside will break 😦  Sixth, and maybe most important: DO NOT stop the camera sequence, unless you want to start completely over.  Notice the gaps in the trails?  Those each are from a 30ish second gap in shooting.  I had do delete one image because a car drove by and illuminated the tree.  Pulling out the aircraft light images make it look a lot worse due to a lot more gaps.

So, I count this expedition a success!  Yes, my image isn’t what I hoped for, but the next one will have some more knowledge to do this better 🙂  Like not setting up near a road, being more careful w/ my thermos, setting up the camera pointing in a better position and leaving it alone!

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The software I used for this is StarStax.  Click on the link to get it!

Day 349 (14 Dec 2012) Playing around

I thought it would be fun to try and play around with some lights, crinkled aluminum foil and tinsel.  I used my 50/1.8 and just messed around.  I think some of these would make good powerpoint or card backgrounds.  It was fun just to mess around for a bit!  I posted a lot more photos than usual; they were all so different I couldn’t just pick one or two.

Can you guess how I did the last one?

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Day 347 (12-12-12) Light Bulb!

You have to read the title in the accent of Gru from Despicable Me; If you’ve seen this movie, you know what I mean.  If not, rent it today!

Anyway, I was inspired to shoot this after stumbling across a photographers website who had a few series of light bulbs, and to be honest, I wasn’t impressed with them.  So I figured I would try it myself.  So on my way home from class I stopped by Walmart and picked up a couple clear 40 Watt bulbs.  The first one blew the moment I turned the lamp on, so I was glad that I had two.  I am disappointed that the class has scuffs and other marks that I could not wipe off.  When I take the bulb back to exchange it, I’ll have to actually look for one w/ good glass.

I took a lot of liberty with these images, even playing with Split Toning on a couple of them. I think it adds some interest and a unique look to a common object.  What do you think?  Which is your favorite?  What other angles should have shot this at?

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And on other news, a couple of photos I shot for a street photography collaboration have been posted to a gallery here.  Check them out and let me know what you think!  Also, let me know if you would be interested in contributing to another one and I’ll make sure you get the invite 🙂

Day 346 (11 Dec 2012) Glass of Water

How boring is a glass of water?  Or how ordinary?  Have you ever noticed the little bubbles of air that come out of solution as the glass sits?  I noticed the way the glass and bubbles glowed when was carrying up my glass w/ my phone underneath with the screen on.  It was kind of neat, neat enough to take a break from my cramming, er, I mean studying, for my finals this week to snap a few images.  Nothing spectacular or exciting, unfortunately, just happy to tick off one more day closer to 366 🙂

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Day 245 (10 Dec 2012) Parking Trees

Tonight as I was pulling into my church’s parking lot to lead the final Financial Peace University class of this series, I noticed that many of the trees in the parking lot islands had lights very close to them.  From the right perspective it looked like there was a light shining from the top of the tree itself, illuminating it’s branches from the top.  The rain had broken by the time class was over and left a light haze which was illuminated by the lights and gave the area around it a nice glow.  So what did I do?  Bust out my tripod and camera, of course!  I know you are not surprised 🙂

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Day 342 (7 Dec 2012) Christmas

Yesterday I had an idea for a shoot, and I had about an hour to set it up and execute before I had to leave for my evening plans.  Not realizing how late I would be out (hence why this post is coming out today, lol), I did some ‘test’ shots and would finish up after returning home.  Overall I’m happy with the concept and composition, but they are not quite right.  I had to so some selective editing in LR to get the lighting (close to) right.  I thinkI know how I need to modify the set up, so I’ll try again to get it right!

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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 337 (2 Dec 2012) Christmas in Colchester

Tonight I wandered over to the Colchester Town Green to see our tree.  The tree that was decorated in the past was damaged during Hurricane Sandy and was removed after Thanksgiving and replaced with this one from the edge of the Green.  It’s a bit smaller, but still a beautiful tree!

I set up my camera with my 50mm f/1.8, radio trigger and tripod and just had fun!  It was a warm 50 F with minimal breeze, so I wasn’t in a hurry to be done and was able to enjoy myself out there!  There weren’t very many people out for me to get in the way of (or vice versa, lol), either. 🙂

I’m curious as to your thoughts on my interpretation of the scene.

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Self Portrait 
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Christmas Light

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Christmas Lights and Tree

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Christmas Tree

Day 336 (1 December 2012) Christmas Parade

Today makes 336 consecutive days of taking photos!  Only 30 more till I hit 366!  This dude isn’t stoping at a mere 365, I’m going all the way to 366!! Oh Yeah! LOL

Tonight I hung out with some friends (and their kids, lol) at the Groton Holiday parade.  It wasn’t the the greatest parade ever, but how often do you get a chance to see several floats all lit up at night just drive past you?  It was a good time to light paint many times with minimal effort, lol.  All I had to do was stay warm 🙂

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Day 335 (30 Nov 2012) Bokah

Nothing spectacular tonight; just trying to get some bokah practice in for when I can find a great outdoor Christmas tree 🙂  These were trees in a shopping center parking lot, strung with some white lights.

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Day 320 (15 Nov 2012) I-91 South, Hartford

Looking south on I-91, just north of Downtown Hartford, CT.  Even at 11 pm, there is still plenty of traffic coming to and from the city.  This is part of my daily commute, into the city, then out again to my home, in the country. 🙂

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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 311 (6 Nov 2012) Kryptonite

At least that’s how it looks to me 🙂  I had a glass mixing bowl shatter in the freezer and I thought some of the pieces would make great props for a shoot, and I think I was right!  This isn’t the first time I’ve shot using junk or ‘garbage’ for this project; it’s amazing what you can do with simple stuff lying around (or that is no longer useful for it’s intended purpose)

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Day 310 (5 Nov 2012) Runway Nights

This weekend I was out shooting with a friend and we drove by the Groton – New London Airport and she pointed out that at night the airport runway was lit with the blue lights marking the runway paths every night.  I had never even thought about that; I was surprised to learn it was open/lit at night; it is a very small regional airport.  So tonight I headed that way to see what it was like.

I did find the runway all lit up, and pulled over and set up my tripod right up near the fence.  As I was shooting, I was a little concerned that a police officer might pass by and tell me to stop.  Not that I was breaking any rules that I know of, but in this day and age, people can be paranoid.

Since there was no real foreground interest items to focus on, I decided to play with the focus and crop/composition to try and be creative.  In Lightroom, I played with the white balance and saturation to change the colors a bit.  I found that the level, in-focus shots were boring.  So I broke rules 🙂  You can see part of the fence I shot through, but I like what it does.

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Day 309 (4 Nov 2012) A Night at the Tracks

Driving home this evening it was darker than I expected, probably because I’m not use to not having Day Light Savings (after all, its been less than a day!).  But I did notice a nice color on the horizon, so I pulled down to a boat launch near some rail road tracks I’ve shot at before and fired off a few ’rounds’. 🙂

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I just realized it’s been a while since I’ve broken out my macro lens; I miss shooting macro! Keep your eyes open for a macro shoot this week!

Day 308 (3 Nov 2012) A Mystic Day

Mystic, CT, that is!  Today was a nice, clear, not-so-cold day, so I went with a friend to Mystic, CT with our cameras and did some street photography, in addition to some ‘regular’ photography.

SeeingSpotsPhoto is co-hosting another Collab Photography Challenge with WheretoWillie on street photography.  This first image is my first attempt, and maybe one of my submissions.  You should check out the links above and join in the fun!

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