I enjoyed some delicious burgers tonight care of the Tech Arts crew and spouses at FBC. The charcoal side of this combo grill got really hot on them, which provided some great color for my photo and a wonderful char on my burger!
Another weekend, another wedding! While there were many beautiful posed shots, this is the moment which captured the spirit of the day for me. Happiness and joy just radiate from this beautiful couple, and their family and friends couldn't be more delighted for them.
Canon 5D Mark II Canon 24-105mm f4 67mm - ISO 200 1/80s- f/4
With all of this dry weather, it looks like fall is coming early: I am starting to see a lot of brown leaves mixed into the summer flowers. It is kind of a sad sight. I'm not a fan of this time of the year, with the heat and the hazy white skies. Give me the blue skies of spring any day!
Canon 5D Mark II Canon 24-105mm f4 45mm - ISO 100 1/250s- f/4
Now I know Mountain Dew has a lot of sugar in it, but I didn't realize it was THAT heavy!
I really don't like the color on this, but I was shooting through my closed window while briefly stopped at the light. Who knows what the camera decided to do while on full Auto. Pretty ugly, but I thought it was a humorous scene.
Canon 5D Mark II Canon 24-105mm f4 45mm - ISO 100 1/125s- f/7.1
Today my husband and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary with a trip to Kansas City for dinner and a movie. This cool fountain was outside of the Palazzo 16 theater in Overland Park. It really was a nice theater - not too crowded and decent seats and sound. The AC was a little uneven, but I gave that a pass since it has been so hot. I used my 50 prime lens for its wide aperture. I was impressed that the water still had sparkles even though I used a relatively slow shutter speed and wide open aperture. Normally that would create blur rather than crisp sparkles. I don't really have an explanation for that, but I like it!
Today was super busy, so I didn't have much time for my picture of the day. It is a pretty ingenious invention: a mess-free cherry pitting device. It simply screws on to the top of a small jelly jar, and collects the pits inside the jar. Brilliant!
Canon 5D Mark II Canon 50mm f1.4 50mm - ISO 200 1/40s- f/1.4 Canon 580EXII TTL
This is my friend and partner-in-wedding-photography, Cammie. She is the better half of our little partnership, I assure you. We were out at the lake taking photos with her family, when she graciously agreed to be in my picture of the day. I should probably have switched to my prime lens to blur out the background more, but I loved all of the color around her. It would have helped the most with the foreground flowers, which aren't quite blurred out enough to make it look like I did it on purpose (which I did). But, it was HOT! even with the sun setting.
I probably also could have put a reflector down and to the left of the lens, to bounce a little more light to her face. When doing portraits, my biggest issue is slowing down and thinking through all of the possibilities - getting the camera settings right, and then finessing the details. That is something that I am trying to work on. Time is a big factor in portraits, because even the most compliant subject will get bored eventually, but it needs to be less of a concern for me, since it is hindering me in taking the next steps to improve my portraits. I was very pleased at how this one turned out, though.
Canon 5D Mark II Canon 24-105mm f4 45mm - ISO 400 1/30s- f/4 Canon 580EXII TTL
I attended the CD release party of local metal band Invictus tonight at the Kansas Grille downtown. There was a large crowd, and the guys did a great job. The photography was a challenge, because there was very little light, and it was quite uneven. I find that black and white photos are more forgiving of low light, high noise and high ISO, which is why that is what you see below:
Canon 5D Mark II Canon 24-105mm f4 Top: 24mm - ISO 6400 1/30s- f/8 Top: 24mm - ISO 2500 1/30s- f/4
One of my friends at work (who is also a subscriber - Hi Nancy!) received some beautiful purple calla lilies, and let me take a picture of them for today's POTD. I was having a hard time with the framing, and needed to get back to work, so I just decided to focus on one of the blossoms. I love the dark moodiness of this shot.
Canon 5D Mark II Promaster 70-300 f4-5.6 300mm - ISO 100 1/800s- f/5.6 Canon 580EXII TTL 105mm zoom
On those days when you don't have anything lined up to photograph, it is a good idea to work on your slow shutter speed hand-holding ability. It is a matter of strength training, and with practice, you can greatly improve your abilities. I was able to get this shot at a pretty slow speed, although I was sitting down, which makes it easier. I shoot about half the time with a much heavier camera, so that has helped a lot with my abilities with the D90. Practicing in advance will give you the skills when you need them!
It has been 100 degrees or above for eight out of the last ten days here, so I decided it was the perfect day for an experiment I have always wanted to try. Alas, it wasn't hot enough to fry an egg on my sidewalk. Two minutes had elapsed when I took this picture, and nothing had happened. I think it is funny that you can see the sun in the egg yolk.
Some suggest that people who believe they have been abducted by aliens are actually those who have woken up from anesthesia during surgery (poor folks). If so, they might have had the view below. (It is actually a pretty cool pyramid-style LED bulb.)
I was privileged to shoot the wedding today of a friend and his beautiful bride. When the couple is this good-looking, you hardly have to do any work! Here we just set them down in the shade on the green (sorry for the high-heeled shoe divots, golfers), and snapped them. I used my flash bounced up to the sky, but can't specifically tell you what it contributed. I would have to do a with and without shot to know for sure - I'm not that good at visualizing added flash yet. A large aperture helped keep the background nice and clean.
Canon 5D Mark II Canon 24-105mm f4 105mm - ISO 100 1/200s- f/5 Canon 580EXII TTL 105mm zoom
I'm excited about seeing the final Harry Potter movie sometime soon, so when I grabbed my pink foaming hand soap to wash up this evening, it brought a little bit of magic to my mind. Doesn't a love potion by definition need to be pink and bubbly? I had a lot of fun with shooting from different angles, but finally settled on this mostly-bubbles shot. It is lit from above by two wall sconces and also the side by a flash about two feet to camera left. There is a blue cast to the scene because my camera's white balance was set to tungsten because of the room lighting, and when I decided to add a flash, I forgot to gel it with an orange gel to match the ambient lights. Oops!
Canon 5D Mark II Canon 24-105mm f4 105mm - ISO 200 1/40s- f/9
Canon 580EXII 1/128 power 14mm zoom Triggered with Pocket Wizard Plus II
My birthday present this year from my husband is this really cool vintage movie camera. It came in the original leather case, with awesome orange felt interior. It is a Rondo Cinelec 88 MD8T, built in Tokyo somewhere in the late 50's. It has three built-in lenses, and a really ingenious viewfinder.
Because the orange and the metal accents were so striking, I decided to put the camera in its case on a black background, and let the colors and highlights really shine. I simply bounced a flash straight up to the ceiling. I could have gotten more definition on the case itself by putting another flash on very low power to camera left, but I didn't think about it at the time. I would love to know what this camera has seen and recorded in its lifetime.
I have never been in the mountains in July, so I have always missed wildflower season. It has been a treat to see all the different types growing out of hillsides and rocky crevices. The resiliency of mountain flowers is truly amazing. They have so much to contend with - harsh sun and wind, flash floods, late snows, and the fact that no one is tending them but God. But somehow they come back year after year. As an obsessive gardener back home, it is neat to see them thriving with no help at all.
Canon 5D Mark II Canon 24-105mm f4 105mm - ISO 200 1/40s- f/9
We enjoyed another trip through Rocky Mountain National Park this afternoon. We pulled off to take some pictures and hung out on some rocks for awhile. After awhile, I began to hear a loud bird cry, but as hard as I scanned the sky, I couldn't see anything that could have made the sound. To my disbelief, I realized that it actually came from the little guy below! He is a pika, a small mammal related to a rabbit. They make their home in the high elevations (we were close to 12,000 feet at the time) and make this incredibly loud noise. He ran right by my feet with a mouthful of grasses and flowers.
I got my first kiss from my husband just off the tarmac of JeffCo Rocky Mountain National Airport many years ago. He used to fly out of there all the time and took me there one night to watch the planes take off and land before making his move. Tonight there was a group of Cessna's all lined up as nice as you please in the rain.
I don't think I would mind living in a little shack like this one if it meant I could enjoy this view across the meadow every day! (See next photo.)
We drive past this meadow every year, and finally stopped for some quick shots. I think the property owners are pretty protective of their property (understandably so), so we had to make it quick. A storm was building up behind the range on its way to Denver, and combined with the setting sun, produced some amazing cloud formations.
Interesting note: my polarizing filter cancelled out a beautiful rainbow that briefly appeared above the mountains in the photo below. I guess rainbows are made of polarized light! Canon 5D Mark II Canon 24-105mm f4 24mm - ISO 2000 1/100s- f/4.5
Canon 5D Mark II Canon 24-105mm f4 24mm - ISO 2000 1/40s- f/4.5
Since I had just told a friend a few days ago that my people (redheads) aren't boat people, I was a little nervous when my husband wanted to rent a pontoon boat today and spend some time out on Lake Granby. But, I was envisioning a gray rubber raft, not the nice little boat with seats and awning that we actually had. It was quite a wonderful evening on the lake.
We got to spend some time with my husband's sister and her family today, including our little nephew, who LOVES to be tossed up in the air. I was shooting on pure auto mode, and missed a bunch of them, because the shutter speed was too slow, but managed to get this one! It is a little blurry, but I thought that it still deserved to be the picture of the day.
Canon 5D Mark II Canon 24-105mm f4 24mm - ISO 2000 1/50s- f/4
We will be in Colorado this week for a much-needed vacation. We finally made it to the mountains this evening, but this was much more representative of the day. Lots of open, rolling plains. An advancing storm was looming up north. We realized that we weren't going to make the mountains in time for a picture before sunset, so we stopped along the interstate about an hour out for this shot. It is probably a bit frustrating to be my driver in these situations: "Ooh, that looks pretty. Can we stop at the top of the hill?" [slows down] "No, that doesn't work. How about the next one?" [speeds up] "Ooh! Stop now! [screeching halt] But, all of this gave me time to estimate my shot settings, since I didn't want us to be stopped by the side of the road for long. My thought process was a lot like yesterday's; set the ISO for best quality, get a nice medium aperture for fine detail throughout, and then a shutter speed to get the desired dramatic exposure. It is a good exercise to think these things through before you look at your meter; over time it will give you a good eye for settings, and you won't have to be tied to the meter so much. I was quite pleased to get it pretty close on my first try.
Canon 5D Mark II Canon 24-105mm f4 24mm - ISO 200 1/15s- f/11
Today I got to shoot fireworks from the hard hat zone of Topeka's annual July 4th fireworks show. This is my second year in a row shooting from this spot, and it is always a trip! My advice for shooting fireworks: set your ISO to something you can live with - and hopefully print from, then set your aperture to somewhere around 11, which will let you pick up on the sparkles and trails, and not just blow everything out. Focus to infinity and then back off a twinge. Finally, shoot in Bulb mode if you have it, at varying shutter speeds throughout the show. Bulb mode lets you manually open and close the shutter at will. My philosophy is to always catch multiple fireworks in each shot, which requires a longer exposure.
This photo was taken at a three-second exposure, and it is about impossible to tell when each shot was fired during that exposure. What always amazes me is what the color cast from the fireworks overhead does to the ground below (and the passing smoke). It is pretty amazing. Check out more photos in my Flickr Photostream on the right side of the page.
Canon 5D Mark II Canon 24-105mm f4 40mm - ISO 640 3s- f/11
It was so humid today that I'm not sure if this was rain or sweat dripping off of the leaf on my pepper plant. If you look really closely at the right edge of the water drop, you can see the little plant tag on the far-right side of the picture. If you are wondering about the blue, it is the side of the big tub that my little garden is planted in. Have I mentioned that I love the macro aspect of this lens?
Canon 5D Mark II Promaster 70-300mm f4-5.6 300mm - ISO 400 1/50s- f/5.6
We had a beautiful sunset tonight, which cast a golden Tuscan-ish glow over everything it touched, including the passing clouds and the rippling flag. I wanted to get as much of the clouds as possible, which is why I used as small of an aperture as I could get.
We have been living with some truly scorching temperatures this week, and I have been dreaming of my college days working at TCBY where I would hang out in the blast freezer for a few minutes to cool down after walking to work on summer days.
I was taking some pictures of the condensation on a bottle of vodka we have in our freezer (left over from our attempt at homemade vanilla extract using vodka and a vanilla bean). As I was putting the bottle away, I decided to take one last shot. It is lit almost completely by my flash, but I set my white balance to tungsten, which automatically compensates for the orange cast to most tungsten lights with the addition of blue (I'm sure there is a better scientific explanation of the process out there somewhere). This caused the icy blue look of the photo.
Canon 5D Mark II Promaster 70-300mm f4-5.6 300mm - ISO 800 1/50s- f/5.6
Canon 580EXII TTL On-camera, bounced up to ceiling