What’s good? Photoshop enhanced? Is it good straight out of the camera? Do you allow major or minor manipulation? When is does it cross the line into being art instead of photography? Purist? The algorithm in the camera already dictates so much. Shoot raw? The manipulation you do, is it to recreate the image you saw. Or are you creating the image you imagined? What’s good? I’m glad I don’t have to care about all that. I have never competed in a photo contest. Well, once, and, I lost. Sour grapes? Nope. It was expected on my part. I’m good. But I am not in the same league with award winning photographers. I’m not dedicated to perfection. I could do a good job given the responsibility. Sure, but it was never my day job. So, I am content. I have a catalog with hundreds of thousands of images. Some good. On the whole there are too many good images to possibly ever post. That’s good.
I was in the closet. Don’t ask. We have a window in a closet. Would that make it a room? The window faces northwest in the direction of the Comet Neowise that was in the news. A challenge. I don’t do astrophotography. I still don’t. The weather was cloudy on most nights. Hey! It was the steamy hot part of summer. Nada! Nothing! Nuthin’! I never knew for sure if I was looking in the correct part of the sky. Urban light pollution was abundant. The effort was a miserable failure. Scary? I was in the closet and couldn’t hear Colleen calling. She nearly had a heart attack looking for me. Sorry. I came out of the closet with moon shots. (poor choice of words? Don’t ask.) Discovery?! There is a man in the moon. I have seen him. The ancients were right. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it.
Astrophotography. It requires a whole new skill set. It’s another language to locate stars in the sky. I was never particularly good at locating the North Star. It’s about as easy for me as to see duckies among the clouds above. I’m hopeless. I could never follow trail signs to get that Boy Scout merit badge. If you take me somewhere, I will always get home again. But, certain things are complete confusion for me. I sought that elusive Neowise comet streaking through our skies. It won’t be back for 69 hundred years. How about that? I won’t be here when it returns. Darn! I got a bunch of white dots on a black field. You may laugh. Please! There was a single streak. Aha! The comet?! Nope, probably camera movement. It’s not the tail. Settle instead for another flower picture. It looks like it’s in the daisy family. Alas, I don’t know its name either. But, it’s a better pic than my astro shot.
I got a picture of the morning star. It’s the tiny white dot in the lower right quadrant. Shooting the moon was the challenge. The dynamic range of the image overexposed the moon. I went to manual exposure, got the moon’s detail, and tried to blend it back into the photo. It’s complicated and not perfect but closer to what I saw. … sort of.
…as in under a rock. Or, how about, the moon is made of green cheese? Or, there are no aliens? Or, it is an alien in the great White house? You pick. I will admit I stage some of my images. It’s up to you to figure it out. I will readily admit it’s not easy to get a shot of the moon.
Here’s something more artistic. We were returning to the car after dinner. There! Monotone. Powerful.
4th of July. Fireworks. Gotta have some. They do a fireworks display around Delaware. We have not been. Too busy and don’t want to hassle the crowd. It’s not that crowded. But when two cars is enough to make a traffic jam….it is a bit crowded in the summer. I searched out some fireworks images. I’ve posted the same before. Technical tip: use a tripod and use an exposure of about 3-4 seconds at around f16. It’s a lot better than handheld and 1/30 sec. Practice and review. Digital gives you instant feedback. It’s another fun skill to master. Lazy? I just went back and got the most recent images I put 3 star upon.
These new generation of bridges use a different looking suspension system. Some architect made it work and it is the only new type of bridge built that I see nowadays. I first saw one in Maine. It was so picturesque and impressive. Then there are a few when I drive north in Delaware. New York builds bridges and has been engaged in some major bridge projects. This created monumental traffic jams. The Kosciusko bridge jam is legendary. Before and during, there’s never been a time we passed that we didn’t sit in traffic. But I have digressed. These new style bridges, they are just the best photo ops!
Closest point to the earth, eclipse, Indian lore – first full moon in January. Super – when the moon and earth are closest to one another. Blood – the appearance when the earth has eclipsed the moon. Wolf – Indian tribes refer to the first full moon in January. I probably most likely have some of this mixed up enough to confuse you. No matter. It was a full moon with a lunar eclipse during the time when the earth and moon were closest to one another. I might add the temperature dropped and it was windy – bitter cold standing there to get images.
The moon is made of cheese and the mouse took a bite from the lower part until it ate/covered the moon. At that point I could see but not photograph the orange (red) moon. Tripod! And then long exposure, with the wind howling, it was near impossible. I could not get a sharp clear image of the moon.
Aha! Let the camera do the work. Darn! I let the ISO go to 6400, f 5.3, 1/4 second. It’s not sharp and there’s plenty of noise. But, I do have detail and color. Blood moon! Let me tell you it was cold! But then again there was little haze. That’s all good? Right?
To the new baby granddaughter (as yet unnamed on the night this was shot), this was the moon on the night you were born.
Red’s is an institution in Wiscasset, Maine.The place is crowded day and night. It sits on a choke point at a bridge crossing. i haven’t tried the food – hot dogs. There is absolutely no appeal to standing on a line in Maine.
This is an experiment in night shooting. Ordinarily the light on the sign would overwhelm the scene. Either you would read the sign or it would be overexposed and you would see people. I don’t know how they made this algorithm. But I can read the sign while seeing details of the people standing below the sign. Geez! How’d they do that? But more to the point, knowing that the camera will capture a night scene with more even exposure, that will make me better in capturing the scene. Kodak never did that for me. Thank you, Sony.
In the days before digital it was darned hard to do night shots as an amateur. Flash won’t light the Eiffel Tower. You used the film that was in the camera. Lights are bright but will not be sufficient to light up everything in your picture. Digital makes hash of all of that worry. The mini computer can compensate on the fly. ISO adjusts automatically as the light changes. The processor will adapt to artificial light.
Then – You accept noise in your image. Basically, you are thankful for a shot. Now – The shots are so exceptionally better that you don’t realize how easy it all is today. I’m amazed. I take it in stride and even shot the stars (recently) in the night sky without a tripod. I’m not bragging. I can only say that you can push the envelope and it often will give you something better than expected.
How did I know this image would work? It was Paris and the Eiffel Tower at night. Night shots are devilishly hard. They are surprisingly easy. Lighting is tungsten (mostly). Film is balanced for daylight. Light bulbs throw off enough light that they mimic daylight levels of light. The lighting difference from foreground to background is tough to compensate and balance. It’s still slide film at this point. Digital can handle the situation much more easily. My archive? I was able to locate the original slide I posted before without too much pain. Gee! It’s good/lucky to be organized (somewhat). For most the eye/brain is fooled and compensates for daylight and tungsten differences. But the reality of print leaves a distinct discernible difference. Did any of this make sense? Someone I know keeps asking me this. And… I get it.
I am so fascinated that I got this image. Actually, there are two. The other slide was a wider angle view of this painter at dusk. He was on a bridge (duh) and I was on a tour boat on the Seine. Yes, the lighting was near impossible. And I did not ever see the painting until I developed the slide. Voila! You might think this as an out of focus shot. I’m impressed that I got anything at all. See in the dark digital cameras might well to better now. To me this was a one of a kind image that I had no right to get and I got it by sheer luck. There was some skill. I was there. I pressed the shutter. Hey! I can smile and talk about it all this time later.
Digital? Now? Yes, this shot would be way easier. And then again it would challenge most people. Not too many people would try it. Even fewer would have noticed this shot. To be honest I had no idea what I would get. Serendipity.
Seven years ago. Hmmm….Shutterfly knows how to press my buttons. This was an uploaded series (in Shutterfly) from my birthday. How do you surprise me? It ain’t easy. Some people give. Some receive. I’m the former. It’s pretty hard to do something for someone who’s done about everything and has about all he could think of. I’m not being smug. It’s just that I have been a headache in the gift department for a lot of people for many years. Jules and her mother decided to give me a World Cruise dinner birthday as a surprise. Don’t ask. I don’t remember all the details except that it was a cold foggy almost rainy day/evening. They got me on the boat dressed semi-casual/formal – at least no tie, but shoes and socks. It’s a dinner cruise while the boat goes around lower Manhattan. Jules was sorely seasick. Oh my! She sat on deck in the freezing drizzle while we ate. No dancing. Was that her plan? Nope. She was pretty green up top – and pretty frozen too. She perked up as soon we disembarked. Anyway, she’s just like her dad; we both have a history of motion sickness. Fortunately, what I remember, it was a good meal. At least something memorable happened in 2010.
It starts a conversation. Going home. The New York skyline. Even out of focus I recognize the Empire State Building and one of the East River bridges is lit in the foreground. Traffic was moving. No stopping. Oh well. It’s blurred. I will put this on my bucket list of photos to take when time and location permit. Meanwhile, I saw this at night driving around in New York City. I wish you had been there too.
So, on the heels of my last post is the picture I missed. I slept through it. Hung over. It was the State of the Union address last night. A blue moon is the second full moon of the same month. A super moon is when the moon is closest to the earth. The blood moon is when you have a lunar eclipse. Damn! A trifecta. Missed it. Double D.
The very next night… well I saw the full moon which is still blue and super. Yes, it doesn’t look blue. Duh! It’s just the terminology. I got off a shot. See the power lines. Not good but a shot, a place holder if you will. The darn camera does its own thing. I try to get what I want. Sometimes it gives me what it will. We bargain and I come away with shots. Some good some bad and some less bad.
And thank you Ginny, she reminded me. Of course, Dave was in the air and saw it all, lucky kid. Me? I slept – fitfully/blissfully through it when it all happened the day before. Now I was in a shopping mall…
Manhattan Beach does their annual firework display at Xmas. They don’t compete with the neighboring beach community that does it in July. It’s a very large beach. You have to get a good seat. And so we did. The traffic was horrible. But we were already parked. I guess that was the limiting factor.
We sat alone with no one nearby and had the best seats in the house. It was chilly! And I got fireworks! Next July I’ll look for fireworks images. For now we got some great ones. How do you know he’s going up? He was. I suggested it would be easier to pull than push. But the image? It could be more likely he’s going downhill with the stroller…except he’s not.
On the technical side: I shot the fireworks handheld. This meant I could not use an extended exposure. Ideally: Use a tripod. Set the shutter speed to 3-4 seconds. Adjust your ISO and aperture accordingly. You get sharp trails of light and even multiple bursts. Handheld? Hey, it works too if you set up correctly. It’s what I did when I started. It’s not what I’d do now. But one adapts to the conditions provided. No, it’s not worth buying a tripod special for this occasion. I’m not OCD. Ha!
No, not Van Gogh. I just stuck my camera up and took a pic. Wow! The son of a gun (camera) actually got a picture of the stars. (Warning: If you have a small screen device or your screen is dirty, you ain’t gonna see nuthin.’ Sorry. What you should see? White dots and star trails… and clouds – upper right.) No tripod. Hand held. I was about as surprised as you might be. The darn thing shoots in the dark. Technology! Ain’t it great? The things that a CPU will do never ceases to amaze me. I’ve tried it a few more times, but with less success. Mostly, it’s been too cold lately…. Brrrr.
Note to self: A picture with little white dots is hardly gonna blow any socks off. There are a few clouds along the margin. Mostly it’s ho-hum, yawn….Add a little color so the readers will stick with me. Note to self: I am not a nut…I am not…
Nighttime in Chinatown is colorful too. Hey? Maybe that’s why I’m not a ‘black and white’ photographer? It was a crisp (cold…brrr) autumn evening. We walked a long way. I was parked on the other side of town from that ‘roast pig.’ Who knew? Lights and the city are something special. It was fun. I was glad to get into a warm car and go home.
I’ve said it before. I’ve done this before. To be sure, I was surprised myself. In fact, I had to look twice and then I still wasn’t sure. But, yup! I got the moon! Well, I was shooting the bridge. Random! We were headed home. I was near 10PM. (My camera is set for EST). So, yes, it was dark, as in night. I was shooting the bridge. It’s lit well enough and makes a dramatic shot. Of course, I wasn’t stopping the car. At about 55 mph I set the camera for shutter speed of 1/100 and ISO on auto. It set itself to 5000. Voila! I just aimed and shot away. Yes, I was watching the road. But, there was no one else on the bridge. See?! …no other cars coming or going. My edit was to see the pattern of lights. Whoa! That’s the moon. … an added benefit. I would be lying if I told you I noticed the moon was out as we drove home. This series got my attention. I’m glad I got the shot. 99% luck, 1% skill; I knew what settings to use. Hey, it’s not my first rodeo.
It’s not me. The darned camera does it. It made the shot. I pointed in the direction of the moon. And we were in a moving car. Exposure – .3 second f2.8. Yeah, I was there to press the shutter. I suppose you could argue if it was worth a picture, it was worth it to stop and take the picture. I didn’t (stop) and it’s debatable.
Everyone laughs when I take out my camera on a plane. It’s not good – the conditions. You are at altitude moving along at 500 mph shooting through scratched plexiglass with sunglare and cabin reflections. Try a night shot? Oh brother! It’s a slow shutter speed that will surely blur your image. “Every once in a while a blind squirrel gets a nut.” Never give up. I go with a shutter speed of 1/100 sec. Let the ISO run on auto. Press the shutter and hope for the best. Nuts! Yup!
I’m forever undecided. Exposure on a night shot is tricky. A lot of it is personal preference.
Consider that history has proven itself fickle. It’s a work in progress. When I last saw the Capitol it was covered in scaffolding. Things gotta get repaired. The roof leaked. Eventually everything needs a fix. How about our old bridges and tunnels? Elevated highways have been crumbling for a while. We don’t seem to fix things till they’re broke. Let’s hope we can fix things one more time.
New York harbor, nighttime, the Staten Island ferry, it’s all for free. Yup, no fare, it’s free. And it goes right by the Statue of Liberty. And you get a nice view of lower Manhattan. You see the new Freedom Tower. For all of this you simply cannot beat the ride. The bonus is the night ride which gives you the lights of the city. It’s pretty special. Just get on the boat.