Thursday, January 21, 2010

Even though we were experiencing some of the worst rain storms in memory down in southern California, with temperatures in the upper 30's and winds at 20 to 40mph, these little birds still come to the feeder.

Because the weather was so bad I had to stay under the porch roof to protect my camera and lenses. I could not get as close as I would have liked because the weather was so bad. I was using my Sigma 170-500 lens at full extension.

Both images are of the same bird in different locations. It would fly up by the feeder and sit a the wire that once was a dog run, then sail across the yard to rest inside the protection of a bush at the edge of the yard. Now and then it would hop up to the top of the fence and then into the next yard for a little bit but it always came back.

Because it was so dark from the clouds and rain I had to set the ISO up on my camera in order to increase my shutter speed adequately enough to catch this quick moving little model. I use a setting of 3200 ISO and set the aperture at f/8. I needed a little extra depth of field to allow for errors in focus since he was moving around all the time. My shutter speed varied from about 1/80 sec to 1/125 sec. Both these images were captured at 1/125 sec. I also cropped these images and enlarged them beyond 100% for this post.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Foggy Photography

Yesterday was a tough (but wonderful) day for shooting on the Oregon Coast. It was incredibly foggy and even when the fog lifted, a heavy, misty haze kept the atmosphere very gray.

I was out shooting with my young friend near Shore Acres and Sunset Bay State Parks. We had the right subjects with huge crashing waves, seagulls, pelicans, snails, trees, rock formations and all but the lighting was hard to deal with. We attempted different shooting modes on our Nikon's such as sepia, or black and white since the lighting caused most of the shots to be near black and white anyway. Suddenly my friend says "I found that when in sepia if I set my white balance to "incandesant" the rocks are darker and stand out better." I tried a few shots like this and liked the result.

This image is as it came from the camera. I didn't edit it at all and I'm not sure what I would do with it if I did. I think I like it as it is

As I always say, don't be afraid to try new things. Use your camera, change its settings and keep shooting.

Photography Tips

Here are a few things you can do to improve your photography that will apply regardless of what camera you use. These are the basics that every photographer should know and do to get reasonably good pictures out of any camera.

Make sure you have a clean lens. Don't just blow the dust off, but use a clean cloth suitable for cleaning lenses and do it right.

Set up so your camera is stable and won't move as you press the shutter. You can do this a number of ways. If you will be handholding the camera, hold your elbows in against your sides, and stand with your feet apart with one slightly forward of the other. You can also lean against a solid object like a light pole, tree, building or whatever. The best method though is to use a tripod or monopod. I have both but I like to carry the tripod best. If I want to use it as a monopod I just extend only one leg and us it as I would a monopod. I'll add instructions about to how to use these tools later.

Finally the "First" basic thing you need to do is read your manual and learn what all the parts of your camera are for and how to use them. If you understand how your meter works and what white balence is you'll go a long way to getting that shot you want when the light is wierd and you are wondering why your pictures are all dark or yellow instead of like what you saw on the monitor or in the viewfinder.

I'll expand on all these topics in the coming weeks and months so you'll want to check back and see what I've added from time to time.