You are currently browsing the archives for November, 2009.
About month ago, I attended Dane Sanders Real Time Community one day presentation that included Dane Sanders, Chris Becker, and Scott Bourne. My whole intent was to listen to Mr. Bourne and ask him about being a nature photographer. I got that chance.
He recommended using some of the online forums, the first being NatureScapes.net. I had already signed up for it previously, but have since become much more active in the community. That is how I ran across this photographer and saw his amazing work.
I was going through the NatureScapes.net forums and found a couple of posts by David Courtenay. He seemed to know what he was talking about, so I checked out his website.
One word: WOW!!!
The front page is a flash page with some AMAZING images on it. If you delve deeper into the site those images don’t stop. He has 25 different galleries and in none of them can I find what I would consider even a mediocre image. They are ALL breath taking and VERY well composed and captured.
I have a couple of favorites. One of them is#9 in the Indian Tiger portfolio. Most people would take pictures of a tiger in the wild and you would see the tiger and Mr. Courtenay has twelve other images that do that very well. This image is of a paw print in the mud and it is WELL done. I have seen images of tigers and if I went to India, I would have some good images of tigers also, but I think the image of the paw print shows a different view. There is enough in the image to give a sense of the size of the tiger.
The other is #27 in the American Mammal portfolio. It has a deer standing with it’s neck turned, looking to the right. I swear that he had to be laying on the ground in front of the deer to take the picture. I contacted him about it and he said that he used a remote on a camouflaged camera to capture the image. I don’t care, it is THE best deer picture I have ever seen.Images of deer are a dime a dozen, but none that I have ever seen are as good or from the perspective as Mr. Courtenay’s. I have seen images of tigers and if I went to India, I would have some good images of tigers also, but I think the image of the paw print shows a different view. There is enough in the image to give a sense of the size of the tiger.
All of them give you a fresh perspective on the subject. In the American Mammals portfolio, Mr. Courtenay has fourteen images of a squirrel. A SQUIRREL!!! Anyone can take a picture of a squirrel!! But not with the impact of his images.
His photos are what I want to be able to capture images similar to his. They are tack sharp, well composed, and convey the sense of the viewer actually being there. This is the skill that I want and need to develop in my images.
After reading his bio, he has been active in photography for quite some time and has lived in many places giving him access to some great areas to photograph. I realize that that experience has contributed to the excellence of his images, but as his squirrel photos demonstrate, you don’t need exotic subjects to make captivating images.
You need the skills and the vision to capture what is before you. This is what I aspire to achieve in my photography. I need to see the picture and become good enough to be able to capture it while it is in front of me.
I am going to have to step up my game to reach that goal.
Posted 4 years ago at 12:18 pm. 1 comment
I was asked shoot an event at school, the COMEDY SPORTz competition.
I’ve never been to one of these events, but I have shot in the theater. Talk about low light!!!!
The event is modeled after Whose Line is It Anyway? The British and then American TV show that spotlighted improvisational comedy.
The kids weren’t bad. They really got into the scenes and were very witty and quick. It really wasn’t a bad show. Again, it is always nice to see students doing something they love to do. Passion.
As for the shooting, what can I say? LOW LIGHT!! Set the camera on Aperture Priority, open up the 70-200 f2.8 to wide open, set the ISO to auto (max 1600) and shoot.
I did have a problem with exposure. Using evlauative metering created an overexposure situation on the subjects as the camera tried to bring the background to the right exposure, but when I went to center weighting, the exposure got a lot better.
I also learned how to really stream line my post production time in Lightroom, but I’ll talk about that at another time.
You can view all of the images at the Nature Light Photography Gallery.
Posted 4 years ago at 4:48 pm. Add a comment
I spent the weekend in Atascadero celebrating my dad’s 80th birthday.
While he suffers from Parkinson Syndrome, he is strong and still mentally sharp. Ok, he has his days when he can’t always communicate real well, but he is always mentally there. Just like he has always been for me.
He is my hero.
Happy Birthday Dad.
Posted 4 years ago at 10:41 pm. 1 comment
I spent yesterday at Piedras Blancas near San Simeon on the central coast. I got these images using my 70-200 f2.8 with a 2x teleconverter.
I hope you enjoy. I’ll post more later.
Posted 4 years ago at 6:00 pm. Add a comment
I think the bravest, most unselfish people in the country are our armed service people. They give a portion of their lives to protect our rights and freedom. They don’t have to, but they do.
Most of them enter the service while still in their teens. They are in the prime of their lives, yet they choose to give two or three years serving their country in whatever way they are needed.
They do this for low pay, not great living conditions, and for a society that doesn’t always give them the respect that they deserve. That’s about as unselfish as you can get.
PLUS, what they are doing can cost them their lives or cause them harm that will last the rest of their lives.
They do it for their own reasons, but I think we owe them a really big THANK YOU!!
Here are two images that I took at a dedication ceremony for a veteran’s memorial in Atascadero, CA.
Posted 4 years ago at 10:45 pm. Add a comment
On my trip to Bodie last month, I stopped at Mono Lake on Friday evening to shoot the tufas. While there, I turned around and saw these beautifully back-lit grasses. Working with different focus points and depths of field, I tried to capture the beauty that I saw. These are the results.
Also, while I was there, I ran into a Nikonians workshop group under the direction of Michael Mariant. I spent some time talking to him and he offered some much appreciated tips on shooting in the snow at Bodie. It was nice to see some fellow Nikonians out & about. They were nice people.
Posted 4 years ago at 10:44 am. Add a comment
I spent a week in the Lee Vining in August of 2009. Here are some of the images from that trip. Bodie-Mono Lake
Please let me know what you think.
Posted 4 years, 1 month ago at 9:02 pm. Add a comment
Last night, I was invited by a friend to see her perform in a play at the King High School where I work. I was honored to have been asked. It isn’t every day that a teacher is asked to watch a student do what they love.
It was a fun evening. I realized that we have some very talented and passionate people on our campus. The acting was good, the singing was good, and the photography was fun. OH! That last part was about me.
Shooting in VERY low light and getting the camera to capture images that were usable was a challenge, especially as I was kind of stuck in a seat and couldn’t get a variety of angles. Also, flash photography was not allowed. Did any of that stop me? Noooooo.
Using the 70-200 f2.8 wide open on aperture priority with the D300′s ISO set to auto (essentially 1600) yielded some good quality images. I never cease to be amazed at the way the D300 handles the relatively high ISO of 1600. It just seems to take the image and remove the noise. Result? Good, usable images. You can view all of the images here: Nature Light Photo Galleries.
As for the kids: like I said, they were passionate about what they were doing. Not all of them were great actors or great singers or great dancers, but they got up on stage and performed. You could tell that they loved what they were doing and the were proud to do it. They didn’t care about what others thought or how they compared to others, they just did it. It made me realize that to succeed in anything, you have to do the same thing.
Almost as a side note, a parent approached me asking if I was Mr. Williamson. After confirming her suspicions and steeling myself for the onslaught of “I want to talk to you about how my kid is doing in your class…”, she introduced herself as the mother of the lead in the play and she wanted to let me know that I was her son’s favorite teacher. I had her son in my class THREE years ago!!! I didn’t even think he remembered me. To tell the truth, I was TOTALLY not ready for that and very pleasantly surprised.
Like I said, to succeed you have to be passionate about what you are doing. The results might surprise you.
Posted 4 years, 1 month ago at 8:46 am. Add a comment
I don’t get it.
The argument for or against one or the other. Full frame or crop sensor. It’s like Canon vs. Nikon. Or Apple vs. PC. Or even digital vs. film. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Ok, I get the digital vs. film. It’s digital.
Each has it’s merits and each has it’s problems. Personally, I like the crop sensor. Why? Because I like the extra “reach” that the 1.5 crop factor on the Nikon D300 gives me. I like the way a 70-200mm lens acts like a 105-300. I like the way that a 1:1 macro 105mm lens becomes more than 1:1. (At least I think it does.) And I think that the ability to use a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens that is designed for a crop factor sensor is nice. And when a lens made for a full frame sensor is used on a crop factor sensor, the image quality goes up because the smaller sensor is in the “sweet spot” of the lens.
Ok, there are probably some problems. A crop factor sensor can’t go as wide as a full frame sensor and it probably is more susceptible to digital noise because of the smaller pixel size. Obviously, a wide angle lens isn’t as wide as wide as it is on a full frame camera. I don’t mind that. I don’t use wide angle very much and would rather get the advantage of the long reach at the other end. And of course the crop sensor lacks the “cool” factor that owning a new full frame camera has.
While I like and want a crop frame senor in my camera, I understand the advantages of the full frame; less noise, wide angle lenses are wide angle, and the newest equipment factor kicks in. But I LOVE and WANT my crop factor sensor.
There is a reason, need, and place for both. I am tired of hearing about one being better than the other. If the system you have works for you, USE IT!!
Posted 4 years, 1 month ago at 10:37 am. Add a comment
Again, posting an image that I got at June Lake on my ill-fated Bodie trip.
Driving on the June Lake Loop from north to south, I looked over at the lake and saw all of the white trees trunks against the dark background of the lake with the yellow leaves as a “foreground” element. The leaves weren’t really a foreground element, but I thought they anchored the bottom of the image well.
I stopped, flipped a U-ey, and found a place to park, walked up the road several hundred yards, and found the composition I liked. It got kind of hairy every time a car would drive by due to the narrowness of the shoulder (or the lack of one altogether), but I stopped and stepped off the road each time.
Posted 4 years, 1 month ago at 8:37 am. Add a comment