Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and what is done in love is done well. ~Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Not a COMPLETE Failure...

Well, I would chalk up my photo trip to the beach as a complete failure with the exception of one thing. At least now I know what doesn’t work. If I know what doesn’t work then I’m getting somewhere and I refuse to be beat by this experiment. Everything is a learning experience so I’m still holding my head high! It’s very obvious to me at this point that I am simply not going to be able to get the shot without a neutral density filter and it probably wouldn’t hurt to have a polarizing filter as well. My camera obviously does not have the range I need to accomplish what I’m trying to do. So I have a dilemma, do I invest in the filters now or do I wait until I get a DSLR? I don’t think filters are that expensive so maybe I’ll go ahead and get them.

The shot below was taken in AUTO mode at with the following settings:

1/160 sec
ISO 100


On this next image I slowed down my shutter speed to 1/10 sec and went to the lowest possible F stop my camera would accept which was f/8. The picture didn’t terribly over expose, but I still didn’t get the blurred effect I wanted with the water. I expected that the fastest shutter speed I could use and get the desired results would be 1 sec. All the information I’ve studied indicated that 1 to 1.6 sec is the fastest shutter speed you can use.


Sooooooo… I gave it a try. I just can’t reach a low enough f stop to keep the photo from over exposing. The only visible thing is a tiny portion of the tree line on the far right of the image. So the only options are to buy a camera with a better range of settings or try it again with a filter. Since I don’t feel comfortable spending $1500.00 on a camera just yet, I’ll try the filters and see what happens. Meanwhile I’m sure I can find another effects project to keep me busy.


At first I was confused as to why I managed to accomplish it to a small degree in the previous post. Then it occurred to me it may have something to do with the speed of the water as well. The water coming from the spring was moving at a much greater speed than the waves slowly rolling in… So I think speed of the water could play a big factor in the picture as well. Sounds like a rational thought, but I haven’t read it anywhere… we’ll see.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Success, no matter how small is still success! The past few weeks I’ve been working very hard to capture moving water. The problem I’ve been running into is over exposure. I’ve tried getting up at different times of the day and even at 630 AM I still can’t seem to get the correct lighting.

While I was out visiting a park the other day I found a flowing well spilling from an old pump. I wasn’t out looking to take shots of moving water that day so I didn’t have my tripod with me. Just for the devil of it I tried once again to take a couple of pictures at a one second exposure. Below you will find the before at automatic shutter speed and after shots at a manual one second speed.


Once again you can see in the second shot the picture came out way overexposed. I was able to do some contrast work on it in Paint Shop Pro and bring it back just a little. To my surprise there was, for the very first time, the water effect I’ve been trying to capture. You can see a distinct difference in the appearance of the water coming from the spout near the main shaft of the pump. Yay! Let’s try it again getting a closer shot of the flowing water.


Here is the shot in Aperture-Priority exposure. Not a fantastic shot, but not a terrible one…


This shot was taken at a shutter speed of 1 second and smallest aperture value I could get was f/8.0. I didn’t have a tripod available so I held the camera as still as I possibly could. Success! Yay! Yay! Yay! Now I realize to all you professional guys this is a very minor accomplishment, but to me it’s a big deal. It’s one step closer to the image I’m trying to capture. With a tripod, the purchase of a ND filter and correct timing I might just get a shot I can brag about. This is the purpose I created this blog for, to document my progress. Now, I need to save up a little pocket change and pick up a few filters. Hmm, it’s amazing how excited you can get over such a small step towards your goal!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Framing Shots


The other afternoon I went outside to take pictures of the ‘Bonanza’ daylilies. After I had taken the photograph I realized that I had accidentally framed the daylilies with the foliage from a Crinum lily that was in front them. I thought to myself what a wonderful accident, and then it occurred to me after a few minutes that could be a photography technique I could work on for a few weeks. Instead of just being out taking random photos, this could be an exercise to help me start establishing my own personal style. So, for the next few weeks while I’m out taking photos I’m going to make it a point to find ways to frame at least a few shots in each outing I go on.

This past Sunday I decide to commune with nature a little so I took a stroll through one of my favorite places local to the city where I live. It’s called the bamboo forest. It was an old university experiment with bamboo that was done many decades ago and forgotten about. Over the years it grew into a beautiful bamboo forest covering many acres of land. Holding true to my self- assigned homework I started looking for shots to use the framing method. I wasn’t very far in before I realized I had a shot with the trees and path. I also realized that by just moving a couple of feet I had more than one approach I could take to getting the shot. The end results were the two photos below.



Shortly after the trees and path, I started looking for more subjects to frame. I didn’t have to look very far before I found the picture below. He was a very cooperative and well behaved model. He seemed to care less that I was present.


I like the shot above because the bamboo is slightly more visible, but the shot below is also nice because you get a closer look at the subject, even though I wasn’t able to get his entire body in the shot. I tried moving more to the left and there was just no other position I was happy with other than the end result in the next photo.


A little further down the path I saw an opportunity for another pretty shot. Once again framing the water lilies between the bamboo poles, it wasn’t until after I got home and later that evening that I realized the photos contained more than water lilies. Look just behind the top flower… You can click on the photo to get a larger picture if you like.


In this picture I decided to use the bamboo on just one side of the picture. I’m happy with the results, but I wish the bamboo wasn’t quite so dark. It would be nice to enjoy more of chartreuse color it was sporting.


Let’s head on down the path and see what else we can find on our little walk and we can also revisit a few more photos captured in the same settings where the previous pictures were taken.







Never in my life have I ever seen a red dragonfly. I was so focused on the frog I never even saw him. It wasn't until my coworker pointed him out that I even noticed him in the photo. Dragonflies are nothing less than flying jewels...


I really enjoyed my visit in the forest Sunday. I also very much enjoyed spending time with all the living things I discovered on my walk. Even though I didn’t see some of them until later on in the evening…