Even on the days where I come home wiped out and PaDless, I have been able to jump start the creative juices and come away with something I really like.
I took my camera with me to lunch, expecting to snag a photo of the water front on the way back to work. Unfortunately, as I was getting into my car in the parking lot at work, it began to rain. It's not that I fear the rain on my gear, its that to take a decent shot in the rain would have required more setup time than I'd have (after eating).
So the day progressed. On the ride home, I figured I would do some kind of SP for Friday since I'd been a bit remiss on this in the past. None of the run of the mill SP stuff was working for me, so I tried the zoom trick. Indoors, without a flash, I had a nice slow shutter speed, allowing me to zoom from 17 to 55 smoothly as the shutter was open (and vice-versa).
I changed shirts twice during all this. Originally I was wearing a plaid dress shirt from work. It is hard to look imposing in plaid ;-)
My normal winter/spring "after work" garb is some form of sweatshirt in varying degrees of dishevelment. Hoodies are my favorite, no idea why. It is much easier to look imposing in a hoodie ;-)
So anyway, I am standing there tripping the shutter (remote) with one hand and zooming with the other. I can say that the 17-55 f/2.8 IS doesn't have the smoothest zoom, it seems to bind around 35mm or so, when worked from the shootie position. . .
Time to go work on my taxes!
Driving around during a quick lunch (well - Photo) break, I ran up on part of the old parking ramp, behind an old hanger. I was on the 'legal' side of the gate. This light tower was accessible from the ramp I was on, so I took the liberty of shooting the hell out of it. I am going out on a limb and guessing this tower has not seen any maintenance since the base closed (18 years ago) and it is still standing.
The wind was whipping pretty bad, it was amazing I got so many sharp photos, the camera was jostling, I was bouncing, and the whole tower was swaying.
I plan to go back at some point and get a better shot looking up through the center of this tower. The wind was so horrible that I wasn't able to get any good shots from that angle. The triangular patterns against the deep blue (CPL - enhanced) sky will make for a real nice shot.
This shot has a little character. I never made a lunch photo run today, so I stopped an area that used to be a school on base. In fact, if you follow the map link to google maps, if you switch to hybrid/satellite, the school building is still there). I'd stopped by here before during the day and saw absolutely nothing of interest. Tonight, however, there was a lot to shoot.
On my way in, I scared three wild turkeys who flew off (I didn't realize they could fly away that fast). A small flock of ducks flew by a little later.
When I captured this particular shot, I didn't see or expect the orange buckets in the background. I had the Monochrome Picture Style selected on the 40D and they blended into the background. I actually switched position to get more of a "constructiony" theme to the background as there were some trucks and supplies in the distance. When I got back home and imported these, I realized the color and the reflections actually worked for me.
I walked down the road a bit & found more interesting subjects. When I turned around to head back to the car, I saw this beautiful orange & purple sunset that had just formed. We get a few of those a year. On my way back (in the car) near the end of the runway, I almost stopped to get a better shot, a wide angle view would have captured a very nice sunset at that point. There is a gate that I feared would have interfered with the shot, perhaps I will try it again the next time we get this sunset.
Here is that sunset:
Shapes and Tones
Yea we had sun today! So, with the proper exposure, I was able to see what this lens can do. I'm pretty impressed. I wound up with an eclectic mix of photos today. I shot a lighting pole that was horizontal on the ground. It looked interesting at the time and the photos are unbelievably sharp, but in Lightroom, they were not so interesting.
I really like this photo, the shapes and the tones came out pretty good. The deep blue is part PP and part actual sky. I didn't put the CPL on for this shoot. The white on the building in the foreground almost looks blown out when zoomed out, but at 100% crop the detail is all there.
The Photos that didn't make today's PaD:
On my way home this evening, I took a different route (the road less traveled). I came across a public boat launch in Eliot, Maine. It was set way back from the road (103) and you couldn't see any of it from the road. I had no idea there was a nice park, complete with a bath house on the premises (although closed due to the season). As luck would have it, the sun was setting and this playground was nicely silhouetted. I could see this from my car in the parking lot and realized I'd found my PaD.
Black and White was never an option for this one. The rich sky tones would be lost. I did muck with the tint & shadows in Lightroom to bring out more of the reds.
I'd read a lot of posts on this lens & flare when taking shots directly into the sun. I will agree with them, until I got the correct angle to block ALL of the sun, there was a tremendous flare. The flare was ugly too, otherwise, I'd have tried to incorporate it into the image.
I took a bunch of photos from various angles, realizing that I might not get another chance like today (the weather is all over the place lately). The skies were clear, I think clouds would have detracted from this image.
An interesting note, this park is on the Pisquataqua River, between Maine and NH. If I were to drive off the end of the boat ramp (and NOT sink) I would hit the fuel docks in Newington. This will prove to be a great vantage point for photographing the ships when they are in this particular port. Again, I never knew this park/public boat launch existed. I will be back (good think I can Geo Tag it, it will remind me in the coming months).
I visited what I thought was the Plaisted Grave Site
in Berwick, ME but turned out to be the Wallingford Family Cemetery
instead. It just means I need to stop by again and look harder. It is on my way to Home Depot/Wal-Mart/Grocery Shopping etc, so I pass it a lot.
Spring is here, things are starting to grow, snow is starting to fade. While I was at the graveyard, I really didn't notice anything green. It wasn't until I was back home mucking with the photos that I noticed the green grass poking through. It makes for a kind of interesting photograph, desaturating all but green, then pushing green a tad. It probably would have been a bit more dramatic if I tighted the crop, but then the tell-tale signs of this being a small graveyard would be lost.
My wife & I are off to see Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, and Styx tonight. I am not going to take any chances, I'm leaving the camera at home. Never fails though, we will get there and see a handful of other people with DSLR's and fast lenses. At least I will enjoy the concert!
Depth of Field on the new EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS.
We had a tour of the Coast Guard station this morning for Cub Scouts, I brought the camera but the sky was very overcast grey and it was cold out. Sometime later (around 2pm) the clouds opened up and the sun came out. The temps got into the high 50's and it was like a totally different day.
We had a lot of stuff to do, however, to prepare for my wife coming back after her 2 week biz trip. I didn't get out with the camera until later. When I shot our park bench, I was thinking Black and White all the way. This lens is pretty sharp, had I stopped it down a bit more, I could have gotten more of the grain in focus. My goal, however, was to test it wide open. I think I will be able to live with this ;-)
Oh, and my trust monopod that has followed me around for 3+ years has finally broken. The foot broke off. It is plastic, so I super-glued it back on. I am pretty hard on the monopod, I don't expect this to last much longer. This kind of sucks with the snow melting and the weather changing. The monopod is a must for bug work.
Got a bunch of goodies in the mail today. . .
First and foremost, the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS came in (and I didn't have to be around to sign for it!!). I got home an hour later than I'd wanted to & had to rush out with the youngest two to 'investigate' a bird (Parakeet or Cockatiel). When I got back, I was only able to take a few shots (I'm wiped too). First impressions are pretty good, but I will reserve my opinion till later. It is much smaller/lighter than the 24-70 f/2.8L and I hope this equates to more usage.
This photo of my son isn't the sharpest, but it had the best expression. He was captivated by the TV (no idea what show was on - Hannah Montanna or something like that - his sisters control the remote).
I also got a Domke J-3
bag in, something I'd wanted for a number of months (it was a toss-up between the J-3 and the Crumpler 6 Million Dollar Home bag
(Don't worry, I did NOT link to the crummy Crumpler website ;-)
The bag is a little bit larger than I'd expected, however, it fits ALL my major lenses now. Since the 17-55 will overlap my 17-40 f4L and 28-135 IS, I have one lens that replaces two. . .
The 1.8 ND filter came in, I need to take that outside to play with it (plus I know what to expect already).
I also picked up a Sensor Klear Lenspen
since I have come to grips with the fact that I really should clean my 40D sensor after 7 months of use, it's time. I found out about it on the boards (photography on the net
) and did a bit more research.
Tomorrow morning we (Son & I) get to head down to the Coast Guard station for a tour for the Cub Scouts. I will try to get in a few ocean shots and test out the new ND filter on the new lens (and, because I will be near the ocean, I will need to use the new sensor lenspen!)
My 10-year-old concentrating on the manufacturing of a peanut butter sandwich. She is very serious about peanut butter.
Hectic day. I got home later than I'd wanted (but earlier than normal). I didn't have time to get all elaborate with the PaD.
Fingers crossed, I get a couple of goodies in the mail tomorrow. New cam bag (finally), another ND filter (1.8 - good middle ground between my .9 and my 3.0). And, oh yeah, the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS is coming in. I'd been pretty set on the 24-70 F/2.8L until I found review and post after review and post (and post and review, and post and post, and review and review...) saying the 17-55 was the real deal. I find out soon enough.
I am hoping it's the real deal, because I'd sell off two lenses that would then have serious overlap. My long-time friend, the 28-135 IS and the 17-40 F4L.
Transformer at the Leigh's Mills Pond Power Station.
I never made it out for lunch today so I needed to get out and about after work for my PaD. The weather was nice, we had blue skies, and I have my Circ Polarizer to test out. I wound up at the falls, the bridge has been closed all winter (actually last summer too) so it made for a nice place to park. While I nabbed a few shots of the falls, my goal was to get some deep blue sky, so I passed up the falls photos for this one (which I rather like). I made a mental note to hit the falls again real soon. From the angle I was at, I can get a nice long exposure shot of the falls and the concrete work/bridge, etc. I didn't feel like mucking with the ND filter and tripod today, knowing I needed a "blue sky" shot. . .
On the other side of the falls is the pond which is still frozen over (though not thick enough to walk on). With all the rain and snow melt, the rivers are running a tad bit high right now (all the more reason to be getting some water shots).
"Frosty is Dead"
We had a nice warm day today (not that I got to enjoy any of the weather portion, however). Temps reached 60 degrees. When I got home, I saw that the remains of one of the kids' snowmen had been revealed. If I'd known this was revealed, I'd have stopped at The Home Depot to pick up some yellow tape and outline the body of the snowman. It would have made for a good April 1st PaD.
Last night I took my lenspen to my B+W Circ Polarizer as a last-ditched effort to clean the thing (before chucking it into the trash). I was quite amazed that it looked like the 'scratches' are now gone (there are some small ones left that shouldn't appear in the photo). I packed the filter last night, hoping to use it today. Here is a good reason why I should check out www.weather.com the day BEFORE I do/plan/hope for something. It was overcast/raining all day, any hopes for deep blue skies evaporated faster than the snow on my driveway.
Closing out the first quarter of my 2008 PaD with a family shot. The kids are deeply engrossed in a new game on the Wii. We've had the Wii now for a year plus (Xmas 2006) and they still play it regularly (The addition of Guitar Hero III this past Xmas really helps).
Tomorrow we are supposed to see temps into the 60's. Last Wednesday or so we had temps in the 50's. Since that day, however, we've had mostly days in the 20's and 30's and 3 days of snow to boot (not a lot of snow by this season's standards). We are so ready for spring and Winter just doesn't want to go quietly. . .