December Gallery

A little sampling for December.

I found it quite interesting when reviewing the Trailcam photos, that the Trailcam decided, on its own apparently, to take a lovely snapshot of the quiet wood at sunrise on New Year’s Day 2018.

It also caught a great shot of a Barred Owl, the moment it landed on its prey.

I was pleased to get my own shot of the owl. 

I’ve also included a shot of Rock Doves, which we all know as Pigeons, taking off from the farm fields of our rural area. This is for Ellen Jennings at Passing By Photo, who told me she’s never seen pigeons outside of an urban environment. Truth is, Ellen, that even in the country, these birds hang around people, their farms and livestock. It seems their favorite place is perched on the silo.

 

Grandson Max moves up to Varsity Basketball this year, and provided us with exciting game pix. Younger sister Lizzy is right behind him, Captaining the JV Girls team. Their game was a real nail-biter. Tied, overtime, and a loss in just the last eight seconds!

We did the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count last weekend, and my prize was a shot of a Pileated Woodpecker. I see them from time to time, but this is my first photo of one. It’s quite obscured by a branch or two, and flew off before I could shoot a second frame.

May peace find you and keep you throughout the New Year!

 

Paz

Photoshoot: Kerry’s Wedding

 

Daughter Kerry and her beau Kenyon decided on a spur of the moment to legalize their domestic cohabitation by getting married. Not ones for pretense, they set up an awning and pulled some machinery out of the barn, and were ready. The “official uniform” at Parson’s Farm is the custom printed T-shirt. Everyone who works on the farm or at the stand, myself included, wears a Parson’s Farm shirt. They have tag lines that change from year to year. So for the wedding, everyone was required to don a red T-shirt. Coincidentally, this year’s tag line is “Parson’s Farm: Where the vegetables are sweet and the women are bitter.”.  An unfailing sense of humor will carry this couple through their lives with fewer heartaches and tears than most.

After vows, we proceeded to the barn as it rained outside. A little food, a little music, a little cake, a little champagne, and you have a recipe for a grand time. For the famous cake-feeding shot, Kerry hammed it up and made a little mess. Then it was dancing, dancing and more dancing as we dined on the generous spread before us. Across the road from the farm, sadly, is a GIANT distribution warehouse. For the dancing-in-the-barn shots, I slowed the shutter speed because I wanted to show motion. When I looked at a couple preview pics, I saw that the shots were backlighted by the outdoors, the couple almost silhouetted, and the over-exposed outdoors made the distribution center disappear!

The rain continued as darkness fell. Indoors, I relied on the tripod for those low light shots, and ran the ISO up considerably. Youngsters one by one began to tire. Elders continued the ritual of dance and drink, and the party lights made a colorful atmosphere in the old barn. On the occasion of the bouquet toss, both granddaughters (Lizzy and Maddie) seemed to grasp the flowers simultaneously. Outside, away from all this foolishness, Elly and Evan took advantage of some high grade puddles. Alas, finally we had to take our leave, as the Mother of the Bride had had all the excitement she could stand for one day. 

And so, I present Mr. And Mrs. Kenyon Parsons!

The Happy Couple

Until next time,

 

Paz

June Gallery

What? August? Okay, so here’s the June Gallery. Three shoots really occupied me in June. First, granddaughter Ellie graduates from Pre-Kindergarten. Many pictures for Grampa to cry over. They grow so fast! Kids at that age are always photoworthy and touch the heart. Then, a trip to Forked Lake with son Ryan and pal Carl. Clouds rolled over Blue Mountain, and I sat and shot dozens of frames. Worthy of its own post, watch for “The Many Moods of Blue Mountain” as a Photoshoot post. The other biggy: Daughter Kerry surprises us with an impromptu wedding, as she makes an honest man out of her long-time beau (and domestic partner) Kenyon. A unique wedding by a unique couple, the whole thing took place right there on the farm, the reception in the barn. Without a doubt one of the best weddings I’ve ever attended (being Father of The Bride had no influence, I’m sure). I’ll do a Photoshoot post for that, too. It was a great time with some great pix, and some trix and pointers.

-Paz

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January Gallery

January Hath Thirty-One Frames.

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Photo Shoot: The Ice Storm

Crystal Blooms

We had freezing rain fall for two days, painting everything with a bright mirror-like coating. Everywhere I looked, the world was transformed into something magical. I told my wife “You couldn’t shoot a bad picture today.”, as I reviewed some images. In true Photo Shoot fashion, here are “the proofs” (a nostalgic term from print photography days) without editing. Included are the good and bad, for your perusal and edification.

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Everywhere I looked there was a blinding glaze of ice, catching sunlight, emitting all the colors of the rainbow. Two troubles I encountered on this shoot: One, in person, everything looked beautiful and photo-worthy. Our eyes do a better job than any camera ever did at perceiving what is there, taking it all in. The camera was, at times, overwhelmed by multiple light sources, as the photographer tried to capture what the eye sees. Shallow depths-of-field are great for bokeh effects and making your subject stand out, but when there are a million little lights behind the subject, it sometimes started to look like confetti. The second problem was the blinding snow and light, which rendered the preview screen on the camera nearly useless. I relied a lot on experience, and some on the Histogram provided by the camera. (A histogram is a graphic display of the primary light of the subject. At the very least, it will tell you if your shot is dim or bright, or over-exposed.) Here are some shots that were breathtaking in person, but are reduced to brightness and confusion when viewed as one-dimensional images.

Ultimately the million sources of light added some dramatic appeal to many photos. Using a fairly large aperture (f6.3), the backgrounds of the subjects were unfocused. In the right cases, this produced some captivating photos. I found the best shots were a bit lower in light, allowing the sunspots of ice crystals to be more pronounced and reducing background distractions. Focusing on a specific subject (a branch or blade of grass) was more effective than trying to capture “the whole scene”. After day one, I thought a deeper depth-of-field might help alleviate some of the overwhelming visual confusion, but met with limited success.

Of course, the angle of light was an important element to keep track of on this shoot. From one angle, there’s an ice-covered stick, and from another there’s a hundred diamonds gleaming in the sun. One thing I’ve learned in photography, that angle of light is always important.  Regardless of the subject, and especially outdoors, looking at a subject from different angles will show you how the subject reflects the sun’s light to our eyes and camera. Next time you want to shoot a tree or other object in nature, walk around it if you can and see how the light plays. Sometimes it’s about light itself, and its counterpart, shadow, making your composition. Other times, we may not realize that the beautiful tree you drove by looks different from this side. Go back to the other side, and you’ll see what I mean. There’s an “ideal” angle of light for any subject that changes the way it looks, right down to hue and saturation of color.

Frosted Cherry

Golden Crowned Kinglet

As always, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for other subjects, like this Golden Crowned Kinglet who visited the shoot!

 

Happy Shooting!

 

Paz

Photoshoot: Solar Eclipse

2017 Solar Eclipse

Did quite a bit of reading up and preparing to shoot the solar eclipse. Ordered an inexpensive polymer sheet of solar filter material, advised it would be necessary for most partial phases. (Also made a slit viewer for my wife out of the leftover scrap.) Took the camera out the day before to try some exposures on the full sun with the solar filter.

Set up the tripod and the 300 mm lens in the parking lot behind work, and used a remote release to prevent vibrating the camera with the shutter button. Where I live (work is just outside of the state capital, Albany) we had some cloud cover move in about a third of the way through the action. At times, the sun was completely obscured. At other times it would peek through the clouds. Once the eclipse was well underway and the clouds further inhibited the light, I switched to a couple stacked neutral density filters to knock the light down enough to photograph. The orange images are shot through the solar filter, and the white images through the ND filters. The photos picked up a little color chroma from the ND filters, adding a surprise sepia tone to clouds in a spherical aberration pattern. (They were all white while viewing).

These photos are straight from the camera, in the interest of a “Photoshoot” post. They are untouched and uncropped. I’m still shopping for a teleconverter, which will further “extend” or magnify the focal length of the camera. With a 2x doubler (two-times), the equivalent focal length would have been 600mm. Click any photo to view the media file.

Shooting with the solar filter was pretty much wild guess exposures, with a little knowledge from Sunday’s practice and some general pointers from photo experts. With the ND filters, it was possible to use the exposure meter to get in the ball park. Above images are selected keepers, the following is a grab bag of goofs and also-rans.

Had a great time with the shoot, and actually I’m quite pleased with the images captured. Now I just need to hang on to that solar filter until the next one!

 

Best regards,

 

Pazlo