“….blow up a panda in Croydon…”

In support of my fellow photographers across the pond who rally against the Filth…..In support

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Hi ho, hi ho. It’s away from the computer I go!

I know you, my adoring fans, will be so sad to read this, but I have a full plate for the balance of this week and believe it’s highly unlikely I will be posting blog entries….or photos….or much of anything.  I will likely still view other’s sites as time allows, but I have a bunch of stuff I need to do to my home-built PC AND I have some work-stuff to take care of AND we have some folks coming to the house to do some various work AND, etc., etc., etc.

Now don’t go getting all suicidal and such…..I’ll be back.  Just hang in there as best you can.

😉

Joy & rapture, oh my!

My camera kit has been dutifully sitting in the garage for the past few days.  Out in the garage it is already at outdoor temperatures and therefore ready to go at a moment’s notice.  Yesterday I took the camera out into the back garden and shot some pictures of the cardinals (yes; more cardinals), robins and trees.  While I haven’t yet viewed these pictures I think I may have a couple that are pretty smart.

This morning I woke up with the intent of heading to our local park (also the site of a small dam meant for flood control) to capture some of the flooding….and maybe some more cardinals!  Upon waking I found the weather to be less-than-ideal for photography.  Well…that’s not completely true.  It was overcast and rather cool; maybe even cold.  And these sorts of conditions aren’t bad for photography, but I said to myself “I have ENOUGH pictures taken in this sunless stuff.  I’m not going.”  Hardly an inspired person first thing this morning, eh?

Ran some errands and then retired to the basement to pay bills and such.  It was during this time that I happened to look up and out one of the basement windows.  I was expecting rain as that is what we had been led to believe we would have this afternoon.  Instead I see blue skies and trees gently swaying in the wind.  Shit.

So I’m off in my car and head to the exit side of the dam.  Wow.  Unbelievable.  Amazing.  We’ve seen flooding on the flood plain side of the dam, but NOTHING like this.  I snap picture after picture all with the purpose of capturing the moment. In this particular instance I’m less interested in photography as “art” as I am in photography as capturing a moment in time.

However, when I finish with the rushing torrent of water being ejected from the dam, I take a short stroll along the swiftly moving river.  Along the way I encounter some lovely low-growing yellow flowers and stop to take a few photos of them.  Using my 17-85mm I get down low and as close as its ‘macro’ focus setting will allow and prepare to press the shutter release when a bee buzzes into the frame.  SCORE!  Snap, snap, snap goes the shutter and I’m hopeful that at least one picture came out well.  Further down the path I come across two geese; one sleeping and one keeping an eye on things, especially me.  I switch to my 70-200mm and move into a position that I feel is close, but not too close as to disturb the geese.  Again I shoot a handful of shots and hope that at least one will be good.

I drove around to the back side of the dam and again shot more pictures to capture the massive flooding.  It was during my walk back to the car that I started thinking about my attitude earlier this morning where I was thinking about how I had enough of gray-day pictures.  “What an idiot,” I continued to think.  “When do you hear someone say, ‘I think I have enough sunny-day pictures.  I’m going to wait for some gray days.'”  The important thing is that I shoot and shoot often.  Every day if I can.  No.  Every day regardless of whether I can or cannot.  It’s not just a question of becoming more familiar and comfortable with the camera and lenses, but the notion that there are typically only a few ‘gems’ of photographs within any given hundred or hundreds of pictures taken.  The only way to be certain I move that ratio in an upward direction is to shoot, shoot, shoot.  Oh, and pay attention and learn from my mistakes.  I guess those things are important too.

(a hearty thanks to those of you who have often said to shoot and to shoot often….you know who you are)

On the need for two extra arms

As a person who has often said “I’m a Brit trapped in an American body,” I can tell you that today feels like an English day. At least the way I have always imagined them to be.

It has been raining since yesterday and flood watches and warnings abound in our neck of the woods. As I have mentioned in prior posts, the ground is so saturated with water there simply is no ability for it to absorb the latest torrent from the heavens. The gray skies, the constant rain and Top Gear playing on the television have all conspired to transport me to my imaginary England where I’m far more interesting.

Sad.

Last night the fog was rolling in as the night progressed and I had high hopes that a foggy day would greet me. So sure was I that I placed my camera out in the garage so that it would be ready to go for a morning’s shoot at the park, where I was very confident I could get some good shots. Alas, no fog. Just rain. And I’ve quickly learned that it is very, very difficult to manage a camera, lens and camera bag along with an umbrella of sufficient size to keep not only me, but my precious camera equipment dry.

I see some pending unpleasantness with the daughter this afternoon when she comes home only to find me telling her that she is going to man the umbrella for me so that I might take a handful of pictures of our rather flooded back garden.

A more rewarding experience

Once again I ventured out into the wilds of my local park system, camera at the ready, and snapped away like a happy shutter-bug.  There were the usual issues of stupidity on my part:  wrong white-balance setting for the first few pictures, hadn’t remembered to format the media card (so that’s why I ran out of space so quickly), didn’t wear my better-for-very-mucky-conditions boots, etc.  Sigh.

See?  There is a reason why folks buy point-and-shoot cameras.

I wanted to post that I’m happier, on the whole, with the latest batch of pictures I took, and that I have shared these with some (via private invitation), but that I have now opened all of my sets posted at Picasa to the unwashed masses.  Yes; that’s you.  Well, it’s me as well, but that’s neither here nor there.

(Pictures found here)

Certainly this latest bunch aren’t going to get me invited to be the staff White House photographer, but I feel like this latest round is an improvement over the previous trips.  This pleases me to no end as I really didn’t want to find myself taking the same ‘okay’ pictures time after time after time.  Certainly it is only my opinion that these are better than those taken earlier, but I’d really rather live in my own private delusions if you don’t mind.

Ewww! What’s that on my boots?

I think it’s fair to say that having the proper kit is very important in the realm of photography. Shooting wildlife? You likely need a very good telephoto lens. Shooting up close? Clearly you need a solid macro lens. Portraits anyone? A solid flash or, better yet, a whole studio type setup with lights, backdrops, wireless transmitters and some sort of super Apple computer. Yet how quickly one forgets the other side of the photography equation; especially when one is shooting out of doors.

Today I grabbed my kit and headed back to my local park. The weather was being somewhat cooperative with partly cloudy skies and a temperature around 45-degrees F. (that’s about normal for this time of the year here in southwestern Ohio). I was feeling lucky. That feeling didn’t last too long.

It must have been too late in the day (early afternoon) to get pictures of the lovely cardinals that have been so prolific of late. And while the squirrels were out and about their colouring is simply way too similar to that of the winter brush and ground cover that it’s damn near impossible to grab a picture of them without having to first scan the entire photograph to find them. But that’s not the problem either. The problem is the ground.

See, we have had an unusual amount of snow this winter; especially into late winter. In addition we have had some rain of late. As such, the ground is completely saturated. Soaked. Water-logged. Sponge-like, if you will. Fortunately I am very well aware of this situation so I had put on a pair of waterproof winter boots for my sojourn to the park. However, this wasn’t enough. The ground is so damp that it and everything else laying upon the ground stuck to the soles of my boots. As I moved around the grounds of the park my boots accumulated massive quantities of very sticky mud, twigs, leaves, wildlife poop, etc. Eventually it looked as if I were wearing giant saucers upon the bottom of my boots. Naturally this gunk adhered to the bottom of my shoes also left me with little to nothing in the way of traction. I spent most of my time slipping, slidding, teetering, etc. as I made my way from bog to bog.

At this point I’m not even certain I obtained any good pictures, but I am very glad to be home in one piece without having slipped and fallen into some horrible muck that would have certainly destroyed my lovely Canon 40D dSLR.

WWAAD? (What Would Ansel Adams Do?)

First, in regards to my prior posting about my obvious need for the Canon 100-400mm lens…..my wife checked into purchasing such for me as an anniversary gift (12 years this Sunday!). She called my local camera shop and spoke to my camera guru who asked if she was sitting down as the lens runs for USD 1,500. Apparently my wife didn’t know that lenses could cost this kind of dosh.

Needless to say I still don’t have a 100-400 lens. (snif)

Second, regarding the pictures I took the other day (when I discovered my apparent need for the 100-400mm lens)…..well…..my original title for this blog was “Well shit!”. That tidbit of information should help you form an idea of the results of my photographic endeavor. From maybe 60 shots taken I can say that four, perhaps five, actually turned out nicely. Maybe not perfect, but nicely.

That’s one in twelve. That’s 8.5% (right? I just did that in my head).

In the mean time this other character (you’ve seen him here) continues to snap lovely photos day in and day out. And the bastard is so humble about it too! Augh!