Light is Everything!

Archive for April, 2011

Crocus Madness!

The hills are alive with singing! And crocuses! And also, regrettably, wood ticks. Be on your guard for the vampires if you go into the fields in search of the flower of the prairies! ๐Ÿ™‚

Bright Monday

Today was beautiful! We played outside with the kids this morning and finally got some serious rays. My bald head got red! And it was great! ๐Ÿ™‚ I also cleaned the garage, but who cares about that. I went for an evening drive to get obtain the fine water from Alameda’s well and threw the camera in just incase any photos were lingering in the setting sun. There were! Here’s what I came up with this evening. ๐Ÿ™‚



I decided I would post a few picks for Easter, a few of the kids and some Crocus shots from the other day. I was happy to come across a whole pile of crocuses just starting to burst forth into life! Yay! Another sign that winter is dead! Long live spring!

And, for the most important part of Easter:

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!


“Withย reflectionsย you become too soon aย genius.”ย 

~ Ernst Haas

Joe McNally is my Hero

I love Joe McNally. He rocks the set. His knowledge and experience when it comes to lighting are some of the best in the business. I just got his book The Hot Shoe Diaries from the Library but I will be buying it in the future. It is incredible! ๐Ÿ˜€ For anyone wanting to learn more about small flashes and flash photography, this is the book for you – even better if you shoot Nikon like Joe and all the really good photographers do ย (but Canonites can learn from the principles) ๐Ÿ˜‰ The book takes you through various photos that Joe has made using creative lighting. He talks about all the tips and tricks used to get the shot which is really helpful for people just beginning. After reading the first half of the book, I decided I would to and try out some of his principles when it comes to off camera flash. I include here the sample image and a diagram of how I setup the shot.

Flash triggered by SU-800

Photo Geek Info: ISO 100, f/4.0, 1/4000, 16mm, Exposure Compensation -1 ev, Flash Output +3ev, i-TTL Mode with Auto FP enabled. Phew!

Star Trail

I’ve got a new favourite photography subject! ๐Ÿ˜‰ This is my first ever star trail photo. 1186.7s exposure! hehehhehe… I noticed it was a clear night so I setup the camera on the tripod and after my first screwed up photo, I got this one. Manual mode on bulb setting with a cable release at f/8, ISO 200. White Balance set to Tungsten. The tree is illuminated from the town’s yard light across the ravine from our house. A nice serendipitous coincidence. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Moir Kidz

With the on-set of the end of winter, the kids were ripping up the crescent again last evening. I was using my 50mm f/1.4 for the really cool shallow depth of field. f/2 on that lens is tack sharp all the time which is super slick for cool candids. Still love that lens! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Closed for Business

The definitive sign of spring on the prairies – besides wood ticks – ย is the crocus. Yesterday when Jimmy was out running his new greyhound dog, he and I were kibitzing about this and that. I looked down and behold! I saw some tiny little friends just starting to poke through the grass. This is the last sign that spring must finally be here, despite the snow we had yesterday. The crocuses don’t lie, even if they are closed for business. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I don’t blame them for not opening up yet. Too darn cold. The forecast for today isย Cloudy with sunny periods. High plus 4. UV index 5 or moderate. ๐Ÿ™‚

Snow Turkeys

I got up today and looked out and behold, there were tons of turkeys, struttin’ their stuff. I grabbed my camera, some camo and went belly crawling for a half mile or so. Last year, they were more tolerant of me and let me get a wee bit closer than they did this year. But it was warmer then than it is now. uggg, this weather is getting depressing. While I was out, it started to snow which was throwing off the autofocus of my 70-300. I missed some shots because of that and for that reason I’m selling a kidney on the black market to get a 300mm f/2.8 hehehehe.. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyways, it’s true, in low light, that lens hunts for focus like Rita McNeil looking for prime rib in a buffet line. ๐Ÿ™‚ But what can you do? I did do some manual focusing to try and nab the shots I was missing. Here’s the shots of the day. It’s funny how from 330 shots, I get 32 good ones. Roughly 10%ย 

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EDIT! Here’s a video of me gobbling! I’m the turkey whisperer.

Fight for Fonstad Walkathon

Wow!! What an awesome event! Our Prairie Horizons School has been working hard at fund raisers for the Fonstad Family. Today, all the students and staff did a walkathon march to the Fonstad’s house from the school, guided by firefighter escort and the Fonstads riding in golf cart style. I grabbed my camera and had a blast taking shots as the event unfolded. It’s was just like movie! It came complete with a helicopter and everything!! ย There were loads of photographers taking pictures at this event so I’m sure there will be lots of great photos! I’m jealous that Jocelyn got to ride in the helicopter taking aerial shots! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But then again, I got to ride the fire truck! ๐Ÿ™‚ Super fun day and Megan did an awesome job speaking to the assembly with a very hopeful message! ย We’re going to beat this thing! ๐Ÿ™‚

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RAW File Edit #21

I did a screencast of editing the froknowsphoto RAW file of the week, a really cool portrait! ย The video is me showing you how I did my interpretation of the image in Aperture 3 using Nik Software’s Color eFex Pro plugin.

Photography is a Ripoff

If you have any kind of Photography equipment, you’ve probably paid a small fortune for it. If you have a large assortment of lenses and cameras, you’ve probably sold organs on the black market to pay for it all. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I don’t know why, but if an item has “photography” stamped on it, it’s an automatic 30-56% more money (just like education products). ๐Ÿ™‚ ย Finding small ways of saving cash is a photographer’s secret weapon. I stumbled across a great blog called Larry’s Cheap Shots. He has many cool ideas for saving money and DIY photography projects that are guaranteed to save you a bundle! Check it out!

Moir Dr. Block Party

As we all know, spring hath sprung! Moir Dr. celebrated by having a block party, a variable hootenanny in the hills, a carousing in the crescent, a shindig in the streets! It was wonderful to see the kids ripping up the road again. It’s been far too long!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Bring on the Sunshine!

Spring Hath Sprung!

Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! ย Spring Hath Sprung Batman! I went out to my car this morning to grab something and I looked down on my stoop and behold! What do I see? A baby grasshopper sunning himself! Unbelievable! Spring must truly be here, or, we’re getting the next Biblical plague. ๐Ÿ™‚ …Which might be true, because as I was bent over taking pictures, a Jehovah’s Witness came up and gave me some propaganda. hehehheeh… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyways, when I saw this vermin on my front step, I quickly ran and grabbed my 105mm Micro lens and got in close for some way cool macro shots. Luckily it was still cold out and the little guy was slow. I was able to focus about two inches away from him. ย I truly hope with every ounce of my being that this means spring is truly here to stay!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Candid Kidz

F/1.4 is pure awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s no other way to laud the sheer quality and sweet bokehliciousness. I highly recommend picking one up. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย I’m utterly impressed with my new AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G. It’s tack sharp, even when it’s wide open, and it makes shooting inside in natural light a dream. Of course, when you shoot any lens wide open they suffer from Chromatic Aberration – a pink or blue fringe that shows up on the edges of your images. The good news is that you can get rid of it by stopping down a stop or two. Which is the other good thing about f/1.4 – it’s beautiful at f/2 and completely usable. Contrasted to my 50mm f/1.8, it wasn’t at it’s best until f/4 which is sub-par for indoor natural light shots. Anyways, take a look at some of the candid shots, pretty much all shot at f/1.4 (occasionally f/2). ๐Ÿ™‚

Chromatic Aberration



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No, this post isn’t about dental work. ๐Ÿ™‚ Extraction is a concept used by many landscape photographers when they want to shoot not only the over all scene but also zoom in and “extract” parts of the landscape. Such as a plain with a cabin in the foreground, a wall of trees behind it and some mountains behind them with the sun sneaking up over the horizon. The photographer could extract the glowing mountain ridge, a close up of the cabin, the trees, etc. Extraction is taking a picture from within a picture, so to speak.

The same concept applies to Macro photography. Regan did a class at the family centre on making flower arrangements. She did an excellent job and the end product was beautiful! An arrangement like this provides tons of Macro photography opportunities. Using extraction, you eye up the over all “landscape” of the arrangement, and extract photos from within it. Macro lens do especially well at this because of the shallow depth of field and the closeness with which you can focus to the subject.

PS: Phoebe is here because she’s cute. ๐Ÿ™‚

Chess Club

Hehehehehehe……. my wife used to be in a chess club. What a nerd! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I probably would have joined one too, cuz I’m cool like that. ย Chess is probably the noblest of all games if you exclude parcheesi. ๐Ÿ˜€ Anyways, we squared off last night with a bottle of our favorite wine (Angus, an Australian Cabernet-Sauvignon) and my old glass chess set that Regan bought me. I’ve always wanted to take pictures of this set and the new 50mm f/1.4 provided the sweet sweet bokehliciousness needed to do it. Normally, one should use a macro lens for this kind of thing, but I’m never taking that 50mm off my camera again! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I thought I would punch the contrast a lot and do some black and whites as the lighting was not super great.

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50mm Nikkor f/1.4G Portraits

I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!! This lens is fantastic. Incredible sharpness from f/2 up and awesome performance even at f/1.4. In my opinion it’s the ultimate portrait lens on a DX camera body. I bought it from B&H photo in the USA because it was $140 cheaper than in Canada. But recently the prices of all glass in the US just increased (even Sigma stuff). Now, it’s actually cheaper in Canada from Aden Camera than it is from B&H. Crazy. I’m really glad I pulled the trigger on this f/1.4 when I did! ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s a sweet upgrade to my already really-good 50mm f/1.8 I have. The bokeh is far more creamy & buttery with the 1.4 than the 1.8. ย It always seems like a small step, that little hop of one stop, but it is like lightyears in lens quality.

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She’s a Keeper!

Finally got my new 50mm f/1.4G lens. It was on back order but I got word that it arrived at Donna’s Den yesterday. So, I loaded up the kids and went down to the Den to pick it up. And, to top it all off, I had NO border hassle, either going or coming back. Because I already paid tax on the lens, they didn’t make me go through the hassle of filling out 18 thousand metric tonnes of paper work to get my $25 bucks back. ๐Ÿ™‚

Being gun shy from the last lens that was defective, I brought this one home and immediately did my pop-can sharpness test again. f/5.6 is the sharpest usable aperture for this lens, so I dialled it in and viola! It’s sharp!

Tack Sharp!

And, just to be safe, I did my Auto Focus test again too. But when I did it, it seemed like this new lens was front focusing (whereas the other lens was back-focused into the next county)! CURSES!!! I thought, surely this can’t be?! What are the odds?! All those Canon people aren’t crazy after all! ๐Ÿ˜‰ . . . But, silly me, I forgot to de-activate the AF Fine Tune settings from the last time I was trying to calibrate the defective lens. Once I turned that compensation off, the Auto Focus was bang on even at f/1.4! ๐Ÿ™‚

And, to top it all off, I did a crazy self portrait with ridiculous settings. Why not? The new lens is a keeper! ๐Ÿ˜€ Soooo stoked!

ISO 3200 f/1.4 1/30 50mm

Fight For Fonstad Foto Shoots

My next door neighbor and friend Megan was recently diagnosed with a rare lung cancer that targets non-smoking women. In response, a few of us local photographers are doing ย “Fight For Fonstad Foto Shoots” – 3 simultaneous photography shoots happening in Carnduff, Oxbow and Alameda. The idea is to have 20 minute blitz photo sessions and provide people with a CD of 5 professionally edited images of them and their families at a cost of $50.00 of which all the proceeds will go to help the Fonstad family in their fight against cancer.

The Schedule will go something like this in all three locations:

10:00AM-2:00PM ~ย 20 minute shoots

You can contact Jocelyn Harvey in Carnduff

Jocelyn Harvey

Starr Mercer in Oxbow,

Starr Mercer

and as an honorary Alameda resident, yours truly ๐Ÿ™‚

Jason Schultz

to book a photography session. ย All people are welcome to participate from individuals to groups. C’mon out and support a great cause!!! Check out the Fight for Fonstad Foto Shoot group on Facebook.

Enter: Mr. Snowman

After the heinous snow storm left us, we had some primo snowman making weather on our hands. Phoebe and I went to work and created a rather scary looking snowman. Freakish, really. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Looks even weirder in HDR).

After we had our nordic fun, ย I grabbed the camera and took some shots. I was using my 16-85mm VR lens. Up until recently, I haven’y used it much, preferring my 50mm prime. But, I’m really liking the wide angle lately, especially for portraits, getting really close. It blows the shot way up and creates a cool effect. Anyways, we made the best of a junky situation but I’m happy to report that the rest of the day turned out beautiful. Melt, melt, melt away Mr. Snowman!

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Snow Storm Wake Up

I woke up to a horrendous gong show: A nasty April snow storm in progress. I am so sick of winter I could vomit, but it did afford an opportunity for pictures. So here they are, just a few wide angle shots around our house and through windows in some cases. It’s not actually all that cold, but the snow is still coming down and the wind is picking up too. I predict a snow-day! ๐Ÿ˜

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Puddle Pics

Well, we finally got a nice day today. It took about 3.9 seconds to get out the door and out for a walk with the kids. Phoebe put her rubber boots on so she could giver down the street and straight through the puddles – every 3 year olds dream, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I brought out the 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR lens for this little shoot today.

The reach is nice, especially for the reflection shots I *tried* to get but proved elusive and with lots of light you don’t need to worry about f stops as much. It’s always good to just get out and enjoy taking pictures! ๐Ÿ™‚

My favorite image of the day was this one. It was taken after we got home and she was standing in the overhead garage door space. The lighting was super rad and I caught it out of the corner of my eye. I spun around and with the camera in continuous I banged off some shots. I just really love the beautiful contrast to the light, almost got a Rembrandt light pattern out of the deal! ๐Ÿ™‚

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