Light is Everything!

Archive for July, 2011


One of my other fun times things to do is go geocaching. And a sub-area of geocaching is the trackable/geocoin game where people actually mint coins that have tracking numbers and move them all over the world. On the website, you can track these things and see exactly who made them, where they’ve been or if they have a mission.  I picked up this really cool geocoin in Regina called  N&V’s 4musketeers Royalist Geocoin. It has a mission to travel to Château d’Arricau-Bordes in France. I was struck by how cool this coin was and I vowed to take some pictures of it to upload to its tracking page. I finally got a minute to do it and so here’s what I came up with. It’s a very unique geocoin!  8D




"Wisdom sails with wind and time" ~ John Florio

Saskatchewan has an abundance of wind. Almost all the time. It’s not any real surprise to prairie folk to feel the wind and see it’s effects as it blows through leaves or crop or grass. But to capture it with a still camera is tricky. It’s much like capturing water as it moves, you use the same technique. Setting your camera to either Shutter priority mode or Manual, you can slow your shutter speed right down and capture the motion blur of the wind. The slower shutter speeds capture the blurred motion, giving the picture the look and feel of movement even though it’s a still photo. Another useful tip is to stop your lens down. Way down. As far as it can go to restrict the amount of light getting into the camera on a bright sunny day. This will give you the luxury of getting slower shutter speeds. Also, dump your ISO down as low as it will go. The shot above was taken at ISO 100 f/32 at 1/15 of a second on a very breezy/sunny day. 8)


Garden Tour

One of the most relaxing, yet still challenging, things to shoot are flowers and gardens. A beautiful sunny day, some nice breeze and 105mm f/2.8 VR Macro lens. What could be better?! 8) I went over to the Tetzlaffs the other day and was able to snap some nice shots of their beautiful garden. It was a veritable macro shooting gallery with lilies and roses and petunias and dahlias and everything else in between. It’s a relaxing time because it’s slow, you take your time in setting up your shots verses fast paced candids where you have to be ready non stop. But there are challenges to overcome too. The first being wind. It’s always windy in Saskatchewan but with macro, even the slightest breeze is enough to give you blurry shots, even when on a tripod, which I was for many of these shots. Using my cable release and manual focusing I had to wait for the flowers to quit bobbing in the breeze.  Also, another challenge is light. I shot the majority of these shots from 5-6PMish. The sun is still high and it was harsh lighting. I brought a big diffuser and a reflector though and made a light tent around the flower. The sun becomes the ginormous key light and the silver reflector provides some sweet fill. You get soft luscious lighting that still has some direction and complexity. I would call it even, but not flat light. 🙂 Anyways, here’s the take:

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How to Tame Your Dragon

Fly. Dragonfly that is. 8)  There were zillions out in the back yard the other night, taking care of our mosquito population. I grabbed the 105 macro and an SB-600 on camera to add some much needed fill as the light was low and making some sweet cross lighting setups. I love dragonflies. They will forever be on the payroll at my house! 😉


Photo Madness!

Today was reminiscent of our Fight for Fonstad Foto Shoots as I had a bunch of back to back sessions today. It couldn’t have been more fun, even though the wind blowing my umbrellas all over creation, despite being weighted down. 😳 Luckily I had some great up and coming photo assistants hold them for the last 2 shoots! 8)  Family portraits was the name of the game today, before and after a family wedding. Everyone’s gussied up and lookin’ good, might as well grab some photos. So I had my guerilla lighting kit and away we went. It was super fun, even got the dog lit up! I always strive to get everything as close to perfect in camera as possible to streamline the editing process and it helps a metric tonne. Much can be learned from the old film photographic legends who were careful and thought things through on the technical end. If you do, then you simply sit back and start rockin out the shots! That’s where the real fun begins! 😆


The Aurora

Everyone loves light shows, from fireworks to the Northern Lights, it’s always tremendous. When we were in Grenfell last week, I stayed up to 2AM because the Aurora Borealis were dancing up a storm. That and I wanted to nab a few star trail shots. I couldn’t wait to see what the lcd screen showed me after I finished the 15 minute long exposures. Pure awesome, I thought to myself. That is, until I got the shots home. On the computer monitor I could see something wacky. It looked like a dust spot, but I had just cleaned my camera. Upon closer inspection, I saw these concentric circles radiating out of the center of the image. CRAP! I thought I had destroyed my camera’s sensor chip by taking fireworks shots! 😥

What a gong show! But then, I did some research on the net and came across this article that explains this phenomenon:

With my Nikon lenses I have found that long exposures result in concentric circles showing up in the middle of the images when I use a filter of any kind. Nikon says this is due to the high reflectivity of the aurora. Thanks to the University of Alaska forecaster, the explanation follows. “These are interference fringes due to the parallel faces of the filter and to the narrow spectral emission at 5577 Angstroms in the aurora. That green, atomic oxygen emission line is the strongest emission in the aurora near our film and eye peak sensitivity, so it shows up first when there is any device in the optical path which sorts out the spectral emissions.” So, don’t use filters!

That pretty much sums it up. Lesson learned. If you’re after the Aurora, don’t forget to take your filter off your camera lens! I wish I would have known that before hand. 😳





It’s a Hummdinger!

I’m on holidays right now! YEE HAW! It’s great to get away. I’ve been busy on the ol’ picture mill too. After being in Grenfell for a few days taking in all the centennial activities as well as family fun, I’ve got 4 full memory cards, 8GB each – all RAW. That’s 24 GB of pics to wade through! I can’t wait. But today, while taking it easy, I got to play with my Dad’s (*ahem*) awesome Canon wildlife setup. 1D Mark III & a 500mm f/4. Does it get any better?! (If you said a D3 with a 600mm f/4 you’d be right) 😉  Mom’s garden is chock full of flowers and birds so I setup the big guns and nabbed some hummingbirds when they came in!

For the last shot, I setup Dad’s 580EXii on a stand with his Pocket Wizards. Super rad to light up these little hummers. They really shine! Not too bad a day, even if I had to use Canon stuff…. 😉