Archive for September, 2011

Smile — You’re on Candid Camera

Of all the genres of photography, I think one that I enjoy the most is the candid portrait. The story a person’s face tells is so much more vivid and less contrived when they don’t realize they are being photographed. Theses were taken at a recent family outing at Chatfield State Park.

Aidan
Aidan 
Jenna
Jenna 
Troy
Troy 
Anna
Anna 
Sk8 R@t
Sk8 R@t

Shootin’ the Test Dummies

I have a folder full of pictures that I’ve taken that are just test shots and other miscellaneous junk, and when I look through them, I see certain subjects that appear on a regular basis. These are my “test dummies” that get shot whenever I’m trying something new, whether it be gear or technique.

The Book Shelf

Aina the Troll

Ummm…didn’t really mean to imply that she’s a dummy

Maggie the Mutt

Dapper Ducks and Nature’s Fighter Jets

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I kinda like ducks. Fortunately for me there’s a pond about a two-minute walk from my house that hosts ducks by the dozen and, particularly this year, dragonflies my the bajillions. Last time I was over there it was fun, because the ducks would swim along right at the edge of the water, following me around the pond, and whenever I stopped, they would waddle out and just patiently wait. When I moved on, they went back to the water and followed me to the next stop. It was nearly midday and the lighting was really harsh, so the picture-taking opportunities were limited, but I shot anyway.

Got Me An Itch
Duck

She got her snack but ended up with a slimy head for her trouble
Duck

Bottoms Up! (This one is older, but I thought it was quite appropriate for the subject)
Bottoms Up

Nature’s Fighter Jets
Dragon

Dragon

I did everything possible wrong on this shot, but it still represents the first in-flight shot I’ve ever gotten
Dragon

Serenity

So I lied. I DID get one picture at the aquarium that I absolutely love. It took a lot of post processing to get all the scratches and stuff cleaned up, but I think it was worth the effort.

 Serenity

Something’s Fishy Here

I’ve been avoiding going to the Downtown Aquarium in Denver ever since it got bought by the Landry’s restaurant chain. I figured they’d just ruin the experience. As it turns out, they did not. It’s actually an awesome place for a-fish-ianados (ha – see what I did there?), but I also learned that it was a challenging place to get any good pictures. Weird lighting and thick acrylic (up to 11″ thick for some of the bigger tanks) that is often cloudy and scratched combined to make good shots hard to come by. I got a few that at the very least aren’t too embarrassing, but Jenna got what I consider the prize of the day, using my SX10.

 

Our favorite part was the shark tank, where one of the sharks was touted as the biggest shark in Colorado. Kinda like being the biggest iceberg in the Sahara, but whatever. The thing IS pretty big, and we nicknamed him Bruce. If that doesn’t make sense, the you need to watch Finding Nemo.

So the shots I took were on one side of the shark tank, where the lighting was a bit brighter. On the darker side, things were a bit spookier…

 Keep Reading

Parades are Fun – The Final Chapter

I also got the opportunity to take some candid shots of a few parade-goers. I was a little uncomfortable shooting strangers who didn’t really have a reason to expect to be photographed, but I did it anyway, and in a couple cases, actually asked permission (after the fact). In both cases it was granted with a smile and a thank-you. The final image, of the elderly man, was very striking to me, and I thought its impact would only be increased by a conversion to black and white.

I don’t think I mentioned it in the previous posts, but all these shots were taken using my 70-200 f4L lens. It is a wonderfully sharp lens, and the focal length was perfect for a parade like this.

Wee One Gets Some Candy
Toddler
 

Big Sister
Big Sister
 

I LOVE Parades
Sarah
 

A Face is Worth a Thousand Stories
Cheerleader

Parades are Fun – Part Deux

These shots are some that I took of some of the parade participants. The veterans memorial entry was particularly touching. I was very impressed by the gravity with which the children took their roles as soldiers.

Cheerleaders
Cheerleader

Cheerleader

The Band
Flute Player

Veterans Memorial
Raising the Flag

Parades are Fun

The City of Arvada put on its annual Harvest Festival and Parade yesterday, and it gave me some great opportunities to just plain old take a whole bunch of pictures. That, more than anything else, is what’s going to help me be a better photographer. I have a number of shots that I want to put up for your perusal, and I’ll just start with just a fun shot of a really creepy baby…

Creepy Kid

How Much for that Bag in the Window?

So the question of the day is “How many camera bags should one have?”

The answer, evidently, is “One more than you currently have.”

When I bought my T3i, I already at least two camera bags that would have held the camera and a lens or two quite nicely. However, I wasn’t about to put my nice shiny new gear in a…gasp…OLD bag! So within a couple days, I had bought a LowePro CompuDayPack. It’s pretty sweet, and can carry your gear while still functioning as a normal backpack.

The only downside with the LowePro is that it had a limit to the number of lenses it could hold,  a limit that it didn’t take me long to reach. So I got online, searched and researched, and ended up ordering an Amazon Basics camera pack. It is also a backpack, but the whole pack is dedicated camera gear, and therefore holds considerably more. It has the benefit of being lighter than the LowePro, not to mention being far cheaper, so I thought I was good to go.

Lighter though the pack may be, the Amazon got awful heavy when fully loaded, and it occurred to me that I really didn’t need to ALWAYS carry ALL my gear, so maybe I should get a smaller bag. I had also noticed that I never used either backpack as a backpack, but always just slung one strap over my shoulder. So I studies the specs and haunted the forums some more, and finally settled on Think Tank Retrospective 10, which is a shoulder bag, is great quality, and has the benefit of not looking like a camera bag.

So the Retro-10 is what I’ve been carrying around with me most of the time, and I love it. It’s tough, holds everything I need, is comfortable to carry, and has a rain cover in the event of inclement weather.

But what happens if I really DO need to carry all my gear? I have already outgrown the Amazon pack…

Damn…I guess I need another bag…