Reflections on a year in 365 photographs

Posts Tagged ‘365 project


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Our old friend, the moon.

An Old Friend

Shooting the moon is not as difficult as it might seem at first glance.  Simply put your camera in manual mode, select the sharpest aperture for your particular lens, and then dial up the shutter speed until you aren’t blowing it out completely.  If you let your camera decide all of the exposure information it will blow the moon out to pure white and start to expose the rest of the sky.  You have to dial back 4-5 stops from what your camera might guess is “proper” exposure for the information in the frame.  Go manual and check the histogram!

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Written by Brian Fancher

April 23, 2010 at 8:20 pm


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Following up on last night’s HDR airball, I went back to the same spot today, armed with the right settings on my Canon 40D to ensure a proper 5-stop, 3-image bracket.  As I headed downtown this afternoon, the sky promised some fireworks at sunset.  But as I finished an 8 mile running loop I saw the horizon start to become soupy and indistinct.  I took some brackets of the bridge but the sky in that direction was flat and grey.  

When things aren’t really working, turn around.  You never know what you’re going to find.  The sky here is still not exploding, but the bands of pink and magenta break up the greys and blues to make a worthwhile image.  

You can see the extra detail throughout this shot that is the product of an HDR merged photograph.  There are a few ways to make HDR images.  Photoshop has its own merging capabilities, but generally produces less than satisfactory images.  For this shot’s workflow I uploaded my CF card into Aperture 2.1 and then exported the three exposures to the Photomatix Aperture Plugin.  Once I had the image merged and tone-mapped I exported to Photoshop for a bit of curves adjustment, sizing, and sharpening.  There is a lot of information in this image that isn’t going to show up on a monitor.  With a couple of days’ work this image could actually pop right off of the page.  I will revisit it when I’ve got more time.  

So for today, I’ve conquered my camera’s bracketing with 2-second timer and mirror lock-up settings.  Success!  What have you done to challenge yourself to do better today?  

Check out my Flikr Photostream for more HDR images from today.

Written by Brian Fancher

January 21, 2010 at 1:35 am


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Lesson for the day:  Know your equipment.  Read the manual.  A lot!  I had planned this for an HDR image.  I took plenty of exposures thinking I had auto-bracketing on, with the base exposure at  -1 EV.  I was also using the 2-second timer and mirror lock-up.  Somehow that combination did not add up into bracketed exposures and I ended up with groups of three of the same image.

In my favor was that I’d set the base exposure for -1 EV so that the bridge was not blown out completely and could be salvaged in post.

Still, the HDR will be far more dramatic.  I think I’ll try this same shot next week with proper exposure bracketing.

Written by Brian Fancher

January 20, 2010 at 4:19 am


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Every kid should have a trampoline.  Or a friend with a trampoline.  So sayeth Mrs. Sojourns!  We bought our boys a trampoline for Christmas and they’ve instantly become the most popular kids in the neighborhood.  Oh to be a kid again.  They can jump for hours on end!

A perfect opportunity to try some shooting outdoors in bright sunlight.  I ball-bungeed a 580 EX II strobe with a 1/4 CTO to one of the netting uprights on camera right.  I set the camera white balance to “cloudy” and triggered with Canon’s ST-E2.  While I normally shoot with both camera and flashes on manual, today I decided to use ETTL flash and Shutter Priority because I didn’t want to have to climb off the roof to adjust the strobe settings.  With ETTL I could dial the strobe up or down without moving from my shooting position.  I also used AI Servo focusing to try to keep up with the fast-jumping boys.  All-in-all, this turned out pretty well and I had a couple of keepers in a relatively few shutter clicks.

Lesson for the day:  When shooting in this situation with these settings, it may be best to avoid blue shirts.  The other boy had a blue shirt on and he ended up with blue skin tones despite the 1/4 CTO on the strobe.  I suppose I could have also tossed on a 1/2 or 3/4 CTO instead, but that would have meant climbing off the roof.

Written by Brian Fancher

January 18, 2010 at 6:32 pm


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Photography is not about the equipment….mostly.  While some equipment can surely get you images you might not otherwise capture, you don’t need a million-dollar rig to make good photographs.  Chase Jarvis proves it in his iPhone book.  What he and other great photographers have is instinct….an eye for the images they want.  Every one of you can develop that just by making the effort to take photographs often.  Bags full of gear and shelves full of books won’t do it for you.  Get out and make photographs!

I left the DSLR behind today on a quick jaunt over to Columbia, SC to see the Ansel Adams exhibition at the SC Museum of Art.  The only camera I had with me was my Droid Eris.  If you’ve read any of the online reviews the camera in that phone may be one of the worst of the current crop of phones…worse, even, than the iPhone which has 2 million fewer pixels.  Some of the reviewers are downright hostile.

I don’t know about any of that.  This particular image won’t win many competitions on technical merit and the composition is a bit trite.  But when I consider this photo came from a camera phone that I have with me nearly all the time, I know I’ve always got a camera for those times when I wished I’d had one!

This one’s for you, Kevin.  Thanks.

Written by Brian Fancher

January 18, 2010 at 12:43 am


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A close family friend has asked me to take some photographs of her older cats.  I’ve never taken planned animal portraits of any kind so I thought I should practice on our own very sweet, docile cats, Jack and Daisy.  They are so easy to please and usually will put up with what ever the hoomins wantses.  Plus they are so cute and camera friendly in snapshots.  It couldn’t be too hard to get a good picture of them.

Lesson number one in pet photographs:  You aren’t going to get a lot of shots at getting it right, so make sure each exposure is a good one.  I got exactly….ONE….shutter click before they both headed for the hills.  Hmmmmmm!?!?

Becoming something like a REAL photographer is going to be harder than I thought.

“You still have much to learn, Grasshopper.”  Kung Fu

Written by Brian Fancher

January 16, 2010 at 10:02 pm


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Hands can tell you a lot about a person.  Hands wear our daily duty with perseverance and patience like a comfortable, old, timeworn cloak.  With our hands we create or destroy.  With our hands we comfort or compel.  With our hands we rescue or cast away.  In times of need our hands build bridges.  In times of plenty our hands harvest the bounty.  What did your hands do today?

“Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Written by Brian Fancher

January 16, 2010 at 1:42 am