Looking at life through the lens

Archive for December, 2012

365 Project – 365 Days in Nature

I have committed to a year long project, 365 Days in Nature. You will find these photos at my 365 Project website. (You can reach it through the tab at the top of this page as well.)

Starting on January 1, 2013, I will be posting a photo that I have taken of some aspect of nature. Every photo will be one I have personally taken and prepared for this site, though there will be times that I reach back into my archives for any particular day.

There will be periods of time during which I will be traveling, and if possible I will have photos set and ready to go live. However, there will be times when that will not be possible, and when that happens, any missing days will be added in when I return home – or to a place where I have access to the tools I need to prepare and post my photos.

Here is a preview of the type of photo you may see on this page during the year. In fact, it is the photo which I have used as the background of this site. See you on January 1, 2013!

(Note: All photos appearing on this site are © Mark L. Fendrick)
 
 
 
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Tell Me Tuesday – Photo 4

Tell Me Tuesday features one or more of my photos with information on how it came to be. How and where it was taken, technical information, and if any post-processing was done will all be shared.Sometimes before and after shots will be shown.

Then it becomes your turn to critique the photo (don’t worry, I have a thick skin) which can be anything from “I like/don’t like it” to a discussion of how you might have handled the same shot and/or done something differently. Since this is art, anything you like or don’t like is valid. And while I enjoy your praise, it is only your constructive criticism which can help me continue to grow as a photographer.

And finally, you will be given the opportunity to join in with your own Tell Me Tuesday post. It can be any type or topic you like. You don’t need to be an advanced photographer, just someone who takes photos. You don’t need a fancy camera. You don’t need to share the technical data if you don’t want … just how and/or why the photo was taken. We would all love to hear your story. Simply add your link below (and feel free to grab the logo to use in your post).

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You wouldn’t think so, but every Labor Day Weekend, right here on Staten Island in New York City, we hold a county fair, complete with all the fun, games and food that you would expect. This photo was taken at the most recent one.


Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/125 sec
ISO: 200
Lens: Nikkor 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR
Focal length: 55 mm
Shooting Mode: Aperture Preferred
Nikon D3100
© Mark L. Fendrick

It was necessary to have a fast enough shutter to stop the action and stop it at an interesting time – and there were many shots taken that didn’t quite do that. I also needed to set the aperture small enough to produce enough depth of field to account for the postion of the cyclist. This shot did, but still needs quite a bit of work before it can be considered a finished photo. (Note: I was working handheld and did not use a tripod.) There is a lot of unnecessary “stuff” in the photo, such at the photographer at the right, as well as some exposure/contrast adjusting that is required. The RAW photo was brought into Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop and the adjustments were made. This is the result …

I set the exposure type to landscape, opened up the shadows a bit and de-emphasized the highlights to bring out the green in the ramp and the sign on the side of the ramp. Clarity and Vibrance were slightly increased and then the photo was cropped to eliminate all extraneous material and focus strictly on the cyclist as he flies through the air.

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So now it’s your turn to critique these photos. 

Also, add your Tell Me Tuesday post to the links below. I look forward to seeing your photos and reading the stories behind them.



Tell Me Tuesday – Photo 3

Tell Me Tuesday features one or more of my photos with information on how it came to be. How and where it was taken, technical information, and if any post-processing was done will all be shared. Sometimes before and after shots will be shown.

Then it becomes your turn to critique the photo (don’t worry, I have a thick skin) which can be anything from “I like/don’t like it” to a discussion of how you might have handled the same shot and/or done something differently. Since this is art, anything you like or don’t like is valid. And while I enjoy your praise, it is only your constructive criticism which can help me continue to grow as a photographer.

And finally, you will be given the opportunity to join in with your own Tell Me Tuesday post. It can be any type or topic you like. You don’t need to be an advanced photographer, just someone who takes photos. You don’t need a fancy camera. You don’t need to share the technical data if you don’t want … just how and/or why the photo was taken. We would all love to hear your story. Simply add your link below (and feel free to grab the logo to use in your post).

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The New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden‘s design is based on the Suzhou Couple’s Retreat Garden built in the 18th century during the Qing Dynasty. It was designed by Zu Gwongwu and is the only authentic scholar’s garden in the United States. One day this past summer, I discovered it and went with my camera. One of the things I wanted to try was a long exposure of moving water, however I did not have the proper gear with me to do it properly. Since I did not know that we would be finding this Scholar’s Garden and the opportunities within, all I had with me was my camera and the one attached lens.

When I came upon the waterfalls, I knew what I wanted to be able to do, but would be restricted to attempting it without a tripod or the necessary neutral density filter(s) required to slow the exposure down significantly. Over the years, I have become adept at long(ish) exposures being taken handheld, so I would bring all of what I learned into play. I set the ISO at 200 and the aperture at f/25 and while bracing the camera with my arms against my body and slowly exhaling, took this photo …

Aperture: f/25
Shutter speed: 1/4 sec
ISO: 200
Lens: Nikkor 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR
Focal length: 55 mm
Shooting Mode: Aperture Preferred
Nikon D3100
© Mark L. Fendrick

When I got back home, I opened the RAW file in Adobe Photoshop and made a few adjustments. I started with the normal initial settings – Chose “Vivid” for the Camera Setting and then selected the proper lens profile. I reduced some of the highlights and increased exposure a bit in the shadow areas. Finally I boosted the “Clarity” and the “Vibrance” settings a bit. The final step was to decide how to crop the image, and I tried a number of different crops until I was satisfied. Here is the final result …

While it is not as dramatic as it would have been if I had used a neutral density filter to slow the shutter speed quite a bit more, and I didn’t have a tripod with me to have steadied the camera, I am actually quite pleased with the result.

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So now it’s your turn to critique these photos. 

Also, add your Tell Me Tuesday post to the links below. I look forward to seeing your photos and reading the stories behind them.



Tell Me Tuesday – Photo 2

Tell Me Tuesday features one or more of my photos with information on how it came to be. How and where it was taken, technical information, and if any post-processing was done will all be shared. Sometimes before and after shots will be shown.

Then it becomes your turn to critique the photo (don’t worry, I have a thick skin) which can be anything from “I like/don’t like it” to a discussion of how you might have handled the same shot and/or done something differently. Since this is art, anything you like or don’t like is valid. And while I enjoy your praise, it is only your constructive criticism which can help me continue to grow as a photographer.

And finally, you will be given the opportunity to join in with your own Tell Me Tuesday post. It can be any type or topic you like. You don’t need to be an advanced photographer, just someone who takes photos. You don’t need a fancy camera. You don’t need to share the technical data if you don’t want … just how and/or why the photo was taken. We would all love to hear your story. Simply add your link below (and feel free to grab the logo to use in your post).

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At one point or another, we all enjoy fireworks, and I am no exception. However, after more than 4 decades of photography, I had not taken any usable fireworks photos. It’s not that I didn’t know why my attempts had all failed, it was always for the same reason – you cannot shoot fireworks handheld and expect a proper result. I knew this. I even had a tripod which I barely ever used.

Last year I decided to bite the bullet and try to take proper fireworks shots. Luckily, I frequently visit Walt Disney World where you can find a great fireworks show almost every night. However, I wasn’t going to carry my heavy tripod around with me so I did some homework and found a lightweight but steady travel tripod which I could attach to my camera bag without much inconvenience. In fact, my current photo backpack has a connector for the purpose of attaching a tripod.

My first attempt at fireworks came on a cold night in December. I picked a spot to watch the nighttime parade and be all set up for the fireworks show which followed. I did get some wonderful shots, but I wasn’t happy with the location as it didn’t allow me to get what I wanted in the shot (such as the castle) without too much added that I didn’t, so most of the shots were closely cropped on the fireworks themselves. Happily I do visit often and knew that I could use that information to help the next time.

Next time came 4 months later, and once again I found myself in the Magic Kingdom getting ready to photograph the fireworks. This time I picked a spot further down Main Street, closer to the castle, but not in the hub area. This produced some good shots as well, including these three.

Aperture: f/11
Shutter speed: Bulb – 3 seconds
ISO: 100
Lens: Nikkor 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR
Focal length: 32 mm
Mode: Manual
Nikon D3100
© Mark L. Fendrick

Aperture: f/11
Shutter speed: Bulb – 3.7 seconds
ISO: 100
Lens: Nikkor 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR
Focal length: 32 mm
Mode: Manual
Nikon D3100
© Mark L. Fendrick

Aperture: f/11
Shutter speed: Bulb – 5.4 seconds
ISO: 100
Lens: Nikkor 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR
Focal length: 32 mm
Mode: Manual
Nikon D3100
© Mark L. Fendrick

You will notice that most of the settings for these shots are the same … ISO 100 (the slowest setting for the Nikon D3100) … f/11 … 32 mm … manual mode … and the shutter speed speed set to BULB … and, of course set up on a tripod. If these settings seem counter-intuitive they are until you realize what you are photographing. Fireworks are, in reality, simply points of bright light and your settings need to reflect that. But it is more than that, as if you simply had a short shutter speed, all you would capture is that bight point of light, and not the trail it leaves behind which is what we picture when we think of fireworks, so you need a shutter speed slow enough to follow that point of light through its travel. That is where the BULB setting on your camera comes into play. By using BULB (and a remote shutter release to eliminate any camera movement that would be caused by pressing the shutter release on the camera) I keep the shutter open while the entire firework is formed. I generally open the shutter before the shell’s initial explosion (based on the sound of its launch or seeing the shell climbing in the sky) and keep it open until it had reached its full formed state. Since the sky is dark, all you are exposing is the burst.

Setting up for the photos includes making an initial decision about what will be included in the shot. This can be adjusted later as you see the results. You must manually focus as the camera will not have anything to focus on during the show and shots may be missed or simply not taken. I set my lens to infinity (the farthest focal point) and then just back off a tiny bit. Sometimes you may have a reference point to use to focus on – as the top of the castle spire in these photos. You will also want to set your lens’s focal length at this point if you are using a zoom lens. Once again, that – along with all of the other settings – can be adjusted as you go as well.

And finally, I use my camera’s live view so as  to lock the mirror (since I am using a DSLR) in the upright position to eliminate the possibility of the mirror’s movement causing any vibration.

It helps if you know what to expect during the show, and since Walt Disney World’s fireworks show remains the same for years, having seen it many times, I do know what to expect and am prepared for it.

As far as post processing, I take the RAW files into Photoshop and make small adjustments. I generally set fireworks photos to VIVID in Adobe Camera Raw. Most of the work on exposure relates to the highlights as the long exposures needed can often overexpose the highlight areas, but not blow them out, so the necessary information still exists in the RAW file.

The last thing I do, if necessary, is crop the files and then they are ready to show.

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So now it’s your turn to critique these photos. 

Also, add your Tell Me Tuesday post to the links below. I look forward to seeing your photos and reading the stories behind them.



Flea Market (3)

This is the third of three in the series.

https://i1.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/flea15.jpg

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/125 sec
Mode: Aperture Preferred
ISO: 400
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 90 mm
Nikon D3200
© Mark L. Fendrick

https://i1.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/flea16.jpg

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/125 sec
Mode: Aperture Preferred
ISO: 400
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 90 mm
Nikon D3200
© Mark L. Fendrick

https://i0.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/flea17.jpg

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/100 sec
Mode: Aperture Preferred
ISO: 400
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 130 mm
Nikon D3200
© Mark L. Fendrick

https://i0.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/flea18.jpg

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/180 sec
Mode: Aperture Preferred
ISO: 400
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 105 mm
Nikon D3200
© Mark L. Fendrick

https://i2.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/flea19.jpg

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/200 sec
Mode: Aperture Preferred
ISO: 400
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 62 mm
Nikon D3200
© Mark L. Fendrick

https://i0.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/flea20.jpg

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/100 sec
Mode: Aperture Preferred
ISO: 400
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 90 mm
Nikon D3200
© Mark L. Fendrick

https://i2.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/flea21.jpg

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/30 sec
Mode: Aperture Preferred
ISO: 400
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 75 mm
Nikon D3200
© Mark L. Fendrick

Tell Me Tuesday – Photo 1

Tell Me Tuesday features one or more of my photos with information on how it came to be. How and where it was taken, technical information, and if any post-processing was done will all be shared. Sometimes before and after shots will be shown.

Then it becomes your turn to critique the photo (don’t worry, I have a thick skin) which can be anything from “I like/don’t like it” to a discussion of how you might have handled the same shot and/or done something differently. Since this is art, anything you like or don’t like is valid. And while I enjoy your praise, it is only your constructive criticism which can help me continue to grow as a photographer.

And finally, you will be given the opportunity to join in with your own Tell Me Tuesday post. You don’t need to be an advanced photographer, just someone who takes photos. You don’t need a fancy camera. You don’t need to tell all the technical data if you don’t want … just how and/or why the photo was taken. We would all love to hear your story. Simply add your link below.

—————————————–

This week I share a photo that I took in the Greenbelt of Staten Island.

It was taken in late spring – just days before the beginning of summer. I was walking a trail through the woods which I had never been on before, so every turn was a surprise. After walking a distance I noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye so I stopped and stood very still. Soon I noticed dozens of butterflies and within minutes of standing very still they came closer to me. In fact, after a while of standing totally still, one or two even landed on me.

Here is the original untouched version of one of the photos I was able to take, along with some technical data.

https://i0.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/tmt1.jpg

Aperture: f/6.3
Shutter speed: 1/160
ISO: 800
Lens: Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR
Focal length: 200 mm
Mode: Aperture preferred
Nikon D3100
© Mark L. Fendrick

The aperture of 6.3 was chosen as to get a nicely out of focus background, but still have enough depth of field so that the rapidly moving butterfly and some of the stem it was on would be in focus.

When I shoot, I shoot in RAW + JPEG so I can work on the RAW file in Photoshop when I get home. In this case, very little work was needed other than a bit of tweaking on the overall exposure balance and contrast as well as some cropping. After the cropping there was a bit of unwanted leaf in the upper left corner, and that was removed using the clone tool. A slight bit of Unsharp Mask rounded out the post-processing and resulted in this photo.

https://i2.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/tmt1a.jpg

Now I have told you how this photo came to be so it is your turn to tell me your thoughts on it. How would you have done it differently – if you would have? What works for you? What doesn’t?

Don’t forget to post your own Tell Me Tuesday and add the link below. It doesn’t have to be as detailed as mine, nor do you need to post the technical information if you don’t know it. All you need to do it post a picture and perhaps tell us a bit about it.


Flea Market (2)

This is number two in a series of three.

https://i2.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/flea08.jpg

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/80 sec
Mode: Aperture Preferred
ISO: 400
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 250 mm
Nikon D3200
© Mark L. Fendrick

https://i0.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/flea09.jpg

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/160 sec
Mode: Aperture Preferred
ISO: 400
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 44 mm
Nikon D3200
© Mark L. Fendrick

https://i2.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/flea10.jpg

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/60 sec
Mode: Aperture Preferred
ISO: 400
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 75 mm
Nikon D3200
© Mark L. Fendrick

https://i2.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/flea11.jpg

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/60 sec
Mode: Aperture Preferred
ISO: 400
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 105 mm
Nikon D3200
© Mark L. Fendrick

https://i2.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/flea12.jpg

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/160 sec
Mode: Aperture Preferred
ISO: 400
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 52 mm
Nikon D3200
© Mark L. Fendrick

https://i2.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/flea13.jpg

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/50 sec
Mode: Aperture Preferred
ISO: 400
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 52 mm
Nikon D3200
© Mark L. Fendrick

https://i1.wp.com/marsanf.com/wpblog/flea14.jpg

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/125 sec
Mode: Aperture Preferred
ISO: 400
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 90 mm
Nikon D3200
© Mark L. Fendrick

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