Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Lesson in Lens'

Wow all sorts of stuff going on in my household today. I am writing this blog while checking up on one of my female huskies who is in the process of giving birth to puppies. My wonderful husband just bought, as a combined birthday present, a Nikon D90 and a 18-24mm lens. If you remember I had also received just recently a 50mm lens. Some of our readers might be wondering why on earth you need so many different lens. So for my post today, something a little different, aren't you surprised? I'm probably making my fabulous 3C1D cohorts crazy with my changes. Sorry, well not really.

I wanted to do a quick, little lens lesson for those that might be confused about why we all drool over different lens for our cameras. I did mention that in another life I was a middle school science teacher right? This is something I wish somebody had told me when I first started photography and something most people don't think about so much. It comes down to equipment and uses. You do not use the same lens to photograph the Grand Canyon for example, that you would use for a senior portrait, or to take a picture of a bead of water on a leaf. You can, but different lens work better for different uses.

For my quick lesson here I am going to show you the difference between taking a picture with a 14mm lens and a 200mm lens. As with a lot of photography stuff, it's kind of backwards. A 14mm lens is considered a wide angle lens whereas a 200mm lens is a telephoto lens.

All photos were taken using a Nikon D90, natural lighting and from the exact same spot of our machine shop fire mess
At F-5.6
Shutter Speed of 1/1600th of a second
Using ISO 200

This first picture is taken at 14mm and you can see that at the left hand side of the picture is a red truck and the right hand side of the picture there is an empty hog buiding and a grain bin and excavator in the center.

This second picture was taken at 24mm. As you can see you have already lost the red truck and office and half the building on the right hand side.

This third picture was taken with a 50mm lens. In this picture you have lost most of the left hand side building and most of the right hand side building.

This last picture waken with a 200mm telephoto zoom lens and you can see that in this picture both buildings are gone, along with most of the excavator.

So as you can see if you are wanting to take a picture of a grand landscape like you would at the Grand Canyon or a sweeping forest of trees you want to use a 14mm lens. If you are wanting to take a picture of a bird in flight which is a pretty specific, smaller object you would use a 300 or 400mm telephoto lens. Now, obviously this is simplified to some extent but hopefully you can get a general idea of how to use different lens, depending upon what it is you are wanting to photograph.

Now for the cool thing about my new 14-24mm lens. I can take a close up shot of something as well. The lens is not considered a macro lens but the camera was about two-three inches away from the butterfly when I took the shot and the focal point was great. Needless to say a macro would have done a better job, but it was still a fun shot to take.

Nikon D90
F8, 1/50th of a second
ISO 200
Lens 14-24mm at 24mm
Natural Lighting, taken about 3 inches away from the subject.

Sorry Brandi I didn't really connect to your photo very well at all today. I wanted to play with my new camera and lens. I hope you are okay with that.

As for right now I have to go check on a mamma dog and see if I have any puppies. Yay!!! Later all!!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Where there's smoke...

there is WATER???

Nikon d40
1/20 @ 38mm
ISO 400

Every 3rd day I start to panic. Filling with a wonderful nervous apprehension mixed with a giddy excitement waiting to see what Scott is going to do next. I'm not going to lie, I see Scott enough that I have, on numerous occasions, attempted to thwart his lofty plans. I thought about tripping him down the stairs yesterday but decided that was a bad idea. I don't need any bad karma coming at me.
So, I get by and attempt to prepare as best as I can. I keep my camera by me at all times and I look around taking notice of all the little details. Trying to see things for what they could be instead of what they are.
Today, as I was strolling through Target (I know, I's a problem I don't really wish to solve) I saw this box, perched in the clearance aisle with all the pool stuff. The box had all these cool colors and lights on it and a sticker that said $5.69. Like a child I was drawn to it. I don't have a pool so I'm not quite sure what exactly I was doing in this aisle but I had a coffee and no child so I cannot be held responsible for my actions.
Turns out this beautiful box was a lighted, sprinkler for a pool or hot tub.

water - puts out fire
bright red and shocking blue - colors of fire
spinning wildly out of control - just like fire

I was in business. Home I went. Decided the big bathtub would work best. Filled it up, turned on the light sprinkler and dropped it in. Took a couple test shots and it didn't take a genius to see that I was going to need to darken the room to really get the colors to pop.
Close the blinds in the big bathroom window, closed the door and turned out all the lights.
At first I slowed the shutter speed way down but found that the shocking brightness of the lights just got blown out. Upped the shutter speed until I found the right balance between seeing the colors and the edges and not blinding the photo with the center points.
I took 90 pictures. Some of just the water next to the sprinkler. A few of the few from the top looking down on the sprinkler from about 2 feet up (straddling a wet bathtub is not advisable). Pulled the card from my camera and threw the pictures onto the computer. I needed to see what I had to work with.
Ended up liking the photos shot from above best. But was still a little to slow on the shutter speed and I wasn't close enough to the sprinkler.
Back to the bathroom I went. This time placing my camera as close to the sprinkler as I could without risking water damage, focusing on centering the orb in the frame.
Another 90 or so photos and I declared enough. Time to make a decision and keep one. (Who came up with this one photo only rule anyways??? Oh, wait that was me...)It was pretty hard to pick from 4 of them. Each having their own unique qualities that spoke to me. In the end a rousing game of "Eeenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe" proved this photo the winner.
My point is... and I do have a point... keep trying, keep learning because maybe in the end you'll have too many too chose from.

Let's keep it rolling, Jay'me.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Where There's Smoke...

Canon 30D
Canon 24-70mm f.2.8L
Shutter Speed 1/1000
Aperture f/2.8
Focal Length 68.0 mm
ISO 100
Natural Light

Thank you Sere for giving me a reason to play with a new toy. Let me explain. A good friend of mine was helping me brainstorm about my previous post (the kaleidoscope one). I mentioned that I would like to play with a prism and asked if he had one. He didn't but he did have 3 lenses that you would find in a projection TV. Furthermore, he said I could have them! I immediately started trying different techniques and ideas but couldn't really come up with anything good. In the meantime, I managed to get this picture of the moon with the kaleidoscope and sort of forgot about the lenses.

At this point I must explain these lenses a bit more. To be clear, these are not the kind of lenses you put on your camera. They are in fact very high quality and include a glass element that is frankly the best magnifier of sunlight this side of the Mississippi! Which brings me to possibly the best part of this post.

Picture this: sitting at a red light (a long one too) with the lenses sitting on the passenger side floor (can't have them on the seat - they might burn up my car!) and an empty envelope on the passenger seat. It's a very bright day and the sun is high in the sky. What do I do? I immediately pick up a lens and the envelope and start focusing the intense sunlight onto said envelope. 2 seconds later (and I'm not exaggerating!) there is a smoking hole in the envelope and the laser this thing is throwing off has gone to work on my shorts! Luckily I managed to regain some level of maturity early enough to prevent the need for skin grafts. However, I was holding a smoldering envelope on RT 14 no less and the light was turning green. So I blew on it which of course promptly stoked the fire...literally! Now I have open flame in my car. FABULOUS! I managed to extinguish the blaze by holding it out the window whilst accelerating to 40 MPH in a 30 for the express purpose of putting out the fire. Yeah, safety first. That's me all the way. I can imagine what my insurance agent would say!

Which brings me to this photo...finally. When I heard about Sere and Johnny's fire I immediately said a prayer of thanks that no one was hurt. By the time she posted pictures of the blaze I was ready to be inspired and immediately thought about how to capture the really cool effects of this TV lens. One thing led to another and I ended up with this photo. I won't say exactly what it is but I want to hear what you all think. It's easy for me to see everything for obvious reasons but I'm curious about it's ambiguity.

I needed my remote trigger and tripod for this. Plus, I used the rapid shutter function, which on my camera allows me to take 5 shots per second. Additionally, it was important to operate in full manual mode so that the camera's metering didn't screw up the exposure. It was a lot of fun and I would encourage all of you to take some time to set-up something that makes you curious. I used to scoff at tripods and remotes and thought it was important to be mobile at all times. Though I still believe being mobile is great, I've learned to love taking my time and really thinking about the set-up and the lighting. I've learned so much by going slow and I think we all could. In the meantime, just remember: do NOT focus sunlight with anything while driving in the car.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our Fiery Inferno

Yet again I am doing something a little different for my blog post tonight. Our family had a loss last Sunday of my husband Jonny's machine shop. The entire building was destroyed by a fire. Once I realized that all I could do was watch, I pulled my camera out to document.

I know that God allows things like this to happen for a reason, even if we don't understand it. But as in everything in our lives, even in this disaster for our family, we could see his hand in all of it. I have to Thank God for the fact that nobody was injured or killed in the fire. Jonny was not out in his shop working and Colton wasn't running around playing. I also have to Thank God for his timing because had it been a week or two later the combine would have been in the shop getting worked on for harvest. To loose the combine would have been a total disaster for our family as far as equipment and machinery goes. So in all things God is in control and his plan is in everything. I just wish he would send us the memo.

I am going to post several pictures in chronological order with the time above them to show everybody exactly how fast this fire happened. All of these were taken with a zoom lens from my porch. So here it goes.....

7:47pm the fire is going strong, fire engines have been called and already there is not anything we could do. We could feel the heat from our house about 350 feet away.

This next picture is at 7:49pm and already the fire has made it through the entire building and is now coming out the southside doors of the building.

Third picture is roughly a minute or so later at 7:50pm. This will help to show you the size of the flames.

Picture four is at 7:51pm and you can see that flames have gotten bigger and are starting to consume more of the building.
Picture five at 7:53pm you can see the flames consuming the walls of the building. All in a matter of about 6 minutes. Still no fire truck yet either.

Finally shortly after 8pm the firemen arrived. Yep we are very rural. It takes the firemen roughly twenty minutes to get to us. Several of our neighbors showed up before they were able to. In this picture the firemen are beginning to try and put the fire out.

After the fire had been mostly put out the firemen knocked over whatever remaining walls were still left standing. Probably so they would not collapse and cause any injuries. The entire machine shed gone in less then 45 minutes.

Clean up begins with the removal of the walls and then it is sorting through what we can salvage. But I think I will save those pictures for a later time. Until then.

Can anybody tell me what this is? Winner might get something if I can remember to figure something out to give you, haha. Speaking of adorable things in the grass and to show you that I have not completely forgotten the rules of 3ChicksandADude photo blog, here is my final picture of the post for your enjoyment.

Nikon D2x

Focal Length 55mm

F8, 1/60secs.

Natural Lighting

This would be our adorable puppy Nanook. I couldn't leave everybody on a down note now could I? So enjoy all the blessings in life and cute, furry puppies always help, no matter what. I just wanted to thank everybody for all the prayers that have been sent our way and for the help that we have received with the clean up. God is in charge and he knows what the deal is. I am now going to go and celebrate my hubby's birthday with good food and VERY yummy cake.

Scott you're up next!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I've been looking over this.... FROG

f 8.0
no flash
ISO 400

Kermit, Is that you?
So, I found this little guy this morning as I put my kiddos on the bus.
He was tiny and quite hidden. He was such a good sport, letting me move some branches and snap off a few shots. I got some out of focus shots but kept at him and YEAH! Isn't he cool.
Okay, It's a field of green with a beautiful surprise in it, somewhat like Brandi's shot. The frogs eye is round and there are droplets of morning dew on the leaves...
I wanted to include the next shot with my finger tips in it for a size comparison.
Sere, You're it !

f 7.1
no flash
ISO 400

Monday, August 23, 2010

Floating Away

Before I get to today's photo I want to ask you all for some extra thoughts, prayers and love for one of our Chicks.
Sere, as you all know, lives in rural America. Her husband is a farmer and they are a farm family. Working hard everyday to carve out a little (or well, huge) piece of land to grow something for the world to enjoy.

Last night around 7pm CST the machine shop housing the tools for the farm caught on fire and was destroyed. The shop is the closest building to Sere's home. Fortunately, no one was injured and her prized Siberian Huskies were all safe as well.

In a world where your success is directly linked to the tools you have loosing a machine shop is a devastating blow. Please say and extra prayer, send some extra love or just some kind thoughts for Sere and her family as they navigate through the mess that will come.

Now without further adieu,

Nikon d40
18-55 1:3-5.6
1/250 at 46mm
ISO 200

I had quite a few ideas on what I wanted to do as a follow up to Scott's post. A few of them were a little more PG-13 building on the "moon" in Scott's photo. Around mid-day I was feeling a little despondent and couldn't quite get my "mo-jo" going. Thankfully I have a wonderful little girl that wanted to play outside in the beautiful sunshine on a gorgeous 78degree evening.
After numerous trips down the driveway on her bike we moved on to bubbles.

Ah Ha! Bubbles! BINGO

Watching them swirl around capturing the light from the sun, casting colors about just like a kaleidoscope.


Taking photos of bubbles floating in the sky was pretty tough with the equipment I have. There wasn't enough depth in any of the photos.
As I laid in the grass feeling a little discouraged once again, I noticed a bubble just sitting perfectly atop a few blades of grass.

I knew I wanted to capture only the bubble in focus so I went wide open (f5.3 - sure would have been nice to have the f1.4 but...). My auto focus (the only auto I use on my camera) couldn't find the bubble so I had to do the focus manually. Not my strong suit given the fact that I wasn't wearing my glasses but I feel strong with how it ended up.

A calm, peaceful, delicate bubble, resting on the soft blades of grass in the remainder of the beautiful setting summer sun.

Where are you going to take us next Jay'me? Can't wait for the journey.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Somewhere Over the Kaleidoscope?

Canon 30d
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f.3.5-5.6
Shutter Speed 2.5 Seconds
Aperture f/5.0
Focal Length 39.00mm
ISO 800
Natural Light

This is a photo I'm posting out of resignation. I didn't really have a clear aim other than I wanted to get something through a kaleidoscope. Actually, I didn't know I wanted to shoot through a kaleidoscope until I walked past one in Borders Saturday night. Long story short, I took MANY photos experimenting with different light set-ups and subjects and in the end, the best one was using the moon.

My camera was on a tripod and the kaleidoscope was held with a boom tripod. I used my remote shutter and probably should have tried a lower ISO setting but I was tired and I wanted to go to bed. 800 it is!

The biggest challenge I faced with this was the composition. How do you get enough of the kaleidoscope in the frame without obliterating the subject entirely? It was easy with the moon - it's a relatively small subject when shooting at 39mm. But trust me, it's not always this easy! And that was the source of my frustration with this particular idea. Lots and lots of pictures that just didn't do it for me.

Sere really got my gears turning with her post and her challenge. True to form, this isn't really what I had in mind. But I have a lot of fun shooting. Plus, I'm a little further down the road of learning all I can about photography. I'm sure I'll be pulling out the kaleidoscope again soon!