Saturday, October 16, 2010


My dinosaur has eaten your duck for dinner.

Nikon D40
kit lens @38mm
aperture f4.8
shutter speed 1/40sec
ISO 200
natural light

This is the guard dinosaur that has been in my parents bushes since they moved into the house in 2002. Rex even stayed and guarded the house during the construction that followed my parents house fire.
Technically Rex is a toy from the original Jurassic Park movie. I'm not sure how or why it came about that Rex lives in the bushes but he does. We dress him up for holidays. He's got his very own Santa hat. We leave him dinner. Just last week he had a fork and plate in front of him. He's just like a regular family member.

I set about finding a photo today and thought I would find another animal to photograph. I tried to get my parents grumpy cat Gizmo to participate but she just asked me to speak with her agent. Pretentious little brat.
I looked around for squirrels while I was taking photos outside. All the squirrels in my parents neighborhood must be watching the University of Iowa game (Go Hawkeyes!). Not a single one to be found.
Then walking up to the front door, I spotted Dear Rex. He was a good sport.
Nothing overly complicated in this photograph. I was in spotty shade (from a tree) so I needed to watch my exposure. I didn't want to get 'hot spots' and I didn't want to underexpose all the details in Rex's coloring. Borrowing my brothers CS4 Photoshop, I gave Rex a little tweak to balance him out. I really wanted to play up the dirt and grit he has in his mouth from eating Scott's duck. So I highlighted those areas and gave them a little boost.
A great afternoon spent playing with toys.

Our Wordless Wednesday winner from this week, Myndi, will be posting tomorrow. Watch for it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Faces & Ducks are Cool!

border="0" />Canon 30D
Canon EF 75-300mm f/3.5-5.6
Shutter Speed 1/400
Aperture f/7.1

ISO 400
Manual Mode
Natural Light

I have a thing with ducks. Northern Illinois University has the Kishwaukee River running through it. Every day for 3 years I had to cross that river and every day I was greeted by several ducks. I swear they would talk back to me as I muttered my "good morning!" Since those years I've always had a soft spot for ducks, humble and unassuming as they are.

This guy was taking an afternoon siesta on the Fox River in St. Charles. There were probably around 20 ducks in all, half sleeping and the other half practicing their synchronized swimming routines as they plunged their heads into the water over and over. It was fun just watching them.

The reason I spent so much time with the ducks is because once again, I chickened out when it came time to photographing a stranger. I'm just a big wimp! I had my chances! There was the guy that looked like a beat up version of Joaquin Phoenix (think last appearance on Letterman - if you haven't seen it, youtube it). There were the 4 waitresses taking a smoke break from the fancy Italian place on the river. They were very pretty and yet they were obviously letting their hair down for about 5 minutes. The light was great, my camera was set-up, it was a fantastic setting, and I sat there like a 6th grade boy trying to get up the nerve to ask the popular girl to dance with me. There was also the two friends sitting on a park bench obviously catching up after a long separation. They would have been thrilled to be photographed most likely and I could have shared the photo via email. I just completely wimped out.

But when I saw the ducks I made a B-line right too them and they gladly approached to be photographed. I'm no fool, they thought I had food. I can handle that.

At first, I got as close to the surface of the water as I could to get eye to eye with the lovelies. I got one shot in particular where this beautiful female is looking at me with one eye, almost feigning sleep. There is another one with a male walking towards me, dripping water from his head as he investigates my presence. In the end, I walked over to a bridge that was directly over some sleeping ducks. They were lazing in the shallows and I got this birds eye view.

This guy was just waking up and shaking out his wings giving me a full view of the fantastic patterns and colors his plumage provides. What a beauty! Because of the dark setting it was necessary to shoot in manual mode to ensure proper exposure. This is an example of needing to underexpose. With it being so dark the camera's meter is fooled into thinking there isn't enough light. Using an ISO of 400 allowed me to use a fast enough shutter speed to stop the action (he was really doing the jitterbug!). Plus, I could use an aperture of f/7.1 to ensure sharpness. This was particularly important because the lens I used is really soft at wide open settings.

My connection to Jay'me is tenuous I'll admit, but we were both outdoors when we shot our photos. I had other things in mind like the fall colors, maybe a butterfly, or maybe my friend Mike eating a leaf. But this photo was too hard to resist, especially seeing as I asked Brandi to randomly pick a number from 1-14 to decide for me (I couldn't choose! Don't judge!). Thanks for checking us out and I promise to continue my efforts at asking the popular girl to dance with me.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hungry Hungry Caterpillar

Cannon Rebel XT EOS
Manual -No flash
f 5.6
ISO 100

So this little guy simply amazes me. I was walking along taking pictures of the girls last week when he caught my eye. He had devoured most of a huge leaf. He was so well camouflaged, I almost step over him. He was so beautiful with his whispy, shiny guard lashes. I got down and personal, right on my belly. Again, who cares who see's me right?
I was playing with my settings mostly the field of depth because it's easiest. I really got what I was looking for here. The back ground almost looks digitally blurred. I couldn't believe my camera could do this. I really love this type of subject - it totally floats my boat!
I hope you all enjoy. I have included a wider shot to show you just how much this little glutton put away.

Faces Friday with Scott next...

Cannon Rebel XT EOS
Manual -No flash
f 5.6
ISO 100

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday with Sere


The poster must post only one(1) photo with settings. No additional verbiage (other then the rules) is allowed.

Commenters (that's you) must comment and guess how the photo associates with the previous(Tuesday's) photo. The winning guess gets to be our guest photographer on Sunday.

No previous photography experience required. In fact, wanna-be's like us, are encouraged. The only criteria; you must be able to take a photo (any camera will do), email said photo, allow 3C1D to publish said photo and follow the rules...

1 guess only per person. All rules stricly enforced with a paddle (Brandi style)!

Ready Set Go!!!!!

Nikon D90
Lens 18-200mm at 105mm
Aperture F7.1
Shutter 1/1600 sec.
Natural Lighting

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

See like this

Nikon d40 kit lens @46mm
ISO 200
manual focus
natural light

So when Scott posted his photo yesterday I commented that I wanted to see the leaf against the bright blue sky. Here is a different leaf against a different sky at a different time of day but I wanted to see how it would look. In a picture perfect (read cash flush) world I too would have a macro lens and this photo would look remarkably different. Such is life.
Typically I shoot full manual with auto focus. Taking Scott's advice I flipped my camera to the macro setting and snapped off a few. As is typical for my camera it just didn't give me what I wanted. I find I have to 'force' my camera into submission and make it do what I want on a regular basis. I'm just working on understanding all the settings on my camera so I can quickly pin my camera and win the match, making my first shot the best shot. That doesn't come without practice, lots and lots of practice (this makes me happier than I can express).
So for me, for right now, I'm going to keep shooting in manual until I win the war I have silently declared on my camera. This is the lifestyle I have chosen, but as my very best friend is always saying
"my advice only works for me, do what is best for you."
Just keep shooting.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nature's Building Blocks

Canon 30D

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro
Shutter Speed 1/8
Aperture f/18.0
ISO 100
Aperture Priority
Natural Light

Dan's photo was great (so was Amanda's for that matter)! And I'm so thrilled we have you friends to share this adventure. Having said that, Dan, you really put the heat on for me. I have to confess, I haven't done a lot of urban photography. I spent some time in Chicago several years ago to get some shots of the city but it is much harder to do successfully than I realized. Add to that the fact I live in Puddle in the Woods (translation: Lake in the Hills) and you've got a recipe for a stymied photographer!

*Side note, don't you love language? I just used the work 'stymied' and I gotta say, that was fun!

Moving on, I noticed immediately the deep reds and browns of the brick and the cement forming a lattice of what could almost be veins. I thought about this a lot and almost stuck a flashlight in my mouth to get a "glow worm" view of my cheeks. You would have seen some veins and all. I thought better of it and decided a really close view of a fall leaf might accomplish something similar.

For this shot, I taped about a dozen leaves to my sliding glass door with a nice afternoon sun setting behind the leaves. It spelled a fantastic golden back light that really brought out the colors. From there I decided I better use a very small aperture to ensure sharpness across the entire leaf. This of course meant a slow shutter speed and more tripod work. I used my remote shutter to further increase my odds of a sharp photo.

The best part about this shot is anyone can do it, as long as you have a tripod (or something else to brace the camera) and a window with good light. Many point and shoot cameras have a macro mode. Use it! It's really cool examining these leaves up close. I took about 65 shots and I could have posted 10-12.

So get out, collect some leaves, and see what you can do.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Urban Correspondant - guest photog

Brandi again. Sick of me?
It is such an honor to post today's Wordless Wednesday winner guest spot. The winner from this week is a dear friend of mine. I've been telling him he needed to make a guess so he could join in the fun here. I'm so glad he did.
I think Dan says it best so here he is....

Hi! I'm Dan Kopanke, a lifelong Chicagoan who is passionate about the history of this city and its people. One of my favorite memories from youth is standing in the hallway outside of the cafeteria in the Museum of Science and Industry and looking at the classic pictures from the city's newspapers. I was always intrigued by the stories behind the pictures. Lately, I've been combining stories about the food that I cook, the city, and my own personal journey through life on a blog called . Check it out!

I was tempted to post a picture of the skyline taken from my terrace. The interplay of light and clouds against the dramatic buildings has made for some stunning photos. But I decided to play by the rules and use Amanda's picture as a guide for mine. The connection is "looking up". But looking up means something different in the city. This picture is of a building on Blue Island in Pilsen. What you see are the top three stories of a four story building. As is common in this area, the first story is retail. At the top of the picture you can see some of the decorative cornice and you will also note the stonework above the windows. Pilsen, a very large Hispanic community, was first settled by East Europeans in the 1800s and the buildings had features that reminded the people of their homeland. The chain on the right lower side is from some long gone hanging sign. I have no idea what the pipe coming out of the building on the left side is doing. It may have been some sort of hanger for a sign because you can see what looks like red paint running vertically in that general area.

From 3C1D's "Urban Correspondent", have fun shooting!

Technical Data:
Nikon D3000
Lens Nikkor VR 18-55 mm F/3.5-5.6G
Focal Length 45 mm
Aperture F/5.6
Shutter Speed 1/125s
ISO 125
No editing was done.

Scott's familiar face will be returning tomorrow. Can't wait to see what the extra time has given him to 'cook up'.