Photo Blog

Photography and assorted thoughts

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Civil Twilight shooting on Hawk Hill

We were out shooting on Hawk Hill a few nights ago with a class from Photographer’s Breakthrough. The class was more of a processing class, but when we weren’t in the meeting room, we did spend some time taking pictures.

There are times when you’re trying to find a picture that describes how many people see a particular locale. San Francisco has so many things that identify it so here’s a single picture.
This picture was taken at F/8 and exposed for 64 seconds.

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Point Reyes

You’ve got to admire the folks who ran lighthouses.
Typically when you need them most the weather is the worst. Considering that this lighthouse was in service it started out with an oil lamp, you couldn’t sleep through the night. So the folks who maintained it were truly shift workers.

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Edges of the day

I was out about 6 months ago with Catherine Etherton, and she was saying that you get your best photos on the edges of the day.

This was one of those evenings where I felt compelled to get the camera out and take pictures. To paraphrase Jay Maisel, you should always carry a camera with you. One of the advantages of the little Fuji X-100T is that it makes it easy. For those of you who keep track, this was underexposed by 1 stop to bring the colors out.

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Using filters

These days most photography instructors will tell you that the only filter you need is a polarizing filter. That’s true as long as you aren’t shooting film. Since I was shooting black and white film last month, I was experimenting with a slight yellow filter, k2, on the Colorado State capital.

I think my next experiment will be with a red filter. The yellow filter did darken the sky slightly but not enough to notice.
The film I used here, Fuji Acros 100, was more for night photography, but I like the grain size in this shot.

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Night black and white darkroom work

I’ve been off exploring the black and white side of the world with the folks from the Colorado Photographic Arts Center.

Here I’ve started to meld my night work with my black and white darkroom work. Many thanks as well to Michael Snively, who instead of asking me why I tilt at windmills, assists me in my madness.
Earlier today, I pointed out the Fujifilm rep that they had discontinued the film that would have helped in this. He pointed out that this was .5% of the market. But that percentage is probably where I want to be.

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Classic Aviation

Saturday I was wandering Wings over the Rockies with a group of photographers, and I started looking at B-18 under restoration, and speculated about airplanes designed in the late 30s.

This particular aircraft wasn’t capable of going up against the German BF-109 but found a role searching for German U-Boats. But I was intrigued by the look of this rotary engine. It had such repetition. In the days that this aircraft flew, it had a reliability much better than the world war one aircraft. But nothing like today’s jet engines.

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Being brilliant in 1/1000 of a second

There’s an expression that some photographers use that all they have to be brilliant at, is just for 1/125 second. Which works pretty good at normal speeds. Those of us who are night photographers, might say 30 seconds or in some cases 5 minutes. This weekend I went out to Music Meadows Horse Ranch, to take pictures of horses with the American Photo Treks guys. So I was trying to be brilliant at 1/1000 of a second.

The folks at the the ranch, Elin and George were wonderful with the horses, getting them to gallop down the path we asked for, so that all of us who were learning to photograph horses had a chance to learn what we were doing. So these horses were moving and they all avoided these photographers who concentrating more on their settings than avoiding horses. And the American Photo Treks guys were there to assist whenever we had questions.
These folks work the ranch also offer guest rooms if you don’t want to find a place in town. They also offer winter riding which isn’t very available in this area. During the season they also raise beef. Their tag line is Music Meadows – Home of Sangres Best. Which is an apt description.
They were kind to me, and let me wander their barn, so I could see some of the behind the scenes feel.

For those of you who wonder, the Nikon 3D AF mode, works very well to track the horses in motion. The horses had enough different colors so that it was able to lock on to the subject.

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Pikes Peak

This weekend I went to Colorado Springs to get a new view of Garden of the Gods.

Here we get to see a view of Pikes Peak through the keyhole in the Siamese Twins formation. It was one of those severe clear days you get in late fall in Colorado, so no interesting clouds that day. I still liked the picture, and enjoyed shooting with prime lens. Since this was a 20 mm lens, I kept thinking about all those photo instructors teaching me about hyperfocal distance.
We were out Saturday morning with the folks from American Photo Treks who were going to great pains to make sure that everyone got their shots.

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Hawkquest Kestel

I still enjoy shooting digital. Earlier that day I took this picture of an American Kestel.

In her case, I was enjoying the delicate coloration.
With the D810, I can print much larger than I can with my 35mm film cameras.
To paraphrase Thom Hogan, there are no magic camera settings. In the case of the high resolution Nikons, they reward you by giving great results when you pay attention to good technique.

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Hawkquest Owl

One of the things I’ve been learning about is processing film. This photo was taken at a Hawkquest event using Ilford HP5+.

The folks at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center offer an Intro course for processing film and using an enlarger. The instructor, Michael Snively, is excellent at guiding you along and letting you explore.
This wasn’t my first try at this print, but I ended up doing some dodging and burning. I also took pictures of this Owl with my digital camera, but instead of bits whirring around my hard drive, this is silver on a print.
While I’ve got a number of digital tools to turn color digital images into black/white, I wondered if I should do some real film black and white work.