Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Exile in the rain

D3000, 10.5mm, 0.3 sec, f/8, ISO 200, adjusted

Around a month ago I got a rare confluence of events: a rainy night and the free time to go out in it and shoot some pictures. I promised Amy I’d photograph the neon at Exile Tattoos some damp evening, so this seemed like the perfect time.

Naturally I brought a tripod along so I could work in the dim light. I started with the 10.5mm lens, taking a few shots in the lobby (below) before moving outside for the pictures I came to get (above).

D3000, 10.5mm, 0.5 sec, f/8, ISO 200

The outdoor photos I took with the 18-55mm zoom didn’t turn out as well. While I remembered to bring the camera’s raincoat, I neglected to bring one for myself. Thus I ended up drenched before I got anything I was happy with.

On the other hand, it wasn’t raining indoors. So while I had the camera on the tripod, I decided to play around with a special effects trick: zooming with the shutter open. The technique produces a strange, streaky effect that draws attention to the center of the shot. I’d tried the trick a few times in the past, but this is the first time I got genuinely interesting results:

D7000, 18-55mm, 2.5 sec, f/13, ISO 100

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wells Overlook again

Nikon D3000, 10.5mm, 1/400, f/10, ISO 800

Though we were a little early for good fall colors (especially with the lingering summer heat and dry weather), a Saturday in late October proved to be our best opportunity to return to Wells Overlook to shoot some more pictures. This time I brought more equipment, including a tripod and a range of lenses.

My favorite of the set was a 10.5mm shot taken from the KU side of the tower (see above). I’m especially fond of what happens to the horizon when it’s positioned at the curving edge of the fisheye frame.

At the opposite end of the focal length spectrum, here’s a 500mm shot of the south side of KU’s main campus more than four miles away.

Nikon D7000, 500mm (150-500mm), 1/80, f/16, ISO 100, adjusted

Even with level adjustment in Photoshop, the colors end up somewhat washed out by the dust in the air (courtesy a stiff breeze and of course the distance from the subject).

Also note how flattened the perspective becomes at this focal length. It’s hard to judge the vertical distance between objects. Are the buildings in the foreground right next door to the dorms, or are they blocks away? That smokestack that looks like it’s part of the left edge of McCollum Hall is actually more than a mile behind it.

And to round things out at the end, here’s a view of the overlook tower taken from the bend in the road visible in the first shot:

Nikon D3000, 10.5mm, 1/800, f/14, ISO 800, cropped

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

State Fair - Midway miscellany

Nikon D7000, 48mm (28-200), 1/125, f/4.5, ISO 800

The best part of the fair – for kids and photographers alike – has to be the midway. As the sun goes down, the rides and booths become a festival of fascinating images. They also become a festival of tricky technical challenges.

This close-up of a trash can lid gets in tight to reduce the face to abstract form and color. It also brings out the surface texture and the glittery paint.

Nikon D7000, 135mm (28-200), 1/1250, f/7.1, ISO 800

The colors everywhere were wonderful. Booths full of stuffed animal prizes provided no end of bright patterns.

Nikon D7000, 200mm (28-200), 1/125, f/5.6, ISO 800, cropped

As usual, I had two cameras with me. I put a fisheye lens on my D3000, but I didn’t use it anywhere near as often as I expected to. Here’s one spot where it produced a good result:

Nikon D3000, 10.5mm, 1/80, f/2.8, ISO 400

I took two photos of this basketball booth, one from the front and one from the back. This one proved to be the more visually interesting of the two, the strong backlight giving the scene an almost ghostly feeling.

Nikon D3000, 10.5mm, 1/80, f/2.8, ISO 800

As usual, I found that when I carefully planned shots that I ended up with something completely unexpected. My plan was to shoot this large ride with a slow shutter speed, letting it paint long streaks of light in my image (as I did with the Scrambler). Though I got a few shots that captured what I was aiming for, I ended up liking this relatively still image the best. I loved the strange combination of table lamp and War of the Worlds Martian death machine. I also liked the blue color the lights spread over the whole image.

Nikon D3000, 10.5mm, 1/20, f/4.0, ISO 800

When I first started editing the State Fair photos, I didn’t care much for this one. But Amy liked it, so I gave it a chance. And she was right.

Nikon D7000, 28mm (28-200), 1/60, f/5.6, ISO 800, cropped

My initial objection was that the lights in the background were blurry. But that lends the scene a quality in which the prosaic foreground full of vendors is set apart from the dreamlike realm of the midway.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

State Fair - Portraits 3

Nikon D7000, 56mm (28-200), 1/60, f/4.5, ISO 800, adjusted

As I mentioned somewhere in the distant past – back at the start of the Missouri State Fair adventure – the experience is hard to beat for people watching. Thus it’s also hard to beat for candid photo ops. I think I’m going to let these pictures speak for themselves.

Nikon D7000, 92mm (28-200), 1/60, f/5, ISO 800, adjusted

Nikon D7000, 78mm (28-200), 1/1000, f/6.3, ISO 800, adjusted

Nikon D7000, 86mm (28-200), 1/160, f/5, ISO 800, adjusted

Nikon D7000, 62mm (28-200), 1/400, f/5, ISO 800, adjusted