long exposure

Photography, Long Exposure

You and I Were Fireworks

It has been awhile.  Life does get busy so it is a little harder to sit down and do full write-ups about the experience of taking the photos I did.  I update more frequently on Instagram and I can be found here.  Still, I just wanted to share the few photos of fireworks I took this last 4th of July.

It was nothing too fancy, no huge city display, just a few neighbors shooting consumer-grade fireworks off around the neighborhood.  I did do something different this time for the long exposures to get the full effect of the display.  I got to use a few new tools in addition to my camera as well as a new mode I did not know how to use.

From tutorial posts about photography, there was a mode on DSLRs called "Bulb Mode."  I knew it controlled something but never really looked into it.  That is until I was trying to figure out the best way to time my camera clicks with when the fireworks were going off.  It was a good thing I was sitting in my driveway and was able to look up the information.

This was a few neighborhoods over.

This was a few neighborhoods over.

So I figured out bulb mode was the best for my shooting situation.  I had my tripod but no cable release.  Thankfully, I was looking into turning a mobile device into a second screen for other photo shoot situations.  So I had recently purchased a USB-to-A/V Digital, a USB-C-to-USB Adapter and an Android DSLR Controller app and was able to pull them out to put them to use.  

Timing became a non-issue but framing in the dark was a challenge since this was not a display done by professionals.  It was done by a bunch of my neighbors, all around me and sometimes all at the same time.

I wasn't able to frame this one.  I just put the tripod down and pushed the controller in the app and hoped for the best.

I wasn't able to frame this one.  I just put the tripod down and pushed the controller in the app and hoped for the best.

I'm hoping next year I will be able to attend a more formal fireworks show to improve.

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Photography, Nature, Astrophotography

Trying to Shoot the Stars

I have astrophotography to thank for my renewed fervor in ramping up my photography in general. In 2018 alone my Lightroom gallery holds 113 images. While that is by no stretch a big number, laughable compared to what professionals produce, it is still a large number for me. Comparing it to 2017 where I took 13 presentable photos I'm keeping a small promise to myself: Keep taking photos.

f/2.8, 2s, ISO 800

f/2.8, 2s, ISO 800

I have no real idea why astrophotography set me off. Maybe it's because of the vastness of an endless sky that moves so slowly it can only be captured on film. We notice the change, the cycle of dawn, day, dusk and night but otherwise it is an auxiliary part of life. Noticed only if you care.

f/1.8, 6s, ISO 800. Different exposures and post-processing can produce almost two different images.

f/1.8, 6s, ISO 800. Different exposures and post-processing can produce almost two different images.

f/2.8, 6s, ISO 800

f/2.8, 6s, ISO 800

Daydreamer.  Head in the clouds. Two comments teachers gave me when I was growing up and I was forced to hear my accomplishments and disappointments. I can add Stargazer to the growing list.

This isn't my first attempt at shooting stars. That time I made the mistake of going to a light polluted area with a lens not primed for this subset of photography. This is my second attempt. While better than my first I forgot it was nearing the full moon.  Added to that I guess in my eagerness to get lost I left too early and was unable to find the Milky Way. Too much light, not the right time all compiled into shots of only the stars.

Thankfully with the improvements of Lightroom CC, post-processing has become less of a chore and more of an experimental phase. It is fascinating to me to see what colors I can pull from an image or how I can transform a B&W piece into something just as beautiful as the color equivalent.

f/1.8, 6s, ISO 800

f/1.8, 6s, ISO 800

f/1.4, 2.5s, ISO 1600. This isn't really a good photo, I just found it interesting.

f/1.4, 2.5s, ISO 1600. This isn't really a good photo, I just found it interesting.

I live in one of the best places to be lonely. My stolen moments are captured in electronic pulses. Sometimes it's the green of the forest, or the gathering of tiny sea birds.  Sometimes it's the forgotten stars that burn just as brightly as the sun but can be displaced from memory because they are so small in the vast expanse of a black sky.

Nature, Photography

Rocky Brook Falls

I have a story.  A story to turn into a campaign for a tabletop roleplaying game.  I think it is why I am drawn into the forest and the surrounding landscape.  There is something a little mysterious and dangerous about the fogged topped mountains deafened by the loud rush of a waterfall swollen with snowmelt. 

And just as a reassurance to my Sunday Game Group: Yes, I have been working on the current campaign.  I promise I just didn't go running off into the woods ;)

Nature

Ludlow Falls

This is pretty old news if you follow me on any other social media platform but I upgraded from my very first DSLR, a Canon Rebel T3 to a Canon EOS 6D.  I went straight from a beginner's crop-frame camera to a full-frame with really nothing in-between.  It was a big purchase for me since even though I love photography I barely have time to explore and use my camera.  With 2018 almost 4 months in, I'm making an effort to go out and take photos and hopefully keeping a weekly blog will help facilitate that (oh boy, keeping this promise is probably going to bite me in the butt again).

I've made a pretty good effort of getting out and taking pictures and today after my D&D game was canceled, I decided to try and hit one of the waterfall spots nearby.  I've played around with long exposure before last year when I got a little lost and ended up on National Forest trail 2361.  Deciding I didn't want to get lost again (although I did get turned around), I went to Ludlow Falls, within Port Ludlow, WA.

Tip: Have good waterproof hiking boots.  I managed to sploosh my foot right into some deep water getting here.

Tip: Have good waterproof hiking boots.  I managed to sploosh my foot right into some deep water getting here.

Thankfully for my sedimentary lifestyle, the trail was only 1/2 mile loop.  I, by accident, walked the loop.  I honestly could have skipped the walk, but I'm glad I went the wrong way otherwise I would not have gotten this lovely photo.  Unfortunately, spring in Washington means it's still a little cold, so I could not cross some of the deeper parts of the creek to get a better angle.

I used two Neutral Density filters, this one was with an ND2 and the next few were with an ND8.  For a better explanation of how these filters work, here is a link with photo examples. 

The creamy, smooth look of the water is always fun to view.

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When I finally managed to get up to the actual waterfall, it took a little maneuvering on my part to get to a stable landing.  Thankfully, it was relatively dry land and not a shallow spot in the creek with mud.  

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The amount of water was quite surprising and I had to get at least one shot of the waterfall stilled, with all the bubbles and froth.

I spent about an hour and a half there, not including the 48 min drive to and from the location.  And of course, I had fun finding a new place to explore.