Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Project 5 ~ Blurring (Lensbaby)

It's Christmas time...and Project 5 from "The A-Z of Creative Photography by Lee Frost requires a new accessory.  Lensbaby Composer.  This little attachment produces a neat affect but one I might not use very often I'm afraid.  The center or subject is in focus but everything around is blurred. This might be fun to play around with but it runs $ 90.00 to $500.00 and our bank account is tapped out now that we have completed our Christmas shopping.  Maybe in the future, I will consider a used one?!
This is the Lensbaby Spark for Canon cameras (here) priced at $87.95.

"A fun and affordable way to capture selective focus images with a digital SLR. Spark features a unique selective focus optic and a tilting lens body, allowing the aspiring amateur photographer to capture creative images in-camera that have a sweet spot of focus, surrounded by blur. Spark is a lightweight, all plastic (except for the optic, which is a multi-coated glass doublet) 50mm selective focus lens with a f/5.6 fixed aperture available for Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Spark is the perfect entry point into the Lensbaby system for photography students or newer photographers looking to expand their experiment and add a creative lens to their camera bag. Spark is compatible with the rest of the optics in the Optic Swap System, and with all Lensbaby 37mm threaded accessory lenses." (Description info from Something tells me you can arrived at nearly the same results just using your manual settings....really, how did they do this before this gadget came along?! 

To see photos taken with the Lensbaby Spark go to Flickr here.

Anyways, this was something I had not known about
and wanted to share.  Now I can move on to Project 6 ~ Break the Rules.  
If you have used a Lensbaby, please let me know what you think about it.
Thank you!

*****   Photography Notes   *****
1)  Choose a small f/number (wide aperture) if you want lots of blur and a big f/number (small aperture) to reduce blurring.  Fitting no disc at all gives you maximum edge blur and minimum dept of field.

2)  "Like all creative gadgets, the Lensbaby Composer should be handled with care, otherwise there's a danger of overkill."  (Don't over use or it becomes redundant in you photos, I suppose.)

3)  It works best on simple, bold subjects - cars, architecture, people and still lifes.  The key is to experiment, and remember that only a small part of the image will record in sharp focus.  This doesn't have to be in the center, but it should be where a important part of your subject is, otherwise the final results may look a little odd.

4)  Automatic exposure is possible by shooting in aperture priority mode for the vast majority of digital and film SLR cameras except certain Nikon and Fuji bodies.
Happy Click'n!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Strange Sky

Tuesday evening we had an unusual sunset,
looking a bit like we had two suns setting or
a flare that might consume the sun.
I took this photo with my smartphone so it's a little grainy (noise).
At first I thought I had a smudge on my contact lens or
lost one.  I'm sure I would not believe this photo if I hadn't
been the one to take it.
No processing affects were used.
I guess we had enough clouds or
moisture in the air to produce this eery sky.
I'm sure a meteorologist could explain this phenomenon.
Later we had a full moon and it was bitter cold (39)
for this area. I love watching the sky!

I'm sharing this with "Skywatch Friday" (here)

Happy Click'n!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Project 4 ~ Backlighting

I'm learning things from this book,
 "The A-Z of Creative Photography" by Lee Frost,
in more ways then expected.
(1/640, f6.5, 100 ISO)
 I decided once life settles down,
 after the first of the year, I need to 
scout around for interesting locations to complete future projects in this book.
For this project, Backlighting, I practiced in my little backyard
and I'm not particularly proud of my available subjects.
Nearly all the leaves have dropped, things are
brown and where did the flowers go?
I'm looking forward to applying what I've learn
during our next vacation or day trip.
(1/400 sec, f5, 100 ISO)
Frost writes...
"Point your camera toward the main light source so your subject is backlit,
this technique, usually referred to as contre-jour (against the day), 
is one of the most exciting photographic techniques available 
and can be applied to a wide range of subjects, from portraits 
to landscapes."
(1/500, f14, 100 ISO Natural Starburst)
I'm in agreement with...
"when your subject is backlit you need to make a
conscious decision about the type of effect you wish to record."
Such as a silhouette, highlighting the outline of your subject,
creating a starburst, and many other dramatic effects.
Frost's photos for this chapter are exquisite, 
as all his examples!
(1/250 sec, f10, 100 ISO)
I hope to use the backlighting technique next time I try ~
capturing a storm coming in,
a peaceful day at the lake,
light shining in through a window,
or a street scene.
(1/250 sec, f4.0, 100 ISO)
The above photo is of a closeup of 
the valve of a propane tank not being used at the moment.
(1/250 sec, f4.0, 100 ISO)
This shot is of the last flower in our backyard
with the setting sun shining through it's petals.

*****   Photography Notes   *****

1)  One of the strengths of backlight is that it emphasizes shape so you will want to find subjects with strong shapes.

2)  When there is not enough ambient light to capture the details in the foreground you can use fill flash or a reflector.

3)  If you have your camera set to evaluative metering it will take into account the entire scene and try to determine the best exposure. This works great when you have a fairly evenly lit scene, but when you have a scene with high contrast it doesn’t work as well. Your camera can’t meter for both the bright areas and the dark areas at the same time.The solution is to switch to a different metering mode, such as spot metering, so you can tell your camera which part of the frame is important to you. 

4)  Create a starburst effect in a silhouette image when the sun is still above the horizon. To do this, position yourself so that the sun is partially hidden behind an object and use a small aperture, like f/22.

5)  Point your camera directly at the part of the scene you want to exposure for and use the exposure lock feature on your camera to set the exposure (check your camera manual to find the exposure lock function on your camera). Then you can recompose and press the shutter half way to set the focus while the exposure remains locked.  Exposure Lock Feature for my Canon 6D article from Canon Digital Learning Center here.  

AND    How to Modify Camera Exposure on Your Canon EOS 6D instructions from the "Dummy" series here.


Metering Smaller sized aperture/larger F-number.   With sunrises and sunsets, one rule of thumb is to meter on the sky with the sun just out of the bottom of the camera frame. Use this as your starting exposure.

Set your camera’s Exposure Compensation to somewhere between -1 and -2, depending on the intensity of the backlight. This retains detail in the shadow areas of the subject.

Filter – You can also help balance the tones of the ground and sky by using a graduated neutral density (GND) filter, which are dark at the top and gradually fade to clear. A two-stop GND filter (dark area is two f-stops darker than the clear area) is suggested for sunrises and sunsets.

Online Backlighting article by Mother Nature Network (here)

Picture Correct articles on Backlighting (here).

*****  *****  *****  
“One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing.
 It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.”
— Annie Leibovitz
Happy Click'n!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Beaker on the loose!

Remember Beaker?
Driving along the other day I saw Beaker from
the Muppet's.  Who knew he was hitching across America?
My husband thought the same thing,so
I'm not the only weird one here!
This traffic cone has obviously been here for a long time!
Happy Click'n!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday ~ Lake Hudson Pelicans

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

When I was at Lake Hudson, near Salina, OK.,
 I saw these pelicans basking in the afternoon sun.
There was one lone pelican on a stump.
He stretched for a moment 
did some beak scratching,
and soon nestled down to finish his nap.
I wonder why he was all by himself.
Hopefully, he is a leader and not just a follower
or worse, ostracized from the flock.
Any ideas why this pelican wants to be alone?
Share your Wild Birds, here.
Come join the party
at Wild Bird Wednesday...
Happy Click'n!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Project 3 ~ The world at your feet

The third exercise or project in a book titled
"The A-Z of Creative Photography" has been really difficult to 
wrap my mind around and execute, it's "The World at Your Feet".
My notes on this chapter will help explain this concept, 
but I think the jest is to look around you, even
at what is at your feet, so you don't miss anything interesting.

Okay, here goes, my photos....
(Ocean water drain off - reminds me of a burnt forest.)
You really need a copy of this book to see the author/photographer's
examples, they are (pardon the over used word) AMAZING, truly!
(Tree bark - reminds me of a road map.)
My photos, may not quite be right
representations of this project, however, I'm going to continue 
looking around my surroundings for unusual
and curious subjects. 
(Moss and fungus on bark - reminds me of
 an aerial photo of a forest.)
Whew, now I can move on to the next project, yes!

*****   Photography Notes   *****
1)  "But what of the landscape at your feet? What of the many patterns, textures and details in nature: the small scale subjects that make up the very scenes we try so desperately hard to photograph? They, too, can be the source of fascinating pictures and, unlike the grand view, provide much more scope for personal interpretation because no none else is likely to see them in quite the same way."

2)  Exclude the horizon from your field of view - once the horizon is gone, so too is that sense of space.

3)  Get into the habit of looking for details when shooting landscapes, instead of always focusing on bigger views.

4)  The picture will be more effective if the subject isn't recognizable because this tends to make us focus on that the picture is of rather than the elements contained within its boundaries.

5)  A close-up of the patterns in a rock may appear like a aerial photograph taken from thousands of meters above the earth yet is no bigger than your hand; ripples in a sandy beach look surprisingly like a vast desert; a small trickle in a river could be a towering waterfall cascading over cliffs.

6)  The quality of light becomes less important.

7)  Exploring the world at your feet can be considered macros and closeups I think, here's an article.
*****  *****  *****  
“Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease.”
— Anonymous
Happy Click'n!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Our World Tuesday ~ Super Full Moon

Last Night the Super Full Moon brightened up all Our Worlds.
If you've seen my blog from 9/16/16 (here) you know I've been trying to 
capture shots of the Full Moons.
On our way home Sunday I took this from an empty lot
in a nearby gated community with my iPhone. 
I couldn't get in last night so I drove to a nearby hill
to see the Super Full Moon.
Looking over our hometown of Broken Arrow, OK
the Moonrise was around 5:53 PM.
People were gathering, like me, about an hour before the Moonrise.
I felt a little like I was in the remake of the
 "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".
 Our sky was a bit cloudy so the moon weaved
between the wispy clouds.
 You can see the beautiful orange of this rare site.
So glad I took my camera out last night because this
site won't happen again until  November 25, 2034.
To learn more about the Full Moons see this website. 
The next Full Moon is December 13, at 6:09PM.
I took this before leaving my spot on the hill.
Once I got home, I was pleased to see I got the night
traffic car lights on the road below...another first for me!
Hopefully, you got to see the Super Full Moon too!
Share your world with "Our World Tuesday", here.
A piece of my world,
come join the party...
Happy Click'n!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Three Shot Monday ~ #1

My favorite shots from the weekend!
We visited some of our grand-kids...
 BoomPa napping with Baby-Jack.
 Kinley opening her birthday gifts.
Look at those hands fly!
Our little monkey, Reed!
Irresistible expressions...
What a blessing to spend time with family!
Happy Click'n!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Good Fences on Thursday ~ Pawnee Bill's Ranch

This is an old entrance (currently not in use) to the Pawnee Bill's Ranch.
I love all the farm implements used in assembling this gate
and I would love spending time taking some awesome macros
but that would take a lot of time and my husband 
was acting impatient.  
He doesn't always understand me and my crazy artistic side...
just means a trip to explore by myself!
Besides I didn't bring my macro lens.
If you're interested in visiting the Pawnee Bill Museum
and or the Wild West Show, visit their website, here.
I'm definitely going take time to go back and see the show
and explore the museum.  I bet I'll find some great photo-ops!
Join Good Fences Thursday Blog Hop and have some fun! (here)
" No place is boring, if you've had a good night's sleep
and have a pocket full of unexposed film".  ~  Robert Adams
Happy Click'n!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Monday Murals ~ Drumright, OK

We went for an afternoon drive
while the weather is still warm enough
to enjoy the top down.
On the way home we ran across this mural in
Drumright, Oklahoma, an oil boom town.
Not too far from Cushing, OK where earthquake damage was reported
last night (5.0). I think it was the longest earthquake we've 
felt in Broken Arrow, OK.
I hope all these old towns don't have any aftershocks.
This mural caught my eye right away and we squealed to a stop.
I love murals and have always wanted to paint one.
 Opposite this one was a mural 
of a huge American flag, but there were too many cars
parked blocking a good shot.
I did a google search and found this website giving
information on all of Drumright's murals....I'll have to go back!
If you would like to share a mural
or just like murals, check out this link to 
Monday Murals on Oakland Daily Photo blog (here).
“Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease.”  
— Anonymous

Happy Click'n!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Myrtle Beach ~ Do Over!

My husband and I got invited to meet our 
cousins in Myrtle Beach for a couple of days.
What a treat! 
We had good food, laughed, and enjoyed some RR.
Duffy's offers "free beer tomorrow"
but we were too laid back to partake.
We took several lazy walks on the beach.
We saw some of the Hurricane Mathew damage.
Below was the end of one of their piers.
I couldn't resist watching this service dog
taking a break in his work day.
Black Lab Love!
Below, nature's art.
One morning we joined the peaceful
wait for the sun to rise.
Well worth the wait... beautiful sunrise!
I need and want a "do over"!
Next time on a beach I will make more time to take my Canon 60D 
off AF, and use my manual settings.
One day, I'll not be "manual" challenged!

My Smartphone camera got some action too, below.

~ Notes for next time ~
Another useful trick to increase warmth in your final shot is to set WB (white balance) to the “sunny” or “cloudy” setting instead of “auto”. Although you can certainly add warmth in post-processing, your initial image from the camera will be warmer if you make this adjustment now. 
If you’re familiar with color temperature, you’ll know that there is a slight difference in the appearance of light at sunset versus what you’ll see at sunrise. Early morning light tends to be cooler (higher blue) than light in the late evening, which leans toward more warm color castings consisting of orange and red.
Settings for Sunrises:
In photographing a landscape at sunrise, you want a large depth of field, so use Aperture Priority mode and choose a fairly small aperture. Use the largest aperture (f/8) before the sun rises when you don’t have as much light. Use the smallest aperture (f/16) when the sun is above the horizon, and you have more light to work with. An ISO range between 400 and 800 helps you cope with the dim conditions before the sun rises. You end up using the lower ISO setting while the sun rises higher in the sky. A 28mm to 35mm focal length range is ideal for photographing landscapes. You can use image stabilization to ensure a blur-free photo, especially if you end up with a shutter speed slower than 1/30 of a second.
Rule: Sun in sky? Aperture priority. Sun already set? Use manual exposure.

Setting for Sunsets:  
When you photograph a beach at sunset, you want everything in focus, from the vegetation in the sand dunes to the distant clouds, which is what you get when you shoot in Aperture Priority mode with a small aperture of f/8 or smaller (a larger f/stop number). A low ISO setting ensures that you get a sharp image that has little or no digital noise. The Single Shot Focus mode is perfect because landscapes don’t move. When the camera achieves focus, you’re ready to shoot the picture. A wide-angle focal length range between 28mm and 35mm provides you with a wide view that captures the clouds and landscape with a nice reflection of the sun on the water. While the sun sinks and eventually drops below the horizon, the amount of available light changes. Therefore, you need to increase the ISO setting to keep the aperture at f/8 or smaller.
Manual Settings for an afternoon on the beach:
In such bright conditions, you’re going to need a low ISO setting (think 100 or 200) in combination with a narrow aperture (somewhere between (f14 and f22) with a moderately fast shutter speed. This can all change though.
Sometimes use a slow shutter speed like 1/6-1/8 sec. and let the wave curl over to give it a sense of motion. Pan blurs also work really well with waves. Go to 1/30th sec. or so and follow the wave with your camera. If you want to catch every single little water droplet, you can bump it up to 1/500-1/800 sec. and freeze everything. You'll find out what works for you pretty quickly.

When shooting into the sun, remove all filters from your lens, even your skylight filter. When a filter is on your lens, the sunlight passes through the filter and may (depending on the angle of the sun) bounce off the front element of your lens and back onto the filter, creating a ghost image of the sun in your frame.
  • An ND filter will allow you to reduce the intensity of light hitting your camera’s sensor.
  • A polarizing filter will reduce reflections and help darken the sky
  • A UV filter is probably the least useful by blocking short wave UV light (which used to cause loss of detail on film). Many photographers don’t like them as they can introduce lens flare.
Camera care on the beach:

  • Don't bring your camera to the beach on a windy day. You will almost certainly have a nasty encounter with that nemesis of all beach photographers.
  • Don't ever change lenses at the beach. Pick one and stick with it. Leave the others at home. Changing lenses on the beach is like opening a door to those little invaders and inviting them inside.
  • Don't ever put your camera down in the sand. Sand will find its way in.
  • If you think you got sand in your camera, don't be tempted to turn it on to see if it still works. It may actually still work, and that's the danger. Turning it on will get those gears moving, which will get that sand wedged into places you don't want it to go, and then it may stop working for good. Instead, keep the camera turned off until you can take it to someone who has experience in cleaning sand out of cameras.
  • Put a rain sleeve on your camera. This will help protect it from sand and will also have the double bonus of protecting it from saltwater, which can have a corrosive effect on your equipment.
  • Ask yourself how important those photos are. If you're trying to create a masterpiece, a DSLR is certainly warranted. But if you're just taking snapshots for your family scrapbook, consider a "tough" point and shoot camera. These cameras are waterproof, impact proof and most importantly can be washed in water after use. The same construction that keeps water out of the inside of these cameras will also prevent sand from getting in - and if you get sand in any of the cracks and crevices on the outside of the camera, you can simply soak it in water and the sand will wash away.
  • Article:  34 Sunrise and Sunset Photography Tips 
    1.  Watch the sky for clouds 45 minutes before sunset.
    2.  Scout for a location before shooting.

    Happy Click'n!

    Monday, September 19, 2016

    Shoot the Moon!

    Date: September 16, 2016  
    Time: 10:30 pm
    Steve: "Hey did you know that there is a Lunar Eclipse tonight and tomorrow?"

    Me:  "What?" (I run out the back door, leaving the door open. Luckily the security system hadn't been set.)

    Steve:  "Yeah, but we won't be able to see it in the US.  Next one we see is Feb. 10, 2017."

    Me:  (Running back inside,)  "Where's my camera?  The full moon is awesome.  I'm going to shoot the moon anyways!"  (Despite being in my pajamas and having just taken an Ambien, I haven't been sleeping lately, I gather up my equipment and run back outside.)

    So I'm out there struggling to set up my camera on my tripod, which is tricky even though the moonlight is bright, I'm having trouble seeing. The  sleeping pill was starting to kick in.  As I'm fumbling with my camera settings, (I'm manually challenged and normally have to review what settings to use in these special conditions).  My thoughts are, I've got tomorrow to look up the right settings and try this again, so I'll just play around with the auto settings and see what I get.  I'm really starting to feel the effects of the Ambien, yikes. I finish up and hit the sack. WELL, the next night we have a thunder storm rolling in so it's cloudy, so my plan failed.  RATS!

    This must be some kind of moon reflection but a curious affect! 

    Sunday night we had a Waning Gibbous (below), a perfect time to practice!  To check for Moonrises you can use which predicted 9:00pm but from our house the moon showed up more like 10:00pm.
    A good setting to start at is ISO 100, f/8 and 1/125 sec, used in the above shot. 
    October 15, I remembered about the full moon and went outside to get some shots with the rapidly moving clouds. 

    Now I need to think of a local landmark or setting to take photos of the moon and see what I can capture. 
    Happy Click'n!

    For Future Reference:
    Quick Tips ~ 

    *  Use a tripod and disable image stabilization on your lens.
    *  Use  the timer or  a remote shutter release to reduce shaking further.
    *  Decide on a location ahead of time.
    *  Set on Manual and start at ISO 100, f/8 and 1/125 sec.

    Next Supermoon November 14, 2016

    Lunar Photography Exposure Guide (@f/16)
    ISO Film SpeedFull MoonGibbous1st QuarterThick CrescentThin CrescentEarthshine
    2001/1251/601/301/151/840 to 80 sec.
    4001/2501/1251/601/301/1520 to 40 sec.
    8001/5001/2501/1251/601/3010 to 20 sec.
    16001/10001/5001/2501/1251/605 to 10 sec.
    32001/20001/10001/3001/2501/1252 to 5 sec.

    Article Links ~
    Lunar Eclipse
    Full Moon
    Night Sky
    Northern Skys 
    Moon and Lunar Eclipse
    Cresent Moon  (ISO 400, f/8 and 1.6 sec.)
    Shoot the Moon  (By Gary Hart)

    Thank you for your understanding!

    © Emily J Powell and Millie @ Click'n Camera, February 10, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Emily J Powell and Millie @Click'n Camera with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Photos may not be used, copied, printed without prior permission.