Buy this Photo

Duxbury Camera Club

I’ll be guest lecturing at the Duxbury Camera Club Wed. May 5th. The club meets at the Duxbury Library on Alden Street.

When it rains.

Trying to make images when it rains, rains and rains is tough. I find myself running out of overflowing streams and river, flooded streets to cover. I took an idea from way back and put a new spin on it. Back in the 60’s someone took an image of the Great Pyramid shot through a martini glass, part of a series for a famous vodka maker. Ok this is not the pyramid or a martini glass. I made this shot sitting in my truck at Scituate Light waiting for high tide and pounding surf.
If you look through raindrops you can see all sorts of great little images. This shot was made with a 50mm Sigma macro lens on a Canon 1D MkII. I set the focus at the minimum focus distance and moved the camera in and out to find the right point of focus. To get some depth of field a shot in “A” aperture priority set at f8.0 ISO was set at 500 to allow for a shutter speed fast enough to hand hold. The original image showed the lighthouses in the drops upside down. In Photoshop I rotated the canvas to make the lighthouses stand upright. Not a lot of tuning other than a tough of “smart sharpen”. After the rains stops there should be some good opportunity for stream and river shots. I just wish I could find a stream, which flowed more blue than brown in the area. Brown water never looks good no matter how nice the composition.

Last week when the sun was out I did get a chance to shoot some flowers in sunlight and the shot of the Weir River Farm’s barn in Hingham. It’s a straight shot with a 50mm lens and a polarizing filter. I only use two filters now with digital. A few years ago I might have had twenty filters in my bag for color and black and white. The polar filter just adds some great color saturation to a blue sky. ISO was 100 and the meter was set at “A” aperture priority for an f1.4 shallow depth of field. The other filter I carry is a split field graduated neutral density filter for landscapes. If rain stops someday, I may get a chance to use it.

Daylight strobe

Daylight Strobe: I’m not a huge fan of strobes, but sometimes you just can’t get the light you want when you want it. To kick off a new feature in the Ledger which will profile individuals with interesting tales I had to use strobe.
For the first shoot we are featuring Bob Trinque a retired Delta Airline pilot who is being sited by the FAA for having his pilot license for fifty years. Bob now flies a vintage Beech twin engine out of Plymouth Airport for fun.
As you can expect moving the plane around for the best light, (which was high noon light) was not much of an option. My only option was to move my light source. I found a nice angle to shoot Bob using the plane tail as a background . The story was about him, not the plane. I shot some other images of the plane as secondary shots. To put emphasis on Bob I needed to light him in a way that would draw our eyes to him first.
Plymouth pilot gd 021510-09.jpg
To do this I used a flash off camera to the left of the subject about five feet. The Canon 580 EZ with an Omni bounce diffuser was mounted on a small light stand. It was rigged wireless with a Pocket Wizard radio remote (I could have hard wired this) For exposure I wanted the background to fall off so I made test shots to get my background exposure maybe two stops under exposed. I then set the strobe to manual and adjusted the power ration (in this case ¼ power) to get the right exposure on the subjects face. The 5D synchs at 1/200 so a slow ISO rating was needed to get synched. The lens was 16-35 mm wide angles zoom. Color balance was set at cloudy to keep the colors warm.

The final images was close to as you see it with minor spotting in Photoshop.

Back to Blogging

Sorry to away from the blog I’ve had a few major projects at the paper to deal with. One of which was the “Day in the Life” project with Channel 5’s Chronicle. The response was much greater than I had expected. That’s a good thing. You folks sent some fantastic images. Given that the day was gray and rainy I was very surprised with the imagination and technical quality of the shots. As soon as I get a date for broadcast and publication I will post it here. I think I edited nearly five hundred images from readers and staff photographers from our Massachusetts papers.
I was glad to get out this week and start making pictures again. The snow in the sunshine this morning was a treat. I took some time to head down to Manomet Point in Plymouth at low tide to find some seals. I got to one of my favorite spots a little late on the rising tide. Only a few seals were still on the rocks, but it worked for a feature photo for tomorrow’s paper. I made the shot with a 300 2.8 and a 2X extender on a Canon 1D MkII. The sun was in and out so I had to be patient for some sun to highlight the seals faces against the dark background.
If the weather holds I hope to get some slow shutter shots of an area stream. The water is high after last weeks rain; maybe I’ll get lucky with some ice.

The newly formed Duxbury Camera Club has asked me to come and speak, which I will do once I work out my schedule. (Plymouth folks I have not forgotten you)

Save the Date

Calling all photographers. On Monday January 25th I invite you to take part in "A Day in the Life of Massachusetts" This a photo project co produced by WCVB's Chronicle show to celebrate their 35th year and Wickedlocal.Com . Feel free to send me your images taken on the 25th.You may see them on TV or on the web.   JPEG files can be sent to  Please include where the image was taken and what time of day, along with your name and a brief description of the shot.  Greg

Slow Down to Speed Up

Shutter speed changes eveything. In most cases the camera shutter captures a fraction of a second which allows us to "see" things that may escape the human eye. The beat of a humingbird wing, the impact of a water balloon, a hockey puck in mid flight.
These are all things that a fast shutter speed will show. But what about a slow shutter speed? Slowing down the shutter can show just as many wonderful things. Like the blur of a dancers skirt in mid twirl, water spilling over rocks in a stream. It can also be used to add visual interest to images.
Take the above image of the father and daughter sledding. A fast shutter speed would work to freeze the action and show some happy faces. But a slower shutter speed selection adds a sense of action or excitement to the image. Do we agree?
In the good old days of film to get an image like this I would have to shoot maybe two rolls of 36 exposure film and hope I got the shot when I got back to the lab later in the day. Today with digital, I get instant results. With instant results it’s easier to try new things, you can be sure you “have it” before moving on to something else.
How to do it:
First I need a moving subject. It is best to have a moving subject that repeats it. Like the sledding hill. Kids go up and down all the time. Next I need them moving in a constant path. This needs to be left to right or right to left. If they are moving toward the camera or away you will lose focus. So I focus on the subject and don’t change the focus as the subjects “path” moves in front of me. Now a shutter speed. I like to start at 1/30th of a second, take a few shots. I like to preview my shots on the camera LCD then make exposure adjustments then shoot some more. I may go slower or faster depending on the outcome of the test shots.
Panning. This is the technique of moving or swinging the camera at the same rate the subject is passing. What this means is that I keep the subject still in the viewfinder as the camera moves. This gives the effect I want. Some parts of the image sharp and in focus, the others a blur. The blur shows speed. The sharp in focus portion provides something to relate to that speed. I take my time panning; it’s easy to move too fast. For lenses I like a short telephoto maybe 135mm. The longer the lens the more difficult it is to keep the subject centered and in focus. One by-product of the slow shutter speed is a greater depth of field, which helps. Give it a try.