Mystic Seaport

harald_figurehead
Canon EOS 80D 18-135mm “kit” lens.  Minor adjustments in Photoshop.  

Figurehead of Draken Harald Harfagre which spent several weeks this Summer docked at Mystic Seaport

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White Christmas…

For the first time in a long time we’ve had snow on Christmas, just enough to make it white, not enough to cause a problem, perfect!  It started around 2am (I was up of course so I saw it and went to bed quite content).  I didn’t want to go too far from the house, but I did want to show some snow, so I went to my back porch.

Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson  Canon EOS 5D Mark 2
Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson Canon EOS 5D Mark II

The warm, sunlight glow is created by a Lumopro LP-120 strobe, off camera left at 1/32 power, 24mm zoom with a full CTO (color temperature orange) gel on it.

Waiting for the right light

No shooting today…had big plans but it’s been raining here all day plus I had a ton of things to get done around the house (only managed to complete about half a ton though) so nothing new.

iPhone photography has been the rage for a while.  I never really got the appeal as I had an iPhone 3Gs for a long time and the camera left a lot to be desired.  Just a few days ago I upgraded to the iPhone 5 after a brief, 4 month affair with an Android device (don’t ask, I won’t tell).  The camera on this little bugger is pretty damn good, I now understand why iPhone photography is popular and why manufacturers of point and shoot cameras might be a little nervous.  Below is just a quick ‘behind the scenes’ shot of my setup for the sunrise picture I posted yesterday.  Nothing spectacular, but considering the lighting and lack of support, I think the iPhone did a fine job of capturing the scene.  I can see myself doing a lot more of this since my phone is always with me.

iPhone 5 photo of my tripod mounted Canon 5D Mark II waiting on the right light
iPhone 5 photo of my tripod mounted Canon 5D Mark II waiting on the right light

Winter Sunset

Took a quick trip over to Houghton’s Pond this afternoon hoping to get some good sunset shots that I could enter into a photo contest.  I don’t know that I got any contest winners but did get some nice shots.  This image is actually 3 shots one at metered value and +1 -1, combined in Photomatix Essentials HDR software.  As far as HDR goes, this is my very first ever foray into it, and maybe I should have waited for a better example to post.  But I did like the end result of this 3 shot combo, even though I probably could have gotten the same (maybe even better) image by post processing in Lightroom and or Elements.  I definitely need some more practice before I can put HDR to proper use.

Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson  Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 3 shot bracket combined in Photomatix Essentials
Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 3 shot bracket combined in Photomatix Essentials

Winter Wonderland

Well, not quite a wonderland, but we are getting some snow here today.  It makes me happy, as long as it doesn’t get too out of control…I don’t want to see four feet of it.  Took this from my back porch.  No more raspberries from this bush for a bit.

Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson - Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24-105mm f4 L lens, post in Lightroom 3.6
Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson – Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24-105mm f4 L lens, post in Lightroom 3.6

Photographing the small stuff

I’ve never done much ‘official’ macro photography, what with the special lenses, ring flashes, extension tubes, and all that hoo ha.  But, there is no doubt that getting close to something small and making it look big in the camera is a rewarding style of photography.

I have a number of, uh, offbeat hobbies that suck my time.  That’s one reason I have a hard time keeping up with my blog posts.  One hobby that goes hand in hand with the photography though is miniature wargaming.  This is a difficult thing for a lot of people who aren’t into it to get a handle on.  Basically, it involves pushing toy soldiers around on a table top in accordance with a set of rules in an effort to simulate a battle, often a particular historical battle.  Science fiction and fantasy settings are also popular.  Rather than enter into a detailed explanation of the hobby on what is supposed to be a photography blog, I’ll just point you here and you can get more info if you are interested.

Twice a year, in April and October, a friend of mine puts together a science fiction based game he calls “Zombie Crawl”.  It is based in the sci fi world of Necromunda and involves a group of mercenaries/gangsters trying to escape a zombie apocalypse.  His games are very popular and typically we have 20 to 30 players involved.

Below are some shots I took of the game.  The figures are 28mm scale, so about an inch tall.  I didn’t use any specialty equipment, because I don’t have any.  I used my Canon EOS Rebel T2i with the 18-55mm kit lens that came with it.  I’m liking this camera a lot more the more I use it.  I shot all the photos using available light…it wasn’t a place where I could really set up off camera lighting and the on camera pop up flash is worse than nothing.  That means I had to shoot at a very high ISO, 3200, to get reasonable shutter speeds.  If you zoom in on the pictures the noise becomes obvious.

Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson
Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson
Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson

Fun with exposure: Things You Can Do in a Museum

The light meter in your digital camera, be it an SLR or a point & shoot, is a pretty darned sophisticated piece of electronic wizardry.  Throw the meter into matrix mode, point your lens at a scene and shoot it, you’re going to get a “correct” exposure.  The problem is, a correct exposure might not be what you’re looking for; your creative eye will look at a given scene and see it very differently from how the dead accurate, but unimaginative, meter does.

This neon art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston serves two purposes.  It’s art, and it is a nice way to present the museum do’s and don’ts to visitors.  The piece is located near the main gift shop in a well lit lobby.  I took a couple of snap shots of the sign because it made me chuckle, but then started to wonder how I could make it a semi-worthwhile photo.

The neon is mounted on a stark white wall in a largely white room, pretty uninteresting as a photographic background.  Blue light shining out of a black hole though would look pretty cool…outer space like even.  How to make it happen?  There are two light sources in this photo. One is the neon lights (conveniently that also happens to be our subject) and the ambient room lighting.  I’m no genius with light, but solution to this problem is pretty simple; get a base exposure for the scene (which ended up being 1/30 sec, f8, ISO 800) and then work the shutter speed til you kill the ambient.  Starting with that exposure, I took a series of shots, upping the shutter speed about 1/2 stop for each one; if I was good I could have guessed at the right shutter speed but I’m not.  I ended up getting the effect I wanted at 1/160 sec, f8, ISO 800.  The ambient light is gone completely and all we have is our funny neon artwork.

Copyright @ 2012 Adrian M. Benson Nikon D200, Nikkor 16-85mm AF-S VR, 1/160 sec, f8, ISO800 Neon artwork, MFA Boston RAW file processed in Photoshop Elements 10 w/Adobe Camera RAW