Sunday, August 31, 2014

The gate and the fence theory

The Fence

The Gate
So where are they? When I find a subject my first question is "What do I see?" In this case I saw not the rocks but the wide open space. The first image is a fence which doesn't show the wide open space that made me stop and look it is just three rocks on the prairie. On the second image I start looking at the rocks and visually flow to the high clouds giving me the feeling of expansive space. What do you see?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Star Trails

Shooting star trails was a mystery until I recently watched the B & H video on night photography presented by Gabe Biderman. One of the take away messages was converting exposure at ISO 6400 to exposure at ISO 100.  I may have mentioned this method on an earlier post but here it is again. Take the exposure at ISO 6400, keep the same f stop, change the ISO to 100, then covert seconds to minutes. I use aperture priority to get the initial shutter speed, then change to bulb for the actual shot. This was a 15 minute exposure facing north with a faint limb of the Milky Way and city lights showing.  The image was cropped to vertical because of the bright ground lighting to the east. Give it a try. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Terrestrial Comets

I looked at this wondered what was going on. Any ideas? During the exposure the flashlight was above the camera causing moth wings to reflect back, much like red eye when using on camera flash. I moved the light to the side for the next shots and eliminated the problem. Another adventure in night photography.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sir, the park is now closed.

This is another in my series of exploring the night sky. The Milky Way is a constant in the night sky so the next step is showing it over a specific location. To do this I have started using light painting  for a second or two to brighten the foreground.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Playing with Light

I've been playing with light, both flash and flashlight, recently. For me the challenge is adding light without making its source the focus of attention. A flash would have spot lighted a small area of grass. This prairie shot was recorded as light was swept over the grass during a 13 second exposure at f 9, ISO 1250. To me this is a shot about color and lines. Stretching the limits is almost as exciting as walking out of the prairie in the dark.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monarch Migration

The monarch butterflies have been migrating for the last week. In a totally unscientific observation there seem to be larger numbers this year than I have seen for many recent years. Good news since the population was decimated by weather in Mexico last year.
Technical: Recorded in the dark with off camera flash, ISO 6400

Sunday, August 24, 2014

An August Night

I was shooting the prairie sunset and early night sky last night. From my location the lights of 5 different towns were visible on the horizon. Despite city lights the Milky Way was brilliant in the southern sky. This month's Outdoor Photographer ties its brightness to Sagitarrius, I'll need to look that up. Choosing the white balance for the color of the sky is perplexing since it is black. A good explanation of this can be found at: Can the night sky be "authentic?"

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Full Moon over Fish Lake

I've been dabbling in night photography now that I the season has changed so I can do it and still be in bed before midnight. This was taken during the last full moon along the road near our cabin. The bright flowers are the result of light painting to give the illusion of being moonlit. Technical: f8 at 8 seconds, ISO 1600

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bouncing Along

I watched this guy for quite awhile last week. He had his own timetable and I drank a couple cups of coffee waiting for him to move.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Farmland Sunset

I was on the prairie last night doing sunset time-lapse with the DSLR when this scene presented itself with several minutes remaining in the sequence.  The ProCamera app on my iPhone was used to record the scene. this is a very good app for photography which has features to use separate areas for focus and exposure as well as a very good editing program.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Big Dipper in the clouds

I was processing this and noticed the big dipper in the sky. The image was taken during nautical twilight which explains the light on the western horizon. Technical: 4 minute exposure, f8, ISO 100. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Star Trails

I learned a new technique for night photography. If you expose with a fixed aperture at ISO 6400 then change the ISO to 100 at the same aperture just convey the number of seconds at 6400 to minutes at 100, i.e. 5 seconds at ISO 6400 = 5 minutes at ISO 100. This was a 7 minute exposure. The fine line is a jet passing through the image.  More information, including this technique, can be found at the B & H YouTube channel.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


What do you do when waiting for time-lapse to evolve? You pull out your iPhone and start shooting stills! My tendency is to get impatient or second guess my scene and the urge is to pull up early. Using the iPhone is a good way to pass the time. This was the cloud formation recorded on part of the  "After the Storm" video.

Monday, August 11, 2014

After the Storm

My latest playground in photography is time-lapse. It does not require a big investment, perhaps only an intervalometer. I use Magic Lantern which is an incredible free program for Canons and I think Nikon has a built in intervalometer. I have been using an old Quicktime Pro program but switched over to Sequence for this video. At $35 it is a perfect replacement for Quicktime on Macs. Its ability to remove flicker is a major improvement over Quicktime.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Prairie Clouds

 I've been playing with time-lapse for a couple years and am still learning the craft. I recently discovered software called Sequence that is cheap and works well for removing the flicker which is a major problem in time-lapse photography. The basic camera settings I use are: 1/60, f22, manual focus, cloudy WB. If I can see the clouds moving I shoot at 2 second intervals, if not then at 3 second intervals. There is some math involved since at least 300 images are needed for a short clip.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Who me?

This meadow hawk seems guilty of something. My dream shot is a shot like this with a fly being eaten. Lots of macro shooting recently now that the flies and mosquitoes are past peak.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hanging On

A spring peeper on a milkweed leaf which gives some sense of its size. This was cropped to vertical to accentuate the feeling of instability. There were several color variations among the frogs, perhaps a reaction to the light. Another fascinating observation to Google check.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Peeper on fern

I've been out the last couple mornings concentrating on a short section of roadside. Black and White does not work very often in macro, usually only when I have overstayed the light.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Red Admiral eats Rattlesnake Master

The title could be a headline in a tabloid newspaper but actually describes the a common butterfly feeding on an uncommon Minnesota prairie plant. I like to photograph relationships and butterflies feeding on prairie plants provides a great opportunity to show the connection between them. It also easier to sit and wait for a butterfly to land than trying to chase it from plant to plant.