Once upon a time I started a separate photo blog. Then came the brutal realization that keeping one blog going was tough enough so adding another one might not have been a great idea. I may streamline the plan for a while by simply posting photos there. With everything I have my fingers in right now I feel like one of those old Vaudeville acts. You know the one I'm talking about. Some guy has a bunch of plates spinning on a row of sticks. The act gets really interesting when the performer is running up and down the row trying to keep all the plates spinning. My fervent hope is that the plates don't all come crashing down on me before I take the time to prioritize better!
My pursuit of photography is getting much more serious. Not that the outcome is anything to write home about. However, I'm beginning to really understand how to work the exposure triangle to my advantage. Composition is something I know about on the surface but it hasn't become ingrained by any means, yet. There's still a long ways to go. Stuff like when to use spot metering versus center weighted, etc. The really good news is that I'm learning a lot. They say you learn from your mistakes, you know!
A trip over the mountain into Central Oregon was on the books a bit ago. For this post I just felt like sharing some photos and some comments.
One of the burdens I have to deal with is staying in fairly nice hotels. The favored place these days is the Riverhouse when staying in Bend. It's across the highway from the Hampton where Bobskoot and some of the gang stayed last year for our bloggers gathering.
This photo of the pool was taken with the G11. I also had the D7000 along. It's bad when when you take less clothing in order to carry two cameras. I finally figured out how to use the built-in ND filter. That, and a smaller aperature helped conquer the glare of the really bright sunshine.
The folks are kind enough to put me in a building in the back. It's very quiet and nice back there. Across the parking lot is a conference center.
The place looks ok during the day but looks a lot better at night, doesn't it? Who knew you could get cobalt blue skies with a camera after our eyes think it's all the way dark? A nice added touch is the light trails from passing vehicles.
After I played with a bunch of different shutter speeds and got a couple of shots I liked I moved the tripod off to the side but left the camera set up and on. It was nice to simply stand and enjoy the evening air. A very large Ford pickup drove into the parking lot towards me. Since the camera was already on and the remote shutter release cable was still in my hand, I quickly zoomed the lense to wide angle and pressed the button. Here's what the headlights of the truck looked like with a 30 second exposure. The photo itself isn't so great but it was fun to make.
Just on the edge of town is Pilot Butte. It's really just a big hill. The road winds around and around in ever decreasing circles towards the top. One evening I decided to ride up and try my hand at sunset photos. I find I'm not really drawn towards landscape photography although I do appreciate the wonders around us.
The small flat area at the top of the butte was surprisingly busy. There were the usual tourists, a group of guys making some kind of band / music video recording, and a wedding, of all things.
Here are the bride and groom. He seems more interested in his mobile communication device than he is in her.
The late evening light gave everything a kind of golden glow. It was pretty awesome, actually.
Somewhere around a dozen people attended the wedding. There was a woman in a black robe whom I presume was a Justice of the Peace or something. She performed the ceremony.
This couple were a part of the wedding party. The guy had a bottle of iced tea in his hand and was saluting everybody with it. I think it was ice tea, but who knows?
My tripod mounted camera was pointed to the West. The wedding was in the center of the flat spot, to my back. I quietly turned the camera around and took a few discrete shots. The girl noticed my camera and said something to the guy. He saluted me with the bottle. She looked a bit self conscious so I was considerate and turned the camera back around. It wasn't my intent to intrude uninvited on the wedding, after all. It was just a target of opportunity.
The photo is a bit washed out. Her face was in shadow since the camera was set on matrix metering. I had to put a lot of fill light on her face in Photoshop to bring it out. On the other hand, you have to see her face looking my direction to get the idea so it was necessary.
Here's the drummer checking everything out from his vantage point. The music wasn't connected to the wedding. The video crew was very considerate and stopped everything for the short wedding ceremony.
There were enough clouds hanging onto the mountains to mess with the sunset photography. I hope this guy had better luck than I did. None of mine turned out to be worth keeping.
One side effect of pursuing photography is that I've become really into light. Sometimes I feel like some hippy dude eating pine cones or something while expressing rapture at some new discovery.
"Man, have you ever, like, REALLY looked at the light?"
All jokes aside, it's amazing how much difference there is in light from season to season. For that matter, from hour to hour and even minute to minute. What looks like a fantastic picture can go away in a space as short as a couple of minutes.
Check out this photo taken of the river behind the hotel. It was taken very early in the morning as the sun just started to light the river. It's an okay photo but really lacks punch.
Compare it to a photo I took in late March from just a few feet to the right from where I was standing. The lighting comes from late afternoon sunshine with the sun lower towards the horizon. There's a huge difference in the "wow" factor, isn't there? I never appreciated the differences until I got serious about this picture making stuff.
I realized I had really tipped over the edge on the way home. This is back on the West side of the pass but we're still heading downhill. I passed this view and a convenient wide gravel spot on the side of the road without stopping. For the next six miles I wrestled with going back because the view kept getting more and more limited as I descended. Finally, knowing I would regret it if I didn't take the opportunity for a photo, I doubled back and pressed the shutter.
A polarizing filter added a bit more blue to the sky and brought out the dazzling white of the snow. The remarkable thing is that I actually did it on purpose. Maybe not really well, but kind of like an ape using a stick to pry ants out of a log, there was a purposeful act involved.
Of course, being parked beside the road, as well as actually standing in the road, one has to be on the lookout for traffic. Like this loaded log truck headed up hill.
Having finally figured out that a narrow aperature is another way to slow down the shutter speed, I left the aperature at f/16 which gave me a 1/10 second exposure. I thought it was a pretty cool effect.
It's becoming easier all the time to see the appeal that Steve Williams finds in riding a scooter. Making photos can easily become more addicting than riding. A thing I never thought I would ever find myself saying. Time to wrap this thing up. I have to shake it off and go for a fast ride!
Miles and smiles,