Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Week 43 - 365 Day Photography Challenge

Day 295
It has been one of those weeks were taking photos was not the issue. Keeping track of them was. I got them mis-numbered as I posted them. And some I never transferred to a week folder. And I must confess the numbers on the folders on my computer do not agree with the week number on these posts. None of which is all that important to my readers.

The new camera continues to work well on the old flash disk. And I did manage to find some brilliant fall colors to record. The first couple are from the same photo trip my friend and I took the week before.

Day 296

As I have mentioned before the 365 day challenge for me is not so much taking the picture as processing the photos I do take. In the film days I was always leaving an unfinished roll in my camera. Or worse yet, undeveloped rolls in my camera bag. The digital age has been a help with that. But there are still times when I will go back through my uploads (or is it downloads) and realize I never did anything with that one day's photos. Or pick up the camera, check for battery level, and photos left on disk and discover I had not downloaded (or is it uploaded) several.

Day 297

And the challenge has shown me I rather like the days when without a new photo to post I chum back through past files and find one whose glory I have not fully developed. Day 297 was water and mud with shadows and reflections. And I got to turn it into an abstract. I think it was raining outside and I wanted to so remember the sunshine.

Day 298

Day 298, 299 and 300 were taken at a green house I watch over, and which presents me with endless subjects to photograph. Confession: I am not a flower photographer nor flower painter. But I can be seduced into being a digital artist with flowers.

Day 299

But I love the greenhouse most for the endless possibilities of reflections on and through the glass. Day 300 is my favorite photo of the week. It is not a double exposure or a layered composition in the dry darkroom. It is reflections in glass while taking a photo through glass from the outside in. And the windows opposite had more reflections to add.

Day 300 - Alice through the glass

I took a lot of photographs this week. And I posted photo blogs on Sidetracked Charley and albums on Facebook with many of them, so I found myself running short on picks of the day. In fact, I currently have no photos for the current week. But I do think I have photos on the camera I have not up or down loaded.

Day 301 - Winter coming

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Week 42 - 365 Day Photography Challenge

Day 288

This week was shot with my new Nikon D3200 24.5 megapixel camera and mostly with the 18 - 55 mm lens it came with. I did a lot of mixing up the subjects as a test drive for the camera and the lens. Both were new to me. The Nikon D3200 is very similar to the Nikon D90 in feel. But the shorter zoom lens which is not wide angle was very new to me. And at first seemed very restricting as I am rather addicted to my 18 - 105 mm wide angle zoom.

Cameras and lenses have favorite subjects. So do photographers. When my friends ask about what camera to buy, when they are finally willing to admit the iPhone has its limits, I always ask what it is they like to shoot. And maybe that is an unfair question because up to then their favorite subject has been what the iPhone does well.

Day 289

And I found that what the camera and lens combo I was shooting with this week does some things really well - like limiting the scope of the picture and getting more detail in the middle and far ground. Result was I spent less time in post processing with cropping and sharpening.

Day 290 - Cracked pot

I also spent less time framing my picture with the camera in the field but more time walking closer to the subject - 50 mm closer. The shot below was a test for a news story I was covering. The opening assembly of participants was to be held at this hotel entry. I had brought both cameras as well as my favorite wide angle lens which works on my new camera. This photo was taken with the new lens on the new camera and proved to me it would be sufficient to handle the task.

I also have a couple favorite post processing screens or filters or techniques I like so I took the test picture and tested my old favorites on it. That also worked and I was very pleased with the detail in the reflections in the doors.

Day 291

I am also not fond of flash so another test had to be available light. So I used my mess on my computer desk. Only light is the desk light.

Day 292

The 18 - 55 mm is not really a macro but it does get close up and personal and on the right setting blurs the background nicely. I probably took 20 exposures of this subject mostly playing around with settings to get the right effect. The spray of orchids had to be the only thing in sharp focus. I had some concerns that more pixels would mean more needless detail and that is not necessarily so. Note on the iPhone you do not get these options.

Day 293

But when you want detail like in this aspen picture the pixels are quite nice. I have developed a fondness to shooting toward the sun peaking through trees and how the lens handles flares and over exposures, if you will, is also important to me. And reflections. The next picture on today's review of the week was not one of the "days" because I was so happy with it upon upload to the computer that I immediately posted it.

Mind you that after a week with the 18 - 55 mm lens I was dying to go back to my wide angle. But a test run is a sacred in my photographic experience. I am not sure what teacher I got this from. And maybe it is just my interpretation of something less specific said or read but know your equipment and its limitations is important. Ergo people that shoot a lot of iPhone pictures can and do get good results.

First snow by J. Binford-Bell

This picture proved to me that my short lens and the new camera mainly had limits in my mind. But when I set out on an all day photographic adventure with a friend this week I took both cameras and all lenses and extra scan disks. And I am so thrilled I did. Two hours into the shoot the new disk on the new camera dumped 80 photos and would not reformat.

For a really panicky few moments I thought it might be the camera or the camera/lens combo because I had put my favorite wide angle on the new D3200. I took out the disk and put it into my D90 and discovered the same error messages so I felt relatively better. And the D90 also could not bring up the missing 80 shots. I had been chimping randomly all morning because I was trying different filters on the 18-55mm lens. I knew the camera had taken the pictures.

Next step was to put a backup scan disk into the new camera and take pictures. It worked. Yes, it is under warranty but who wants the hassle of sending it back. The rest of the day with the new camera went without a hitch regardless of which lens, but I can recall some of the pictures that got away in infinite detail.

Day 294 - new beginnings

So as the week ends I am out of test mode officially but I definitely need a back up battery and a new extra scan disk card or two. And the Nikon D90 is staying in the camera bag with my long zoom which will not work on my new camera. Next week will be more of the pictures I did not lose on the bad disk.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Week 41 - 365 Day Photography Challenge

Day 281

Last week was almost all about trees. One orchid photo slipped in, but the aspens were beginning to turn and my lens seemed to point leafward most days. And this was the last week, most likely, where all the photos posted will be from my trusty Nikon D90. It was showing its age and I was beginning to panic about being without a camera if it had to be sent off for service. Besides what photographer does not always want two cameras. I have a friend who has four.

Day 282 - the impostor 

Cannot for the life of me remember why the orchid slipped in. Must have been a cold and windy day that made me not want to hold a camera in an ungloved hand. It has been a chilly October with temps lower than average for this time of year. And the summer drought has taken a toll on the trees. This is most noticeable in the aspens which should have been in their peak of color this week. And yet in the panorama below there are only a few spots of weak yellow among the pines.

Day 283

The small grove of trees below has been one of my markers to return to fall after fall. Last year they were glorious and this year I wonder if they will make it to yellow before all their leaves, extra small because of the drought, fall to the ground. The lack of density in their foliage is obvious because of the light that streams through in this picture

Day 284

Day 285

These trees seen in reflection are healthy enough because of position near a pond, but they are not in full color yet. And the cold weather and winter like storms probably will keep them from having a crowning glory this year. As every photographer chasing fall color knows not every year is a winner. Last year was a record breaker.

Day 286

Cold nights and heavy frost have created some interesting photo alternatives to aspen gold. I loved the ethereal appearance of the melting frost, rising fog across the reflections in the pond but no gold. Some of the aspens in this reflection are still green. And not that intense almost translucent green they get just before turning gold.

The three trees below may be as gold as it gets for them this year. Bare branches indicate the leaves are already falling to the ground. Climate change has many victims.

Day 287

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 40 - 365 Day Challenge 2013

Day 274

Fall going into winter but in odd shifts and starts. One day it is summer and then there is frost on the windows. Much is still green and yet there is a deepening of the reflections in the ponds due to the clarity of the water. Greens seem a bit more edgy and hits of yellow creep into the scene. But it is not going to be the spectacular fall of last year. I urge my fans to see the page on this site about aspens. Last yer was just fantastic but the long drought and late rains did not help the colors this year.

Day 275

Another pond reflection I could not help but stand on edge.  Accident in post processing. I was trying to undo and action and instead changed the rotation by 90 degrees. Was about to change it back when I noticed the wonderful abstract nature of the composition. Rather looks like Van Gogh or Monet.

Day 276

Flowers are not necessarily my favorite subject especially in the outdoors. But when bored I can quite fall in love with the orchids in a green house. The photograph above also looks like a painting. Love the juxtaposition of the front and backs of the orchids on the stalk.

Day 277

Reflections in ponds are a favorite subject but reflections in glass are also a frequent subject. I like the layering effect of the stained glass windows and the flowers behind it and the trees behind me.

Day 278
Fall colors as I said earlier are not great but had to take a picture of these mailboxes with the shedding cotton woods behind them. I took the same photo a couple years ago in a late snow storm. Time of year and weather can make a huge difference in a subject.

Day 279

As can position. I have photographed this statue before but against another wall without the light streaming through the glass. The light makes her seem more alive and if almost ready to move.

Day 280

A little chapel in Taos on Witt Road I discovered this week. Amazing what one misses in an area frequently traveled. Pictures of churches and chapels once comprised the majority of my photographs because I took them as studies for paintings. And this one may well become a little painting less the sign and the porch lights at with at least one gate open.

Time My Fickle Friend

Visual prompt provided by The Mag

my fickle friend
or is it fiend?

always with me
but too against me.

not enough
or way too much.

 and gone.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Week 39 - 365 Day Photography Challenge

Day 267

I began this week with two versions of the same subject. I loved the grace of this orchid and took numerous photos and  tried various things to accent how perfect as it was. It was a white orchid and so lent itself to lots of different tones and lack of tones.

Day 268

We had a September rain of 1 1/2 in a few hours and so the next morning was very foggy. It was a wonderful opportunity to take familiar landscapes in very different circumstances.

Day 269 - foggy morning
The orchid below was featured last week in a much more subdued version of itself. Could not resist adding color to it.

Day 270

Speaking of color there is a lot of talk this time of year about the aspens and just what sort of fall it is going to be. I am rather pessimistic because we had too long of a drought period this summer with the monsoons coming too late. Even the leaves, still green, seem to be smaller. And they are not turning the intense bright green which precedes the gold. This stand of aspens did have some of that green. Hoping to take another photo this next week showing gold.

Day 271

But the grasses are beginning to show more yellows and the ponds have reached that mirror like clarity that colder nights seem to bring. Enough to make this photographer happy.

Day 272
Day 273

And fog again. Misty autumn mornings are wonderful. One of my favorite times of the year. And what photographer would not love it.