Posts Tagged ‘70-300’
This is our favorite place to take Suki: the recently renovated dog park on 30th street and Church street here in San Francisco. Look how big it is! This image doesn’t even include a long stretch of run behind me. Suki approves of this park too:
There’s plenty of area for her to run at full speed!
There are also lots of tennis balls for her to play with.
And lots of smells for her to sniff!
Of course, her favorite thing to do is meet new dogs, and there are plenty of very friendly dogs to meet at this dog park!
….Like this guy for instance. Look at that face! He’d drop this slobbery ball on the ground and then dash off to get ready for me to throw it before I even had a chance to pick the ball up. I had to kick the ball since I had my camera in hand.
But if you threw the ball, he’d catch it in mid-air! Wow! This guy could play outfield in the MLB.
See how happy Suki is when she’s at the park?
After releasing a bunch of energy at the park, Suki walks very obediently. We usually take a walk through the neighborhood and hit up a local cafe, where she’ll patiently wait for us as we socialize over coffee:
On a side note, I’ve noticed something sort of strange with how images are displayed on my blog posts here in WordPress. Each of the pictures in this post contains a link that takes you to the image source. The images on this post look like they were stripped of some color and contrast, but if I click on any of them, I see an image with more color and contrast, closer (but still not exact) to what I see in Lightroom 3 beta. Do you see this too? It’s driving me crazy!
Interesting story behind this image that I just finished post processing minute before posting this: I was studying studio lighting last night and came across information on using beauty dishes. I thought to myself “I sure wish I had one of these!” Well, just out of curiosity I went down to my garage to see if just maybe there was a beauty dish somewhere among the boxes of lighting equipment my father gave me recently (he used to have a studio set up in his garage when he shot professionally). I actually found one! I was stoked. I had Bridget put some makeup on and we did a photo session.
Out of about 40 or so images I took last night, this one was my favorite. There are others that I love as well, but I haven’t had a chance to touch them up yet. Since I was going for a very bright, “beauty” style image here, I wanted to pull out all the stops and really go at this in both Lightroom 3 Beta as well as Photoshop CS4. White balance, black levels, and contrast were handled in LR3 Beta after the shoot, followed by a retouch in CS4 that included using the heal brush, clone stamp tool, patch tool, liquify, levels, unsharp mask, dodge, burn, screen layers, multiply layers, you name it (I can’t even remember everything I used!). It was all quite exhausting, so I’ll have to post the rest of the images later.
This shot was taken in our living room with a beauty dish set high above her with a large soft box behind her aiming toward the camera, creating a great wrap of light around her face. Even before the retouch, I thought this was just gorgeous image of Bridget. She looks absolutely positively stunning.
What do I do when it storms too badly on the weekend to go out and I’m stuck indoors? Photograph stuff around the house, like Bo Bear here. Bridget wanted me to take a picture of him in his new red shirt that she bought for him at the Build a Bear store this past weekend. I figured, why not make it interesting and use a couple SB units to make a moody shot?
I placed two laptops on the coffee table in our living room, originally planning to make Bo look like a really busy, multi-tasking bear. The shot didn’t look right, so I just kept the second laptop out of the shot (to the left of the frame) and used it to bounce light towards the Bo from camera left. I gelled an SB-800 with a full CTO, attached a dome diffuser, and aimed it at the second laptop’s screen, which had a white piece of paper over it. This would act as a main light, set to TTL at -1/3EV. This main light is aimed at Bo Bear, but is also rotated to spill some light on the laptop he’s looking at, otherwise half of the frame would be a completely dark box.
Coming in high from camera left is a bare SB-900 zoomed to 200mm and set to manual (SU-4) at 1/128 power. The small kick of cooler light coming from the SB-900 puts a nice highlight to the upper rim of the laptop and also casts blue light on the left side of Bo Bear’s face, simulating the light that would come from the screen. The computer screen is active in this shot, but wasn’t putting out anywhere near enough light to create the effect. Both flashes were triggered via CLS using the D300s’ pop-up flash as a commander.
The rainy window behind Bo Bear and his laptop was actually throwing quite a bit of backlighting towards the camera because this shot was taken during the day time. I wanted more of a night-time, moody look to the shot, so I used a higher shutter speed to really underexpose the daylight in the background.
This shot is among my favorite photographs of Suki ever. The saturated color, the way the elements in the frame seem to converge right on Suki’s head, her pose, the lighting: I’m so happy with the way it turned out! I took this last week on a day off. It was early in the morning, since Suki and I headed out to the Marin Headlands at around 5:00am to try to capture some pre-sunrise images of the Golden Gate Bridge. I knew exactly what I wanted to shoot: fog rolling in over the city and through the Golden Gate during sunrise. Well, there was fog alright…so much fog that it reached over the highest peaks of the Marin Headlands. When I arrived in Marin, I could barely see 20 feet in front of my car. The images I wanted to capture? Weren’t gonna happen.
That’s the thing with landscape photography. For the most part, you’re at the mercy of nature. You have to keep going back to the spot where you want your shot to happen over and over until the conditions are right. Maybe I’ll have more success next time!
Retreating from the fog in the headlands, Suki and I headed down to a small harbor on the other side of the Golden Gate. We walked together for a while, and as the sun rose, I decided set up my tripod right at the water’s edge and see what if I could come up with some nice images of the Bridge from below the fog. I set up, pulled my tripod mounting plate out of my camera bag to attach it to my camera, and whoops! Dropped the little guy on to a rock, helplessly watching it bounce, bounce again, and again, and then plop! Right into the water. Gone was my support system. Foiled again!
After sulking for a little bit from being defeated by first the fog and then my own clumsiness, we headed out to Sausalito for coffee and a stroll through the neighborhood. The dense fog and cloud cover meant beautiful, even light for the rest of the morning, perfect for shots like the one of Suki above! The colors from fallen leaves, flowers, and other plants were rich and saturated.
Suki waited impatiently with me at a cafe while I phoned a few local camera shops to see if they sold the replacement quick-release mounting plate for my tripod head. I was fortunate to find one in stock, and Suki and I drove back over the bridge to San Francisco to pick it up.
Over the course of the day, I really fell in love with the 35mm f/1.8G all over again. It’s a pretty sharp lens wide open, but stop it down even a little and things get super sharp. It’s the least expensive lens in my kit, but it’s lightweight and performs great! Plus, I noticed that in using a prime as my sole lens in the morning, I seemed to put more thought into composition than I normally do. I tried more angles and moved around my subjects more. Until now, I haven’t really used the 35 all that much since I bought it. What was I thinking!?
In the early afternoon I took Suki to the dog park, her favorite place in the world. Doesn’t she look happy?
Every time I’d kneel down to take a shot, this dog (below) would run up to me and check me out. I think he took quite a liking to me!
This is how the day ended: back at a cafe with Suki, sipping on coffee. I need more days off!
Suki likes to walk, but there’s nothing she loves more than going to a dog park and running free, especially when she gets to socialize with other dogs (and people too!). It’s been a long time since I’ve used my Nikkor 70-300mm lens, so today I decided to bring it as my only lens for our little outing with Suki.
This was also the first time I got a chance to test out the high frame rate and 51-point, 3D tracking auto-focus in my new D300s. I must say, the auto-focus in this camera is outstanding for moving targets (and Suki reeeally moves). The frames advance so rapidly that the camera sounds like a machine gun…very cool!
Ok now for some random stuff. This little girl entered the park and kept her hands close to herself around all the dogs (I guess to avoid any contact). Not long after she got there with her family, she told her parents she wanted to go to the “people park”.
After Suki ran around for a while, we sat down at a cafe outside and enjoyed some afternoon coffee. I sat back and took a few snaps of things that surrounded me. The D300s puts out some amazing color.
Here’s Suki at the cafe. She doesn’t really like sitting still while we sit around doing nothing, especially if there’s a lot going on, but she tolerated it.
….and when we got home, I noticed these lovely flowers growing in our back yard. There wasn’t too much light left to work with, so I had to hand hold this shot to get it quick. Didn’t get the depth of field I wanted, and it’s a little on the saturated side, but hey, I like it!
With the exception of the first and sixth photos (from the top) on which I did some minor color correction, all the images from today’s post are straight out of the camera. Hey, sometimes it’s just easier that way!
Found this little gem stashed away in a box of photographic studio equipment my father gave me recently. The Ansco Cadet, apparently manufactured in the late 1950s, features a switch on the front to move between color and black & white format film (127mm), a cool red shutter release on the front face, and ports on the side to attach a flash strobe. My sister also remembers shooting with this camera when she was growing up in the 60s. To me, this thing is seriously cool, but I can’t get the shutter to work. Such a shame…