Thursday, August 20, 2009

Inside The Blue Line

My traveling spirit is starting to stir again. Fall is fast approaching, and my mind is wandering with thoughts of visiting and photographing places I’ve never been. Thoughts of the Maine wilderness and Moose. Northern Algonquin. Nova Scotia. Beautiful places that would certainly provide magnificent photo opportunities. No matter how far my mind wanders out into the wilds away from home,one place always seems to take over my thoughts come autumn. The place that lies just inside the “blue line”. The Adirondack Park,and it’s many mountains and streams. There is a certain spirit that exists in the Adirondacks. One that I have felt no where else. The solitude is unmatched. An autumn leave ablaze lying on the surface of a still pond. A common autumn scene,repeated in many parts of the world,but here it is different. It is magical. I’ve seen it. I’ve felt it. The cry of a loon that penetrates the morning mist,as it rises to meet the sky,unveiling the painted mountains bathed in the morning’s first light. It is all so different here to me. The light is different. The darkness of star lit skies. The meandering brook. The sound of silence. It is all genuine inside the blue line. It is a place I am grateful to have visited,and it brings hope,knowing I can visit again soon. What I find in this place is the way things should be. Simple. Honest. Beautiful. So as my mind wanders and brings thoughts of far away places,my wandering spirit is being reined in by the call of the Adirondacks once more. The time is near. Time to step inside the blue line.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Focus Beauty Builder - Lightroom Presets

I recently found this really neat set of Lightroom presets while visiting the blog of Beau Harbin. Glad I stopped by,Beau !
This set of presets is called Focus Beauty Builder.
I'm excited to put some of these presets to use. To this point,I have very little experience at all with presets,and have a lot of learning to do in Lightroom,and processing in general.
Here's one I tried on a recent photograph of a mushroom. I applied the preset "Focus Isolation Center" to the original DNG file,and made no other tweaks. The original photo was shot with flash,and tweaked slightly in Lightroom. Kudos to Markus for these really cool presets !


Focus Isolation Center applied

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blog Neglect

Now that I've neglected this blog for nearly 8 months,let me see if I can go back in time. Below is one shot for each of the previous 7 months.
There,now I'm caught up. :)

January 2009 - Looking through what I did shoot in January,and there wasn't a whole lot there. But what I did shoot is what matters most. Family. Here is one of my niece,the most adorable little girl you could ever meet.

February 2009 - - At the end of February,I left snowy Central New York,for what would be a trip of a lifetime for me. I would fly into San Francisco,and drive an hour north to Point Reyes National Seashore. From Point Reyes,I would begin a 1,400 mile journey that would last 7 days. My goal was to see as much as I could in those seven days. I drove the coast (California Highway 1) for three days to my final coastal destination of Cambria. From Cambria,I headed East across the state,and up and around the bottom of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Lone Pine for a day. Then it was back around the bottom of the mountains and up the other side to Sequoia National Forest. From Sequoia,it was off to Yosemite for a day. I won't soon forget,if ever,what I was witness to. I feel blessed to have had this opportunity. Photos from this trip may be seen here >

The photo below is from Muir Beach overlook. My first "good" look at the Pacific.

March 2009 - See February notes. Pictured below is a Sea Lion I encountered in Monterey. This character was hanging around with a group off the Fishermans Wharf in Monterey. The Monterey area was a highlight of the trip to be sure. Natural beauty abounds.

April 2009 - Spring. A time for renewal. Franklin Square,Syracuse,NY.

May 2009 - The last weekend in May,it's off to what has become a yearly gathering for some fine music in the Catskill mountains of New York. It's time for Mountain Jam !
My Mtn. Jam photos may be seen here.

June 2009 - Visited a very special friend in Ottawa,Ontario,Canada who needed some support. This woman has endured more than most could take in a lifetime.
A few years back,one of her son's was murdered,and they have yet to find the killer. Please say a prayer for her,and send some good karma her way. Here's a song that reminds me of her every time I hear it. Written by Warren Haynes,and performed by Gov't Mule.

So Weak, So Strong (5:08)
Buzzard Rock Music (BMI)

So weak so strong, nothing's forever in her universe
Bringing comfort, bringing pain, so weak so strong

So weak so strong, turning mountains into seas of dust
Finding courage when all hope is lost, so weak so strong

Men have died from half the pain she endures everyday
Many times I've seen her spirit fade away only to rise again

So weak so strong, there's only one of her in the universe
Bringing darkness, bringing light, so weak so strong

Men have died from half the pain she endures everyday
Many times I've seen her spirit fade away only to rise again

So weak so strong, she's never really what she seems to be
But life without her seems so bleak, so weak so strong

July 2009 - Spent a lot of time behind the lens this month. It was difficult to pick just one image,but the one below is certainly one of my favorites. This girl & her horse were performing in the joust at the Sterling Renaissance Festival.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A new 50D & some auto focus adjustments

I recently upgraded to a Canon 50D from the XTi,and the learning process continues. So far,I'm having a difficult time with auto focus using the 300mm. So much so,I decided to check the focus of all my lenses. If your camera is capable,and you want to check the front/back focus and make micro adjustments,check out this great tool.
AF Micro-Adjustment tool
After checking the 300mm,all appears to be well. At least with the lens. I'm still not at all satisfied with the images I'm getting with this combination,although my use has been limited. At this time,I will have to say the user is the problem,and the equipment is fine. Time will tell.
Here's a few images from the 300mm & 50d.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"Aren't those photos great Napoleon?"

Although I really don't like shooting indoors, I like the way this shot came out.
This photo was taken Thanksgiving day at ISO1600,using an Canon XTi with the built in flash,then processed using a very cool Lightroom black and white preset I found this morning. The preset was developed to emulate Kodak TMax 400 black & white film.
A whole set of these black & white presets for Lightroom can be found here.

I never did find a noise preset I was looking for to begin with !

Kodak TMax 400


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winter happens

I'm going to start out this winter season on a positive note.
Forget the fact that it's 10 degrees below the freezing point.
Winter happens. With winter comes snow. Lot's of it,around these parts.
People who get paid to predict this stuff tell us there's an 87% chance we will get some snow today.
I just looked out my kitchen window,and I'd say the chances are 100%.
I've resigned myself to the fact that for the next 4 to 5 months,I will have fewer opportunities to make images.
Snowing or not though,I will be out there trying to capture all the images I can.
For me,snow brings a sense of wonderment. The inner child stirs. Snow washes away the bleakness of late fall,and brings a cleanliness,a calm to all it surrounds.

Here are some images from yesterday. All shot out the truck window.........

Here's the same shot,done in watercolor.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Meet The Pro - John Isaac

It's not every day that you get to sit 15 feet from one of the most respected photographers in the world,and listen as he pours over a body of his work. I had the opportunity to do just that this evening,as John Isaac spent an hour and forty five minutes with a room full of photo enthusiasts at Syracuse University's Community Darkrooms
Isaac spoke of his travels around the world,and his personal struggle in dealing with what he had witnessed while capturing images for the United Nations for over a 20 year period. Isaac also spoke of what moves him today. Photographing the exact opposite of what he saw as a photojournalist. Beauty. It was very evident,Isaac is a humble man,one touched by what he has been witness too,and his images speak volumes to what he has seen.
Here are a few links to info on John Issac and some of his work.
Lexar pro_photo/john isaac
Olympus feature article

Many thanks to Olympus & local camera dealer Ra-Lins for sponsoring this event.
A special thanks to Mindy (Syracuse Photography Meetup Group) for alerting me to this event.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I hunt with a Canon

It's that time of year again. The 1st snow has made it's appearance around these parts,and hunters have taken to the woods,in search of Whitetail Deer. Some of my favorite places to shoot,which were quiet a few weeks back,will be invaded by the folks in camo & orange. The lead will fly. Although I don't oppose hunting,I am particularly leary of those hunting public land. I remember a few years back,a few lads from Long Island shot a cow hunting Whitetail deer. Yes,a cow. Somehow I don't see the resemblance. For the 1st time ever,I might be in the market for a blaze orange winter hat.Here's a whitetail I "shot" with my Canon this past March. A survivor of the hunting season. Must have blended in with the cows........

Sunday, November 16, 2008

And now,for a few photos

Ok. Now for a few photos. That's what were here for,right ?

"Mistery Bay" - A lone Mallard on Crow Bay - Bob's Lake,Ontario,Canada

Grace Potter - Grace Potter & The Nocturnals at Mtn Jam 2008

"Old Time Movies"

"Monkey Business"

Mourning Dove - A backyard regular

"Oneida River Abstract"

Blog 1

I am an amateur photographer,and have enjoyed capturing images on and off for the past 20 years or so.
In the past (with film),I took a general interest in Photography,but never really pursued it with much more than a passing interest.
Then came the monster that is digital photography. Digital started out very innocent enough for me. I bought a Kodak 3.1 megapixel DX3900 point & shoot,and was enjoying the freedom of making images that could be enjoyed almost immediately. I would take my camera with me just about everywhere I went. This new digital photography was great. Until...........
One day while wandering around a state forest here in Central New York,I came upon a wonderful photo opportunity. While driving (off road) in the forest,a grouse flushed from the side of the trail as I stopped my truck. Unlike all previous grouse encounters,the bird just hopped across the trail from one thicket to another,but never took flight. Very strange,I thought to myself. He must be injured. Onward I went,only to stop 10 yards up the trail. Here,perched 15 feet up in a tree was the reason for the grouse's behavior. A huge Barred Owl ! I quickly shut off the engine of my truck,and grabbed the camera. The owl looked my way,and then spun his head around. He didn't think he had been spotted. I tried not to make eye contact as the owl looked back. Too late. He knows I've spotted him,but not soon enough,as I am able to snap off 3 or 4 photos out the truck window. Awesome ! Just as quickly as he had appeared,without a sound,he was gone. I immediately took a look at the shots I was able to get off. To my total dismay,the photos were horrific ! I vowed right then and there,come hell or high water,I was going to get a "real" camera,and learn how to use it. And so,in December of 2006,I took the plunge,and purchased a Canon Rebel XTi,and a 70-200mm L lens. Innocently enough,in the 2 years since I took the plunge,my "hobby",has turned into a full blown addiction. If there was an AAA for digital photography,I would need to be at every meeting. "Hi,my name is Chris,and I haven't taken a photo in.........."
Well,here goes. I'm not sure how this idea of starting a blog will turn out,but here we are nonetheless.

Here's the shot that started it all. (I can hear the laughter now!)