Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 120 of 365

Today marks the end of April or for me 120 straight days of taking a photo a day. I have to say I'm pretty happy with making it to this milestone.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day 119 of 365

Back on Day 28 I posted a shot of some overhead lights in our new library. Today I was in the same conference room and was waiting for others to show up and while sitting there I looked straight up. Kind of reminds me of looking down the barrel of a campy sci-fi movie laser gun...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day 118 of 365

So another day of doing self portrait and trying to learn how to light better. Since I don't really like being photographed I figure I should try having a little fun with it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day 117 of 365

I was able to get my wonderful wife to model for me this evening so I could try this again but behind the camera. I have a project I need to do for my ASL course and I wanted a photo that included an ear to use in the Powerpoint. Since I wanted the ear to be more of the focus I worked it until I got this shot. Much easier to focus and work with the flash when you aren't your own subject.

Here's a shot of my wife being silly.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day 116 of 365

So I was sitting in the garage trying to come up with today's photo and started thinking about the things I haven't tried yet. Self portrait is something very very low on my list of things I wanted to do but as I was running out of day I decided to just get it over with.'s a pain focusing on yourself. I had to turn on a bunch of lights and sit down so the camera could auto focus. Then had to get up to turn off all the lights and hope I sat back down in the chair the correct way so the light hit me right. So here you go...the obligatory self portrait shot on black with side light. Yeah me...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Day 115 of 365

I decided to go with something other than flowers today. I took several shots of wildflowers but they all pretty much looked exactly like every other wildflower photo I've taken the past month. I did find a place that I want to see what I can do with another time. I had explored the old Army training area near my house via Google Maps satellite view and noticed what looked like a trench and foxhole complex out in the middle of the woods and sure enough it was . It was in pretty bad disrepair but I think my boots may have to visit.

Speaking of Google Maps...not a bad way to explore before heading out. The satellite view is pretty cool as you can find things you might miss from the ground. The trench area I found wasn't visible from any of the nearby trails and I didn't actually see it until I walked right up on it after heading off the nearest trail.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Day 114 of 365

This is the same shot I took a few weeks ago but instead posted a photo of a small backlit flower. I decided to reshoot the tall grass since it was the same windy conditions like the last time. I didn't feel like dragging out my tripod and using a ND filter to get motion but was happy to see that even with a shutter speed of 1/320 second I got the appearance of motion.

I finally got around to setting up my Google Reader so I can follow other blogs easier. I don't know why I didn't do it earlier, well I do, sheer laziness but I did finally do it. So much easier to be able to see everything in one place and see when a blog has been updated. So please link to or send me an e-mail with your blog address if you'd like me to check it out. I really really really want to get into the habit of looking at and commenting on other photographers work.

If anyone is interested in a little photoshop project I did for a class I'm taking you can check it out on my Flickr. The project was to create a collage or composite so I took a few of my photos worked with them. I used Day 42, Day 40, and Day 32 and several different layer adjustments and layer blending modes later ended up with the final project. I went for an Asian look and think it came out better than I expected it too.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day 113 of 365

I was inspired by Celina of Cel's Project 365 who did a very nice, I believe, Cherry Blossom photo today. I would like to have been able to crop out the errant branches and make it less pinkish but I like the minimalist feel to it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 112 of 365

This is me being silly...not on drugs...just silly. I didn't get a chance to take any photos outside today so after class tonight I went out into the garage and sat there for a few trying to think of something to shoot and saw my old friend the burned out light bulb. I find myself holding onto items that may be of interest later down the road...not good when you have a mild case of packratitis (my new made up word of the day) to begin with.

So I'm sitting there looking around for something to shoot and grab the light bulb and my small flashlight. My initial concept was to see if I could make it glow on the inside but while playing around noticed the shadow. Along with the shadow there were circular lines. This is a 2 second exposure with just a small amount of light from a flashlight. As you can see I didn't paint enough of the area so part of it was excluded but I decided to not sit out there for hours trying to get the perfect one as this was more for fun and to get me thinking outside the box a little. This may not be a great shot but who I did it may come in handy sometime in the future. Now is the time to experiment...

I'll leave you with this...

"There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes"
Richard Buckminster Fuller (US engineer and architect, 1895-1953)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 111 of 365

Decided to use some natural light today. Took the lilies I had photographed previously outside and in between wind gusts snapped some shots. I also played around with framing my shots differently. I'm finding my compositions to be consistent, which isn't a bad thing really, but I'm trying to think and see differently in the hopes I can bring my skills to a new level.

This shot probably isn't very different from most of what I've done previously but it's a baby step for me. Instead of zooming all the way in and just making it about the curves on the flower I backed up a little and moved the flower to the side so some of the green leaves could bring some of their own curves into it. Does it work?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 110 of 365

Safety shot...didn't feel much like doing more than going out my front door and taking this at lunch time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day 109 of 365

This one is a lesson photo for me. I learned that I probably should have something to stabilize my camera if I'm using my 70-300mm lens later in the day. Even though the shutter speed was 1/60 sec I was also at 300mm and while I can hold steady quite well with my smaller lens with a shutter speed of 1/60 sec apparently not so with my telescopic lens fully extended. This photo is the closes to in focus I had after downloading and looking at the photos I took. Thankfully I only took about 12 today so I didn't have 50+ disappointments.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day 108 of 365

Took a walk today in an area just behind where I live. We've lived near this area for 8 years now and until just recently had never explored the area. Living on an old Army base there are acres of land that were at one time training grounds. Big areas with nothing but trails, dirt roads, trees, grass, flowers and all the things that go with them. Last time I went back there I only took my 50mm lens and wished I had my 70-300mm instead. Today I took the 70-300mm and was really glad I did. As you can see I came across a hawk. Unfortunately I was only able to get about 5o yards from it before it flew off.

This little California Towhee, figured out what it was by finding the Monterey County Bird List website, was much more photogenic. I initially saw it from the shadow side so slowly moved around it so the sun was to my back and was able to get much closer. It just sat there posing for me and as I turned to walk away it flew off.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 107 of 365

There were before this big wind storm that blew through here the other day a bunch of dandelions in our front lawn. I at the time thought a shot of them as if they were a little forest would be interesting, at least in my imagination anyway. Well the storm kind of ruined that but I thought I'd at least take a photo what I was envisioning.

I'm thinking less DOF...maybe the back stems a little more in focus?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 106 of 365

I expressed some thoughts of being creatively tapped and Michael of Fort Photo recommended I do a minimalist phase. That I will be looking into and probably starting tomorrow. Today I went with what I know...which is baseball. This is a ball I've had since high school or probably even longer. Found it in a box full of old stuff from my childhood I was digging through this evening trying to find something to photograph. I so enjoyed playing baseball...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day 105 of 365

Trying to think bigger. My wife liked this one but I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day 104 of 365

Just a fun shot today. I have been lamenting the fact that my filter kit was for 58mm and not 52mm which fits my 50mm 1.8 lens. I had a sudden thought that I may have had adapters that came with the filters and dug around a little and sure enough I had an adapter. With my neutral density filter I was going to take some shots of some tall grass close to sunset. It's been very windy today, gusts up to 50 mph, so wanted to have a slow shutter to get some motion in the grass. As I was taking some shots I looked to my left and saw my shadow. Thought it might be fun to see how it would look and here you go...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 103 of 365

One thing I forgot to mention in my long rambling post yesterday was my desire to participate more on other 365 photography project sites. So many of you are checking my site regularly and while I try and look at every site I find at least once a week I think I need to be better at doing this. Probably would help if I got around to setting up my Google Reader so I can visit sites I follow easier.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day 102 of 365

Took a long walk along the waterfront today. This shot is of an old fenced off pier. The lines, color and random patches of grass caught my eye.

While out walking I had time to think about the last 101 days of photos I've taken and kind of assess where I'm at, where I thought I'd be, what I need to work on and what kinds of photos I want to try over the course of the next 9 months.

I forgot to recap March so here's a short recap.

Total # of photos = 1500
Avg per day = 48.4
Most on one day = 130 (Day 76)
Fewest on one day = 3 (Day 90)

So where am I in my project? Good question. I'm pretty much where I hoped to be at this point. I have the basic camera functions down. I understand how to use aperture, shutter speed, ISO and the like correctly. Manual mode isn't a foreign concept anymore. I still forget to check my white balance settings on occasion but can live with that. The very unexpected interest my project has generated was by far the biggest highlight so far. I've thanked you all before but want to just tell you how much I appreciate the interest and all the great comments, questions and feedback.

So what do I feel I need to work on? I need to expand my horizons. I find myself doing mostly flowers and macro in my lightbox. Not that there is anything wrong with that but I want to start thinking big. Harder than you may think. As a kid I had the smallest handwriting. My teachers would writes notes to my mom about how small my handwriting was. It was small but it was clear, concise and perfect. If I made a mistake I would scrap the entire sheet of paper and start over. Perfectionist? Yeah a little. So for me to think big it will take some willpower. What do I mean by big? Taking photos of the entire object or scene. I find myself transfixed on the small details. Which is great but I think I'm missing the whole picture. I'm not sure how to accomplish this. Will a 50mm or a 70-300mm lens do this? Can I take a photo of an entire car and still make it look good? I also want to do portrait. I have a willing model in my wife but just haven't tried it. I can blame it on wanting to learn how to light better but I don't think that's the reason. I need to get over my complete dislike of being photographed. I may need therapy for that one. It's not like I think I'm a hideous looking guy...I mean I've looked in the mirror and called myself a handsome devil a time or two so I think it's more like how I hate hearing my recorded voice. It doesn't sound like me and photos don't look like me. So that portrait photography may just be my hardest one to do but I will do it...promise.

Sorry this is a long one but if you're still reading I have a site recommendation. I was listening to the 7 Photography Questions podcast and Alan Babbitt was being interviewed. Alan Babbitt is legally blind and was also diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2003. He had been doing photography long before being diagnosed but while it may cause some to quit he uses it to his advantage. Check out what he calls Tremor-Enhanced Photography. Very inspiring. The podcast has some great information as well...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day 101 of 365

Fully intended on taking some photos with the boots today but after an hour of walking around didn't really find anything that inspired me. Settled on this mostly because I liked the shadow.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Day 100 of 365

Used a small flashlight to paint light onto the Calla Lilies. I completely forgot to answer a light painting question last time I did it so will attempt to now. Basically light painting, at least for me, consists of a completely dark room, a couple of seconds of open shutter and a small flashlight. To reduce how much light comes from the flashlight I taped a small piece of thick cardboard over the end of the flashlight and poked a couple of holes through the cardboard so only a couple small shafts of light come out instead of the entire beam. I shutter release and paint light onto the areas of the flower I want lit until the shutter this case it was set for 4 seconds.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day 99 of 365

Raining out today so back to the lightbox. This is a macro of an Easter Lily. Plenty of different way to photograph these flowers so may play around with them the next couple of days.

The USA Network has been running commercials for a photography project they sponsored called the Character Project. Different photographers from around the country taking portraits of regular people. I finally got around to looking at it and really enjoyed the photographs. Check it out.... Character Project

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Day 98 of 365

Not the greatest shots but I wanted to show a little of how I look at things. Back on Day 85 I posted a photo of some California Poppies I took that I found in a Best Buy parking lot. Kim left a comment saying she would have never guessed that they weren't taken in a full field of them. So today I took 4 shots from different heights, starting at over 6 feet, and crouching down till I'm on my knees as close to one of the little flower as my camera would let me. These little flowers were found in a grassy median near my house. I'm standing near my car with other cars just across from me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Day 97 of 365

So this is more of an inside joke between my wife and I but I'll tell the short version. My wife is a huge Christopher Walken fan, especially the Saturday Night Live skit featuring More Cowbell. I originally bought her the cowbell for her upcoming birthday but decided to give it to her today because she did her final sign off for her Zero Balancing certification. I thought she deserved some cowbell to celebrate.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day 96 of 365

Yesterdays photos were with my 50mm lens so today after work I ventured out into my backyard with my 70-300 macro lens and crawled around looking for small flowers. Found baby Lupine and after clearing some grass out of the way took this with the setting sun to my front which is giving this the nice little glow.

You just never know what you might find if you get down low to the ground and look around.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day 95 of 365

After 8 years of living on Monterey and seeing Lupine every spring and thinking I should take pictures of it I finally got around to doing it today. I did have a good excuse the first 6 years because I didn't have a good camera but the last 2 years that excuse wouldn't work.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Day 94 of 365

Today was kind of an eclectic day of photography. I went out to take some photos of my boots around campus and ended up taking photos at a water polo match and then found a war remembrance display honoring California servicemen and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. They aren't my boots but went with this one as I think it had the most impact personally out of all the photos I took. I'll probably post a few more on my Flickr tomorrow. Those I'll probably clean up a little...mostly cropping out buildings in the background and such.

Here are a few of the water polo match as well. I've been wanting to try photographing a sporting event for a while so it was nice to finally have it under my belt. A learned a few things. One is I'll shoot jpeg instead of RAW next time. RAW files load a bit too slow to get good continuous bursts. The other oddity that I think was due to the angle I was shooting at and the fact the sport is played in a swimming pool is the horizon line is constantly skewed. Everything is level but because of the sides of the pool angling away it looks off. I chalk that up to circumstances beyond my control. I posted a few other shots on my Flickr if your interested.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Day 93 of 365

Lupine is in bloom all over the place and every year I say I'm going to take some photos of it and have yet to do so. So today I find a bunch growing near work and what do I do? I take a photo of a red flower with lupine as the background instead. Heh...I swear I will get some photos of nothing but lupine. There are whole fields full of it so want to try and get some early morning shots and stop down some so there isn't so much bokeh. I'm finding that with the 50mm 1.8 I can really over do it and need to find my happy medium and use for specific purposes.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Day 92 of 365

Was driving home this evening and noticed two large military jets flying overhead and thought of a photo I just saw earlier in the day posted to Flickr by Tafari, who is a wonderful photographer and someone to check out. So a couple of things. Not sure why but the photo looks really pixelated online while not so much in Photoshop. Another thing is I noticed a large spot on the photo, which would indicate I probably should take the camera in for a sensor cleaning. Mostly I find the shot completely uninteresting, which is disappointing because it looked so much better in the sky. Might work better if I could have gotten more of the trail. This is the beauty of my project...I want to play a little and test my limits both creatively and equipment wise. Some things may work and others not so much.

I've also had the priveledge of Jason Anderson of Canon Blogger asking me to participate in his weekly "Thursday Thoughts" series. Jason is just another guy like all of us that has gone just a step further in his passion for photography by having a photography related blog and a podcast. Check his site out and read a little about me.

Thursday Thoughts with...Rob Weiher on Canon Blogger

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Day 91 of 365

To crop or not to camera that is. I took one photo today and that was walking between classes this evening. Not sure I particularly like the shot but instead of going out into the garage and coming up with something better I thought I'd post this and see if I can figure out what could be better...if anything.

To get it all in I would have had to stand further back, was using my 50mm lens, and with that the lose of the finer details. I could have gone landscape but then the flower would be floating because the stem would have been cut off. If the flower was centered it would have been breaking the dreaded rule of thirds but then also cutting the edges off and that didn't seem appealing at all. What I probably should have done was having a framing card with me and see how it looked out of camera before putting my eye up to the camera.

If you don't know what a framing card is...check out this very helpful photography blog by Marc Silber. Heck if you do know what a framing card is...check out Marc's blog anyway.