Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

So with it being the eve of Christmas Eve, this will probably be my last post for a few days. I wanted to keep my mini-streak alive by posting and what better way to say Merry Christmas AND post something photography related than to post a picture of my favorite dog in the whole world. That's right...Hudson has come to the blog!

Hudson will normally ignore the TV entirely. That is until we ask him where the puppies are then he'll look at it to see if there are puppies. If there are? He goes a little nuts. He was barking at the TV just after I shot this.

So from Hudson, me and my wife -
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Revisting images

Have you ever had an image that was pretty good, did your processing on it and then left it for months? Have you come back to that photograph and tried new processing techniques out on it? That's one of the things I love about Lightroom. I can create a snapshot of an image and start my processing over again from scratch and compare the two images to decide which I like more. And revisiting your shots is always a lot of fun.

Take this image I shot this summer in Banff National Park. When I first looked at after getting home there were a few problem areas. I was shooting into the sun somewhat and it was hard to keep the highlights from blowing out. I did try bracketing and then using Photomatix to create an HDR image but I didn't really care for the results.

Tonight I tried good old fashioned dodging and burning. I've also download a bunch of camera profiles for Lightroom and the Camera Landscape profile really punches up the colors.

Monday, December 21, 2009

If I had one book on photography....

If I had could only have one book in my collection of photography books I would have to go with Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. Your camera does a pretty good job with focus on its own. Composition can be learned but its hard to teach it. Exposure however is something that can be taught and a good creative exposure can make the difference between a snapshot and something you would hang on the wall.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Star Trails - Second Attempt

I tried some star trails this summer with not really the greatest results.  Its hard to gauge what your exposure should be and takes more luck than skill to get a good result. I went out last night on Highway 40 west of Cochrane to try again and the results, while varied, were more satisfying. My first attempt was a 30 minute exposure which was far too long for the aperture I had chosen. This attempt was a 7.5 minute exposure at f/2.8 and ISO 200.

I tried some shorter exposure times (1600 ISO and f/1.8) and still had about a 24 second exposure. Its astounding how much the stars move even in that short of time. (The larger size really show the motion)

Stars in the Country

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Scavenger Hunt results are in!

 wut $ 4 Craig T $ In Reflection Finally after months of waiting we got to see the results of this year's Scavenger Hunt. The theme was North of the Tracks and took place downtown between the tracks (duh!) and third avenue here in Calgary. Each team had to come up with a witty name starting with a letter we drew randomly. I (who was somehow team captain) drew the letter W so we decided to go with WUT? from our last names Wong, Untershultz, and Taylor. We managed to get most of the images but had a tough time with some of them. There were a few that when we found out what they were made us groan because we had seen the subject that the clue referenced but didn't make the connection. Nevertheless we did pretty well getting second overall and I ended up with the best overall image in the competition. (Did I just toot my own horn? Toot-toot! Yes I did!)
The rest of my shots can be found here. Kevin and Jim had some terrific shots. If only we had been able to find all the subjects...

 Here are Jim's shots
Here are Kevin's shots:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sepia No More - Revisited

In a previous post entitled Sepia No More, I discussed an article on the NY Times where a Henri Cartier-Bresson was posted to Flickr where the image was slammed. Not for taking credit for the shot but for things like blurriness.

Thanks to the folks on DP Challenge I found the image!

The comments on the photo are hilarious!

Friday, June 12, 2009

MTV Movie Awards - Fashion 360 powered by 48 NIkon D700

The Nikon D700 is a sweet camera. They run about $3000 CDN. Big Freeze took 48 of them paired with 28 mm lenses to do a motion freeze movie ala The Matrix.

Check out the clip and info on the system here

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Some fun with film

A few months ago, I bought a Nikon Film SLR from a friend at the Foothills Camera Club. My first roll was some black and white C41 process Ilford XP-2. I wasn't overly inspired when I was shooting and the look of the black and white on the prints was rather blah. This image of my boots was one of my favorites.

The nice thing about the film is that its relatively cheap and easy to develop if you need to use a lab since its C41 which is what color negative is. (I.e. what you can take to ANY photo lab).

I had also purchased a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus. I loved the results I got. Of course I should have. After taking in the other roll to get processed I went out shooting on Stephen Avenue with the HP5 plus loaded. And it was 20 degrees below Celsius. I was using my 70-300 mm lens that day. The problem with it is that it has no aperture ring so everything was shot at f/22. (The camera body isn't new enough to control the aperture either) Fortunately, since its such a long lens I was able to control depth of field easily enough.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Can a machine rate your images?

So I am back...hopefully with more posts per week than before! So here's a quick one.

Can a machine rate your images? The makers of Acquine (Aesthetic Quality Inference Engine) believe it can.

User have thrown some really well known images at it with strange results. The famous Afghan Girl that is one of the most famous National Geographic magazine covers ever gets a modest score of 78.1 My own personal best shot at DP Challenge and ribbon winner at the Foothills Camera Club gets a 96.9.

So what does this mean? Nothing really. The engine can be somewhat fooled. A larger image does better. (e.g. I rated my image using a link from the FCC website and the score drops to 93). In a thread on DP Challenge, users have indicated that bumping up saturation will also increase scores.

That being said, looking through the top rated images on Acquine, I think that the shots are pretty good with most being exceptional.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Last One Out, Please Turn On The Light

Its crazy. Darkrooms used to be found all over. Its hard to find them any more. Their demise in the face of digital reminds me a lot of gradual disappearance of grain elevators here in Alberta. There is just something magical and special about the old film days. Taking a roll of film and with one part science and one part alchemy breath life into it and turn it into a print.
Here is a photo essay on some of these fading icons:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Left Brain vs Right Brain

Not exactly photography related but definitely on topic about creativity in general.
This link is to an interesting test for whether you are right brained or left brained:,22049,22535838-5012895,00.html

Apparently, if you concentrate, you can see the dancer change from anti-clockwise to clockwise. I apparently lack that ability and in fact only see her going clockwise which indicates that I am right brained. I guess I should be satisfied that I can see her spin at all because that might indicate that I have no brain!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Photojournalism entry...

Last night, at the first meeting of the Foothills Camera Club in 2009, we went over the results of the photojournalism competition. I am happy to say that I did pretty well and received a second place ribbon for one of my entries.

One comment that came up for a couple of entries was that the judges felt that without the title there was no story. After the meeting there was some discussion on this point and to be honest I could see both sides point. I think that a photojournalism shot should have enough to make the viewer want to know more. That is, the shot should stand on its own. The title or caption, can be used to help convey the story or message that the photographer was striving for.

On the other hand, if the whole story is told by the title I think it weakens the effectiveness of the image.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Edmonton Oilers Skills Competition

This weekend has been a lot of fun for me and my wife. We went to Edmonton yesterday and spent the whole day at the waterpark. I think we both agree that the slides and the wave pool are definitely a lot of fun. We stayed over night with my brother and his wife and went to the Oilers Skills Competition at Rexall Place. We didn't arrive as early as should have so we sat in the nose bleed section but otherwise it was a great afternoon and I got a few shots that turned out all right.
The problem with shooting sports in a stadium is that as bright as the lights are its still quite dark so I had to shoot at 1600 ISO so I could get my shutter speed up to 1/500 second. Consequently some of the shots are fairly noisy. Overall I am content with what I got though.