To all ye who want to paint with light ...

I should have started this blog many moons ago as I started experiencing the joys of rediscovering the art of photography. But as the saying goes - it's better late, than never!
So, here I am, in the hopes of recording what I learn as I progress from ignorance to enlightenment; about what my eyes can see that my camera can capture; and, what my mind imagines and my camera paints with its capabilities.

Please feel free to add any comments and share your wisdom (tips or tricks) that you have picked up along the way.

And do check out my How-To and Birding pages as well.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 80 - Snap-a-snack

I came back from work feeling all upbeat about another gorgeous day and wanted to go look for the ducklings I know I'd find on the pond.  But all of a sudden I felt exhausted and completely pooped!  So, I decided to give myself a sugary break with my fave home-made strawberry jam and a piece of toast.  And what better subject for a photo than my snack plate?

The light was extremely low in my dining room.  I used AV and that picked really slow shutters, ranging between 3.2 to 6s!  I played with the WB a little bit on the 3rd & last frames.  The 3rd one seems to have turned out a little bit better.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 79 - Panning

I have to admit these photos were taken yesterday, but I took so many of them, I figured I could cheat for a day.

Practising this for my flying bird shots - I clearly need to spend a lot more time on this.  Ambient light was very low, since these photos were taken in the lengthening shadows after 7:30 pm in cloudy conditions, so I had to use a very high ISO to be able to crank up the shutter speed.

I hadn't realized then, but now I see the reflections of this group of people standing and watching the birds.  Would have been nicer if my bird had been in sharp focus.

Day 78 - Looking down from Mont Royal

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 77 - Light experiment

I hadn't had the time or opportunity to take a photo during the day, but when that happens I definitely start thinking about a staged subject.

I saw something similar to this earlier in the day (of course that photo used way more sophisticated techniques and props than mine), and I'd wanted to try it out.  I spent quite a bit of time trying to get the controls right, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.  I will definitely write about this again when I've had a chance to fine tune it.

Day 76 - What bug is this?

I'm starting to get interested in portraits after an intense session on the subject with my friend Jim.  We were quite a few of us sitting in and learning hands on, working with reflectors and ambient light.  He had picked a fabulous location with a lot of graffiti on the walls (Montreal is quite famous for this) and we got some wonderful shots.  I'm unable to post those photos here, without the consent of those kind souls.  So, maybe once I've had a chance to see what they think, I'll post a few shots separately.

However, I did manage to find an interesting looking bug sitting on one of the reflectors and figured this would have to suffice as the shot of the day.  ;-)  These are quick handheld shots with my 55-250.

I have no clue what it is, so I'd love to find out.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 75 - Thunderstorm

I went out in the mini T-storm that we had yesterday evening.  My objective was to catch some lightning, but there were some major challenges - a) I didn't have a proper way to trip the shutter because I couldn't predict the lightning flashes; b) I used long exposures, but the lightning was really weak whereby there wasn't anything that was caught on camera; c) I waited for over an hour amidst the mosquitoes and other miscellaneous bugs that are characteristic of Spring and got a few bites as souvenirs.

I played with the WB on this one.  

These were unexpected shots of some Canada Geese treading water and taking off of the river.  I knew they always fly within some kind of formation, so I had to click continuously to get a shot that I liked.  

Day 74 - Night lights across the river

I didn't get very good shots this evening.  I didn't have my tripod and I'd just gone out to get a breath of fresh air after dinner.  I had to crank up the ISO very high since I had to hand hold the shot, but of course there's still a lot of camera shake besides a lot of noise in the picture.  Doing some night lights is on my agenda, but not quite sure when exactly that's going to happen.

And I also happened to notice the bugs on treetops when I was snapping the moon.

Day 73 - Playing tourist

Most noteworthy event for the day was that I finally managed lens flare and used it to create a star (photo #5)!  

Day 72 - Montreal at night

I'm really behind on my postings.  This is from last Saturday when I went and spent a couple of hours walking the streets of downtown Montreal around midnight.   I got a few buildings but I mostly found the storefronts really interesting.  All the shots were handheld, of course.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 71 - Sunset on Ile des Soeurs

The evening walk had to be cut short because of the bug infestation this little island is witnessing.  You have bugs mobbing you like there's no tomorrow.  You have to keep swinging your arms around to chase the bugs away and be able to see where you're going!  If you blow up the first photo, you'll know what I mean.

This shot was handheld.  I need to use my tripod to see the difference in details.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 70 - Playing with custom white balance and lighting

My subject was a single red gerbera that a pretty little 4 yr old girl gave me.  She always has something to give me when she sees me - whether it's a "Princess" sticker, or a flower, or a paper cutting that she made herself.  Unfortunately, I never have anything on me that befits that little princess and that's worth offering (I usually see her in the elevator when I am either returning home from work or on my way down to the recycling bins)!  One of these days I must go up to her apartment and I better bring her a nice gift.

Anyway, so here are the experiments with the gerbera that I did over a few hours starting in the evening after it was almost completely dark, and continuing the following morning.

For this image I used my TV as the background, with two low-powered lamps placed at least 6 ft away on either side, aperture priority, f/5.6, ISO 100, spot metering, exposure bias of 1/3 stop.

Natural light at ISO 400, manual, f/5.6, 10s, spot metering

Shot with custom WB, aperture priority, ISO 200, exposure bias of 1/3 stop

90 mm macro lens, aperture priority, pattern metering, ISO 800 (flower was kept in low light), f/5.6

Shot with 90 mm macro lens, custom WB, manual, pattern metering, ISO 100 (flower was in bright ambient light), 1/8s, f/10

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 68 - Daniel McAllister

Montrealers know who Daniel McAllister is, don't they?


The Daniel McAllister was built in 1905-1906, at Collingwood shipyard, and launched in 1907 under the name Helena. The new oceangoing tugboat measured 32,5' in lenght and 7' across at the midship beam.She began her career on the Atlantic coast. The daniel mc allister was placed here after the locks were re built. The boat is sitting on a concrete cradle (visible when the intermediate pool is drained) kinda funny the boat is a sieve, when they drain the canal you see water comming out for hours!!

The tugboat was renamed Daniel McAllister when it was purchased by McAllister Towing Ltd. In 1967, she could often be seen towing Canadian Pacific's large passenger liners - the Empress of Canada and the Empress of England - into the port of Montreal where she ended her career in the 1980s.

The Daniel McAllister is the oldest and largest tugboat to be preserved in Canada and the second oldest oceangoing tug to be preserved in the world.