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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 140 - WWW (wow, what a web!)

I loved the setting sun reflecting off the gossamer threads of this spider web and then I also loved the bokeh of fall colours (yes, the leaves have started changing colour already! nooooo!) behind the second web shot.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 139 - Fighter planes

I had no intention of going out with the headache I had all day, but when I heard these aircrafts zipping by a few times, I knew it was time for me to get my camera out.

I took a few shots, but it was at around 2:30 pm and the hazy heat was a bit too much.  My 250 mm didn't perform all that badly, but I definitely could have done with some more telephoto power.  I could have definitely used the C-PL, but in my hurry to get the shots, I forgot to pick it up.  :(

I recomposed the shot a little in Photoshop Elements, because the aircrafts were too far apart and that's the reason there is the lighter section in the middle of the image.  Someday I have to learn how to use post-processing for better results.

Day 138 - The day of the squirrel

I heard rustling overhead and found this guy foraging for nuts, or whatever else that it was after.  I didn't know who was more surprised to see the other - out of the blue (or should I say green!).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 137 - Painting with light

Yes!  I did just that!  I painted the rock in the foreground with a flashlight on a long exposure on the third and fourth shots.

I went out close to 10:00 pm when I saw a nice round moon from my kitchen window.  But Lady Luck rarely smiles upon me at these times.  By the time I got to my chosen spot on the island, the moon decided to play peekaboo.  I barely had time to set up my equipment and I saw the reflection of the moonlight vanishing from the river's surface.  I waited around for a little bit longer, but I was out of luck, tired and hungry since I hadn't even had the chance to make dinner.

The first shot actually shows the last traces of the reflected moonlight just beside the rock in the foreground.  (These shots are best viewed large - just click on them to enlarge).

I processed the white balance a little bit differently for each of the shots below and I'd really love to know which one you liked most.  

In the shots below, the moon went behind the clouds and stayed there for the entire duration of 20 minutes that I waited.  These shots have the rock painted over with the flashlight.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 136 - The rains spoil the day

I wanted to do some downtown photography since it was a nice overcast day, but the moment I stepped out of the office to do that with a colleague, it started to spit.  Not wanting to get the cameras compromised by the rain, we took ourselves to the World Trade Centre and tried to find some nice subjects.

I found a couple of interesting things and then tried a little post-processing again.  I'm preparing for cooler weather and more indoor photography. :-(  The thought depresses me, but the reality is that soon enough, we'll be pelted with the snow and who knows how long that might last!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 135 - Ice, ice baby!

My baby (well, he's fourteen actually) noticed the ice that had formed in the cup I keep in my fridge to keep my herbs fresh.  I was going to pitch it out, and he noticed the formations.  So, the credit of finding my subject goes to him.

Most of you don't know that he has a great eye for photography (even though I say so), but refuses to pick up the camera unless he's bored to death, which is rare because he's always playing games on the computer.  He refuses because he thinks I'm going to ask him to go out and take pictures everyday, just the way I do!  Sigh!

These two shots were processed in Lightroom 3.  I recently downloaded a trial version, and I have to say I'm pretty impressed by what it can do, and I know that this isn't even the tip of the iceberg yet.  And yes, I'm finally getting my hands dirty with post processing.  And high time, too!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 134 - Wildflower

Found this little gem by the roadside.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 133 - Black-capped Chickadee

Photographing these guys aren't a mean thing, I tell ya!  The little birds always pick the darkest or the tallest part of the tree to perch themselves, and you'd be darned if you can reach them with inadequate telephoto or ISO capabilities.

Anyway, these birds are teaching me a virtue I can't admit to having - patience!  I waited around for this guy for at least 45 mins. - once squatting on the ground, once climbing on the rock, then almost slipping down the side of an embankment to finally get a shot that's at least passable.

It's really tricky with these guys, but I have to say that once I got these near decent shots after about 10 totally useless ones, I am certain I had a smug grin on my face that the passers by wondered at.  I tasted victory and boy, did it taste sweet! :)

Both images were flashed at -1stop, at ISO 1600, the highest my camera could take.  I had to remove some noise in post, as they had turned out really grainy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 132 - Black and White Day

I had organized a B&W photo workshop for my photo club at work.  So, we had to go out and shoot after an hour of instruction and I have to admit I don't visualize B&W well at all.  Here are a few of the shots from then.  I'd love to know what you think.

This last one turned out blurry because my arms were tired and I had to use a slower shutter speed as the sky was completely overcast and the light had gone down quite a bit. I also just saw the merger in this shot that's distracting.  Too bad, but I think this might have turned out better.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 131- Another gorgeous sunset

I love the banded sky in the one below, but I wish I had something else in the frame - it's a little bit too stark.  I was in a thickly wooded area and I was trying to move around to find a better angle, but almost fell into a ditch and twisted my ankle.  I gave up trying!  :-(

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 130 - Reflections of a gorgeous sunset

Determined to get back on track a bit with my photo 365, I headed out with my camera, even though I felt totally uninspired.  Had no idea what to look for today, so just explored a new neighbourhood on the island where I live.  Found a few curious things, including an ivy covered lamp post.

I had a challenge exposing for the foreground that was the lamp post, because I'd wanted to include the interesting clouds in the sky.  Finally, gave up and just composed my shot with the lamp post, totally excluding the clouds, since they were getting blown out and the light was failing really fast.

Looking at this image makes me think like someone is towering over me and saying "I told you about the feet, didn't I?" (King Julian-style, in the movie Madagascar).

The image below was the only shot of the car I could get, because I was afraid someone might tell me off for photographing their car.  But I really like the reflection, and I managed to sneak a shot.  It didn't turn out too bad considering I had only the one chance.

The last ones here are not well composed at all!  I turned around at one point and saw the sky turning this incredible colour and I was in the thick of a residential neighbourhood.  I tried to get to the river side as fast as I could, because I knew that's where I would find all the colours, but I was on the east side of the island, and it would take me a good 20 min. brisk walking to get to the other side.  So, just to be able to record the colours, I shot into thin air, not caring about anything but the sky.  So here's the series almost SOOC, except for a little saturation and a crop in a couple of them.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 129 - Bubbles

I didn't think I'd do any photography today, but I got an idea for a shot when I poured myself a glass of ginger ale and added a slice of lime to it.  Used my reading lamp as the source of light.  I keep telling myself I need to get a strobe, but it's just not happening.  Ah, well!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 127 - New seagulls sighted

I identified two new seagulls I'd never noticed before - the Great Black-Backed Gull and a juvenile Herring Gull.  The black-backed gull was far, far away on this little outcropping and I got the best shot I could get with 250 mm.  I'm not sure if there's any other way I could have improved it, except maybe to have stopped down a little bit to get that nice reflective sheen on the water.
This juvenile was flying around with quite a bit of speed and I realized that my focus wasn't spot on.  I will have to practise my panning a little bit more.  This shot was more to ID the bird than for use as a keeper.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 126 - Curves and lines

Photo club meeting day - running out of ideas.  So, led the group to this circular elevated structure (don't know what it exactly is) and started shooting the lines and patterns.

And my fascination with reflections in the windows never ceases!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 125 - Banana Nut Bread with Chocolate Chips

I had to use up the bananas before they went bad.  I had a looong work day of 11.5 hours, so I was pretty much bushed at the end of it, but still managed to turn out a decent loaf for my ever-hungry teen.  He loved it, and that's all that matters.

All these images were taken under fluorescent light and I didn't really have any energy left to try different apertures or lenses.  I used my 18 - 55 mm lens that was on my camera already and just used different PoVs.

I shot on AV, and some with exposure bias and some without.  

High ISO was my only answer to steady shots when I started shooting handheld.  But I soon realized I was wasting my energy because each and every shot turned out fuzzy.  So I transferred over to my tripod, but in the process forgot to change my ISO.  

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 124 - All things bright and beautiful

I took a quick shot of the bouquet my 14-yr old gave me for my birthday.   He also gave me a cake which unfortunately I had no time to photograph amidst the cleaning and shopping and some unexpected guests.  I'm feeling really bad that I couldn't chronicle this event in its entirety, as this was the first real gift from my son and it was precious!