A few months ago the Colorado Railroad Museum put on a steampunk festival. They had some performers for the folks who were getting refreshments, and I was fascinated by this young lady who wasn’t on stage but working on her routine.
Sometimes you just want to stand there and watch what’s going on in the background. I didn’t want to disturb her concentration, and I certainly didn’t want to use any off camera flash.
Saturday I was wandering Wings over the Rockies with a group of photographers, and I started looking at B-18 under restoration, and speculated about airplanes designed in the late 30s.
This particular aircraft wasn’t capable of going up against the German BF-109 but found a role searching for German U-Boats. But I was intrigued by the look of this rotary engine. It had such repetition. In the days that this aircraft flew, it had a reliability much better than the world war one aircraft. But nothing like today’s jet engines.
This morning when I was photographing I was struck by a comment by Tim Cooper, that much of landscape photography is waiting for the right clouds. I was out with the American Photo Treks crew this morning and the clouds didn’t cooperate with us.
About the time the the core of Milky Way was about to rise the clouds rolled in. But we took pictures and waited, and almost when the moon was about to rise, the clouds were somewhat more favorable. Not perfect, but better than it was earlier.
I went out a few weeks ago with the American Photo Treks group. to take pictures of the Milky Way over the plains. I tried out a new lens to see if that made it easier.
This was a 20 mm lens and I used a shutter speed of 15 sec. I could have gotten away with 20 sec according to the 400 rule, but I’m beginning to think that I should do the math and calculate the star’s rotation rate by how far away the star is from true north. Then, I’ll write an app for my iPhone.
And I did shoot this in color but came to the conclusion that I didn’t need the color for what was important in this picture. I used NIK silver efex pro 2, and the noise reduction in DXO optics.
I’m in the process of working through Kathleen Clemmons class on Creative Live, Creating Painterly Photos. In the class she talks about using Lensbaby lenses to accent the focus, just where you want it to be. Here, I was working with the Lensbaby Velvet 56, which is a different style of Lensbaby. There’s no bellows or rotating mount for this lens. So it’s a softer focus style lens.
We were photographing a show from the Denver Orchid society, and I believe that this one came in second place. It was nice of the folks at Tagawa garden center to allow us photographers access.
This weekend we went to Wings over the Rockies to take some pictures before they let the public in.
Last month Erik Holladay showed us his technique of using a hot shoe flash with remote triggers to construct pictures of airplanes in a dark hanger. I went back and extended the technique a little using a 600 W battery powered strobe. So instead of taking 4 or more pictures blended in photoshop, this only took two pictures.
Earlier today I was out taking pictures at Union Station with Jason Odell, and his Mile High Cityscapes class and ran across this piece of art.
A few weeks ago I took a tour of artwork that the city has commissioned and Brandon mentioned that they had installed a piece of artwork at Union Station. If you’re looking for it, it’s a bit out the way, since I was installed on the bridge from Union Station in front of the stairs leading down to the platform. Brandon said on our tour that 1% of the funds for civic improvement projects go to public art. This piece was by Christian Moeller, and called Lola. It depicts both the imagery of person waving goodbye to someone on the train, and a swiss railway clock.
Last night I went with the Metro Denver Digital Photography Learning group to do some macro work. I ended up using a technique that Tony Sweet was teaching in his Fine Art Floral Photography Course from BetterPhoto. Note: I don’t think the course is offered anymore.
Here, I was experimenting with combining multiple shots into one. In the Nikon D810, you can combine multiple shots into one raw image. You could do this in photoshop, but it’s easier to do in the camera. The nice thing is that with the auto gain option it makes it easier to adjust, or in this case not adjust.
I don’t think I would call this journalism, but this is what it looked like out of the camera. However if you shoot in raw, you have to post process your photos.
And for the folks who want to know the particulars of this image. I used my 70-200 at about 200 mm about as close I could get.
I’ve made it out the last two weekends to do some night photography. This weekend, was more urban night photography, and I had a chance to try out what Tony Sweet was telling us, that you can overlay multiple shots to make a more interesting picture.
Saturday night on I-25
Here we took two pictures and used the lighten blend mode to overlay them. Since it was lightly sprinkling, we had some reflections working for us. The two shots were 25 seconds each, and since I had my iso set to 64, I didn’t need my neutral density filter. It does rely on the fact that you have a good tripod.
Tony had shown us a demo, where in the small town he was photographing in, where you could make a small town look like it had the traffic of the Las Vegas strip. In this case, the traffic on I-25 wasn’t bad either.
Since I was doing urban night shots, we didn’t need a cloudless sky.
In the next picture, I was out at Mt Evans, where I was trying out some software that allowed me to stack star shots and align them automatically.
Stars and Bristlecone pines
Here this was 4 shots that I stacked. I was using Star Stacker Pro to do the alignment. This technique should allow me to use higher iso levels without paying the noise penalty. Thankfully last weekend, the clouds cleared up before nautical twilight. This 4 shots were all shot at 25 seconds each as well.
If you click on this photo, you can see how many stars are in it. I did get a comment on Facebook asking if there were really that many stars.
Mt Evans is still within the Denver light pollution, and later this summer I hope to take pictures on the other side of Rocky Mountain National Park where it will be darker.