Last weekend I went out with a new Meetup group. Oddly enough, I had been tempted to photograph some of the light rail stations and Nancy and Bryan had organized a meet up about this. It was nice to discover others had the same thoughts.
Here someone mentioned that the owner of this building had problems with graffiti until he had the mural painted on his building. Now everyone just wants to look at the artwork. I ended up using my 16-35mm lens here, since I wanted to avoid stepping on the the train track.
In the shot below, I realized that I more interested in the shadow cast by the direction post, than the post itself. My lens wasn’t that happy with me since I ended starring into the Sun for this one.
This weekend I went out with the Denver Photo Night Walk Community. It was easy to be inspired that night, partially because the weather was pleasant for February, and we weren’t freezing. And I was wandering around with friends who made suggestions. It’s nice to be able to bounce ideas off of folks who don’t think you’re insane for trying new things.
Here I was struck by the Soup of the Day sign and the artwork. Here I was also experimenting with Aurora HDR.
Last weekend, I attended Speedlight Intensive from Illuminate Workshops from Efrain Cruz. He had a great model, and spent some time working with me to use my own equipment to get the best photos out of the camera.
Irene in Church
Here I was using my portable Rapid Box – 26 Octa with the PocketWizard system and controlling the light manually from the camera. I liked the look of RapidBox, since it was set up as a beauty dish, so it didn’t spill light everywhere. This was a case where I kept in mind what David Hobby said, first set your background light, the ambient light in the church. Then set your key light.
Last night I went out with Jason Odell in a class about night photography. Jason’s classes are lots of fun, so we ended up at the windmill site outside Liimon, CO, where he encouraged us to shoot star trails and the Milky Way. He came out with a technique for shooting star trails where you don’t have to invest in an external multifunction remote. Of course I have the Nikon MC-36A but his suggestion had less background light, so to my eye it looked better. He suggested shooting 30 second intervals, which most cameras can do with a simple remote and setting the camera to continuous high. Then you will need to import these into a layered workflow. Adobe Photoshop, and On1’s Perfect Photo Suite would work for this. If you want to use Phase One’s Capture One Pro, you are limited to 16 layers so using the multifunction remote would be better. There’s also a new tool Affinity Photo for Mac that can deal with many layers, but I haven’t got much experience with that too.
One of the things I wanted to do last night was experiment with star stacking, so shots of the Milky Way were what I was concentrating on.
Milky Way at Windmill site
If you stack multiple shots, and adjust them for motion of the earth, you can reduce the noise. The key is to mask out the ground, so you don’t get multiple images of the sky. The tool I used here was StarryNightStacker which runs on the Mac. Mike Berensen has another technique that you can use with photoshop by it self, but it takes a bit longer.
Here I took 5 pictures at F/2.8 and 25 seconds. I was using my Rokinon 14 mm manual focus lens. The really nice thing about that lens, is infinity is at the stop, so the problems of focusing in the dark are decreased. Being a wide angle lens, I ran the shots through DXO Optics to remove the geometric distortion.