Blue Sky Research

Touch of Spring

The depth of field options of the 50mm f/1.8 have made it a very useful lens that hasn’t yet come off the camera. I contemplated swapping it for the 90mm macro to take some closeups of the flower buds, however, I didn’t feel up to lugging the tripod down to the park. All three of these photos were taken at Bass Island. The top photo was taken through the birches in late afternoon sun. The touches of yellow from the newly blooming flowers give the image a feeling of warmth, but in truth, I couldn’t feel my hands from the chill. The second image, another shot of graffiti, stood out simply because of the bright red color. Lastly, I tried to capture the red blossoms of a tree against the blue sky which involved creating a handheld vertical panorama. I metered the bottom quarter of the scene and switched the camera to manual mode to maintain a consistent exposure from bottom to top. Once I imported the four pieces into Lightroom, I adjusted the bottom photo and sync’d it to the others, then rescued the blue sky from being overexposed. The full size of the resulting image is roughly three feet tall.

The Sly Fox

The Walker

For lack of better plans and a slight case of exhaustion, April 3rd turned into an impromptu photo shoot in Arms Park. Just up the street against the brick mill buildings, another photo shoot was taking place in the shade. After walking around a bit and enjoying the sun, we settled down onto the steps to feel the breeze across the river and watched the ducks and gulls. Aaron tends to be nervous/awkward in front of a camera, therefore it was nice that Megan was there to hold his attention and essentially distract him from the lens. Once I loaded the photos into the computer, my self imposed challenge was to edit them entirely in Lightroom (where possible) and limit my usage of Photoshop. Typically I’ll do minor tweaks in Lightroom, dump it into Photoshop and use Nik Plugins for the majority of my photos, but I wanted to see what sort of images I could generate directly from the RAW NEF file.

The power of ACR (Adobe Camera Raw/the Lightroom develop module) is enough to work for most of my images. Multiplicity photos and stereographic projections are still left to Photoshop, Photomatix, and PTGui, but I’m happy with the results.

Walkabout

Queen City Bridge

A day and a half after this hopefully last spring snow storm, I ventured out on the local walking paths for a few hours and noticed that nearly every surface is tagged with graffiti of some sort. Granite benches, fences, light posts, bridges, sidewalks. It’s sad that some people can’t express themselves in a more legal and less destructive manner because some of the artwork out there can be amazing. I left the 50mm f/1.8 on the D300s the whole time in an attempt to get used to the “nifty fifty” and play with the possibilities in the depth of field and even tried a handheld HDR of a brass bull named Charlie. After a couple of hours out, a few stray rain clouds popped up and brought the day to an end.

The River Rise

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The low angle of the setting sun sparkled across the Merrimack River as chunks of ice washed past on the fast moving current. The warmer temperatures and the rainfall have the river running high. Behind one of the Mill buildings, shortly after being ushered away from another, I set up my tripod, dropped my ISO to 100, stopped down the aperture to f/22 and screwed an ND8 filter to the end of my new 50mm f/1.8 in an attempt to get a prolonged exposure to capture the movement of the river. I could have waited a bit longer in the failing light to get a much longer exposure, but chose to take these test shots with the intention of converting them to black and white. As you can see, I left them in color and captured a slight bit of motion in the water with a 2 second exposure.

Bizaarchitecture

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On Saturday afternoon, I gave myself a short self-guided tour of the Mill buildings between Granite Street and Bridge Street. Both the Millyard Museum and the Science Center were closing and people were funneling out of the building. Of course, it wasn’t long before children were asking me “are you a photographer? What are you foot-ogg-roughing? Does your lens zoom?” I spent a lot of time wandering the hallways and the stairwells, and even had security ask me to leave from the premises of the Autodesk building. There weren’t any signs up about where I was allowed to walk, but the security guard was both patient and polite, so I guess I can’t complain. I think I’m more surprised than anything else that it even happened. I still haven’t cleared my memory card from everything else that I’ve been shooting, so I was only able to capture a handful of images, but I think what I walked away with is visually intriguing. All of them are shot in HDR with either an 8mm or 50mm lens.