Week 20 … #45 Full Edit … Twilight Stroll

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Trio of Sandhill Cranes.

They say ‘the best camera is the one you have with you’.  This was the case with this photo one evening as I was walking my dogs.  There never fails to be something I’d like to photograph during my dog walks in Lakewood Ranch.  Birds, gators, sunsets … it’s all here every day.  I love the Sandhill Cranes and these three were strolling on the golf hillside as we walked past.  Thank goodness for the iPhone!  I snapped the photo and later edited in the app DistressedFX and Lightroom.

I thought it came out pretty good and thought I’d try my luck at entering it into the annual Maine Photography Show, since we are summer residents of Maine.  I was stoked that it got selected to be included in their exhibit.  I actually thought that another image that I entered was better, but it just goes to show ….  photography is art and art is subjective!  And beauty (or in this case, photos) is in the eye of the beholder.

Week 18 … #29 Sky Overlay … Wasatch Mountains

Wasatch Mountains in Utah.

We were in Utah this past week visiting family and skiing in the Wasatch mountains at Snowbird and Alta. I shot this image with my iPhone from the car coming down the mountain in the late afternoon. I always love the way the mountains frame Salt Lake City as we wind our way down off the mountain. There was nothing special with the original photo so I went to work on the sky. I edited it on my iPhone first with Snapseed to darken the sky and then added the moon with LensLight and some sky dust from the Repix app. Below is the original photo.

Week 15 … #25 SOOC … Take Off!

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Cormorant in Flight.

Next month we are headed to Africa in hopes of spotting the big five – lions, leopards, African elephants, rhinos and Cape buffalos.  We’ve been to South Africa before, but this trip we will safari in Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania and South Africa with a couple of other friends.  On the previous trip, photography wasn’t my passion and as a result, the photos, were just so so.  In anticipation of this trip, I have extensively Googled to death the camera gear I should take.  We each have weight restrictions of 33lbs for carry ons on the small puddle jumpers we will be taking to each of the camps, so camera gear has to be minimal.  I’d like to take two camera bodies and 3 lens so I’m not having to change lens in the dusty environment, but I’m still undecided.  Right now I’m taking a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm but undecided between the 10-24mm or the 28-300mm.

I recently rented and tested the Nikon 80-400mm which would give me more reach but didn’t really see a remarkable difference from the 70-200mm when cropped in.  Additionally, I found the 80-400mm a bit slow as you can see in the above photo when I tried to capture the cormorant in flight.  It’s ‘SOOC (straight out of the camera)’ and you can see that it’s just not sharp enough.  Of course, it could be the user!!!  I’ve considered a teleconverter for the 70-200, so that’s my next test.  I’d really like to take something in the 400mm to 500mm zoom range, but their weight really make them impractical for this trip, as well as their cost!

So fellow photographers, if you have any additional thoughts on gear, please share!

 

Week 12 … #13 Starburst, Diving into the Holidays

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Brown Pelican diving at Anna Maria Island.

One of my favorite places to capture my favorite bird, the Pelican, is on Anna Maria Island.  Oftentimes there are many parents and juveniles, hunting and diving for food off one of the piers, as they were in the above image.  The juveniles are similar to the adults, but have a brown neck and head with a grayish bill.  I love watching their take offs and awkward landings.  Sadly, I noticed one juvenile had some fishing line flowing off his foot when in the air.  Not good.

I thought for the ‘Starburst’ challenge, I would cheat!  To shoot successful sun flares and starbursts, one needs to use a narrow aperture such as f/22 and for best effects, something physically blocking part of the sun, like the horizon or buildings or trees.  I have practiced a bit in the past but with the holidays upon me, I’ve had little time to get out and capture a starburst.  So …. as I said, I cheated.  I used a great iPhone app called LensLight which has a wide selection of interactive lights such as bokeh, lens flares, light leaks and sunbursts.  I don’t use it often, but on the few occasions, it can really pop an image.  I hope you think so too.

Happy Holidays, friends.

Week 6 … Theme # 17, Twilight

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Tromsø, Norway.

This beautiful, modern, graceful bridge joins the city of Tromsø, Norway, with numerous other islands.  Built in 1960, the Tromsø Bridge was the first cantilever bridge to be built in Norway and is typical of Norwegian bridges built high enough to allow big ships to pass under it, like the one I was on when I captured these images.  It was dusk and most folks had left the deck.  I remained and happened to spot this photographer capturing some last shots.  I loved the contrast of his red jacket with the blue twilight.

The surrounding mountains and ocean setting all made for some spectacular photos.

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Week 1 #1 Zoom Burst

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Sunset from my backyard.  Lakewood Ranch.

Well ….. here goes!  I had doubts when I decided to participate in the 52-Week Challenge.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to do a weekly theme post.  Back in 2011, I was recently retired and looking for a hobby, so I began a blog.  And in order to have good images, I bought my first DSLR, a Nikon 7000.  And then a lens, another lens and another lens.  You know how that goes.   Anyway, I was hooked!  I fell in love with photography, capturing moments of the world around me and sharing on my blog.  I was posting everyday, had some great followers and enjoying the experience …. until I wasn’t.  Creatively, I felt burned out and slowly stopped blogging routinely in 2015.

Two years ago, we moved from Philadelphia to Lakewood Ranch and I joined the Lakewood Ranch Digital Photography Club.  It has been a great experience with their monthly meetings, competitions, field trips and photo challenges.  Upon upgrading to a new Nikon 810 this year, this 52-Week Photo Challenge will be a useful vehicle for me to sharpen my photo skills as well as learn more about my camera.

Regarding the chosen image for this assignment, it took many many tries to figure out the best settings, light and zoom range.  Exposure was 1 second at f/18 handheld.

So, onward and upward!  Hope you join me on the journey!