Day 121—Eight—Oh—Oh

The call came at 10:08 AM. The guy at Action Camera sounded as excited as I was. My Nikon D800 full frame DSLR camera finally arrived after two months of waiting and almost daily calls to the camera store. A prior commitment kept me from running over immediately to pick it up. But, by 3PM I had it home. The battery took 2 hours and 35 minutes to charge. Actually, I think it was partially charged but I needed almost the entire two and a half hours to attach the camera strap and familiarize myself with the settings enough to be able to take a photo.

I am in love. I thought the sound of the shutter release of the D90 was orgasmic enough, but the D800 makes an incredibly wonderful ka-chung that is very authoritative and almost made me swoon. First, let me introduce the D800.

It was so late when I finally got my act together to actually start taking photos that I chose who else but Bobo to make my comparative shots. I used comparable lenses for these shots (D90: 18-200mm zoom; D800: 28-300mm zoom), sat at the same place, used the same settings (manual mode, maximum extension of zoom, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/30 shutter speed). The D90 can hold its own, but the D800, oh my. Click on the photo, then click on it again to enlarge it. You can see the difference, especially in the feather detail. These photos are not excellent. The shutter speed was too slow to hand hold but I did. Just wait for wonderful shots to come!!

D90:

D800:

Day 120—Parting Shots

The anticipated ukulele/piano jam session of yesterday evening never happened. Copious amounts of beer and wine were consumed which we thought might trigger it but instead, our indelicate consumption of alcohol caused us all to retire early. This morning, however, caffein was all we needed to get going again. Mady got things off to a good start by actually retrieving the newspaper and posing for a shot; not the pose I had hoped for but at least she was still. Arthur tuned his ukulele and started to strum the chords to “Hukilau” (“oh, we’re going to a hukilau”) which is a song I learned words and hula moves to on a long ago trip to Hawaii. My spontaneous hula caused Sue to grab my camera and take some shots but because she didn’t understand my back button focus settings, the shot is thankfully out of focus. I took a shot of Arthur strumming and one last shot of Mady, anxious about the long car ride home. As I look at these parting shots, none is in crisp focus. I used Aperture Priority for all and completely forgot about exposure compensation adjustments. The first several shots are all SOOC; I cropped the last one of Mady slightly. They are all candids so I won’t obsess about my lack of technique. Tomorrow, it’s back to serious photography again. In the meantime, I’m going to miss Mady.

Day 119—My Dog Has Fleas

My brother and sister-in-law have returned from their Hawaiian cruise and arrived this afternoon to retrieve Mady. Arthur eagerly shared his newly acquired musical skill: playing the ukulele. The new uke was out of tune so we used the age old ukulele tuning method of singing “my dog has fleas” which failed to result in an accurately tuned uke so we played D-C-E-A on my out-of-tune piano which resulted in a better sound, but, was not satisfactory enough for my brother so we ended up driving to The Guitar Center to get a real tuner. As luck would have it, The Guitar Center is next door to Total Wine so we stocked up on some beer: Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye, and DeChutes Obsidian and I found a red blend that I couldn’t resist: “Sexy Wine Bomb ‘Blends Have More Fun.'” By the time we consume the beer and the wine, we won’t care whether or not the uke or the piano are tuned and I anticipate our jam session later this evening will sound pretty good to us…maybe not the neighbors, though.

Here’s Arthur as he tuned the guitar out on the patio. I’m reflected in one of the tuning heads.

Focal Length 50mm
ISO 200
Aperture Priority
f/1.4
1/1250
SOOC

Day 118—Thistle

Mady and I walked along Miner’s Ravine Trail again today. It’s Mady’s last day with me. Arthur and Sue are returning tomorrow to take her home. This time we turned left toward town and walked about mile and a half before turning around. I don’t know how close we got to Royer Park which was my original destination. The GPS on my iPhone was having trouble pinpointing my exact location on the map for some reason but I had my Run Keeper App on and it recorded a distance of 1.43 miles when we decided to turn around.

I’m still using Aperture Priority settings on my camera. I had auto ISO on for a while but changed it to ISO 100 because the sky was so bright. I’m still so used to fiddling with the dials to make adjustments in manual mode that I failed to notice that I’d moved the shutter dial which doesn’t do anything in Aperture Priority unless you have Easy Exposure Compensation enabled which I just did yesterday as an adjunct to Aperture Priority. So, when I got home, I noticed that I’d adjusted all photos I took today by -0.33 ev. Dang! Once again I’m foisted by my petard. I think that adjustment darkened the exposure by 1/3 of a stop, but it didn’t seem to do too much damage to the shots I took.

My favorite shot from today’s walk is a closeup of a thistle. We had to walk off the road into the weeds about 30 feet but I pretended that no rattlers were in the vicinity. We made it out unscathed so I guess I was right. I like the colors, the depth of field, the lighting, and yes, even the composition. It isn’t in the middle of the shot, although a few I took were before I caught myself.

Focal Length 300mm
ISO 100
Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority
Exposure Bias: -0.33 (by mistake)
f/8
1/125
SOOC

Day 117—Take Your Pick Of Colors

I’m up early today; plenty of time to check out the “Our Daily Challenge” theme: Three Colors. That’s easy. The beautiful and tasty strawberries I just bought at the nearby Granny May’s strawberry farm seemed perfect for the challenge: red berries, green calyx, red and white background. The “easy” shot turned into an hour of fiddling and retaking and exchanging backgrounds. When I downloaded the first batch of photos I realized the red and white checked Paris-Bistro apron I used as a background was a more intense color of red than the strawberries and was distracting so I found a white dish towel to use instead. Then, the placement of the berries became an issue and I fiddled some more. I started out using Aperture Priority and thought the results were too bright. I realized I needed to change my white balance to tungsten and that helped. I finally changed back to manual mode and was able to change the exposure settings to my satisfaction. When I returned the settings to Aperture Priority just to see what the difference was, the settings the camera chose were suddenly the same as my manual settings. Woot!

After all of this, on closer inspection, the third color actually is the yellowish color of the tiny strawberry seeds. And, since white is really the presence of all color, I should have used a black background which is the absence of all color if I really wanted to be a purist about the whole thing. But I’ve fiddled long enough and I don’t think a black background with strawberries would look very good. Unless they’re on a black reflective surface…uh oh. No, I don’t have anymore time for this shot or I’ll miss my Pilates class.

Focal Length 50mm
Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority
f/1.4
1/20
WB Tungsten
SOOC

Day 116—Expression of Spring

Asparagus, my favorite vegetable, is to me, the epitome of spring. I am lucky to live near the premier growing region of asparagus in the world—the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta. I bought some asparagus this morning to make a new soup recipe that was featured in this morning’s newspaper. Today’s challenge theme is “expression” and since asparagus is the quintessential expression of the season I took some photos of the spears before I chopped them up for soup.

Focal Length 50mm
Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority
ISO 100
f/1.4
1/20
SOOC

Day 115, Part 2—Action!

I don’t have a Mady blog, and since Bobo isn’t featured in any shots today I don’t want to use Bobo’s Blog to post Mady shots. So, I have no where else to post these shots except to my blog so today’s blog gets a part 2. My Photography Workshop assignment for week 2 was freezing and implying motion AND a creative shutter speed shot. We had to use the shutter priority shooting mode. These are my two favorite shots that I took of Mady today and we haven’t gone on our walk yet. Could there be a Part 3 to today’s blog?

Focal Length 50mm
ISO 200
f/2.8
1/1600
SOOC

Focal Length 50mm
ISO 100
f/16
1/30
SOOC

Day 115—For There’s A Change In The Weather . . .

The weather is changing yet again. And, yet again, a song has entered my head and I can’t get it out. So, with the melody from “There’ll Be Some Changes Made” rattling around in my brain, the stormy looking clouds seemed to be the perfect illustration of my current tune torture. And as luck would have it, “change” is today’s daily challenge theme.

Focal Length 28mm
Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority
ISO: 200
f/7.1
1/4000
SOOC

Day 114—Blue Birds

When I was six or seven, I joined the Blue Birds. My mother was the Blue Bird leader. I have only vague recollections of what Blue Birds was all about except that once Blue Birds turned ten, we “flew up” to become Campfire Girls. Sadly, a quick Google search about the purpose of Blue Birds (to provide creative experiences or something for little girls) was renamed in 1989 and so Blue Birds I knew no longer exists. The good news is that today, I saw my first non human blue bird and had my camera with me to document the event.

Mady and I were walking in Mahaney Park about 6PM this afternoon and I noticed what was obviously a blue bird sitting on a marker sign in the park. I very slowly inched closer as I photographed and tried to keep Mady under control. The female flew in as I started to shoot. Luckily, I’m trying to become comfortable using the Shutter Priority setting on my camera so it did capture the female in flight but I was having trouble with pinpointing my autofocus so it’s not in perfect focus. The still photos of the male blue bird didn’t need the shutter priority mode but that’s how the camera was set and I did manage to get the focus under control with the still shots. I cropped the first shot because I was pretty far away but the other two are SOOC. The female didn’t stay too long.

Focal Length 300mm
ISO 320
f/11
1/320
Cropped

Focal Length 300mm
ISO320
f/10
1/320
SOOC

Focal Length 300mm
ISO320
f/11
1/320
SOOC

Day 113—Green Balusters

Mady and I walked in Antelope Community Park this morning. It’s the first time since they built the high school that I have visited the redesigned playground area by the fire station. The new (to me) playground is colorful and interesting and there wasn’t a child in evidence. Of course it was just a few minutes after 8AM when we were there; I’m sure it will be filled with excited giggles and squeals later today.

My favorite photo from this morning is a view of a walkway railing in the playground. And, as luck would have it, today’s daily challenge theme is “ten or more.” I’m still trying to use shutter priority as much as possible this week, although a static railing is not exactly when one needs to use Shutter Priority settings. And, once again, I failed to recheck my settings and my ISO was set to 640 after some twilight photos of Mady in the yard last evening. Sigh. One of these days, I hope some of the photography information I’ve tried to pack my feeble brain cells with will actually emerge on a conscious level.

Focal Length 300mm
Shooting Mode: Shutter Prioity
ISO 640
f/32
1/80
SOOC