Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Enjoying a total lunar eclipse

This past Monday night--actually the morning of Tuesday, 15 April--the Western Hemisphere got to enjoy the first of four full lunar eclipses in the next 18 months. Although it was cold and the event occurred in the wee hours of the morning, local time, the skies were clear and dead calm, making for excellent photography conditions. I couldn't resist dragging out my big lenses and heading outside at 2am for a little moon-gazing.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sandhill Cranes along Nebraska's Platte River

For the fifth straight year, my daughter (now 12) and I spent two days wandering county roads south of the Platte River between Grand Island and Kearney, Nebraska, in search of Sandhill Cranes.  It's an easy search.  Half a million of these handsome birds stop in central Nebraska for six weeks each spring to rest and bulk up for their migration to their summer breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska, and Siberia.  This year, we found more large gatherings of cranes than ever before.  That, combined with the better lenses we took with us, made for a very productive photo outing.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bald eagles on the Mississippi River

Every winter, as the weather gets colder in the northern USA, the Mississippi River freezes over, and thousands of bald eagles lose access to their primary food source.  They then fly south in search of open water in which to fish.  The Army Corps of Engineers operates two dozen or so locks and dams along the Mississippi to facilitate shipping access.  As the water passes through each dam, the resulting turbulence prevents the water just below the dam from freezing and also stuns the fish as they pass through.  That's a double bonus for the eagles, so they congregate by the hundreds at the base of each dam during the cold, winter months.  This creates a target-rich environment for bird watchers and photographers.  My daughter and I recently drove six hours each way to take in this spectacle for ourselves.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Friday night lights, 100 and counting

As you read last month, I've started photographing high school football for the first time this season.  The Lincoln Christian Crusaders are having perhaps their best season ever, and that happily coincided with my own piqued interest in shooting sports.  My inaugural outing went OK.  I learned a lot, and wanted to correct some mistakes at my next outing.  The next home game was the final regular season game, which is traditionally when the team's seniors are honored.  This also happened to be head coach Matt Farup's 100th game coaching the Crusaders.  LCS won the game, finishing the regular season at 7-1 and earning a #2 seed in the playoffs.  In short, it was a special occasion for several reasons.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Friday Night Lights

I've enjoyed photographing active people for a while now. Usually, it's just my kids at play or in their youth sports leagues.  This year, I wanted to step it up a notch and shoot some athletes that are a little faster, more organized, and more predictable, so I approached the football coach of our kids' high school (also my alma mater) about roaming the sidelines during a game.  I'd get some fun experience, and the school would get free photos that were hopefully good enough to use for something.  He loved the idea.  This past weekend, my availability finally coincided with one of the home games, so I got my first taste of shooting Friday night lights.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Thoughts on my new Canon SX280 HS camera

Nearly four months after dropping my old Canon SD870IS camera onto a hard gym floor and breaking the lens mechanism, I finally ordered a new point & shoot camera in the form of a Canon SX280 HS.  The SX280 is slightly larger than the SD870, but is still very pocketable.  The big win comes with quite a number of feature improvements that have worked their way into pocket cameras during the five years since the SD870 was made.  Below, you'll find my initial thoughts after playing with the new toy for a little while.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How big should my home studio be?

I frequently see people who are remodeling their house and want to create a proper photo studio as part of that space.  Since space is almost always at a premium during a home remodel, these folks want to know how small a space they can get away with allocating to their studio without making it so small that it's not really usable.  Of course, the answer depends on what type of subjects you're photographing:  automobiles require more space than jewelry.  However, by breaking it down and adding up the space required for each individual component, it's not hard to come up with a number that serves your needs.