Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Catching lightning

7s, f/11, ISO 100, 17mm, fluorescent
It's severe storm season, kids.  You all know what that means:  time to go outside and watch lightning.  IMHO, lightning is the coolest display of God's awesome power.  I love taking pictures of lightning, even though I don't get as many opportunities to do so as I'd like.  Here's a few things I've learned about how to do it over the years.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Photographing kids at play

Kids move pretty fast in the summer.  There's so much playing to cram into 15 short hours of daylight.  As parents, we naturally want to remember these fun times, both to relive our own fond memories of childhood and to preserve these memories for our children when they grow older.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Making the money shot

If you can't tell already, I'm a teacher at heart.  Whether it's via one-on-one conversations or published text, I love to help people learn.  One good way to bring newcomers up to speed is to explain how I obtained a certain effect in my photos.  The first of these "behind the scenes" (BTS) scenarios describes how I obtained the "money shot" used to illustrate a previous blog post about David Hobby's business advice.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Shooting a round of golf

No inspiring, educational posts today. I finished this crazy week by shooting a round of golf. I don't play golf myself, mind you -- I photograph others doing it. Today was the Cross Pointe Innovations charity golf tournament to raise money for P.R.O.M., an organization which provides a senior prom for special needs high school kids who otherwise wouldn't attend a traditional, school-sponsored event. The full gallery has been posted on Prairie Rim Images' commercial site, but I'll give you a little taste of the event below.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Saying goodbye, and other unpleasant events

Today, I killed a good friend.  Shazam, a wonderfully loving Vizsla / Springer Spaniel mix, had lived with us since she was weaned 11 years ago.  Our oldest son is only four months older than she was.  Our three kids have never known a time without her, and she was a great companion to them and, recently, to my daughter's 2-year-old Shih-Poo.  Zammy had the softest coat of any dog I've known, was very obedient, very loyal, and generally a great friend.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Photographing fireworks

Photographing fireworks is a popular pastime on certain holidays (like Independence Day in the USA) -- at least for those who aren't responsible for entertaining the little kids by lighting the fireworks. I've tried both lighting and taking pictures at the same time, and it just doesn't work well. You gotta pick one or the other. Anyway, you can get some pretty dramatic shots with just a little pre-planning. Below are a few pointers that I've learned over the years.  With July 4th just a few weeks away, hopefully some of you can find this helpful.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 aperture blade cleaning

I once ran across a garage sale selling a Nikon FE body (made 1978-84) with a Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 AIS macro lens attached. This is a highly regarded lens which will reach 1:2 natively and 1:1 with a 27.5mm extension tube. Even wide open, it's "so sharp you can cut yourself just by looking at it." Everybody loves it, except that this design has a chronic problem: oil leaks onto the aperture blades, causing them to stick. The lens I bought had already succumbed to this. I was too ignorant at the time to realize this and try to talk the seller down, but I still only paid $75 for a body/lens that, in working condition, could fetch $175 on eBay.  It doesn't take much prodding to convince me to take something apart and fix it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

DH on the new world of professional photography

David Hobby, creator of the overwhelmingly popular web site Strobist.com, has been writing and speaking a lot during the past months about his five-year adventure creating the Strobist web site and eventually turning it into his full-time job.  His is a pretty inspiring story for anybody who wants to work smarter, not harder.  While I do immensely admire DH's skills with a speedlight, I'm even more inspired by the business he has been able to create.  His most recent writing occurred just a couple days ago on Scott Kilby's blog, and that prompted me to share with you a few of his other ramblings on the subject.