So often we obsess about taking the next great photo that we forget about some of the basics. Its great to be constantly looking forward to implement new skills but today I’m going to advocate that you stop…and wonder what happens when that hard drive you’ve been using for the last 5 years develops the least little bit of wobble and computer parts crash into each other. Of course hard drive failures aren’t going to injure anyone (at least I didn’t think they could) but imagine if you lost all your images and videos. Don’t think that backing up your data is only for professionals, the blurry pictures that you take on your smartphone are capturing a moment in time that you’ll never get back. Let’s dive into the exciting world of data backup…stay with me casual photogs…this isn’t a boring as you think.
I forget where I read this (I think it was from Leo Laporte’s TWIT network, http://www.twit.tv) but a simple backup philosophy involves the idea that a file does not exist unless it is stored in 3 places.
We have exciting news to share with everyone. Yesterday I received word from the Victoria Park Gallery in Kincardine that my work has been accepted into the gallery! More details about the gallery can be found here. The VPG is located on Queen Street in Kincardine here. The VPG is a co-operative so anytime you drop by to browse and buy art, one of the artists will be there to answer any questions. Very cool! The gallery also has a monthly guest artist space so its worth it to drop by and check out each guest artist’s work.
Another great gallery to check out beside VPG is the Scougall Gallery. John Scougall was a photographer from the 1880s to 1920s and his estate has some great work for sale at the gallery showing what life was like in Kincardine a long time ago.
For those of you curious where Kincardine, Ontario is, check out www.sunsets.com which is the tourism website.
Here are the current pieces that I have for sale at the gallery:
I guess they say that patience is a virtue, which I’m sure has been said a million times to beginner photogs, especially landscape photographers. The greater part of the landscape canvas can’t be controlled and re-takes simply aren’t possible. The flip side of this ‘con’ is that every sunset is different, especially if clouds are involved. No clouds = boring compositions. Forgive me if I’m repeating myself but clouds really make the difference. There have been times at supper where I’ve looked out off of the front step only to retreat back inside knowing that I’m not missing out on much. If you’re photographing anything, it will look better during the ‘golden light’ hours at sunrise or sunset but for the landscape photography that I’m interested in, I know I won’t come away with much I’m interested in unless there are clouds.
Last night doesn’t fall into the boring category though! I’ve been waiting all summer for some interesting clouds and last night was a great night for shooting.
There was a storm brewing as we were driving across Kincardine around 7pm and even at that time there was some nice light (approx. an hour and half before sunset). We raced home from an appointment and I grabbed my gear, threw on some bug spray (which was waaaaaay too little in my ankle area) and out the door I went. I had my eye on a particularly marshy area that I hadn’t been to yet but I had driven past it every time on the way into town. I had in mind that it would be a good outcropping of rocks for foreground but it turned out a lot better than I had thought. You’ll see from the photos that hidden behind all the reeds was a low area that would be great for reflections.
If you’ve started to read all the available resources online, you’ll inevitably read about High Dynamic Range photography (or HDR) for short. HDR includes blending 3 images (shot at different exposures) and blended to make a stronger looking image. Why HDR? Because a particularly contrasty scene (bright areas and dark areas) may not be able to be captured in one picture by the camera. The camera can’t capture the same dynamic range that the human eye can. Some hate HDR, some only shoot HDR photos. I fall into the middle for using it – if it works and looks good, its worth it but I’m not going to sit at the computer for hours and tweak an image just to say I’m an ‘HDR specialist’. Chances are if you can’t get it to look good in less than 5 minutes, you should move on.
Here is the final image I produced using Nik’s HDR Efex Pro. This is using the in app processing with very little adjustments afterward in Aperture (which I use as my library manager). I processed this after the shoot late at night and my final thought was that it was too much processing. It didn’t look realistic so off to bed I went.
I thought I’d check out a new area of Bruce Beach and wait out the sunset and see what I could find. The photos have turned out better than I had hoped since I forgot the bottom plate of my tripod (that connects the camera…ugh). I was able to setup my tripod and rest the camera on top of the flat mounting plate on the tripod and use a remote release… maybe its time for that check list I’ve often thought about using before I leave the house. Usually something is conveniently sitting on my desk wishing it had made the trip.
Well, its that time again for some more photos that have made the cut. I’ve picked 3 photos that are my current favourites. Shooting has been non-existent lately with some nasty viruses making their rounds and our house hasn’t been spared. There has also been plenty of high wind which sometimes makes for cool shooting conditions but I’m looking at shooting more panoramas lately so still conditions would be ideal.
It was quite exciting when the courier showed up from B&H Photo Video earlier last week. The order wasn’t too crazy especially with numerous camera bodies that have been released by both Canon and Nikon lately…..I ordered 2 new batteries for my Canon 50D since I’m constantly shooting in live view which is a heavy battery drain. I had 2 older batteries; one was the original and the other was at least 2 years old and they were constantly drained after each shoot (or sometimes ending the shoot earlier that I’d have liked). The other item that I ordered was a GorrillaPod tripod. I’ve had my eye on the Gorillapod for a while since it will come in very handy as a lightweight travel tripod that will easily fit in a suitcase. I see this working mostly with my Canon 300HS point and shoot but I bought the SLR model for any travel shots.
As a Canadian, why did I order from B&H out of the US? The choice is obvious when camera retailers in Canada sell both the battery and the tripod at twice the price. The dollar is at par between Canada and the US so why is there a significant price difference? If the retailers are adding a reasonable markup, then they need to seriously ask the camera companies why there is such a price difference? Price differences like this will drive customers away. Anyway, enough about gear, lets talk about images.
1) Kincardine Pier
I like this photo since it shows the remnants of an old pier and the current pier at Station Beach. This was shot with the 50D, 10-22mm wide angle and Manfrotto Tripod. ISO 100, f4.5, 1/5s.
Just a quick post today and a few highlights from the last week of shooting. I’ve been reading some good e-books lately from some of my favourite shooters and I’ll share the details in the next post as well as my latest order from B&H Photo. Happy Easter!
1) Kincardine Beach – Stream Mouth
As usual, I took my camera gear down to a cool area on the beach that had quite a rocky patch (stone cobbles) that I thought would make for good foreground…none turned out the way I liked (didn’t like the composition, relatively boring sky etc) but I had this composition in mind when I first scouted the area. The long leading lines work well with the vertical composition. This is shot in HDR with HDR Efex Pro. Shot with Canon 10-22 lens, ISO 100, f11, Manfrotto Tripod
2) Goderich Harbour – Tree Reflections
Most times I would give a beginner the advice that sunrise/sunset will give the best light for a photo. Some days you get a bit lucky with really overcast/hazy skies. This photo was taken in the middle of the day but the sky was so hazy that it worked well. Single exposure, B&W processing in Silver Efex Pro 2. Shot with Canon 70-200 f4 IS L lens, f4, 1/2000s, ISO 100.
Since its the middle of the month, its time for a new upload of landscape images for sale. This month’s crop are an exciting mix of some of my favourites mixed with some recent photos from earlier blog posts. I haven’t spend a lot of time in the field lately; sometimes life takes over a bit but nonetheless, the weather in Bruce County lately has been fantastic so we should be able to see more sun and less overcast at sunset. There’s a rumour right now that National Geographic may be doing a feature on the sunsets we get on the shores of Lake Huron (nudge nudge wink wink…check out my website National Geographic! I’m available for hire!).
Anyway, I hope you can take some time and check out the latest round of images. Full size images are available to view at http://www.finnerphotography.com or click on Current Photos For Sale on the banner.
1) Kincardine Sunset at the Pier
This photo was taken with a tripod and my Canon 10-22mm wide-angle lens. I had been shooting earlier at a different location with HDR in mind so this photo was shot with a -2 Exposure Compensation. I thought this image was fine without the HDR processing and continually I’m finding sunset photos work best under exposed. ISO 100, f4.5, 1/8s.
One of the benefits of going to visit family is checking out new locations. For those that are geologically challenged, Eastern Ontario (i.e. Ottawa Valley) is part of the Canadian Shield. The Canadian Shield is a ‘vast geological shield’ (read … Continue reading →