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Archive for January, 2009

Playing With Smoke

Smoking Pipe

Smoking Gun #1

I wanted to create an image of a smoking gun for a still life. I had a SB800 1/8 power on a stand and snooted to camera left to light up the gun and knife and behind/below the table is a Metz 48 on 1/8 power also snooted pointed up and back towards camera to light the smoke. See the following photos for the setup.

Smoking Gun #1 Setup (back)

Smoking Gun #1 Setup (front)

Since I already was shooting smoke I thought I would go ahead ang get a shot of a smoking pipe. The only difference between the smoking gun and the smoking pipe shot is that I turned off the SB800 and used a gold reflector to reflect the light from teh Metz 48 back down to illuminate the pipe.

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Red Tailed Hawk
Originally uploaded by bmthomas

If you want a great opportunity to photograph raptors, and you live near Baltimore, this is your chance. The Carrie Murray Nature Center in Baltimore usually hosts raptor photo shoots twice a year. Once in the fall and once in the spring. For the first time ever they are going to host a winter photo shoot featuring resident birds of prey. In the past they have had a barn owl, a red tailed hawks, a great horned owl, a raven, a kite, screech owls, and a vulture.

Barn Owl

Screech Owl

DSC_1242

For more photos check out the Carrie Murray Nature Center Raptor Shoots

Saturday February 7, 2009

From 10 am- 3 pm

Cost is $20 for adults and $8 for children( 12 and under)

Dress for the weather! The photo shoot will take place rain or shine. No pet Please.

Please Pre-register by calling:

Lloyd Tydings

phone: (410) 396-0808

fax: (410) 265-1085

Email: Lloyd.tydings@baltimorecity.gov

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I started playing around with HDR photography last year after Ferrell McCollough came and did a lecture at my camera club. Check out his book Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography.

So what is HDR? Well basically the range of light that a camera’s sensor can process is limited. The challenge is to get details in the the highlights and the darks without blowing out the highlights or turning the darks black. The classic example is to get details in the forground photographers often blow out the sky creating ugly white detail free skies. Often photographers can compensate with graduated filters to reduce the range of stops of lights in a scene.

Here is an example. I had to bracket my exposure in this scene of the Western Maryland Railroad. I took the following seven shots to create the above photo. Note that none of the photos alone capture the scene but combining the best of each, I was able to create the above.

DSC_6798

F7.1 Shutter 1/320 sec ISO 200 24mm Exp Bias 0

DSC_6799

DSC_6802

F7.1 Shutter 1/2500 sec ISO 200 24mm Exp Bias -3 F7.1 Shutter 1/160 sec ISO 200 24mm Exp Bias +1

DSC_6800

DSC_6803

F7.1 Shutter 1/1250 sec ISO 200 24mm Exp Bias -2 F7.1 Shutter 1/80 sec ISO 200 24mm Exp Bias +2

DSC_6801

DSC_6804

F7.1 Shutter 1/640 sec ISO 200 24mm Exp Bias -1 F7.1 Shutter 1/40 sec ISO 200 24mm Exp Bias +3

I used Photomatix Pro to combine these seven exposures into the final image. You can download a trial but it will watermark your images. Look for a discount on the purchase of Photomatix Pro at Ferrell McCollough’s website.

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Assateague Snowy Owl

Assateague Snowy Owl, originally uploaded by bmthomas.

I spent the weekend on Assateage Island National Seashore in Maryland with my fellow photographers Dennis Wilson and Bob Leverton. A couple of weeks ago Middleton Evans came and gave a talk to the Arundel Camera Club.

After the lecture he told me we could find a couple of snowy owls wintering on Assateage. So this weekend we headed out with all our camera gear loaded in Bob’s 4WD. The snowy owls were easy to find. they perched on top of the sand dunes. I guess that gave them a good view to watch for predators and from which to hunt.

Guess who we ran into at the hotel…Middleton Evans. He had brought a few other photographers to see the owls. My thanks to Middleton for the tip. He has published some great books that I highly recommend Maryland’s Great Outdoors and Rhapsody in Blue.

For more of my photos of these owls visit my Assateague Set on Flickr.

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Deer Silhouette

Originally uploaded by bmthomas

I entered this in the Arundel Camera Club Novice Digital Open Competition on 1/14/2009 but did not place. The judge said I should clone out the birds in the sky. There are three birds that look like birds and are reflected in the water. According to the judge, all of the other birds looked like dirt and should be cloned out.

Here is a cleaned up version per the judge’s comments.

Deer Silhouette

What do you think?

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Since the copy of Helicon Focus I downloaded is good for 30 days, I thought I would try some more experimenting. Here are three more shots I put together with Helicon Focus.

Yellow Tipped Tulips (Helicon Focus)

Wet Macro Pink Tulips (Helicon Focus)

Pink Tulips (Helicon Focus)

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Christmas Balls (Helicon Focus)
Originally uploaded by bmthomas

Setup: I used a green geled Metz 48 behind and below the table at 1/4 power bounced off of a black background. I have a SB800 on a stand through a white umbrella camera left at 1/10 power. The gold ball is much more reflective than the red and green. I had a gold reflector on the right. Flashes triggered via Nikon CLS.

Christmas Balls Setup

So the challenge with this shot it that I could focus on the gold ball but the red and green balls were out of focus due to the limited depth of field.

Christmas Balls

or I could focus on the green ball but the gold and red balls were out of focus. This was probably the best of the three images.

Christmas Balls-2

Finally I could focus on the red ball but the gold and green balls were out of focus.

Christmas Balls-3

During a recent photo contest at the Bowie-Crofton Camera Club, the Judge Tony Sweet suggested that I could have used a program called Helicon Focus to put together a series of photos each one taken focusing on a a different part of the scene to create a final image that had greater depth of field.

So I downloaded a trial of Helicon Focus to put these three photographs together and create the final image which shows all three Christmas balls in focus.

Of course you need to shoot each shot from a tripod and manually focus. I was a little curious how Helicon would handle my hand held reflector on the right. Looks like it did a good job.

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Lotus Pod

Originally uploaded by bmthomas

I entered this in the Bowie-Crofton Camera Club Advanced Color Print Flower Competition on 1/5/2009 but did not place. The competition was stiff. Not only are flowers a popular subject but the judge was Tony Sweet.

The judge said I should have used Helicon Focus. Helicon Focus is a program that combines multiple photographs each taken focusing on a different part of the scene together to create a final image with a better depth of field. Of course to do this you would have to shoot on a tripod and manually focus.

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Christmas Ball

Originally uploaded by bmthomas

I used a green geled Metz 48 behind and below the table at 1/4 power bounced off of a black background. I have a SB800 on a stand through a white umbrella camera left at 1/6.4 power. I had a gold reflector on the right. Flashes triggered via Nikon CLS.

Christmas Balls Setup

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Berkut Vodka
Originally uploaded by bmthomas

Setup: I used a blue geled Metz 48 behind and below the table at 1/4 power bounced off of a black background with white on either side. I have a SB800 on a stand through a white umbrella camera left at 1/10 power. I had a silver reflector on the right. I set the bottle and glass on a sheet of glass on a black cloth. I set thee camera to tungsten for a really blue shot. The bottle and glass were sprayed with water. Flashes triggered via Nikon CLS.

Berkut Vodka Setup

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