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My New Camera - Day 17

Characters, Colors, Floss Trees, the One-leg Duck Dance, Tipping Sailboats, Coupling Bugs & Focus

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Fisher Man copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Fisher Man   1/250 @ f/8     iso100 FF (full frame) high  HH (hand held)  Center (weighted average)

March 16, 2006: Of the 114 shots I took today, this is possibly the best. Classic in the way prize-winners in the first photographic clubs I became aware of when I was in college were. Veering along the bleeding edge of cliché. Perhaps too much of his features are lost in the darkness of shadow and dark skin, but I didn't light this portrait, and the subject didn't know I was shooting it.

Great cross-lighting, very dramatic, though not revealing much. But he's sharp and strong in color contrast. Monochromatic blue with strong dark brown contrasts on soft blue water. The pole could be a little more revealing; it's entirely clear it's a fishing pole, but what else would he be doing. That there's zero detail in the shadows is part of its charm.

Fisher Man - copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Fisher Man   1/250 @ f/8     iso100 FF high  HH  Center

I liked this one, until I got the one above a minute later. Anna and I were sitting on a park bench not far behind. All today's shots were, again, on the AF Nikkor 180mm 2.8 ED lens I bought in the late 80s. At least here, you can tell he has a fishing pole. But there's that obnoxious little triangle of too-bright light under his arm, meaning I probably forgot to darken it. Without a face, there's not enough humanity here.

Two Guys Sitting - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Two Guys Sitting Around Messing with Fishing Gear   1/160 @ f/10     iso100 FF high  HH  center

But there's plenty here. I don't know the relationship between these two guys, but I like the paralleling of position, action, even their poles — everything except the hat.

Colors are deeply saturated. I burned in the bench legs, distant concrete along the road and the concrete path, so it wouldn't compete with their skin and clothes.

I would like to have got their feet, too, but I managed to snag that dangly thing at the end of somebody's pole. I brightened it and the tops of the poles, but you can't see that in this smushed down web version.

I got my D200 DVD today, so I can now set the camera to show exactly where I focused — on the boy's hands. Though it would have been better to focus on both guys in a general way rather than that close down to the hands. Or on the boy's face. But there's so much to like about this shot, shot less than a minute after the man at the top of this page, that I'm not sweatin' the details.


Floss Tree - copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Floss Tree   1/350 @ f/10     iso200 FF wide HH  center

I thought this was just going to be fabulous, but it's not. It's interesting, and this part of the whole is the whole part that's interesting about this photograph, thus the wide horizontal crop, but I had to mess with it some to bring out the white bramble of nylon-looking thread that may be fishing line. I'm not sure what the story is, but this tells a version of it.


Flowers on Hood - copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Flowers on Hood   1/80 @ f/4.5x     iso100 FF HH  matrix

This is the hood of my car with the dead flower and a bunch of budding buddies joined around it, where I found it at the end of today's shoot and one of the longest walks we've done. Had to fill up on Acapulceño's Thursday night fajita special afterward. I just like the way the dead flower looked on the hood, which of course you can't really tell is a car hood.

Plus I was interested in trying the 180 wide open at f/2.8. That seemed like a great idea until I saw how little depth of field it had, so I closed the lens down and shot this. Not fabulous. But nice in a blue/brown kind of nearly monochromatic way. Those same colors again.


The One Leg Duck Dance - copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

The One Leg Duck Dance   1/250 @ f/8     iso200 7% crop HH  center

We're always fascinated by the One Leg Duck Dance, but Pelks and Coots and all kinds of other two-legged critters do it, too. This young lady was bathing among the waves. I love that those drops of water cascading down from her show so sharply here. The little bits of bubbly commotion left and right and the contrast of volumes of wavy water help, too.

This is a large enlargement of a tiny portion of the frame. Nice that this camera lets me do that without losing all that precious detail, although I did mask her off and set the lighting levels differently for bird and water. One of the better mask jobs I've done.

Dead Bird Floating - copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Dead Bird Floating   1/320 @ f/9     iso200 5% crop  HH  matrix

I shot this unfortunate creature six times. This is the fourth, and the only one it was in sharp focus. All I can figure is that on this shot I aligned the center focusing spot directly on the bird, and only partially on the bird in the others, which are all a little or a lot soft. This shot targeted the body floating. The others included the legs — and the waves behind it as well. It was too far out on the water to get in as close as this crop makes it look. But this camera with its full 10 megapixels lets me get away with it.

It's a little sad when anything dies, but we couldn't help laughing at how cartoon-like was his mortis.


That Sailboat - copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

That Sailboat   1/500 @ f/11     iso200 FF wide  HH  center

As often at the lake, I was engaged in photographing picturesque boats halfway or more across the lake. Except for the bright flags flying over the pump house and the full splay of downtown Dallas building below, I much prefer the gray-skied version above with its fewer, much less important or interesting buildings.

Both are contrasty in the greenery. The grass is bright above. Below, the trees are. The one bird left of the smokestack is nice, and I appreciate that the boat is leaning precariously, but it's much nicer to see the sails full of wind and sun above. Maybe now I can stop wasting silicon on sailboats for awhile. I think I've got this compulsion kilt-off like I done in the need to shoot coots running on water.

Tipping Sailboat with Skyline - copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Tipping Sailboat with Skyline   1/350 @ f/10     iso100 FF wide  HH  center


House with Star - copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

House With Star   1/200 @ f/7.1     iso100 FF HH  center

I still want a good shot of this house backed onto the lake. I like the star, and there's a statue (?) of a deer off to the left that it completely laugh-worthy. But I admire the reflections of trees in the windows and maybe should wait till later in the day, when all those bright bricks tone down.


Hustling Along - copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Hustling Along   1/640 @ f/13     iso200 FF HH  center

Another also-ran. Too bright in places it should be dark and too dark where it should be bright. Center metering, wherever it was pointed (right on the guy; I guess the meter got fooled by the bright halo lighting around his upper torso). A real ho-hum shot I thought would be so much better.

Nothing against the human here, but there's not really anything to make him important. I must have thought the lighting was amazing, but I blew that. This business of trying to intellectualize how the light will act with one exposure or another on a human who's humming along at a brisk clip, is a chore.

On my Sony's EVF (electronic view finder) I could see exactly how any lighting would be rendered before I so rendered it, or I could change it. Here with the new Nikon I'm baffled.

Girl Against the Sun - copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

1/1500 @ f/20     iso200 FF HH  center

To prove the point, I saw starry dark skies in the water behind this bright lady. The camera instead, saw this. I played with it in Photoshop, and there was nothing I could do to resuscitate it, drowned in darkness. But it is my fastest shutter speed yet. The camera goes to 1/8,000th of a second.

Black Kid with Color - copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Boy with Pinwheel   1/400 @ f/10     iso200 FF HH  center

Same story here. As you can see by the vivid coloration and nearly perfect exposure of the weeds by the edge, the soft body of water beyond and his mother's dress or blanket at bottom right, this is good exposure of those things.

But the boy's dark skin and the fact that he's sitting in his own shadow, and that my fool mind and camera were set to favor the exact center (the colorful, well-lit pinwheel) of the frame, made this another one of my losers to learn from.

Horny Pair on a Pole - copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Horny Pair on a Pole   1/250 @ f/8     iso100 15% crop  HH  matrix

I've shot this horny couple many times, but I've ever shot it in such detail. The stove pipe they're unceremoniously clamped on the top of is pure clunk, and I'm not utterly convinced their knobby forms are better, but I like the paralleling Travolta point, the horns and the fact that naked statues are allowed near the public park, even if their private parts are aimed more away from the crowds that gather at the uppity DeGoyler gardens on their side of the fence.

Coitus Interuptus  - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Bugs in Coitus   1/320 @ f/9     iso200 FF HH  center

I could not find this horny couple in my Audubon Insects & Spiders guide, but it would have helped if I'd got them in focus. They are definitely mating, like stink bugs do. And they are insects.

There were at least three pairs of them wandering around in coitus uninteruptus at one of the benches where sat at for awhile, so they're not uncommon in these parts. I've shot lots of bugs in my years of documenting the lake and its various critters. But I'm so used to firing off my Sony at anything that moves and expecting good and often close focus that I didn't even give this shot (these shots — I shot six times) the thorough thinking they required.

I really need a closer-focusing lens that I don't have to guess exposure for.


Pink Flowers on Blue Jeans - copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Pink Flowers on Blue Jeans   1/400 @ f/6.3     iso200 60% crop  HH  center

Anna's hand is in focus, but the flowers aren't. Again, I need to be able to get in closer to these things.

Recumbent Biker - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Recumbent Biker   1/400 @ f/10     iso200 FF HH  matrix

This sequence of this guy peddling closer and closer is my first recumbent series all in focus since the new camera. The old camera didn't do sequences very well. Now that I've learned to click the Nikon's focus mode to C for continuous, I didn't miss this one. The exposure was near perfect here, but several that preceded it (seconds earlier) were overexposed.

Which seems odd to this grasshopper, because the RGB histogram for the other shots fill the area from left (dark) to right (light). Guess I gotta learn more about histograms, now that I can see them on every shot.

Skater Poser - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Young Skater Who Posed   1/320 @ f/9     iso200 90% crop   HH  matrix

I was pointing my cameral their way, when a mom and two brightly coutured kids on skates hove into view. I shot them skating shakily, hanging on a tree, then skating free. This girl was the better skater and seemed to want to pose for the photographer with the big lens.

Unfortunately, I barely got the camera and heavy lens around into the very uncomfortable (Nikon sells an extra-cost accessory battery pack/vertical grip for exactly this) non-horizontal position quick enough to catch all of her feet. Her middle (where my focus was) is nearly in focus. Her face and feet and knee and elbow and hand protectors are not.

I like photographing colorful kids, and Anna and I probably looked safe enough to the mom that she let it go on, but I still worry about young kids this willing to pose for a stranger's camera.

Total exposure on my new digicam = 2,299.

[All shots above taken with the Nikon 180mm 2.8 AF lens.]