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My New Camera - Day 18

Low light, general darkness and rain

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

Two White Lions Protect the Neighborhood  1/250 @ f/3.2
iso250 FF (full-frame) HH (hand-held)   pattern (metering)

Sunday March 19, 2006: Very exciting in Dallas today. big rain and big flooding.

Couldn't go out, because it was raining. Well, I did go out, but I nearly drowned out there. Water nearly over my car on main streets and rumbling down many cross streets looking for someone to thrash. I had to drive a half mile out of my way in my own neighborhood to find a road high enough I didn't mind driving under water on to get to my house on the top of the hill.

I'm sorry I didn't take my D200, although the 180 seemed too long for the shots I thought I wanted to make. I'm yearning for an AF-S zoom. Pretty sure there's a 18-70mm zoom in my near future. Might be a perfect wedding lens, too. That should be interesting. Still no sign of availability of the 18-200 VR I'd still dearly love to have...

When I finally got home, I stayed. Took hours for my feet to dry. I shot for awhile on my front porch, though the rain was blowing vigorously. The lions above were shot from there. I hope you can see the rain gushing down around them.

Square Drip copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Square Drip   1/250 @ f/3.2 180mm     iso800 FF HH  pattern

Not exactly in focus. Turns out it's difficult to focus on a piece of raining falling. Very difficult. Spot focus might have helped, but the focus was directly on the wood strut, which is, after all, in sharp focus. If we got more of this rain stuff (Dallas and most of Texas is in a severe drought now), I might gather some experience with it.

Not entirely a lousy shot. But so much of what I did shoot from my porches today, was. Focus was the main issue again. That old bugaboo.

But the image is still mildy interesting an image with all that falling bright liquid stuff splashing and squirting, and with all those out of focus green and red splotches, it's at least an almost.

[All shots above taken with the Nikon 180mm 2.8 AF lens.
From here on, though, it's anybody's guess.]


Sait Paul and downtown in downpour - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

St. Paul with Downtown Looming in the Downpour   1/200 @ f/2.2     iso100 FF HH
taken with my Sony F707 at full wide-angle zoom

There was supposed to be an anti Iraq War Protest March through Downtown Dallas today. I'd hoped to march with them and photograph the proceedings. But the rain got us, and even shooting through an opened car window in the parking lot where we were supposed to line up (by the church above) drenched me and the interior, till I figured out just the right car angle out of the rainå. The shooting angle was obvious.

Maybe I should have gone inside the church. Nice thing about the Sony's f/2-2.5 zoom (38mm-190mm 35mm equivalency, or to be even more confusing, 24mm-133.33 in Nikon D200 equivalency)...


Big Pour - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

1/180 @ f/2.8     iso320 FF HH  pattern

Focus? What focus? I don't think anything in this shot is in focus. Nothing. Just last night I changed the setting so it would fire without being in focus exactly. I guess this is what I get. It's certainly what I got.

It was so frustrating to keep pushing the trigger with nothing happening. I've had that feeling often with the Sony. Any time the subject was moving or if I was. The Sony's trigger was always slow. What I call digital cameras' dirty little secret. You push and either it waits several seconds or it never fires. That stranded feeling sucks. I've got it many times.

This time, I should have waited till the camera could buy a clue. A vowel wouldn't have helped nearly enough.


Corner Pour - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

1/400 @ f/4 180mm     iso200 FF HH  pattern

They weren't all out of focus. This one is pretty close to being there. Lordy, lordy, it's a miracle... Kinda nice composition also. Gray sky. Jet black roof.

Tigger & Poo - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Tigger & Poo   1/80 @ f/2.8     iso1600 40% HH  pattern

This time the black is a T-shirt, plus some Photoshop. I shot this cuddly pair with my 35mm f/1.4 manual focus (MF) lens (on the D200), which I've learned is difficult to focus. My other pictures today prove it. Note the bird chime below and the gush above. I'd show you more, but what's the point? If the point was in the picture it'd be out of focus, too.

These guys are special. I put the shirt behind them, so their colors would stand out, then I shot them five times, from wide open (1.4) to the slowest hand-holdable shutter speed. 1/80th is about as slow as I can hand-hold the camera in one hand. I forget what the other hand was doing, but it was important. Cat and bear are sitting on a black stereo I expanded the color of.

Anna's Tigger, and I've been Poo nearly all my life. Even shaped like him now, unfortunately. And the rain's keeping me from walking every day like I've been doing and want to now. I especially like that this Poo is not Disney yellow. He's a so-called Classic Poo, although the real classical Poo would be worn and dirty. But I'm carefuller with him.


White Feathers - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

1/2 @ f/16     iso1600 FF-high stabilized  pattern

These feathers are in my bedroom. I was madly looking for something — anything — to photograph with my 35mm lens well after the sun (what there was of it this stormy wet day) went down. That's my sibs and me in the blurred photo behind the feathers. Beyond that is blue stained glass that mostly keeps the morning sun out of my bedroom.

I stabilized the camera on a stereo speaker (that wasn't playing). The image is almost in focus. Yeah, I need an AF zoom lens. Oh, and the D200's auto white balance is amazing with almost any kind of light, except tungsten (You know, that stuff that's almost everywhere around us.) or fluorescent. Which my house is almost entirely lighted by, and Fluor is a bitch to correct for. Mine tends to yellow.

Mayhaps that should be my next lesson. I've heard the nerd on the DVD talk about manual white balance, and it was my preferred mode for the last five years, but I haven't even tried it on the new cam yet. I pulled a lot of yellow out in Photoshop, but not enough.


Striped Sox - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

1/80 @ f/4     iso800 FF HH  pattern — no yellow here in Gray World

You know I'm either bored or constrained or both if I'm shooting sox. But they were lying there together on top of my bureau, so they got shot. Again with the 35mm, which I always have to focus very carefully, and even then I miss out to utter softness about half the time.

Was a time once when I thought I might be able to shoot that wedding with this lens. Ha-ha, the Universe said, then fuzzed out.


Humming Bird Chimes - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

1/250 @ f/1.4    iso640 FF HH  pattern

More yellow needing to escape. The 35 focuses pretty close (like the cup of feathers), but the wide-open depth of field sucks at that range, so we got tail feathers and soft bird and soft all his friends. Nice to be able to up the iso, though.

My Bed - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

1/80 @ f/4     iso1400 FF HH  pattern

I set the cam for a minimum shutter speed of 1/80th, so the auto iso had taken over by the last couple images. When I sucked the yellow out of this shot, the blue of my comforters, rolled to the right above, grayed over. The DOF (depth of field) at f/4 is not bad at all, covering most of the bed, which is comforting because the wide zoom I want starts at f/3.5 (2.5 stops down from this amazing lens' aperture).

I focused about 1/3 into the depth of the feather bed from this low angle. [I think] the rule is 2/7 in front and 5/7 behind should be in focus, and it worked well here. Very nice to have the f/1.4 gushing enough light in to focus in semi-darkness, but I sure do miss the micro-prism and split-image rangefinders built into my old Nikons and Nikkormats.

I'm getting better at manually focusing this lens, but mostly I still suck at it. The 18-70 should cure that.

For birds and being sneaky with people, a 80-400mm long VR zoom ought to be really nice, once I can save up its hefty price, more than $1,200. People say it's really sharp all the way to 350mm (525mm in 35mm film equivalency). That should be fabulous for shooting Pelicans from way high up all the way down to skid landings.

Watching the news tonight, I see the spillway area could erode away completely tonight and into tomorrow morning's continuing rain. The City has closed the area, because the ground is sinking into the spewing water. When I chose this house 26 years ago, one of my criteria (besides cheap; it cost $23,400) was high ground. Grandview has a truly grand view, and we're way up high, thank goodness.

Tomorrow, I'll get down near the lake, shooting whatever's left.

[All shots above taken with either the Nikon 180mm 2.8 AF, the 35mm 1.4 or some other lens.]