J R's Images & Ideas
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My New Camera - Day 13

Not sure we need another silly headline,
this is just J R still learning a new camera

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Three Noses - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Three Noses   1/320 @ f/7.1  iso800 pattern FF (full-frame) HH (hand-held)
The day was very gray, not even cloudy bright. So even from inside the boat
house, the outside is darker and more visible in photographs. Of course, the
inside is darker, and that was a problem.

This is a shot I've tried before with my Sony and failed. Not sure why, although this lens (the 180 2.8 tele) is a little longer and a little sharper, and the Nikon has 10.3 megapixels, while the Sony only had 5. Whatever I may think about the politics of the transition, the Boat House is a boat house again, and these are the boats.

Always has seemed odd to me that although the land-side of the building is locked up tight, the water side is wide open to anyone who could wade or paddle over there.

Red Nose - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Red Nose   1/180 @ f/7.1  iso800 HH FF pattern

If I were in my usual AR mode, I'd go back and remove the blue tint from the boat and the water below it — even though it's perfectly natural. I like the coots watching under it, the low-contrast gray of the background, the solid black of the inside of the boathouse wall and the vivid sharp boat, just sticking out.


Boat House Vignette - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Boat House - I liked it better tan   1/250 @ f/5  iso800 HH FF pattern

They must have repainted the building recently. It used to be a mellower yellow, like the bath house. Not sure I approve of this bright white, although it does bolster my opinion of the politics of taking it from the fisher persons to give to the elite, dare I saw White, boaters.


Biclers in Distance - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Biklers in the Distance   1/250 @ f/5  iso800 70% FF  HH pattern

I love the distant vista aspect of this shot, even though the grayness of the day robs it of any sharp contrast. The spots of bikler color helps somewhat, but they seem off kilter somehow. I suspect this is a shot I'll try again on a brighter day. Still, there's a quiet gentleness about it that pleases.


Couple on a Bike - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Yellow Couple on a Purple Bike   1/180 @ f/9  iso800 FF HH spot

When I can see faces in a photograph, I tend to make up a story line. When I shot this, all I saw was more biklers coming. I didn't even recognize it was built for two till I'd shot a shot or two. It wasn't till I got the images home that I recognized that the guy is in physical condition similar to my own, and I can't help think that the woman is slightly embarrassed or amused by that fact. Plus all that silliness of uniform, as if he were on a sponsored bike team, ready for competition.

I had to show this image bigger than usual, so we could catch her face, but it might need a few more inches high before you can see what I saw in that smile of hers. By then, however, it might be more than compensated for by your own.

An amusing picture that was intended only to be a picture. None of the others of the series I shot as they hove by was as sharp or as near.

I shot this series very soon after I shot the Meter Test below, and accidentally still had the meter set to spot, which did not seem to hurt here as much as it did in the test. More to ponder...


Bench for Watching - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

A Place to Sit and Watch the Lake   1/200 @ f9/  iso800 HH FF spot

Since I was wondering down a part of Lawther (the street that goes nearly all around our lake — in fact, used to go all the way around it, except the Mockingbird Bridge portion, and then the homeowners got up in arms about all that silly, noisy, speedy, smoggy traffic, and now Lawther is sliced up in five or six non-contiguous pieces) that has many large homes fronting the lake.

This time, for a change, I was concentrating more on the houses than the lake. I like this all-weather chair out in the front yard. I'm sure they have perches inside also for watching lake life, but this seems poignant outside, up on a hill, behind the fence.

I can't explain this good exposure using spot metering, except maybe it coincided with the back of the chair. I would have guessed pattern metering. That make more sense.

Tree with Bath House - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Tree with Bath House   1/200 @ f/7.1 iso800  FF HH pattern

This is just so nice. Sharp tree on this side and hazy Bath House and everything else on the other side gives this shot an incredible sense of depth. The tree is interesting, the lake is light blue reflecting the sky of the same color. The green on the far side seems insubstantial, adding to the sensation.

No real reason for having shot this. I was just walking up over a hill, saw the tree and fired. Once. A lilting good shot.


spot - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

spot - 1/125 @ f/4.5

center weighted

pattern - 1/180 @ f/5.6


center weighted - 1/320 @ f/7.1

It's only a test. I wanted to see how much of a difference the various meter modes would cause. But because I chose a scene whose exact center was significantly darker than all the light, brightness all around it, I'm not sure how fair a test it was.

Frankly, I don't like any of the exposures, because the white paint, metal roof and anything else tan or off-white or bright is just lost in the examples above, except in the center-weighted shot, when everything that's not bright, off-white, etc. is too dark. Certainly, there's no clear winner here, although pattern comes closest without actually being the best. Oh, well...


Trestle - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

The Trestle from a Distance   1/250 @ f/5 iso800  FF HH pattern

Obviously, I didn't give this shot its due of attention. Half-assed, haphazard or whatever. There's no composition visible. Just a grabbed shot. It's not sharp, it's not composed, it's mostly just not.

goose head - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

1/320 @ f/7.1 spot

alien goose - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

1/160 @ f/5 spot

Alien Goose Portrait - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Alien Goose   1/160 @ f/6.3  iso800 HH  70% crop  pattern
The other goose has irregular amber splotches among his
white around his face plate. These are two separate birds.

Remember the alien goose couple from yesterday that I couldn't get close enough to with the wide-angle lens. Well, I got closer with this lens, but I didn't get anywhere near as sharp an image. And this lens has much more quality.

The first shot above was too dark. The second shot got his (her?) beak very well exposed but the rest of the bird considerably over. The third version was almost perfect. I lightened it very slightly, then lightened that pretty brown eye just a little more so we could see into it.

The rest of these birds are normal, old goosian shapes. But that forehead and nose is truly alien.

They were still putting up a ruckus today. The couple reminded me of New Yorkers, just arrived from the East, all squacking and talking without saying much. Wish I could have figured their accents. Maybe we'd know where they came from.


straw dark - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Birds in the Reeds   1/320 @ f/9  iso800 FF HH  center-weighted-average

Straw Light - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Both versions are the same image. I still see the possibility of a quality print. This size can't cut it. Not sure I'll ever print it, either, since its anywhere near perfection is marred by another dark shape just under the two silhouetted ones. The "flower" atop a few of these reeds is sharp, the two birds facing opposite directions are sharp, the reeds are very sharp.

The gray background may need to be somewhere between these two versions. Or maybe I should forget it as another near miss. The way the reeds are dense on the left, then thinning ever more till the wide separation at the far right. I like its possibility, but I may not be able to strike the perfect compromise needed to bring it off.

Plus that errant bird shadow flying by behind and under the other two seriously mars the simplicity. I don't mind the (probably a) coot at top background and its white wake behind it. But this comes so close, then just doesn't make it.

The Rock - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

The Rock   1/320 @ f/9  iso800  HH FF width  Center-weighted-average

I probably shot a dozen of these sorts of across-the-lake shots today. I like the compression telephoto lenses bring, and the splatter of gulls, white spots in the near foreground helps give it depth, except they're not nearly obvious enough or white enough or near enough or something to pull off any sense of depth, and the trees and the apartments behind, aren't all that interesting, and the light doesn't help much.

A brighter day, some clouds, oh, just about anything might have helped. It just so quietly and subtly sucks.


Address Grasses - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Address Grasses   1/80 @ f/7.1  iso800  HH FF

What probably did this attempt to sparkle the grasses around the address post out front was low shutter speed. I wasn't paying attention to it, and it's unlikely I could hand hold a tele this long at a shutter speed that slow and expect any sharpness at all.

The exposure is right on target. The depth of field fall off to the house would have been near perfect. But camera (photographer) motion killed it as it kills so many other shots every day. A brighter day would probably help, but a faster shutter speed certainly would have helped.

Gull Dark - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Gull Too Dark

Gull Lighter

If I'd been paying attention, I would not have left the meter mode on spot. As it is, what was in the spot at the center of the frame was the gray feathers of the gull, and the camera rendered it gray. Then I brightened it up some in Photoshop, and the shot would still make a fine little print, though perhaps boring, except to a fan of the greedy gulls.

I like that the ripple circle the gull creates centers him in it visually. I like the rippled shadow and the tree bark in the foreground, safely out of focus, that helps detract from the too centered format. I chopped off all the boring nothingness at the top but didn't want to loose all the rippling, but some of it right and left should go, too.

Gull with Fish

Gull with Fish   1/ @ f/ iso 800  HH about 8% crop  spot

This time the forgotten spot setting centered on sky which was already too gray, so it stayed that way. The bird is almost very nearly in focus. Close enough to see there's a fish coming out its greedy little craw. The wings are in great configuration (something I just let happen since I have so little control over the situation, but flying-bird shots are rarely this lucky).

Interesting, amazing that I shot it at all. I didn't clickity-click it across the sky. I panned and shot, but only once. I must remember to almost always keep the cam set at full window metering, which seems to work the absolute best. Only rarely will spot help. I can think of some where it might, but those haven't come up yet.

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