Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Canon 24-105mm lens’

Over the last four years I have grown comfortable photographing birds, insects, and other creatures, primarily in the friendly confines of my favorite local marshland park. I am familiar with many of the best spots and I know how to use my gear to capture images when the opportunities arise.

This past weekend I stepped way out of my comfort zone when I took pictures at my brother’s wedding. It was indoors, required the use of flash, and, worst of all, involved people. I guess that it is fair to say that I am pretty insecure about my ability to photograph people. Unlike many others, I don’t routinely snap photos of people with my cell phone. In fact, I got my first “smart” phone over a year ago and have yet to take a single photo with it.

The bride asked me to take some photos, so I decided to see what I could do. One of the best pieces of advice came from my niece’s boyfriend who was seated next to me at the reception—he looked at my camera gear and told me I could afford to be bold with gear like that.

Well, things turned out better than I expected. I got some pretty good candid shots. I came away from the experience realizing that all of my hours in the field with wildlife had prepared me better for the wedding than I had realized. I’m not ready to become a wedding photographer, but I might start thinking about photographing people more often.

Here are a few shots from the reception, including a couple of my brother that I converted to black and white.

Carole1_web

 

kiss_web

charlie1_bw_web

charlie2_bw_web

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I generally feel inhibited and self-conscious about photographing people, but somehow felt emboldened at my brother’s wedding this past weekend. One of my favorite images of the wedding reception was this shot of my great nephew, who decided to share his cake with his Dad.

I just love their individual expressions.

brayden4_web

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

As I was walking through the woods on Friday at Huntley Meadows Park, I noticed something white among the leaves on the ground. At first I thought it was just a mushroom, but upon closer examination it turned out to be the upper portion of the skull of what I am pretty sure is a raccoon (Procyon lotor). There were no other bones in the area, nor was the lower jaw anywhere to be seen.

I don’t know much about animal anatomy, but I was fascinated by the shapes and contours of the skull, a kind of natural and organic sculpture. It was intriguing as well to examine the sizes and shapes of all of the different teeth.

Raccoon skull

Raccoon skull

raccoon skull

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

It is really nice when I am petsitting to have new subjects to photograph. Katie, a beautiful young German Shepherd, stayed with me last night and I took this shot as she was sitting on my couch, keeping a close eye on P.R., my rabbit.

Katie seemed utterly fascinated by the rabbit and intently watched him as he moved about his cage. P.R. (which is short for “Prime Rib”was more or less oblivious to Katie, even when they were only inches apart. I suspect that P.R. does not view dogs as predators, probably because she grew up with with a dog in the household.

The challenges of photographing a pet indoors are different from photographing wildlife outdoors, but so many of the basic principles carry over. This image looks a bit like a studio shot, because I was able to direct the light of a desk lamp so that it fell on one side of Katie’s face (and amazingly she sat still for a moment).

German Shepherd

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

As I was wandering about Huntley Meadows Park this morning, I came upon the remains of an Eastern Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) that quite obviously did not survive the winter. It looks to have been in place for quite some time not far from the water’s edge of a stream in a remote area of the park.

I don’t know if a predator consumed its flesh, but it looks like a lot of the bones were scattered around the skull of the turtle, as you can see in the first photo. I move the shell to nearby location to get shots of the the top and underside and also took a close-up shot of the skull.

Snapping Turtle

Snapping Turtle remains in situ

Snapping Turtle

Detailed view of the top of the shell

Snapping Turtle

Detailed view of the underside of the shell

Snapping Turtle

Detailed view of the skull

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

My long weekend of catsitting is coming to an end today, so I decided I needed to do a posting on Queso, the youngest member of the cat trio. Queso is still a kitten and is full of energy and curiosity. He loves to antagonize his two older “brothers” and will sometimes pounce on them when they least expect it.

Cindy Dyer and her husband Michael rescued Queso when they found him abandoned in the bushes outside of a Mexican restaurant. That initial experience and his orange-yellow fur caused them to name him Queso.

Tomorrow (or possibly later today), I’ll be back to my more typical wildlife and nature photos. It’s been a fun challenge this past weekend to shoot “wild” animals in an indoor setting with available light.

Queso

Queso

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Lobo is another one of the cats that I am watching this weekend. He and Pixel, the cat that I featured previously, were adopted at the same time. According to my friend Cindy Dyer, she wanted to name him “JPEG,” but her husband protested, so they settled on the name “Lobo.”

Lobo has always seemed exotic and mysterious to me, with piercing eyes that look like they could hypnotize me if I stare into them too long.

Lobo

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

As I stood at the waterfront in Georgetown last Friday, I heard a rumble approaching. Was it an aircraft? Was it a helicopter? Suddenly a loud, slow aircraft appeared low in the sky above the Potomac River. It was probably the strangest looking aircraft that I had ever seen.

I had read about the MV-22 Osprey, but had never seen one. The Osprey combines the functionality of a helicopter with that of an aircraft and has tilt rotors that allow it to perform vertical takeoffs and landings.

This Marine Corps aircraft was at the tail end of a small flight of helicopters that was heading toward the White House. Perhaps it was providing additional security, given that it was September 11 when I took the photos, or may have merely been transporting part of the President’s entourage.

The first two photos show the Osprey in flight. I was pleased to be able to get these shots despite the fact that I had only a 24-105mm lens on my camera at the time. The third shot is of one of the other helicopters in the group. The “white top” helicopters are usually associated with the Marine Corps detachment that supports the President. The final shot shows a couple of the presidential helicopters as they fly toward the White House.

I thought about cloning out the small jet in the first photo, but decided that I like the way that it almost looks like the Osprey is stalking the jet.

MV-22 Osprey

MV-22 Osprey

presidential helicopter

presidential helicopters

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

When taking photos, do you ever just point and shoot? Now I realize that there is an entire class of consumer cameras with mostly automatic settings that are referred to as “point and shoot cameras,” but that’s not what I am talking about here. What I am asking is whether you ever just point your camera in the general direction of a subject and engage the shutter without actually framing the shot with the viewfinder or even the LCD on the back of the camera.

Why would you do that? I have a fascination with street photography. Conceptually I like the idea of taking photos of strangers, often at close range, in interesting urban settings. However, I have not been able to overcome my inhibitions and fears about capturing these kinds of images.

As I was returning by Metro back to my Northern Virginia suburb from a trip to the District of Columbia, I noticed  a guy with a bicycle standing in front of me. He had a racing-style bike and was carrying what appeared to be a fully inflated spare tube in his hand. It was an intriguing scene and I decided to try to capture it. With my camera balanced on my camera bag on my lap, I pointed the camera in his direction and took a number of shoots, zooming in and out with my 24-105mm lens. A few times, I peeked at my results and adjusted the angle and direction of my camera. I slightly adjusted the angle of a couple of the shots you see below, but kept the one that was really skewed just like it came out of the camera—I just like the different look that it has.

I felt safe and secure in taking these shots, because the sounds of the moving train more than covered any noise coming from my shutter. I even felt emboldened to take some shots of a young lady sitting across the aisle from me. She had assumed what I consider to be the classic Metro pose. She had headphones on and was sitting upright, absorbed in her own world. There seems to be an unwritten Metro code that strangers do not interact with each other, and usually go to pains not to look each other in the eye.

I think I will try my experiment again to try to get used to the idea of taking photos of strangers, albeit surreptitiously. I am not ready to become the next Cartier-Bresson, but it’s a start.

rider3_blog

rider1_blog

rider4_blog

rider2_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

As I was walking back home last night from the metro station, I was struck by the light that was bouncing all around a highway underpass as cars passed by, creating an abstract world of beautiful shapes and lines.

I really had no idea what kind of settings to use on my camera, but after a few quick tests I settled on ISO 2500 and f/9, which gave me exposures between one and two seconds. I rested my camera on a railing to steady it and pointed my camera in the general direction of the underpass.

Those who follow this blog regularly know that I have recently been experimenting with different approachs and subjects for my photography, which normally focuses primarily on wildlife and nature. Oh, I still enjoy that photography immensely, but it’s been fun and challenging to try some new things too.

I am quite pleased with some the nighttime images that I was able to capture, which are a pretty good reflection of what I was seeing and feeling.

underpass

underpass

underpass

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Do you ever feel a desire to step outside of your comfort zone in your photography, to capture some images in a completely different way, to return to the basics of our craft? For the last month, I have felt an irresistible urge to shoot some black and white film, something that I haven’t done in over thirty years.

When I told some folks at work that I was planning to shoot some film during a week of vacation, one of them responded by asking if I was making a movie. I patiently explained that I would be putting some black and white film into a non-digital camera. He stared back at me with a look of incredulity and asked if I couldn’t simply convert some of my digital images into black and white.

I still have some analog cameras, but most of them have some electronic assists—I wanted a truly mechanical camera. I found a Nikon F SLR with a 50mm f/1.4 lens on my local Craigslist. The Nikon F introduced in 1959, was Nikon’s first SLR, although this particular camera was produced in 1971, judging from its serial number. The camera is so basic that it requires no battery. When was the last time you took photos with a camera without a battery? The camera has no meter and I ended up using my DSLR as the meter.

Nikon F

What about film? I went to one of the last remaining camera stores in our area and bought a couple of rolls of Ilford HP5+ film, a black and white film with a “box speed” of ISO 400. I ended up shooting it at ISO 200, because it was very sunny and bright the day that I went shooting. (Using the “sunny 16” guidelines, I would have been shooting all day at 1/500 sec and f/16.)

What should I shoot? I decided that an urban environment would be more suitable for my film project than my normal wildlife environment, so I got on the metro and headed into Washington D.C. with my Nikon SLR and my Canon DSLR in tow.

I got off on the elevated outdoor metro platform at Reagan National Airport and my first shot was of the airport’s control tower. I wanted to try to find subjects with shapes and lines that would show up in black and white. (I am including some digital shots of the same subjects at the end of the post. I didn’t try to exactly match the shots, but they give you an idea of the differences in how the cameras rendered the subjects.)

Reagan National Airport

The next shot was of the Metro’s ceiling at the underground station in Rosslyn, Virginia. (You may have already seen a similar shot that I took with my digital camera and posted last week.)

metro

I exited the Metro in Rosslyn and walked across the Key Bridge into Georgetown. From the bridge, I took this shot of part of the waterfront in Georgetown. I like the old time feel of this shot.

Georgetown waterfront

One of the first things that you see when you cross the bridge is Dixie Liquors, an old-fashioned liquor store with a really cool sign that I have always liked.

Dixie Liquors

That was the start of my adventure with film. As I had hoped, I was looking at the world with different eyes and was forced to slow down, knowing I had to input manually the shutter speed and aperture and very conscious of the fact that I had no auto focus to help me. I was also shooting with a fixed focal length lens, so I did not have the luxury of zooming in and out. Most of all, though, I was filled with uncertainty, not knowing for sure if any of my shots would come out, worrying that my old camera might have a light leak or that I would mess up the development of the film.

I’ll continue my saga in another posting or two in the upcoming weeks. As promised, here are some digital shots that I took as I used my Canon DSLR as a meter for my manual Nikon.

control tower Reagan National Airport

metro ceiling

Georgetown waterfront

Dixie Liquors

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

In its simplest form, photography is about light and darkness, about lines and shapes. That was what I was seeking to capture when I took some shots in a Metro station in Rosslyn, Virginia earlier this week.

I took this week off from work and have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about photography, watching lots of videos, and shooting different subjects in different ways. I have even shot and developed some black and white film—I’ll do a separate posting on that soon.

This first shot highlights the distinctive ceilings that are present in many of the stations in the D.C. Metrorail system. I love the geometric patterns and the interplay of light and shadows in this image. I took this 1/3 second exposure by leaning my camera on a railing.

metro ceiling

The Rosslyn station is at a point in the Metro system where the trains pass under the Potomac River. Consequently, the escalators are extremely long. As I rode the escalator up, I was fascinated by the different lights and captured this image when I was approximately at the mid-point between the level of the tracks and the above-ground station.

It was midday on a weekday, which is why you don’t see more people in this shot. Things get really crowded during rush hour and woe to those who do not follow the Metro etiquette of staying to the right on the escalator steps unless passing.

metro escalator

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Walking in Washington D.C. along the National Mall, I couldn’t help but notice that humans were not the only ones taking advantage of the water fountains along the periphery. Several different kinds of birds were bathing and drinking in the water of backed-up fountains.

In the first shot, a bird, which may be a Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula), seemed to be testing the water in the fountain—a few seconds later, it was happily splashing about.

urban bird

I love the defiant stance of the larger bird in the second shot, looking like he is the leader of an urban gang, prepared to defend his turf against outsiders like me.

urban bird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I’ve spent most of my life living in the suburbs, so domestic livestock is kind of a novelty for me. My eyes are particularly drawn to animals as striking as this horse with a “rock star” hair style that reminds me of the beautiful horses of Iceland that I have seen featured in numerous photo shoots.

This past weekend I traveled to a winery in rural Delaplane, Virginia for an engagement party. After a wonderful celebration, I stopped at an adjacent farm that had a petting zoo. I was immediately attracted to three horses in the field that had long flowing manes blowing in the breeze. The horses walked right towards me and initially I thought they anticipated that I might have food. When they got closer, I realized that I was standing right behind a pile of hay that had been placed in the field and they more or less ignored me and munched on the hay.

I had a 24-105mm lens on my camera and ended up taking most of my shots at close range using the wide end of the lens. This was the first time that I have ever taken photos of an animal with anything other than a telephoto lens and I was happy with the results. I remember seeing some close-up photos a year or two ago that a blogger had taken of a buffalo using a wide-angle lens and thinking it would be interesting to try something like that. Unlike the buffalo shooter, though, I did not have to shoot from inside of a vehicle.

I don’t know anything about horse breeds, but these small, stocky horses with the incredible flowing hair reminded me of images that I have seen of the horses of Iceland. My dear friend and photographic mentor Cindy Dyer made a trip to Iceland last year and came back with some amazing photos, including this posting with a similar horse, although it is quite literally a horse of a different color.

Cindy has talked with me and a few fellow photographers about possibly traveling to Iceland next year. I would love to have the chance to experience firsthand the wondrous natural beauty of Iceland and to see more beautiful horses with “rock star” hair.

star2_blog

star1_blog

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I don’t see rabbits very often at Huntley Meadows Park, so I was thrilled to see this Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) on Monday in one of the meadows in a remote area of the park. I suspect that the rabbits are more active at dawn and dusk, when I am not there, though one of my friends offered a more straightforward explanation—the raptors are efficient hunters.

Eastern Cottontail rabbit

Rabbits have become a part of my daily life since I recently adopted a friend’s rabbit. She moved into an apartment in the city and could not bring PR (Prime Rib) with her, so he now lives with me. I don’t know the full story of his name, but do recall that her former rabbit was called Porkchop.

PR spends most of his time in his cage, but for an hour or so each evening I let him run around the living room. Sometimes he runs and jumps at such high speeds that I wonder if there is caffeine in his food. I took this shot of him relaxing after one of his evening exercise sessions. I think the photo makes for an interesting comparison with the rabbit in the wild (and I also think he’s cute, though I may be biased).

PR

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

For the past year, I’ve been hosting a friend in my house, along with her dog and her rabbit. Recently she and her dog moved out, but I still have PR, the rabbit, whose initials expand to Prime Rib.

This morning I decided to try to take a photo of PR, my own little Easter bunny and here was the result.

Happy Easter to all.

Easter bunny

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »