Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Entering my bathroom this evening, I noticed that the moon was nice and bright, and right outside my window. Soooooo, I set my XS on the tripod and attached my 75-300mm lens.

The basic settings were a low F stop value, low iso, (most at 100, some at 400 though), and to slightly underexpose the shot.

Here is what I ended up with, in no particular order.

Sunday, July 25, 2010 Weekly Assignment.

I just posted this photo to the Weekly Assignment. "What's In Your Refrigerator?". The DPS site is awesome. I know I won't win the contest. There are a lot of artsy photos, and a lot of plain looking photos like mine. I'm certain the artsy ones will win. I wanted to put Stamatia's stuffed giraffe in the fridge, but she talked me into using my Mr. Potato Head.

Sweaty And Tired After This One...

Today was my Grandfather's 83rd Birthday! I took some normal, every day photos. I also took a couple of flower close ups. It rained hard this afternoon and all of the flowers and leaves have droplets of water on them.

These are some of the flowers next to my Grandparent's back deck.

This is the only flower picture that I made any changes to.

I'm not sure what this thing is called, but it looks pretty cool!

And these are at the end of their drive way.

After the gathering, We decided to go down town to take some pictures along the green and Waterloo Row. Now, the weather was ok, but still very humid. I was dressed in dress shoes, a heavy dress shirt (over a non-cotten t-shirt) and black dress pants. By the time we were done walking, I was soaked through my shirts. My grey drressy shirt was dark with wet spots, and I was grumpy. I did get a couple of good photos, unfortunately the sun was setting. Too early in the evening for sunset photos, too late for decent lighting where I needed it. So, photos of the Cathedral and so on didn't turn out very well.

This picture is touched up a bit to bring out the greens and blues, and to warm it up a bit. Also, the sky had blown highlights so the clouds weren't visible in the original.

I like how the scene is framed in by the trees. (Also, it's as shot)

Our end of the line was the old Loyalist cemetery near the ball field. The bugs were bad, I was drenched with sweat, and my feet hurt from walking on a muddy, gravel trail in dress shoes. I didn't get a good picture inside the cemetery, but it looks spooky non the less.

Stamatia Caught The Bouquet

Sometime late last night (rather, early this morning), I put this bouquet in my light box and took a few pictures. The first photo fills the frame, and is untouched. The other two are edited a whole bunch (I don't even know what I did to them).

Shooting Mode Manual Exposure
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/8
Av( Aperture Value ) 13.0
Metering Mode Evaluative Metering
ISO Speed 200
Lens EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Focal Length 55.0mm
Image Quality RAW
Flash On
Flash Type Built-In Flash
White Balance Mode Tungsten
Picture Style Faithful

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Did It... I Built A Light Box

After work we went to Canadian Tire. I bought a couple of simple $8 clamp style desk lamps, some masking tape a 6 pack of 23w Compact Fluorescent bulbs. Staples didn't have enough foam board so we went to Michael's and I bought 5 sheets of 30"x20" for $5 a piece (urgh). Assembly was fairly easy. I have a couple of small gaps at the seams, and I haven't decided how to hide the seam in the back, on the bottom. I'll solve that problem later. After getting it together I immediately set up my camera on the tripod and began shooting various objects. When I was finished, and looking through the photos, I decided on a few modifications I need to make to my light box. 1) I need more lights, 2 more should do. 2) I need to notch the front part of the 2 sides so I can get the lights in a little further. 3) I need to hide the seam at the back. This should solve most of my problems. I couldn't get the white balance right. (I just realized that I didn't even try changing the WB Shift or flash compensation.) Using a low shutter speed and a really high F stop, I managed to get the whites fairly white. Then a little post processing in Photoshop or Canon's Digital Photo Professional made them even sharper.

This is a photo of my EF 75-300mm lens. Turned out ok eh?

Now that I've posted it on here, and have seen it on a pure white background, I see I need to do a little more photoshop'ing to remove some non-white in the corners. But it looks fine the way it is too.

So, I need more lights!

Oh, and here is a picture of the light box.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Last Night I Dreeeeeeeeeeeamed I Had A Light Box

Late last night went into our spare room / office. I put two sheets of white printer paper down on the desk, and turned on the desk lamp. Nothing special, just a standard el cheapo desk lamp, and a 60w incandescent bulb. Not the ideal set up, but it worked (some what) for what I was doing. I grabbed a couple of random objects, sat them on the paper, and took a bunch of pictures of them. The lamp was too short, and the bulb's yellowy cast screwed with my white balance, and the flash kept casting a shadow of the top of the lamp. After some rearranging, I managed to get a couple of cool photos. Some slight tinkering in Photoshop made the two shots I liked most look quite good (or so I think).

I'm soooooooooooo looking forward to having an actual light box (well, a home made light box) to take shots like these.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Editing In Photoshop

I urhm, acquired a copy of Photoshop CS5 and have been playing around with my raw files. There is so much to Photoshop that I'll never fully grasp it. So far I've managed to do this... sort of.

The photo on the left is untouched, except for the cropping. The photo on the right has been touched up a bit. I attempted to remove the shine on Stamatia's face. I also adjusted the exposure a little.

Monday, July 19, 2010

More Tinkering With RAW

I've been contemplating this whole RAW thing. I'm going to do some more reading, and check out some tutorials. I'll need to get a copy of Photoshop or something. I found a complete guide to processing raw in Photoshop at a news stand downtown, but I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the $35 to buy it. I probably should though. For now, I've been using the Canon Digital Photo Professional software that came with my Rebel and I've made a small amount of progress. My biggest issue at the moment however, is organization. I need a system of keeping track of what photos are where, and what format (raw or jpeg) and whether or not they've been edited. I found Lightroom confusing, but I haven't read anything about how to do it properly. The import / export / collections aspect of Lightroom also made it more confusing when trying to process the raw images. I haven't given up on it yet though.

So, here's what I have done so far in Canon DPP. The image on the left is the original, and the image on the right is the edited photo. Basically, all I have done so far is play with the white balance, and used the Highlight Alert, and Shadow Alert to try to correct the exposure.

Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about the blur in these last pictures, and noise reduction is still beyond me, but I fiddled with it a little bit.

I still have a lot of reading ahead of me. Woohoo.

Oh, I bought a LensPen lens cleaning device today, because I got dust and smudges on it during today's outing. I also ordered a remote shutter switch so that I can take low shutter speed photos without touching the camera, therefore, no camera shake.

There's a 6 In the Morning?

Determined to retrieve my missing lens cap, We awoke shortly after 6am and headed back across the river. Groggy and a bit cranky, we found it in the wet grass, wiped it off, and took a few pictures while I was there.
The floating dock, and my empty stomach made for some slight motion sickness!

After returning home to shower, we decided to go out for breakfast. I inhaled a Spinach and Cheddar omelette and two cups of coffee, then headed outside to take a few quick photos before heading home.

From the pedway, behind the library...

Mmmm dirty lamp on top of this post...

The clock atop City Hall...

Freddy The Nude Dude!

And one last shot of City Hall. Unfortunately, I'm way to close to get it all in frame.

To The Cottage And Back

Yesterday (July 18th), we packed the car and headed for the camp to spend some time with Aunt Carol and the kids, and my Grandparents. I cooked a big feast of steak, sausages, grilled peppers and corn. I also took a lot of photos. Most of the photos are unspectacular, but only because you can only take so many shots of the same body of water, and from so many angles. I shot mostly in RAW, partly because I kept forgetting to switch back to Fine jpeg, and partly because I thought I might actually take the time to edit some of them. Now I've decided to save RAW for special occasions, as my post processing skills are still non-existent. The weather was partly cloudy, but otherwise fine, with the exception of a very brief shower, accompanied by some very scary looking clouds. Twenty minutes later the sun was out again, and the evening was fantastic.

I'm getting ahead of myself...

Our trip began with a quick stop at the Big Potato! I love this potato. It looks so happy and delicious. We picked up a package of Macaroons and a bag of Green Beans!

Now, at the cottage. I didn't take any photos worth posting before dinner, but after the feast and much beer was consumed, I pulled out my tripod. On the veranda, I managed to get a couple of good photos of a very hungry hummingbird. He didn't much care for my flash, but I needed it to show the bright colours.

We left the camp as the sun was setting, and pulled off the road just past the old, single lane bridge just past Lakeville Corner. Again with my tripod, I quite successfully (or so I think), too several photos of the sun setting beyond French Lake. Using both lenses, and various white balance shift settings, I captured some warm, vivid pictures of the burning clouds.

The little bridge...

And various sunset photos...

And it's Stamatia!

Back in town, Fredericton looked so good. We stopped at the Green on the north side of the river. The river was mostly calm, and all the downtown lights reflected off of it so nicely. Unfortunately, every shot I took was blurry, even with the tripod, and my 75-300mm lens. I'm almost convinced that I need to buy a remote shutter unit for my XS.

These were 3 of the better shots, but I'm still unhappy with them.

Packing up my tripod, in my haste to escape the swarming mosquitoes, I managed to drop the lens cap off of my 75-300mm lens. I didn't discover that it was missing until I arrived home. Operation Lens Cap Recovery will follow in my next post.