Archive for August, 2008

Panning practice

The kids were our riding their bikes, so I got some panning practice. Lily has just learned to ride without her training wheels. This is a big deal for her, and she’s very proud.


Lily with no training wheels.

We let Lucy try without the training wheels, but it didn’t go so well. Perhaps next summer.


Lucy with training wheels.

The photosphere is all a twitter (well, maybe the Canon photosphere) with the official announcement of the 50D. I was very close to buying a 40D. Now I’m not sure if I should wait or just get the 40D. It’s not like I get a new camera everyday, so I’d want all the noise capability I can get.

Decisions, decisions….

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Caterpillar in the garden

This is the first time that we’ve had a garden.

That coupled with our kids and when we saw some caterpillars on the dill plant we thought “Great, we’ll just watch as the circle of life progresses.”


Caterpillar on the dill plant

Oh, we watched the circle of life alright. The next day we discovered the dill plant practically eviscerated. It didn’t exactly go as we had hoped.

So, the little buggers were removed and placed discretely in a different part of the yard.

Having read the children’s book A Very Hungry Caterpillar you think we would have realized what the end game was going to look like. I guess you live and learn.


A very hungry caterpillar

Birthday pictures

We finally got in Lucy’s 4th birthday pictures. Lucy is my middle daughter, and she turned 4 a couple of weeks ago. We just got around to getting her pictures. We do a birthday shoot for each of the kids on their birthday (or there abouts) so that we can see how they change as the grow.

It’s been a while since we’ve done one, and I’m now reminded how challenging it can be taking pictures of Lucy. All in all I think that it worked out, but she’s a strong minded person.


My personal favorite (above), except for her foot. We were running and gunning, and I didn’t notice it at the time. Dang! Perhaps with some cropping….


An out-take. Knock-knock jokes work great on Lucy.


My wife’s favorite. She took this one (have to give credit where it’s due).


Ah, the picture that could have been. Lucy just didn’t want to cooperate for this one. This is my “the-one-that-got-away” for this shoot.

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Silo shot practice; Success and failure

A few weeks ago I decided to try an all white background shot. A diet coke can was the closest thing, so away I went.


First trial of coke can


The setup shot.

Looking at it a little closer, you could see the yellow from the saw horses reflecting in the top. Also, other bits of the room was being reflected in the can as well.

I posted the results to the flickr group for pro photo life. It was recommended to try making a light box for the can to avoid the reflections of the room.

I used a wardrobe from Target as my light box. It has a translucent white cover, which is perfect for my needs.


Second trial of coke can, in “light box”


And the setup shot

Fast forward a few weeks. I figured I’d try it again, but with a pitcher that my wife has. Things didn’t go as well….


I swear that I couldn’t see the light rust spots before I shot this picture. But they’re plain as day once you see pic up close. Also, I kept wondering why I was getting the dark stripe down the middle. It wasn’t until I got the picture off that I realized “duh!” it’s the lack of reflection! There are two white foam core cards on either side, given me the light color of metal on either side. However there’s a gap between the two that my camera is shooting through.

Well, some you win and some you lose, I suppose. Lesson learned. I’ve not re-shot the pitcher yet. Perhaps after I take some steel wool to it (or get a break from canning…) I’ll make some time.

Dinner on the Farm

I seem to be veering from photography just a bit….

This past weekend we had a chance to go to a “Dinner on the farm.” This is the first time that I’ve been to something like this, and I believe it’s a first for the Champaign area, if not Illinois (though that may be a stretch).

The dinner was put on by Prairie Fruit Farms. It was a great meal. There were approximately 40 people that attended.


Windmill and sunflowers

All of the food was made with food from the farm or from local farms. It was held outdoors, and the weather was fantastic.


Our table

We met some new people and had just a great time. Highly recommended.


Talking about the farm

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It’s been two busy nights.

Canning still life

Last night we bought a pressure canner and decided to do a trial run on several pounds of rhubarb my parents had brought down from my grandparents house.

Since it’s the first time that I’ve ever canned, I was a bit frazzled. Everything went okay with the rhubarb. We now have 4 quarts of rhubarb preserved. I’m not entirely sure what we’ll do with the rhubarb yet. Perhaps once Christmas rolls around we’ll make a rhubarb pie. Yum….

Tonight was a tomato run. This was more work entirely. Peeling, dicing, canning. With 1 minute to go in the process I realized that I had forgot to put in the lemon juice. Nuts. The canner is cooling now. I’ll have to try to reprocess the tomatoes tomorrow.

I wanted a picture to denote canning, but didn’t want to spend all night on it (I already spent too much time messing with the setup for this one). So, this is what I could do. I’m not really happy with how the black turned out. I would have liked it darker. I bet that if I had spent a bit more time engineering the light, I could have figured it out.

Such is life. I’ll have to spend sometime later this week figuring it out.

Sunset silhouette

There seems to be a common wisdom running through the blogosphere (or at least my view of the blogosphere) that you need detail in the shadows of a sunset / sunrise picture. I’m not entirely sure why this is.

After all, isn’t a sunset mostly about color? Color is the primary here. Isn’t it simply distracting and unnecessary to force detail into something that I most likely want to be a silhouette anyway?

Picture of the Champaign sky at dusk. No mods, converted to JPG via Adobe Camera Raw.


Not to contradict myself (though I may), but the next picture (a different frame) I feel needs the bit of detail right in the foreground. Overall I’m undecided on whether I like the picture, but I’m pretty sure that without the detail in the front, it’d be crap. Might be a depth thing.


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Documenting Champaign, IL

I’ve started my project to document Champaign, IL. I’m sure that I’ll bleed into Urbana as well. Jim Talkington over at has started a “soft” group project documenting the places we live.

I was able to get out during lunch today and managed to get a few pictures of the University farms. The University of Illinois is located both in Champaign, IL and Urbana, IL. The two cities are essentially abutted next to each other, and not separated by any distance.

This will be an interesting project for me because:
1.) I’ve only lived here for 9 months and
2.) This is my first attempt at some sort of cohesive project spanning any length of time (save vacations).

Here is a barn on the University farm:

University Barn

And a silo:

University Silo

While I was driving around trying to find something I wanted to shoot (I’m very self-concious about walking around in public with my gear), I saw this horse “playing” with what looked like a hippity-hop. He was thrashing the thing around like crazy the first time I passed him. By the time I returned, he was sort of running out of steam. I stayed in my car, rolled down the window and started to shoot. Once the shutter tripped it was (apparently) prime-time again. He started going nuts again.

Horse "Playing"

Odd, but I guess that’s part of Champaign too.

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Illinois State Fair… Almost

We went to the Illinois State Fair this past weekend. It was the first time that I’ve been there. Truth be told, the place was huge. There was a tremendous amount of stuff to see and do. We were there for 4 hours, but we could have easily stayed longer.

It wasn’t a very good shooting opportunity for me, so no joy on that front. But, here are a couple of pictures that I had taken from the “Taste of Champaign” in June.

Both are taken on Ilford XP2 Super 400 film with a Pentax K1000.

Fun in the Bounce House:

Bounce House

In the Crowd:

Taste of Champaign

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Ebay and Cameras

I was reading a post over at this morning about a $50 film camera contest hosted by Brian Auer. Brian had a link to cameras on Ebay for $50 and under. I moseyed on over to check it out.

Why is it that all of the listings for cameras on Ebay read something like this:

“Great camera, excellent condition, minor scratches (blah, blah, blah)” and then have pictures taken by Mr. Fuzzy? Honestly, what am I supposed to think when I see this? Especially cameras that appeal to photographers, and not just the general public, such as TLR cameras.


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