Archives August 2011

Photo Project 52. Week 34 – Star Trek

This is a shot I have been wanting to do since the beginning, and Friday night finally provided me with the right weather conditions and opportunity to go out and try and get this shot.  This one was definitely a learning experience as much as it was a shooting experience.  First important thing I learned when attempting a very long exposure like this one: check your focus with a quick 5 minute exposure before going in for the long haul!!!  I didn’t do this (I thought I had it right) and a 45 minute exposure was completely worthless as the focus was way off.  It is very hard to focus through a tiny view finder in to pitch black nothingness.  The stars are all but impossible to see through it.  After my failure I tested a 5 minute exposure on the brightest thing in the sky, which actually turned out to be Jupiter!  It was kind of cool and I didn’t expect that at all, but when I held my Google Sky Maps app up to what was the brightest thing in the sky, it was definitely Jupiter.  So, after getting my focus right I made another attempt.  I like the image but it could have been better.  First off, my camera’s sensor was getting pretty hot due to the multiple long exposures I had tried before this one.  Plus it’s August.  This heat caused a lot of digital noise in the image, despite my 100 ISO setting.  Second thing was the 25 minute exposure.  I would have liked have gone for an hour, but because of my first missed opportunity it ended up being close to 1a.m. for this exposure.  This meant the night’s dew was setting in and my lens was starting to fog up.  I had to call it quits.

Like I said, despite the problems, I still like this image a lot.  And hey, the point of this project is to force me to learn new things, and I definitely learned a lot this go around.

“Star Trek”

Photo Project 52. Week 33 – L&L

This weekend my wife’s cousin was married.  I decided to rent a lens for the wedding and reception just to play around and see what one of Canon’s L-Series lenses was like.  I went with the 24-70 f/2.8 lens.  While I wasn’t overly thrilled with the lens in general I did get some beautiful shots out of it.  This was my favorite of the evening, the wedding topper on their cake.  Congratulations Lindsay and Leroy!


Photo Project 52. Week 32 – Ascend

I can’t believe it is the middle of August already, and only 20 pictures left after this week’s.  This year is just flying by.  August’s main attraction around these parts is the Illinois State Fair.  An annual carnival of music, gluttony, and rides.  What else could make America so great?  I had a pretty good idea of the shot I wanted to get this week, and it worked out pretty well.  I tried several different times through out the evening until I hit the sweet spot for what I wanted.


Photo Project 52. Week 31 – Fracture

This was was a real blast to shoot.  Not only figuratively, but literally!  The set up was pretty low tech.  I had my Canon and my 70-300 lens set up on my tripod.  I went for the longer lens so I could keep the camera back from the action a bit.  Then I stacked up a couple of cardboard boxes 10 feet or so away.  I cut a whole in the center of the box and stuck my brand new light bulb in it.  Sure, I felt a little bad for blasting apart a brand new bulb, but it was for a good cause.  To shatter the bulb I used my trusty old BB pistol I’ve had since I was a kid.  I haven’t shot a BB through it in probably 15 years, but after picking up a fresh tube of ammo from the store, the thing fired as perfect as it always did.  Then it was a combination of sports mode, my remote trigger, and shooting the bulb at the same time.  One of the things that surprised me was that it took multiple shots before the bulb fully shattered.  The first couple BB’s through the bulb just took a chunk out of the glass, leaving the rest of the bulb intact.  But usually the 3rd round through, the glass shattered.  This was my second bulb as the first one was slightly out of focus when I looked at it on the computer.  This one ended up with a way cooler action shot any way though, so it worked out.