Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Top O' the mornin to ya

Here I am up in Minden, on a beautiful summer day. It almost seemed that summer would never really appear but here it is! I've been working on some other things and haven't spent much time behind the lens but hopefully I can change that.

Here are a few shots I took at the house. The tree is just outside my front door and the attraction is a couple of bird feeders. By the way, a small black bear came by the other day and ripped one of them down, for a few peanuts. It's the first time I've seen one on my property. I just wonder where momma was!

Blue Jay (cyanocitta cristata)

Cedar Waxwing (bombycilla cedrorum)

Purple Finch (carpodacus purpurpeus). This fellow was hard to identify. I actually bought a "Birds of Ontario" book and looked him up, without success. Finally I posted this picture and sent the link to a site called "whatbird.com" where I had an answer within about 10 minutes!

At the end of this week, I'm attending Adobe's "Photoshop CS4 Down and Dirty Tricks" seminar. I was at one of their sessions last year and came away with a bunch of new techniques and ideas. Hopefully the same will happen this time. Watch this space for some neat stuff.

On July 4th weekend, Whitewater Canada is having a Whitewater kayaking race event, called "Gullfest". It's being held at the Minden Wildwater Preserve which is 6km from my house. I've contacted them a few times to request press accreditation, but nothing yet so I'll have to take my chances. Here's a link to the event (click here).

I had posted some pictures here a few weeks ago last time I was there. I went again this weekend with the intention of trying some different techniques. I was only moderately successful. Last time, I froze the action with a high shutter speed, this time I decided I wanted to bring some motion into the shots by using a slow speed. I quickly settled on shutter speeds between 1/20 sec and 1/30 sec. Anything slower and there was too much camera shake (well I did it deliberately a couple of times but it's really hard to control).

Normally, you would pan with the moving target (the kayaker) but if you watch these guys, they tend to stay in the same position on the water. So the best technique is to hold still and use the slow shutter to capture moving water. Like I said, very hard to control and I didn't get a lot of successful images. Here are a few, though.

1/30 sec at f/18, ISO 200, 24-120VR lens set at 70mm. I love the water motion in this picture. I didn't really do anything to it in Photoshop, and it's just slightly cropped from the original.

Exactly the same exposure, zoomed in to 120mm, taken a few seconds later. I think you can see what I mean: he's holding the kayak in position, not moving. By the way, if you haven't figured it out, these guys generally point their boats upstream. I imagine they'll be facing the other way when they're racing next weekend, unless they're trying to get through some slalom gates.

Again, this is the same exposure but I moved the camera as I took the shot and got this abstract effect. Very hard to control.

Let me leave you with one image that I really like. I'm not sure exactly why... just the feeling in the image. I call the shot, "Together".

This couple was doing the same stuff that the little single kayakers were doing, but less aggressively. They then moved over to this calm spot, took the boat out and portaged it upstream so they could run the part of the river that I think is called the "Otter Slide". Go to my June Smugmug gallery to see them back enjoying the action after this quiet moment.