When The Sky Is The Subject……..

……..And there’s nothing much to write home about at ground level, zero in on the big show in the sky!   That was the case this past week in the farm fields of Eastern North Carolina. The crops are in the ground but they’re months away from showing their stuff.  The soothing green foliage provides a nice foreground base but it doesn’t make for a very interesting picture.  I always go to spot metering in situations like this.  When this mode is selected, the camera meters a circle 3.5 mm (.14 in.) or approximately 2.5% of the frame with the circle centered on the focus point.  This makes it possible to meter off center subjects ensuring that the focal point will be exposed correctly even when the background is much darker or much brighter.  The result can be spectacular.

The trick is to remember to re-meter as the sky changes which, of course, it is constantly doing.  When the sun enters the equation (when it rises above the horizon)  be sure to take your meter point away from it.  This will ensure a proper exposure.

You’ll probably need to do a little work in post,  particularly if you shoot in RAW as I always do.  It allows me to change white balance and other aspects of the data to suit me.  As one who always under-exposes, I often have to boost shadows and tweak color curves.  Be careful with the clarity button in Camera Raw though.  Boosting it too much will result in a halo at the horizon. Sharpen the frame and you’re in business.  A final tip.  Photoshop (Elements etc..) offers a haze reduction button in the editing mode which often works quite well.  It’s worth a try.  Like so many things, I find digital DSLR’s and processing software at first to be overly complicated to the point of being obtuse but then spend every day thereafter being amazed at what they can do.  Have a good week ahead. See you next time.

Same day; 2 views.

Sunrise May 10, 2017

A few moments after Sunrise and the Eastern sky has a distinct South West Flavor to it but just over 8 hours later, a view to the North has a totally different color pallet.   Even the sour grass which appears red in the foreground shadows above looks totally different by mid afternoon.  I suppose the moral of the story is, don’t forget to go back and take another look.

Both shots taken with a Nikon D800e and a 18-35mm lens.  Thanks for the look and have a good week ahead.  See you next time.

Sour Grass

Sour Grass as it is more widely known, is actually Wild Sorrel; a short lived perennial that dots fields and open spaces every Spring along the Eastern United States.  Distinguished by its reddish pink color, it is edible to a point point with an acidic, sour taste.  It offers a marvelous foreground enhancement when photographing otherwise barren fields prior to Spring planting.

Shot with a Nikon D800E Camera using an 18mm Nikkor Lens,  I used my usual set up for sunrise photography: Manual program, Spot metering, taking my exposure reading away from the Sun in the blue sky, f/22 for 1/320th of a second, Auto White Balance, ISO 400. No Filters.  I shoot everything in Nikon’s RAW Format (NEF) and I use Photoshop Elements to convert the image to jpeg.  Ah yes, I also use a tripod for all landscape shots: A SLIK Pro 5000X.  Thank you for the look-in and have a great week.

Photo of the Week: New Year’s Day

_dsc3717                                                           The moment of sunrise at Duck, North Carolina along the Outer Banks.

I’m beginning the new year with a new camera, the Nikon D750.  Well, it’s new to me anyway.   The 750 has been out a while but I wasn’t drawn to it initially because I didn’t think it was a true successor to the D700, which to this day I wish I had not sold.  I was chasing megapixels back in those days.  The D700 had 12.  The norm now is about double that but the D700 was still one of the best digital cameras Nikon has ever made. My humble opinion!  The 12 megapixels plus the full frame sensor made for incredible photographs. It captured the nuances of light uniquely.  It shined.  The 700 also had a pro body. It was a tank just like the Nikon film cameras.  And, like the old Nikon F’s,  it was just a still camera. No Video.  My kind of rig.  I’ve never shot one frame of video on any camera since and I wish I could still buy a camera without it.  Easy, I’m 71.  I’m old.  Still photography is still my only bag. Instead of the then new D750,  I bought the Nikon D600.  Within a year, it was back at Nikon getting a new shutter because of oil splatter.  They fixed it well and I put upwards of 75 thousand snaps on it before selling it this fall.  Why?  Well, Nikon was out with refurbished D750’s at a price I could not refuse. It was a bit faster and, better in low light.  Having used it for a month,  I have only a few gripes — apart from the fact that it is also a video camera.    First, it has the cheap Nikon eyepiece that is forever coming off.  Why Nikon cannot engineer its consumer cameras with the same round eyepiece it puts on its pro models is beyond me. Perhaps they are making too much money selling replacement eye  pieces.   I have to keep a supply on hand because they are always coming off the camera.  I wish it had an auto focus “On” button paired up with the AF/ AE (E for exposure) lock button on the back of the camera. True, there’s a work around using the “fn” button on the front, but it’s awkward.  And i wish Nikon would move either the ISO button or the Quality button to the top of the camera. I keep hitting the “quality” button when I go to change the ISO and I don’t realize it until I go to process the file and discover its not a RAW file.  One of the reasons I didn’t go for the 750 when it first came out was the pop out tilting monitor on the rear of the camera.  I was certain it would prove to be a weak point. I have been proven wrong.  I suffered a serious fall while on a photo outing in December.  I took a beating but the 750 which crashed to the pavement with me suffered nary a scratch. So with the few gripes I have listed, I love the camera.  The resolution,quality, clarity, sharpness, improved grip, weight  etc are off the charts. I’m looking forward to 2017 with it.  I will also watch my step.

My best wishes to all who venture here every so often for a joyous, healthy and prosperous 2017.  Blue Skies and Green lights everybody and thanks for the look.  See you next time.

Photo Of The Day: Stalking The Sky

Stalking the sky.  Posted to flickr November 28, 2016

Stalking the Sky

One of the oldest of Photography “Rules”  is in play here.  I say “Rules” because, of course, there are no rules ,and those that have been passed down come with the caveat,  “made to be broken.”   Over the years though, I’ve found this one is worth remembering: when all else fails, get low!   As it was, this was no shot at all when I first saw it.  The distant dark tree line swallowed the scene. But by getting low, the high grass stalks met that incredible orange of the dawn sky and bingo, a scene worth capturing.  I thought it was a rather pleasing shot.  So did my followers on flickr.  It got a lot of hits and faves and so forth.  I decided to put it on my web site and sold a small print the first day.  So, a worthwhile photography  that all came about because I “went low.”   Mind you, “getting low” is not something I do much of these days.  At my age, getting low is one thing, getting back vertical is quite another,  but this shot made even the complaining knees worth it.  Nikon D800E. 18-35mm lens.  Thanks for the look and have a great week.

 

Photo Of The Week: Open For Business

Open for Business Posted to Flickr November 20, 2016

Open for Business 

A rather dramatic sunrise in the bean field.  Within a minute or so, the golden glow in the sky will be gone, leaving just a white disk of a sun and a lot of bright light.  The trick is to be there before the big show. My rules for sunrise shots: Get your gear ready the night before even to the point of making the settings on your camera.  For me, usually f/16-f/22, iso 400, manual exposure, spot metering.  Set your alarm early enough to allow you time to get to your destination.  When it goes off, go outside and check the sky.  If there are no clouds, and you live near your destination,  go back to sleep.  If you are at an exotic location or on vacation etc, get going regardless.  You may not be back. Once there, work quickly, the sun will not wait for you. It really helps to case your location ahead of time to pre-plan shooting points.  One final tip: be there. s for the visit. See you next time.