Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunflowers and a Pirate Balloon


I went to the McKee-Besher Wildlife Management Area to photograph the annual sunflower fields.  I did this last year and found I would lose track of where I set my bag, so this year I tied a balloon to it.  The balloon happened to be a large pirate balloon (I gave it to a little kid when I was done), which got me many stares from other photographers in the area.  One person came up to me and asked what the balloon was for; one I told him it was to mark my stuff, he was like that is a great idea never thought of that.  The balloon also worked as a great piece of juxtaposition within the sunflower field.  I got several nice shots of the field, not so many with the balloon since the breeze would make it dip down to low.  However, what I would love to do; is do a portrait session in one of the fields. I think a nice earthy shoot, with big floppy hats and breezy dresses or the earth child/hippy look would be perfect out in the field. The other thing that would be fun would be to do a cosplay portrait session.  




I photographed the field using both a 60mm macro lens and my trusty 18-200mm lens.  I used a 200 ISO with an aperture set to 9.0f; I did go down to as low as 4.0f for some macro shots and as high as 22f for some long shots.  I kept the shutter speed above 1/100 of second, due to the breeze, but was mostly faster than that.  I did use a circular polarizer for a few shots as well as a graduated neutral density filter to compensate for the bright sky. 
(Gallery)


The Zoo with Baby Lions

On Saturday, I went to the zoo, because why not do that on sunny afternoon; plus the National Zoo is free.  While I was there the lion cubs were out in there enclosure. I got a couple nice shots of them, but they were not being overly playful because it was hot outside.  I did see the baby panda; however, he was napping with his back to everyone so instead I got nice pictures of the panda parents.   The wolves were very active, pacing around their enclosure.  I captured a few good picture of the grey wolf through the glass without glare.  I also got a nice picture of the sloth bear through the glass, which is usually difficult because the glass is usually very dirty.   Overall, I had a nice little adventure at the zoo.  (Zoo Gallery)

Lion Cubs
Panda

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Fourth

July Fourth in the Capitol
Yesterday I decided to actually brave crowds to capture a better representation of fireworks in the Capitol.  I traveled to Rosslyn and walked the half mile to the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial).  Once there I walked a bit further over to the Netherlands Carillon.  The Netherlands Carillon is where many people go to capture that iconic shot of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Memorial and Capital in line with the fireworks going off above them.   I expected it to be extremely crowded, but it actually was no worse than when I shoot from the Air Force Memorial.  

People waiting for fireworks

The traditional shot
I picked a location that framed the monuments between two large trees instead of trying to jostle for a position directly under the carillon.  If I had a press pass, I could actually shoot from the top of the carillon.  I captured some nice shots through the trees from my location near one of the flowerbeds at the base of carillon.  The problem was getting home. The metro was extremely crowded to the point where they were not even letting people go down to the platform.  So, I wandered around Rosslyn to find a place to wait till the crowds died down. I ended up at a frozen yogurt shop.  The fireworks ended at 9:30PM and I didn’t attempt to get on the metro till 10:30PM at which time it was only like normal rush hour.  I arrived home around 11:00PM.   

As mentioned this year I shot from the Netherlands Carillon through two trees, which framed the monuments and the fireworks.  I took 211 photos of which I kept 48 photos.  I set my camera at 200 ISO, with an aperture of f/11 with a shutter speed around .5 to 1.5 seconds.   I am happy with the pictures I got. I will use this location again even if I don't  get home till 11:00PM.  You can see more of the photos from last night  by clicking here.

Waterfalls and Parachutes

Bonus image: Focal length 18mm, Apeture F7.1, Shutter 1/200s I went up to Ohio a few weekends ago for my class reunion, and figur...