Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene 2011

Here in Maine Irene was a pretty good storm but I have seen more powerful Nor’easters. I had a tough time getting my mojo going so the images are … well… Let’s just say they are not the best shots I have ever taken. Oh well the adrenalin was pumping and it was good to be “out in it” The shots were taken with my D5000 and 70-300mm VR lens with the exception of the hurricane flag that was taken with my Fujifilm XP10. The really terrible movie (my fault) was also taken with the XP10. I promise to take a tripod next time … duh. These images have been greatly reduced in size … sorry

I had to start it out with this one (ok I did not have to I wanted to)

Here are two shots of roughly the same spot ... now you see em'

Another wave shot

Checking the knots

And last but not least the movie. It  It is not great but if you view full screen you will get an idea of what it was like. This was taken at the beautiful Driftwood Inn, Bailey Island Maine

I could not click full screen on my browser ?? Here is the link to the clip on
You can watch it full screen there

Here is a late edit. A surprise from the XP10. This was taken on the way back

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rockland to Vinalhaven ferry trip

This trip out to Vinalhaven was later than I usually leave and earlier back so photo ops were limited but there is always something to shoot! Here are a few as my upload space is getting thin for this month. It was a beautiful day that made for a smooth trip out and back. There were some sun showers on the way back but not bad and they created a giant rainbow so even that was pretty cool.  I had the D5000 and the 70-300mm VR and I was happy to have the reach ... but I always want more! I took tons of shots and may in the future edit this post with some others.

This was the only one I did not cull out from the morning ride.

This was in the harbor before we left. Folks were stacking up with the days catch ...

The next few shots are shots of the wind turbines.

And a few ships on the way back. This guy was really catching some wind.

This one looks like its cost a few bucks ...

Catching some sun

And last but not least, the rainbow

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A short trip to Lands End

I took my grandson for a swim out at Lands End. It is always a short trip as the water is pretty "brisk". It was nice and sunny inland and we stopped at a pond on the way out so I could take a few shots.

Then I went to take a long shot of the wandering pond and noticed the ominous fog in the distance.

So we continued on out to the end. As we went the fog got thicker ...

And thicker ...

Nothing was going to stop the swimming trip though!

Although it was a fun and upbeat time for both of us when I saw this next image ... it was... well, you tell me what you feel.

Then it was on the way home and a few more photo ops for grandpa

Friday, August 19, 2011

I got painted!!

I am very happy that my friend Joan Atwood picked not one but two if my images to use for her paintings. I loved her interpretations of my images. Her use of bold colors on the “Maine Coast” painting made for a great moody feeling that popped right off the canvas. The bright color of the “Buoys” painting really brought me back to the day I took that shot … did I say how happy I was she chose my shots? :-D

Thank you Joan

PS I tried taking shots of both images but I did not have the proper lens to do it and my images don’t do her paintings justice so until/if I get better shots I will hold off posting them.

This was my invitation

 And here is the artist Joan Atwood and her work

I really wish I could show better shots of her work. I have to tell you it is really hard to shoot a painting ... try one for grins sometime! :-D

Thanks again Joan

The “Maine Coast” painting was based on “Daybreak” from the “Vista” challenge at
Link to “Daybreak”

The “Buoys” painting was base on a shot I took while on a ferry ride to Vinalhaven Me.
Link to the buoy shot

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fishing Spiders (dolomedes)

Until I saw a spider so large that at first I mistook it for a mouse I had no idea they existed in Maine. I saw my first one on a concrete alewife trap. It ran across in front of me then did a four foot swan dive right into the water! As I looked over the edge I realized not only did it dive off into the water it also went under the water and was hiding on a rock … under water! That is when I started taking pictures of these awesome creatures. I got a shot of it under water and a few of it coming out of the water and up the wall towards me. I went back several times to try and find that spider. I have not yet seen the giant one but I have found several smaller (but big) ones. I did a little (very little) research to find that these spiders along with insects will also catch fish and tadpoles! The first image here shows the size of one of the “small” ones. If you look close you can see a water skimmer on the left and use it for scale. I thought the shadow was wild so I took a bunch of shots this was a favorite  


In this shot I was watching as the spider used its pedipalps (I had to look that up) to actually bait minnows by gently tapping the water but not breaking surface tension.  

A closer image ... yes it is creepy getting close

This is the first shot taken while the spider was under water. You can see the bubble of air that wraps around it as it goes under. By the way having a RAW file saved this image as the JPG the camera made was blown.

This was an unexpected treat the last time I went. I turned around to find a large snapping turtle getting a breath of air.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Macro with extension tubes and flash

I have been using extension tubes with my D5000 with 70-300mm lens for macro shots. I know its crazy big but it gives me a long working range and since you can get so far away you can use flash if you have to. I have a set of three tubes 12, 20 and 36mm. I use them all stacked and put the lens into manual mode. I pre-focus with zoom and then move the camera to get final focus. I have had pretty good results with this rig … but it is foolishly big. I notice this site changes my images and strips the EXIF so I will link images when I can.

Here is an example of using the flash. I am going to link to the original in hopes that when clicked on you can see the original … I have been trying hard to get picks of this guy. He/she is camera shy though and each time I try to get a shot it darts to the underside of the flower. I was getting a warning in this shot with the outstretched legs trying to make its tiny self bigger.

If you click on this image you can check out the eyes

The virtues of shooting RAW

If your camera can shoot RAW I suggest you use it. I know that many of you DSLR shooters only capture JPG images and I know because I have one that shooting in RAW on point and shoot cameras is slow and many times prohibitively slow but when you can use this feature. Why? Because your camera has software in it that processes the RAW data into an image and then tosses all that information away!! Many times your camera will give you great JPG images especially when shooting conditions are ideal and you know how to use your camera. Sometimes even though you know your camera inside and out poor shooting conditions can “fool” the JPG engine of your camera to give poor results. If you have captured the data in RAW you can go in and compensate for difficult conditions and create your own JPG from the data your camera captured. Every now and again you run into an image that really dramatizes this point. The first image in the “Topsham Fair” post was one of those images for me. As I looked at the JPG (I capture both) I was thinking I blew it but I liked the shot so I tried the RAW file. Here are both JPG’s

This is what the camera made from the RAW data. It could be improved with post processing but it would be harder to do

With a few tweaks with a RAW conversion program I got this ...

It still needs work as I look at it again but you get my point you have way more control doing it yourself. Shooting in RAW does have its drawbacks like speed and storage space but you never know when you will take that picture and when you do you will be glad you have a RAW file. Feel free to leave your point of view in the comment section below.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Topsham Fair

The Topsham fair is a local agricultural fair.

This is 157th year. It is an entire week with all sorts of activities. Here is a link to their home page.
On the home page you will find pdf’s of the events … it can be amusing to read.

These shots are all snapshots. I put the 18-55mm VR kit lens on my D5000 and threw the camera into full auto. I am always amazed at the D5000 ‘s ability to think on its own and it gets it right quite often. I just did not want to think about it. Anyway here are a few shots. If I have not said so before all of my images are edited and if I post one that is not I will most likely be using it as an example. Speaking of examples I am going to start another post about the virtues of RAW files. The jpg engine on the D5000 is pretty good but it does not always get it right. I shoot jpg + RAW so I have some easy files to work with and view but when I want to get more out of an image I now always convert the RAW image.

 Here are a few images

I had another edit session and thought I would add a few more. I found these on the second serious look at all the images.

I was not going to post kids... but I grin each time I see this one so I added it

I am already looking forward to next year!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Zappa plays Zappa

I had front row center seats for a recent Zappa plays Zappa concert at the the State Theater in Portland Maine thanks to my wonderful wife who was first in line for tickets in person and beat out the online folks! Dweezil was simply awesome as was his band. His father must be smiling down on him and proud of what he is doing. I was not allowed to take a DSLR but I was allowed a little pocket camera (Nikon S70) that to my horror even though I was only a few feet away required ISO 6400 to get any shots at all. I was complaining about the lousy image quality in the FTF forum at and Boo suggested I edit them to get more milage out of them even with the lousy IQ... thanks Boo

I have more if you folks want to see them

... and if you get a chance to go see Dweezil, just do it, you will be blown away

Black and white

Some noise and a little color added

Noise and color added to the black and white conversion of this one

and one in color for you

 And you will never believe what I saw On the way to the concert ... yes you will because here it is!

I paid 2 bucks for this video :-D

Guitar playing bicycle riding street performer