Leaping Dogs – Too Apt?

Nothing says Americana like neon signs, right?  This is one from my trip to Corvallis from a few posts back.  Downtown Corvallis has a few blocks of old-timey cute, and although they don’t have much that ties them to the rest of the world, I suppose Greyhound still counts.  These days, the reputation is that of the crazy and the can’t-afford-Amtrak, so maybe a leaping dog doesn’t have the cache it used to, but the signs always make me think of a time when it meant a lot more.


Image file not found(ImagePath:/volume1/web/wordpress/

I would have liked to come back and shoot this at night, but we didn’t have time.  Also, hanging around a bus station at night with a camera?  Not necessarily the best idea.

30 Bucks – A Lens Cap Or Time Lapse Movies?

Alright, before we get started, I just want to say this post is way too long.  If you’re not interested in the jibber-jabber, but wanna see my bitchin little time-lapse movie,  just jump to the end.

$30 doesn’t buy you basically anything in photography.  Maybe a lens cap.  That’s the main reason I never bought a Timer Remote or Intervalometer before.  The Canon branded one costs about $150.  After reading up on how to make Time-Lapse movies on the awesome DIY Photography website, I did a little research and once again, it was Ebay to the rescue!

When my Taiwanese beauty arrived in the mail I was quick to bust it out.  You have a few options, but basically it comes down to:

  1. How long should I wait to start taking pictures?
  2. How long should I wait between shots?
  3. How long should I make the shots (or let the camera take care of it)?
  4. How many pictures should I take?

Want to read all about it and see the final movie?  Hit the jump and read on.

Continue reading →

Space Needle Is Old News

Everyone who comes to Seattle goes up the Space Needle.  Yeah, there’s Pike Place Market, the Fremont Troll, the first Starbucks, and various and sundry salmon-related doo-dads, but the Space Needle is the only thing that *everyone* has done.  Well I’m here today to tell you it’s a waste of time.

Panorama of Qwest Field and Highway 99 Viaduct taken from Smith Tower

Image file not found(ImagePath:/volume1/web/wordpress/

This here is just one side of the view from the 35th story of Smith Tower.  Even if the Space Needle wasn’t 300% more expensive, Smith Tower gets you some history (pre-1960), almost no crowds, and is actually *in* the Pioneer Square / Downtown core, where the Space Needle is actually off to the side.  On a day with anything but pristine clear views, from the Space Needle, you see the side of a few buildings and some water.  From Smith Tower, you get it all.

Only took me 7 years to figure that out.

Two Photography Birds, One Domestic Cat Stone

As you might have noticed, I love my 50mm lens – the Nifty Fifty.  Photography would be a much more accessible and enjoyable hobby if more good stuff cost less.  Honestly, at this point, I raise an eyebrow much faster at a lens that costs less than $100 than I do at one that costs more than $1,000.  But I’m getting off the subject – where was I.  Ah yes.  The Nifty Fifty.  This is a great lens that anyone who owns a Canon (D)SLR should have.  The main selling point after the price is that huge f/1.8 aperture.  That makes it a good two stops faster than most “good” lenses and worlds better than the slow end of what comes bundled with your average camera.  This has some obvious upsides (bokeh, anyone?) but there are also some problems.

It is easy to take bad pictures with this lens.  Out of focus pictures.  Here’s the key.  In most situations, the camera is going to drop the lens all the way open in order to gain more light.  Unless you set the aperture yourself, this means shallow depth of field.  When you take a picture of two people maybe 8 feet away with one slightly in front of the other, someone is going to be blurry.  You see where I’m going here?  No?  Well that’s why I brought examples.

Lucky The Cat, with focus on his head

This, my friend, is Lucky the Cat, doing what he does (when he isn’t rapaciously eating or rapaciously scratching people).  Without moving the camera, but with a twist of the focus ring, you get this:

Lucky the cat, with focus on his paw

Lucky is a big cat, but he’s not that big.  This is shallow depth of field.  You can do some great stuff with it, but you’ve got to remember that it exists.  If you want more DOF, you have to dial your aperture down a few stops, which means you need a higher ISO speed or a longer exposure length.  This is the same with any lens, of course.  The only difference is with the Nifty Fifty, you have the option of going down to 1.8.  You’ll never have the shallow DOF problem with an f/5.6 lens because you’ll have your own, completely different problems instead.  I’ll take this one any day.

Back To Gas Works

When I had all the time in the world, I used to drive around Seattle every day looking for pictures to take.  Just because you have time doesn’t mean you can find them.  No matter how many times I go, however, Gas Works Park always has something.  Yesterday, it was this:

Coal Gas Tower at Gas Works Park

Image file not found(ImagePath:/volume1/web/wordpress/

The rust, the rivets!  I never get tired of it.  Shooting this one up against an overcast but bright sky, it was a bit hard to get the tower to stand out without washing out the sky, so I went back to my pseudo-HDR style to pull things apart.  I’m sure there are other ways to get the same effect, but once you’ve got this one sorted out, it’s really fast and easy.

Sponsorship In Calm Seas

One more for you from the same day as this.  Wide angle lens from the bottom of the mast.  I have a few under sail that had a great swoopy motion to them, but this one… the clouds!


Image file not found(ImagePath:/volume1/web/wordpress/

The Budweiser Select sponsorship on the sail sort of cracks me up.  Not only do you not see it when you’re on the boat, but I don’t even know what Budweiser Select is.  If ever a misnomer there was, this is it.