Today’s Earth Day. It seems like I was an avid landscape photographer before starting my blog and pushing myself to try new things, so I didn’t have any recent nature shots. I decided to go through the archives to see what photo I could find that showed the beauty of the Earth.
Canon Digital Rebel XT
During a family trip to Waterton National Park in Canada a few years ago, my wife and I took a hike into British Columbia. This was part of the trail – a wooden boardwalk placed over a wetland area. I thought it made a great photo, and it reminds me of all the beauty that we saw up there – including the wildlife.
It was a great vacation, and one I would definitley do again.
My wife makes one delicious apple crisp. The recipe is simple, and with a few substitutions, it’s dairy free because my youngest son has a dairy allergy.
I must note that in this photo, the whipped cream is obviously dairy, but if you leave that off, it’s as dairy-free as needed. If you are interested in the recipe and substitutions, let me know and I would be happy to send you more details.
After looking at the photos, I came to realize that depth of field is vital to succesful food photography. Depth of field allows you to focus on one dessert, while the other elements of the photo (in this case other dessert settings and some green apples) go to support the overall image. It’s amazing how a little change in aperture can affect the overall feel of a photo, and enhance the part you want the end-viewer to notice.
The photo was taken back in January 2009 using my Canon Digital Rebel XT. It was part of a photoshoot for an article in Wasatch Woman magazine related to food allergies.
I’ve seen a lot of photos of water splashes and thought, “why don’t I try?” So, here is one of the shots I ended up with after about two hours of setup and shooting.
If you’ve ever wanted to try, here is how I set this up and the things I would change if I were to do this again… which I will do… eventually.
I found a clear, glass bowl and filled it with water. I wanted to have something cool appear in the splash, so I made a checkerboard pattern large enough to fill the whole frame using four 8.5″ x 11″ sheets of paper taped together and matching up with the pattern.
I focused my camera on the center of the bowl, set my aperture to 1.8, using my 50mm lens, and hooked up a shutter release cable to my Canon Digital Rebel (I don’t recall the final shutter-speed or ISO, but I imaging a fast speed and sensitive ISO in order to stop the motion). In order to give myself the best lighting, since I only had an on-camera flash, I did this outside in my backyard.
The challenging part was figuring out timing. I dropped a marble into the water and pushed the shutter-release cable when the marble hit the water. Many were too early, most were too late. But about a dozen came out like that one, with different shapes, lengths, ripples and size.
Once I brought the camera inside to see what I had captured on the larger monitor, I cropped in a little closer on the splashes and got what I deemed a decent finished product. However, I am open to any pointers or best practices on how to capture this better, or create other effects of water splashes for the next time I give this a go.
My kids love having glow sticks with them when we go camping. My guess is that it provides them some comfort while sleeping in a vulnerable tent. For me, I think it makes for some rather interesting lighting situations and photos – like this one:
The florescent green sleeping bag, in the shape of an alligator, helped with the interesting colors of the photo.
I had initially stayed up after he fell asleep to take some night shots and chat with my brothers and dad who were also on the trip. But the cloud cover prevented me from getting star trail shots, so I got ready for bed before seeing this shot.
I set up my Canon Digital Rebel XT, then held the blue glow stick above my son, but out of the frame. I snapped off a few shots of this before calling it a night, but when I looked at the shots once I got back home, I thought this one was a keeper, though my son’s blue complexion looks a little on the creepy side.
I have always loved the close-up photos of water droplets, either from a splash or a drip. So when I finally decided that I wanted to try taking a photo of a droplet, I set to work in my backyard. And to be honest, I had to do a little jimmy-rigging to create the set up of water dripping off an icicle. Let me explain.
I found an icicle hanging from my roof and broke it off. Using rubber bands and some clips, I hooked it in a tree that was eye level to me and the upper heights of my tripod. Since it was still a rather cold day, it was obvious that the icicle wasn’t going to drip by itself, so I had to help it along.
No, that didn’t mean bringing out a blow torch or blow dryer to melt it. Instead, I took a syringe used for taking medications orally and filled it with water. I then squeezed the syringe, squirting water onto the upper heights of the icicle and letting the water run down it and off the tip. I then snapped countless shots, hoping to get one that looked just right.
I didn’t want the trees in the background to distract from the droplet or icicle, so I went to AV priority and opened the aperture as large as I could without washing out the subject. Although I don’t recall the shutter speed or ISO on my Canon Digital Rebel XT, I am confident in saying that I went with a higher (more sensitive) ISO and a fast shutter speed to stop the drop in motion.
I ended up with a couple of nice photos of this same icicle, but with different variations of the drip; however, I’ll have to share those another time… that is if people are still interested after I revealed my secret to setting the stage for these photos!
I have taken many photos in my years, but this is one of my all-time favorites.
I would start by asking a simple question: Do you know where this photo was taken? Even though I obviously know where I took the photo, I still get a sort-of European sense in how the photo looks. Maybe something from England or northern Europe? Alas, no. It was taken one very early, cold, snowy morning at the Layton, Utah, Frontrunner train station.
The commute to Salt Lake had been hampered with snow and I didn’t want to risk the delays of sitting in traffic all morning trying to get to work. So I headed to the train station and while walking down the platform, I thought this setting would make for a great photo. I was lucky to have an unsuspecting woman carrying an umbrella walk into the frame. But rather than waiting for her to pass, I snapped off a couple of photos.
Later, when I checked out the photo a little more (or at least on a bigger screen than what I saw on my Canon Digital Rebel XT), I really liked what I saw. In fact, I shared in on Popular Photography’s Facebook page and they selected it as a Photo of the Day last January. I was jumping for joy when I saw they had selected my photo.
I guess it is moments like these where carrying my camera with me wherever I go actually pays off. Ninety-five percent of the time I carry it without taking a single photo. But the 5% like this makes it all worth it – sore shoulder and all.