Wednesday, September 28, 2011

State of Diffusion

We've been blessed with some mornings of heavy fog around here this September.  Here's a shot of a big sun rising over the field with heavy, heavy fog.  The sunlight burning through the fog is incredibly diffused makes what normally would be strong hard glaring light into a very soft, creamy light.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Point and shoot

Since I might upset the few Chicago Bear fans that read my blog with actual pics of the game Sunday, tonight's post is one no one can get upset with.  I brought my daughter's point and shoot Canon with me to the game and got some nice shots of the game, but on the way to purchase a beverage I snapped off a couple of shots of the city skyline from up high in Soldier field.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's that time of year again!!

Go Pack Go.  Big day.  About to head down to Soldier Field to watch the Bears and Packers do their thing to each other.  Here's a shot to get everyone in the mood.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Why is corn on the cob so expensive?

Quick post tonight of some midwestern flavor. In my farmland travels, it is amazing how much corn is grown in this part of Illinois.  With all the fields around here, you would think we would be overloaded with corn and it would be like a dollar a bushel. Yet, when we go food shopping, sometimes we find ourselves checking out the corn on the cob and when its 6 ears for a buck, we're in.  But, if its something like 5 ears for two dollars?  No way, Jose.  That's robbery.  Someone's really trying to stick it to us.  And we leave the store with no corn.  It;s only when we're sitting at the table eating canned cream style corn and one of the kids says, "Why no corn on the cob?" that it hits you how crazy your thinking is. I mean, come on. Pinching pennies is not a bad thing, but......Really?  No corn on the cob due to an extra buck?  The sad thing about it is, I remember as a kid my mom and dad screaming about how a head of lettuce was going for something like 50 cents a head instead of the usual 40 cents.  Us kids would laugh and snicker about their thought process.  It must be in the genes.  Oh well, I just hope I don't end up in the headlines of The Daily Herald, "Crazy Old Guy  Caught Stealing Corn from Corn Field in the Middle of the Night."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Good night for fishing

The best thing about fall is the softer light of the sun, especially around 5 or 6 pm.  Evidently, a good time for fishing, too.  Although, the water is a bit cooler.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Buy me some peanuts and crackerjack

Last night was a special night.  Many of you know I am a Cubs fan.  I get the opportunity to go the games several times a year and my daughter, Ashley, often asks to go, too.  But, unfortunately, when I go I am usually the guest of someone else.  A couple of weeks ago I decided to make it happen and got us some tickets and got a couple more for Ashley's uncle Tommy and his fiance Darcy since they live close to Wrigley and we thought it would be a good night to do something together.  The trick here of course is 1. Be able to get tickets since they are usually sold out, 2. Find a night we can all go, and 3.  Find a night to go before it starts to snow.  I know, that last point sounds funny, but when you get into September and you are down by the lakefront in Chicago, I think it has happened.  Last year, I went to a September game and it was literally, outside of a Bears game in January, one of the coldest sporting events I've attended.  We found a night that worked for all of us and I was able to snag tickets for the grand price of $5.00 a piece on StubHub(I know Cubs tickets are usually sold out, but when you are 22 games out of the running for a playoff spot and its September,remember the cold comment above, things change).  As it turned out, we had a rather balmy September evening at Wrigley field.  My daughter got to see her first Cubs game and true to tradition, they lost.  She got to see future Hall of Famer Starlin Castro slam one out of the park for the lone Cubbie run. And we enjoyed a nice evening out with Uncle Tommy and future Aunt Darcy.  Its all good.
Note:  The pics below are the sequence of Castro's homerun.  I found the one of him running the bases getting congratulations along the way an interesting shot when you look up at the pitcher who gave up the run.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sick of Green

It's at that point of the year where summer is over, but true autumn is not quite here yet.  I'm starting to get antsy for the color change that is about to happen.  I am truly tired of so much green.  So tonight's shot is one I grabbed the other day.  It is of an area of the Fox River.  I like the composition of the log in the water, but the original with all its green hues surrounding the water just didn't do it for me.  I decided to convert it to black and white and then bring some of the color back in.  Still has green, but toned down.  Besides, there'll be alot of green scoring touchdowns when the Packers play the Panthers tomorrow.  I'll root for the color green at that time.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

I must have had a "horseshoe" with me this day

This weekend one morning I got up early to head up to Harvard, a small town just North of us to shoot some pics of the circus setting up for some performances that afternoon.  I had heard that they had tigers, camels, elephants, etc. and in the morning the setup was open to the public to watch the raising of the tent by the elephants.  Thought that might be cool, but I didn't know when it started.  So I got up early, really early, pitch black early, and headed that way.  A really neat foggy morning it was.  But, in case you didn't know this, photographers cannot seem to drive in a straight line.  I got a few minutes out of town and with all good intentions, I decided to take the scenic route to Harvard- the back roads.  I had driven these roads many mornings and evenings before looking for postable shots and I have succeeded many times.  Yet, I often think about not driving those areas any more due to they aren't that exciting to me anymore.  A "Been there, Done that" mentality.  Today was a different, though. There was a heavy layer of fog and it can change the whole environment.  I drove a bit and snapped a few shots and then got to a horse farm that I've gotten some good shots at before, most famously my black and white Mr. Ed.  I didn't pay much attention to the farm this time, though, because I've shot it so much, I just didn't think I'd find anything new and different.  Until I turned the corner.  As soon as I turned the corner, I saw the big flaming ball in the sky, the horses and, the fog.  Put it together, you've got a great shot.  I slammed on the brakes(thankfully, at 6am Saturday morning no traffic), grabbed the camera, left the car in the middle of the road, ran down the ditch and up to the fence and looked for the shot I wanted.  I think I got the shot I wanted.  I fired off about 20-25 shots, all different settings and such, but in the end I think the shot I chose to post tonight was actually the first one I grabbed.  By the way, I did make to the circus on time, in fact, too early. And I did get some shots which will be posted another night.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Silvery night

Since my last long exposure shot garnered alot of response, I thought I'd post another one from the same night.  This one is from a different location on the lake and a little earlier than the one from the other night.  This one was a 30 second exposure.  I converted it to black and white and though it looked pretty cool.  Also, the one from the other night was a 15 second exposure, I believe, and with this one being 30 seconds you can see alot more movement/blur in the clouds.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What it looks like after dark

Two things I've learned over the last few years regarding photography.  1.  When walking, always stop and take a look behind you for sometimes the best shot is the one you miss because you didn't look behind you.  2.  Long exposure night photography can really create some nice shots.  This shot is from Sunday night.  I finally seemed to have a handle on the fact that it gets dark earlier than it did 2 months ago so I was able to plan for it.  I headed out to my favorite hiking area around 6pm and proceeded to start hiking knowing I would be somewhere around the lake when the sun went down.  I didn't know if that night's sunset would present any shots, but I do know if I was at home on my butt, there definitely would be no shots.  I got alot of shots off on my hike, but ended up by the lake, 8:30pm, after the sun was pretty much down.  At one point I looked back and I could barely see an opening in the shoreline brush.  I decided to setup and do some long exposure shooting.  The hardest part at the time is focusing due to the fact it was dark.  The camera can't really pickup something to focus on.  I switched it to manual focus and did my best to point across the lake and dial in the focus myself.  I set the camera to create a long exposure.  This means I made the camera open the shutter and stay open as long as I wanted it to.  This is necessary to allow as much light into the camera as possible so you don't just end up with a pitch black shot.  For this shot I kept the shutter open 15 seconds.  Its really a trial and error thing.  Anyway, I was really happy with how this one turned out.  I also made some shots at 5 seconds and 10 seconds.  All too dark.  And I did some at 15, 20, 25, and 30.   The longer ones allowed too much light creating a washed out pic.  The 15 second exposure turned out just right.  What still amazes me is the amount of color in the sky after dark.  You just can't see it because, well, it's dark. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

The end is near

The warning signs are out there, not the least of which is the drastic dips in temperatures the last few days and nights. One more day of summer fun left.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Boys Night Out

(Note:  Tonight's shots might look a little different not because I don't know how to shoot the shots, but because due to restrictions by the speedway I could not bring my camera and gear in.  Instead, I used my daughter's new camera, point and shoot, which is really an incredible camera.  We're just learning how to use it at this time.)
Its not too often the boys of the house get a night on the town, but tonight was the night.  Derek and I left the girls at home and we did it up good.  It was a night of flowing lemonade, nachos, ice cream bars, and alot of vehicle carnage.  We hit the area stock car races/demolition derby.  We breathed in alot of race car fumes and probably ruined our hearing for awhile, but it was worth it.  There were alot of vehicles that will not be leaving the yard under their own power, but, hey, that's why we went.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

From the vault

Too hot to shoot tonight, so I decided to hit the vault.  I dug back into a shot I took back in February.  I had went past this area in the daytime and thought if the light was right sometime I could get a nice shot of it.  The idea of this park bench sitting on a small hill facing a field intrigued me. There was nothing around it for a long ways.  Just a bench on a small hill amongst some trees facing a field.  A few days later I went out on one my early morning hunts and drove by the same spot.  Well, of course, the light wasn't right at 6 am, so I decided to grab a spotlight out of the car that I carry.  I walked out in the field, really praying that no local protective agency would drive by and set my spotlight up so the the beam of light would hit the bench area.  I took about 20 shots from the road to get a side view of the light hitting the bench before my battery on my spotlight gave out.  This one turned out to be the best of the bunch.  Still can't figure out why that bench is sitting there, though.