I’m a bit rushed because I’m still catching things up after returning from vacation, so I’m not going to lay out the pics and links that you usually get with these posts, but here’s this week’s list:
New Politics: Bad Girl in Harlem – I wager you will find at least two songs you like on this, the lead hit is “Tonight you’re perfect”.
Daft Punk: Random Access Memories – I picked up five songs, and they are in heavy rotation in two song lists, lead hit is “Get Lucky”.
Prince is Featured on the new 3rdEyeGirl single, “Fixurlifeup” & I recommend it
Mayer Hawthorne also has a new single, smooth as usual “Her Favorite Song”
The Postelles: …And it Shook Me – I really like “Pretend it’s Love”
Slash is featured on The Dead Daisies new Single “Lock and Load” it’s a straight up tribute to all rock Southern.
Meeting of Important People : My Ears are Having an Heart Attack – two songs that I like are on this one.
Blondfire : Where the Kids Are — “Waves” could be mistaken for a mellow Beth Ditto number.
RHCP : Hometown Gypsy — it starts out as what my old friend from the Hillside would call a “Chicken Scratcher” but has the usual RHCP groovy lyrics and rhythm breaks. (“all jacked up on Kerouac..”, etc.)
The Sanko Royal passes through the narrow Gatun Locks in 2008
Great things are happening all around us, but the average person is not noticing them. How many have heard about the widening of the Panama canal, or the effects that will have on shipping? Slated to complete in 2015 the “Post-Panamax” shipping world will be different, and three US ports are making ready, including the port of Miami.
One of the biggest drills in the world finished drilling the second of two underwater tunnels in Miami. The project aims to boost the city’s seaport, and give Miami an economic lift when the Panama Canal is widened.
This past week I got a new camera tripod, and it’s really sort of wonderful. It’s manufactured by Benro, and marketed as “Mefoto”. The best thing about it besides the amazing stability in a light tripod is the fact that it folds up so small. I’m able to fit it into an airline carry on bag because the legs flip back on the body. You can also attach just a leg to the center post to make it turn into a monopod.
Here’s what it looks like at Amazon, but the best news is that I found a local camera store that matched the Amazon price when Amazon had a back order wait of over two weeks.
Crick Camera store is the best one I’ve seen this side of B&H, and they have a wonderful staff who are conversant in everything photographic. When I mentioned how I lost my eyepiece while putting a card in it to block the light, they knew why I would want to do that for wide angle astro-photography as just one instance.
Not only did they steal a march on Amazon who had to back order the Benro tripod (mid May was the arrival I got quoted,) but they also had everything else I needed. The atmosphere was relaxed, cordial, and not snooty as some photography stores get when they cater to pros. So hats off to Crick – I was really impressed and will be back often.
To get good photos you have to experiment a lot, to try different things and to stretch the bounds of your camera’s light capturing abilities. This experimentation means that you will have many failed shots initially for every good one, and that over time with practice you will learn the edges and bounds. Here’s a photo where I bumped up against a few.
Failed photos are one of the prices of learning the art
What I was attempting to do was take a long exposure of running water to give it a dreamy blurred motion effect instead of the “frozen” look you get when you set the camera to auto. This is because the auto setting will always attempt to get you a reasonably high shutter speed for the available light and aperture, which usually means glassy looking still water with all motion frozen in time. Sometimes that’s exactly what you want, but for a scene like this you hope to capture that sense of the water’s motion instead.
I’ve tried this same photo at the same spot a few times, and I’ve never really gotten the aperture / lighting / and shutter speed combo in the range needed. The day I took this it was dim so I thought I’d finally arrived while the lighting was right. It worked but it didn’t because of camera shake.
So to get this I set the ISO to the lowest (100,) the aperture to the highest this lens would go ( f/32) which gave me the desired slow shutter speed of slightly over a half second. The water is almost right, however if you look close every thing else has a slight blur from camera shake because the shutter speed is just too slow to avoid that with a hand-held shot.
So the next time I take this I will have a tripod to prevent that. That will cause the rocks and everything not moving like the water to come out crisp and sharp. Some pros cheat scenes like this by forcing the shutter speed with a neutral density filter, but that’s putting the image through another piece of glass, which ultimately makes it less sharp. So I doubt I’ll ever get a set of ND filters, but who knows.
Kasey tends to scare off the wildlife when I walk with her, but yesterday towards the end she got tired and was just walking instead of ranging back and forth in wide swaths, so this brave little bird didn’t flee and hung out while I got a few shots with a 70-300 mm lens.
300MM 1/400th @ f7.1 ISO 250 – click to embiggen
The lens I used is below, remember that I have a cropped sensor APS-C camera, so at 300 mm I effectively get 450mm which is great for shots like the one you see here.
Yesterday was green haze day — all the buds are showing flowers or tips of leaves so when you gaze across the valley the grey branches show a very light haze of green. By this weekend all will be green.
These are the first redbuds I’ve seen on my daily walks.