Saturday, September 27, 2008

A small camera trick

Even though it's been a while since I have had time to sit down and do some writing on the blog I have had a few opportunities for playing around in the studio trying to get the colors/light just right... That's kind of tricky though at times when experimenting with different setups.

However here is one that is both simple and well relatively cheap. I was reading an article about how photographers (mostly the press) were modifying their flashes to get the most of them.
This has of course spawned several accessories you can buy for the flash but well we can't all go around spending $$$ all the time on things like this.

The good news is that I have found a good way to achieve some good results hardly using any of the good ole $$ :-)

Hope it doesn't sound like a kids show on tv but all you need is some construction paper and scissors... just about it.

The idea I was reading about is how you can swivel and rotate your external flash. This is a good thing since you can avoid the direct flash and bounce it off a ceiling, wall or just about whatever is around.
This makes the light spread out and get a softer photo with a better light distribution overall.

However if you were to bounce the light off the ceiling then it would cast shadows under the chin (even though they are nice and soft) and a little fill light would be nice to make the eyes and all come out a bit better.

The good ole photographers would tape on a card of some type to the flash which would reflect some of the light from the flash and direct it directly onto the subject in front on them while the main portion of the light would continue to be bounce off a ceiling and light up behind the subject. This giving a really good light distribution and great photos.

This is why flashes like the Nikon SB-800 (that I have) has a card build into the head. However this is way too small to do justice to any of the old card and tape photos...

Anyway. Here is the flash mounted on the camera and about a 60 degree angle which will bounce the light off the ceiling (ps. doesn't work outdoors) and give a nice distribution of light in the room.

It does however not make the subject stand out too much. So To recreate the old "card trick" I was thinking about how to achieve that and well turns out to be pretty simple ;-)

Get out the construction paper and cutout an official ppp (professional photographer of podunk) flash modifier and raid the kitchen to find a suitable attachment mechanism...

Attaching the modifier to the external flash like this (yeah I know it's not the best photos but hey illustrational purpose only).

Putting the new flash modifier in action (this is the good part ;-)

Now that I don't want you to sit with an empty feeling of where in the world you can get a hold of such a marvelous device... I bring you here a template for making your very own flash modifier :-)

Click this image and print it on construction paper. Cut along the outer lines and fold along the inner ones. That's about it :-) then start shooting...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Shenandoah - Overall Run Falls

Here is a little post from a weekend (well an afternoon) get away to the mountains.
Several times I have been thinking about going to this particular location but never really made it.
In the process however I have found other places in the Shenandoah that are very interesting but for now here is the post from my hike to Overall run falls.

At the bottom I have included additional information with links to the official web site and maps for the area (Mathews arm area).

Just after entering the park at Thornton gap entrance I was heading north and stopped at the first overlook and took a short walk. At that very short walk I found some interesting details and a little wild life observing what I was doing...

Also from the first overlook I took a photo overlooking the mountains.

I got to the parking lot at milepost 21 (roughly) and after parking in the handicapped parking spot (hmm yeah well didn't see it until I was leaving) I started my walk towards the falls.
At the start of the trail there were some pretty flowers out. They were kind of tall so they were moving quite a bit. But I did get a photo of them despite all the movement.

So I started down the trail that for some reason (yeah I gotta learn to read the map and distances before leaving home) seemed to go on and on and on and on...

So I got to the first section of the falls but figured it didn't look right. Had to keep moving and finally I could hear the falls down below somewhere. Only thing was... how in the world would I get there... Of course I had to climb down there and once down here is the look up at the "trail".

This wasn't really what I had in mind when reading about the falls. But here is a few photos from my destination at the kind of difficult to get to section...

Climbing back up the "trail" I noticed some of the rocks were completely covered and all green. There is just something about nature like this. On one hand it looks all soft and on the other hand it's hmmm rock solid...

Heading back up the trail I returned to the first location I passed the first time around. Here there were more of a fall and somewhat more interesting :-)

Heading on back to the truck I got a few photos on the way. Even though I have to admit I didn't get as many as usual since this was uphill and on a slightly more difficult trail than usual and well it was looooooong...

Just a little bare rock. I like it better if there was a water fall but it's pretty cool anyway ;-)

Here is a section of the trail with stairs... now it looks like it would make the walk soo much easier but after walking several miles all I wanted was to see the truck so I could be driving rather than walking...

Almost there... Here is a photo from the last stretch which was on the Appalachian trail

At trails end and very tired... I figured I could be lucky enough to get a photo of the setting sun... Turns out the view was a little hazy...

Additional information:
Shenandoah park information, Mathews arm area map, Shenandoah hiking maps

First fishing trip

We finally got to go on Emma's first fishing trip. Equipped with a Barbie fishing rod (the one with the purple butterfly "hook") we headed of for C. M. Crockett Park and Germantown lake.

So here goes the first throw with the fishing rod. First throw into water that is... we practiced the throwing quite a bit at home ;-)

As you can clearly see Emma got that thing under control. Leaving dad kind of nervous at every throw but we did pretty good. Unfortunately the fish didn't really want to bite that day so we didn't catch much.

After fishing for a bit we ventured around the park heading for the playground. However in the middle of the park they had put up a cooling down tent or whatever you prefer to call it. Basically it's a cover where water is misted out below it and it will cool you down. Unfortunately here you would also get muddy feet but I guess if you are sufficiently hot it doesn't really matter ;-)

Here we reached the playground. Or well at least one of us did. There must be something about kids and seeing a playground that just makes them run like crazy ;-)

Maybe it's because we are big now and started school and all. Before the playground was fun but with limitations such as not really liking the tunnels or closed slides. Now that has all changed. Every part of the playground is being charged at full speed...

Of course this was a fishing trip so we had to go back and see if the fish cooled down and woke up from their nap to have their dinner time. But it didn't seem to be our lucky day for catching anything.

As you can see here the park is a pretty one. So even though you leave without having caught a fish. It's nice and relaxing.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The ant and the grasshopper

You probably all know the old story of the ant and the grasshopper.
If not here is the old version followed by a new version. What can I say... check out original here

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

Be responsible for yourself!

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on prime time with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing, It’s Not Easy Being Green. Others exclaim in interviews that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper and call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, there is drafted the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

A law firm represents the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of judges. The ant loses the case.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around him because he doesn’t maintain it. The ant has disappeared in the snow. The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

Morals? We don’t need any morals!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Food saver

Remember this article: Food saver from Jacki's blog?.

As you all know this will seal up just about anything for freezing and the food will last much longer. It's pretty cool ;-) (yeah you know it...)

Guess what happens if you were to vacuum seal something that isn't as dense as meat. Like hmm.... let's see how about cupcakes?

Here is a side by side example. Regular cup cakes and cup cakes ready for freezing

After liberating the cup cakes.. it's not tooo bad :-) somehow I don't recall seeing this particular look on Martha Stewart ;-)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hot chicks in advertising

Models used for advertising in magazines and posters are all supposed to look a certain way and just to make sure that the photos come out the best way possible some of them have extensive photoshopping done to them.

well sometimes it's like... yeah maybe they missed something.

Like this one: