Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Capture Cincinnati 09

In case you haven't seen it yet, Capture Cincinnati 09 has a web site where you can post your photos of local subjects and potentially make it into the book that is published each year. I have a couple from the zoo that I have posted already.

Here is the link to get started

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Understanding Histograms

Just when I thought I knew a thing or two about histograms, along comes a post on dpreview that opens my eyes to new possibilities. To read the post, click here. I think I will print this out and put a copy in my bag for future reference.

What is a histogram? It's that graph thing that is overlaid on your photo in playback mode (depending on your playback settings). On the Nikon system, the histogram is one of several options in the playback menu. On my D3, I can display a single histogram, or separate red-green-blue channel histograms. Before reading this post, I knew it was good to avoid hitting either end of the spectrum, to avoid loss of detail in the blacks (left end) and highlights (right end), but that was about it. Now, when I look at a histogram, I see much more information. Check it out.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

June Meeting Summary and July Meeting Date

Thanks to everyone who attended the June meeting at Barnes & Noble on June 17th. We had a good discussion about support systems - monopods, tripods, ball heads, connection systems such as the Arca-Swiss standard, and techniques for connecting to a monopod.

I also demonstrated the blog to those who had not seen it yet.

The July meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 15, at 7:30 pm. The location is Barnes & Noble on Union Center Blvd in Butler County. I need a volunteer to stand in for me on that night, as I am scheduled to be on call for a work-related project event that evening, and I may not make it there on time. Please post a reply if you can do that for me.


Before You Take a Camera to a Reds Game - What you Need to Know

It seemed like such a great idea at the time - let's take out the toys and see an inter-league game at Great American Ball Park (GABP). So, let's check the Reds website in advance to learn about any potential issues with a camera in the ballpark. Click here to go there now. My problem was that I read the policies, but I forgot one small part - camera support systems are not allowed - no tripods, no monopods, no support systems of any kind. As far as the camera itself, as long as it is within these dimensional restrictions, it should be allowed inside: 16x16x8 inches.

Now, here comes the fun part. Eric Curby and I bring the toys to the game. Eric has his D80 with 70-200 mm zoom (well within the size limts), and bring my D300 with 200-400 mm zoom, which is, let's say, subject to interpretation at best. If I were to disassemble it, the component parts would fall within those size limits. Also, I am bringing in my monopod, which I had forgotten was against the policy. But, hey, we got in and no one at the ticket or admission area said anything.

We get to our seats in the Blue section. I am sitting in an aisle seat, and there is no one in front of me or behind me. There were some people next to Eric, who was seated to my left, but they were illegal, and we knew this because we had to ask them to move when we arrived (they were sitting in our seats). After about twenty minutes, a security guy approaches. "Sir, you cannot use that camera. It is against the regulations," he tells me. "Which regulation?" I ask. "Tripods are not allowed," he tells me. So, now that I have re-read the policy, I know that he was technically correct, but he didn't explain it correctly to me. He motions to one of the other security guys to come over. He tells the second guy, "The customer here tells me this gear is allowed according to the web site." To which his buddy replies, "Yes, monopods are allowed." He very graciously tells me he is sorry for the inconvenience, and goes back to protecting the public from terrorists with cameras.

I guess it was about ten minutes later (the game had not started yet), when he came back. "Sir, the Chief of Security just informed me that you cannot use that camera. A customer has complained." So, I ask, "What was the complaint? No one has complained to me," "I think someone complained that the guy next to you bumped into them," he said. The guy next to me is Club member Eric Curby. "You can take your camera up to the "top deck" if you want to use it," he continued. So, I look back to see what he means and I notice the last 10 rows or so of the Blue section are empty. "How about we move back a few rows in this section?" I asked. "Yeah, OK, do that and I think that will be fine," he said.

My point in writing this post is that, even when an organization such as the Reds posts a policy about cameras, it is not certain that their security staff will have a consistent understanding of that policy. Next time, I will do two things differently. First, I won't take my monopod, which means I also won't take my 200-400 zoom. Second, I will print out the policy statement from the Reds web site and have that with me. This is also a good idea for any public event. Good luck and good shooting!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ottawa NWR Trip?

I was wondering if we should start thinking about a trip up to Ottawa NWR this summer? I spent a couple of hours there back in the spring during a family trip to Sandusky and got some of the best juvenile eagles pictures I have even taken.

Since the best time seems to be early morning and late afternoon, I was thinking of a drive up in the evening, staying over at a local Hampton Inn or something, and then spending the next day chasing birds. Maybe coming back that evening.

What do you guys think?


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Art of Art

For those of us that are into nature/wildlife/outdoor photography, there are a couple of resource that I have been using that are targeted right at us. I could spend a large portion of the day reading posts, looking at photos, and trying to understand how these experts got "the shot", but since I have to work too I target the most informative and useful sites to return to on a regular basis. I would like to share a couple with you.

My first recommendation is to look through Arthur Morris' web site Birds as Art and his new blog http://www.birdsasart-blog.com/. This guy tells it like it is and gives you so much information about how he did what he did that you really start to understand the process. He sells some guides for Photoshop, books on bird photography that are excellent, and location guides for some pretty great locations. I find his advise to be first rate and his willingness to share the amount of information that he does amazing!

He also supports a web site that I have been going back to again and again. It is birdphotographers.net which is a forum based site for Bird and other types of photography. The posts are typically very good and there is a lot of good information for those beginning to post-process their photos. I have been doing this for a little while now and still have learned a ton from this site. Arthur and others give critiques that are fair and honest, and I have yet to see anyone provide any "abusive" comments. They also have an e-zine with good articles on a variety of nature photography topics.

Finally, I wanted to mention NatureScapes.net which is a forum/store/information site on nature photography. The person who runs the site is a former student of Arthur's and has collected a great set of articles on topics from night photography to printing at home. I am planning to take a trip with these guys in early December to Bosque del Apache. I can't wait for that!

These are just a couple of the resources that I have been using to enhance my skills in wildlife photography. I hope you find these sites as useful as I have and can use them to get the most out of your photography. The "other" way to do this is to get out and shoot, which is why we are planning these club trips and events!