Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Whitney Point Reservoir, Pt. 2

This place is absolutely beautiful. I hardly ran into anybody. I saw one person and the evidence of one more. A few vehicles passed through the area, but it was very quiet and peaceful. I will definitely go back here.

I was going through my photos from this trip this morning, getting a bit discouraged. I posted a photo in my previous blog entry with a visible seam where I blended two exposures together. It's rather sloppy and I had hoped I wouldn't do that. I worked for about an hour this morning trying different things to fix it with little success. I haven't given up entirely, but I have set it aside for another day.

Here are some other photos I managed to get through my workflow. As you can see, I was there early enough to catch the sunrise. The sun didn't show itself much at first, but when it did, it was gorgeous. I'd wake up at 5am again to go back and catch the sunrise again.

Sunrise at Whitney Point Reservoir

Sunrise at Whitney Point Reservoir

I'm not sure about this one. I like it, but I don't. What do you think? Please feel free to comment on it.


Feel free to post critiques of my photos in the comments. I won't learn anything if you don't tell me what you don't like about my work.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Whitney Point Reservoir

I'm not known by my friends and family to be an early riser. I sleep in the morning when I can. I usually roll out of bed around 8 and get to work around 10. This Saturday was different. I had big plans for this weekend. I set my alarm for 5 and was out the house by 5:30.

Last week the weather was miserable for shooting photos. It was rainy. I'm not taking my camera out in the rain to get soaked and ruined. I can't afford to buy new cameras regularly. So, I opted to drive around and scout out a new location to shoot. I saw the wildlife sanctuary in my Jimapco Atlas of Central New York right off the northern tip of the Whitney Point Reservoir. It was absolutely beautiful down there. There is so much different scenery to view and photograph. There's a nice bridge, a swamp, a lake, a windy river, fields and wildlife. Here is the first of a set of photos I took this Saturday.





I'm not 100% sure how I feel about self portraits. They're kind of convenient as the subject is usually 100% cooperative. I took this one for a specific reason, though. I wanted to point out my silly hat. It's just a camouflage John Deere hat my wife bought me. It's not special, but it serves a great purpose. Bugs. They don't seem to like getting under the brim of hats. I know this for a fact. Every time I take it off because my head is getting sweaty, the bugs bug me. This hat is very much an important part of my camera gear.


If my pants look wet, it's because they were! I was walking through grass up to my waste and early in the morning, there's still dew on it. I was soaked! I was also getting down low and dirty. Whatever it took to get a decent shot.

Keep an eye out for more to come. I shot 350 photos while I was out. As I go through and pick out ones I like, I'll post them and blog about them.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Onondaga Lake Park, Pt. 2

Even though I had a difficult time capturing images with overcast skies, I was able to get some that I liked, as you saw in my previous post. This is a continuation of that as I was able to spend some more time processing photos. The photos below are all blended exposures as it was difficult to get a single exposure that I liked with the lighting. Maybe I have a lot more to learn here.




I hope you enjoyed them. I hope to get back there when the sun is shining to see what kinds of photos I can get with better lighting. I am happy with the results I achieved though.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Overcast at Onondaga Lake Park

I've been out to shoot in overcast situations before with very little luck, so I wasn't very inclined to go out again last night. Unfortunately, I was miserable yesterday and just wanted to get out to take some photos. On top of that, I haven't updated my blog for a week. So, I figured if I was going to learn how to take decent photos on overcast days, I'd have to go out. So, I chose Onondaga Lake Park as my destination.

I learned a good piece of information that I might not have learned. Unfortunately, I didn't learn it until I was at home looking at my pictures. The piece that I learned was that there are subjects that can look good in low light and others that just plain don't. I couldn't get my standard landscape shots, but the photo below, I'm quite happy with. I like the subject and I think it fits in very nicely with the gloomy skies. It's very somber. The only thing that's missing is some tumbleweed.

Short Pier

I learned something else as well. Photos that don't look good in color might look good in black and white. I decided I'd have a go at creating a black and white image out of a photo I didn't like in color. It's hard to tell from the photo because of the lack of color, but the object in the foreground is the exposed root of the tree in the background.


As I was on my way out of the park, I saw this guy running around the ground. He stopped and I was able to get my telephoto lens attached, but a car drove up and scared this squirrel up the tree. I was rather disappointed because I wanted to shoot him on the picnic table. This isn't technically a good photo, but I love squirrels. So, here it is.

Black Squirrel

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More From Beaver Lake

These are the final images from my trip to Beaver Lake this week. I'll probably try to get up there again and see if I can get some photos of the local wildlife. I'll probably pack some bird seed in my camera bag to offer the squirrels and birds and sit a while to see what I can get.

Sunset on Beaver Lake

Sunset on Beaver Lake


Beaver Lake

Beaver Lake

I'll have some more photos from my trip to Currie Road tomorrow sometime.

Being Busy

I've been rather busy taking pictures lately. I have a lot of RAW files that still need to be processed. I'll be getting around to it very shortly.

Here is a sampling of what I've been shooting lately.

I took this at Beaver Lake last night while walking around, looking for photos to take to submit for the amateur photo competition. I won't submit this one, but I like it. Unfortunately, the blades of grass in the front seem to get in the way a bit.

Beaver Lake Nature Center

I figured I was already going to be home late last night from my trip to Beaver Lake, I might as well make another stop on my way. There's a whole plot of land that's owned by the SUNY schools between Tully and Truxton. I'm not sure what exactly the land is, but they have what appears to be a campground here.

Lonely Sunset


Using the satellite feature of Google Maps, I found a location down some railroad tracks that looked interesting. So, I stopped there after work on Monday to take some pictures. I have been wanting to shoot some railroad for a long time now. I have more photos from this trip that need to be processed, but here's one so far.


Here is where the above picture was taken.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Local Park

After our normal Church service yesterday, we went and joined the fellowship dinner at our old Church. It was my dad's last day as pastor there. That Church played a big part in our lives over the last several years, so we wanted to join them in their farewell. It was a great afternoon, but it happened to be during our kids' nap time.

During our short drive home, I discovered our 1 year old sound asleep in the back seat. Rather than wake her up and try desperately to get her to fall asleep again at home, I asked my wife if we should just drive around. We enjoy looking at the scenery, so that's what we did. Both kids fell asleep eventually. And so did my wife.

I was left to drive alone with three girls in the car, sound asleep. I figured the youngest was going to wake soon and started for home. As I was driving toward the house, I remembered the school in town and thought I might drive out that way. I made a short detour and discovered a surprisingly nice park. For a small town, this park is pretty nice. I didn't stop then, I just wanted to look. I went back last evening when I saw how beautiful the sky was. It needed to be photographed.

This is the river that runs along side the park. It's a combination of three exposures, all of them fairly long.

Raging Waters

Keep an eye out for more. I'll be going back when there's a little more light to get some pictures of the rest of the park.

Here's another photo from last evening. This one is two exposures blended together using Gimp.

Sea of Fog

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Contest Entries Pt. 1

I was told a couple of times that I should enter some photos in local photo contests. I thought I'd give it a try.

Here are two of my potential entries. I'll be going back for more photos in hopes to get some better shots.

Both of these files are HDR images. I took three exposures of each scene and combined them using Qtpfsgui.



I'd love to hear your comments and criticisms. Feel free to tell me what I could do to make these shots better, either by editing or by recomposing and shooting them again.

UPDATE: After uploading these, I noticed they were straight and both had unnecessary tree branches poking in on the left side. I cropped and straightened them. You can see the originals here and here.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Joseph Cloud

Yesterday, as I was driving around with my family, I saw this cloud. I was rather amazed at the colors in it as I have never seen a cloud with a rainbow in it. I stopped the car and jumped out quick, fearing my opportunity wouldn't last, and snapped off a few shots. I had to do two exposures to get the colors in the clouds to come out without underexposing everything else.

As I was processing this photo and uploading it to Flickr, I remembered the story of Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors.

The Joseph Cloud

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th Of July!

I woke up this fine 4th of July morning not sure what I was going to do. I figured I would try and get in some shooting, but looking out the window, I didn't see a sky I cared to be in my pictures. It was mostly gray. I decided I'd go anyway as it was relatively bright. Thankfully, when I got in my truck, I saw that the piece of sky revealed to me through my bedroom window was just a small piece of sky. There was much more sky up there that proved to be very interesting.


I drove to the Tioughnioga River fishing area in Blodgett Mills and trudged through dense and wet brush to take photos. I wanted to make sure the sun was behind my back, otherwise, I would have had a terrible time getting good exposures.

To celebrate the holiday we in this great nation enjoy and take pride in, I give you my attempt at HDR. I didn't want an unrealistic looking image. I wanted something that represented what I saw even though my camera was unable to capture it as the color and luminosity range of imaging sensors is inferior to the human eye.

This photo is of a network of exposed roots covered in moss. They are a little dark as I haven't quite grasped the whole method of creating an HDR image.

I had my truck parked a few feet from here.


The rest are pictures I took throughout the day. I have more that need to be processed, but these are the best of what I have so far.



I love how this one turned out. I was driving back from Tioughnioga River and pulled over to take a picture. I saw the stop sign and thought it would be interesting. So, I walked over there, laid on the ground and snapped a few pictures. Got up, laid down on another spot, took a few more pictures. My neighbors must think I'm loony, laying in the middle of the road like that!

The Stop Sign

I hope your 4th of July was as great or better than mine. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Poor Lawn Care Habits

I have an excuse. My family was in California visiting my wife's parents. I didn't have enough time to take care of the yard before we left. So, when we came home, I had a field to take care of. The upside to all this is the Smurfs moved in.




I wasn't sure if I should go somewhere and take pictures this morning or if I should shoot in the back yard. I decided having only one good picture of my pond wasn't enough. So, after shooting the Smurfs homes, I shot these.




Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Playing With My New Lens

If you've been reading my posts, you know I have been waiting for my Sigma 10-20mm lens to come. I wish I had this lens when my wife and I were visiting her parents in California.

I lost a lot of good photos today because I had my camera ISO set to 1600. I took some nice pictures of the kids too. I keep swearing that I'll check the ISO every time I turn on my camera, but I never do!

Here are a few pictures I took on Sessions Hill Road. I've posted these trees before and I'm sure I'll be back up there several times throughout the next year taking pictures.

Sessions Hill Road

Sessions Hill Road

Sessions Hill Road

I hope they're not oversaturated. I gave them a LAB color boost and sharpened them using a high-pass filter technique I found in the Digital Photography School forums.