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Archive for June, 2010

I was in the mood for color so I raided my archives again and found a pair of images I took about eight years ago. I remember it was Mother’s Day and my wife received a beautiful miniature red rose bush in a pot. I set the scene on my front lawn and shot these two macros.

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I prefer this first image. I think I got the colors right. I was using my first scanner, not the best equipment, but it did the job and I learned a lot from using it.

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What do you think? I like this image too.

I have no idea which film I used but I do know it was color slide film because that’s all I was using for my macros back then. I have no idea which lens I used either. One of these days I’ll have enough discipline to take notes. Then again, some day I might buy a dSLR and I’ll have the EXIF data.

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I was hiking along the ridge trail in Ceres Nature Preserve the week before last. It was a beautiful day, shadows deep under the forest canopy and when the sunlight shone through — a marvelous sight.

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I think this tree, with the gnarly roots, might be my favorite tree of all. Such character. And yes, the trail climbs over those roots. The lighting was perfect. Sometimes you just get lucky.

This image helps validate my decision to buy my only new Nikon lens earlier this year (all my other lenses were purchased used). If I’m out with one lens, this 35mm AF is the one — I really like the perspective and the quality of the images I’m getting. I shot this one on repackaged (Freestyle Legacy Pro 400)  Fuji Neopan 400. I’ve been testing several B&W films and this stuff is a keeper.

Drop on by The Weekend in Black & White, especially if you are a monochrome maniac. There’s lots links to some great monochrome photography. And some of the monochrome maniacs still use film like I do.

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The last time I visited Ceres Nature Preserve I had two cameras with me. Last week I posted shots of the swamp and Mantua Creek taken with a 50mm ‘normal’ lens. This week I posted shots taken with a 35mm lens.

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I probably should have cropped this shot from the right to get rid of the piece of tree, but I didn’t. This image was taken from the exact same spot as last week’s shot. This shot has more of a sense of place because the 35mm lens includes just a bit more.

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Here’s a shot in portrait mode. I think I like this view better because it has more of the creek and the vertical orientation shows the trees in the background to advantage.

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The tree overhanging the creek was the dominant focus. Here the tree plays a more supporting role. The wider angle includes more of the creek here.

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This last image was taken from the bridge on Heritage Road. I’ve shown this scene before, but this shot is a better one because the lighting was much better.

Not only was I using a different lens for this week’s images, I used a different film as well. My supply of Ilford FP4+ is down to four rolls now. I’m looking for a replacement because the English film is too expensive now. I shot the images above with Fuji Neopan 400 rated at 640. Not only is the Neopan half the price, it’s also almost two stops faster, an important consideration when shooting in the dim light under the leaf canopy. I like the Neopan. Actually it’s rebranded Fuji film sold by Freestyle. Good stuff.

I hope to have new images for next week. This week has been way too hot (except for Monday) to go out on my bicycle with my camera. Fingers crossed for some more seasonal June temperatures soon.

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I stopped on the bridge where Heritage Road crosses over Edwards Run the other day to snap a few photos. The details of the wood railing cried out “take my picture, no mine, no mine…”

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After parking my bike, I crossed to the other side of the bridge to check out the light. The top of one of the heavy wood support posts caught my eye. The softer portions of the wood grain had weathered away leaving a three dimensional etching. I got as close as possible with my 35mm lens hand held. The textures and tones come out so well in B&W.

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Here’s a close in shot I took a few weeks ago and published for monochrome weekend. It’s the large bolt head and surrounding wood on the hefty horizontal members. I show this again to preview the next shot.

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I leaned out over the end of the railing for this one. Not to worry, I had my camera strap around my neck. This is a close-up of the other end of one of the large bolts showing the nut and washer. This is another hand held shot with my 35mm lens.

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This image puts it all in perspective and gives you an idea of context. I took this picture several weeks ago and published it for Weekend Reflections on June 11. As you can see, I had plenty of room to park my bike and not worry about getting run over.

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I’ve been riding my bicycle past this neat old barn for four years and each time I pass I think to myself: “You must photograph this barn John.” I finally did it and will continue the series as the corn grows taller and taller until it’s as tall as an elephant’s eye.

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This shot was taken in the evening. The light was a bit flat and coming from my right. I used a yellow contrast filter to separate the clouds from the sky. Not much contrast among the barn, the foliage and the fence.

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I took this one a few days later on Friday morning (today). There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the brilliant morning light was coming from my left. I bought an X1 green contrast filter last year and believe it or not, this shot is the first time I ever used it.

There’s a huge difference between these images. The first shot was made on Ilford FP4+ with a 50mm lens. The second with Fuji Neopan 400 with a 35mm lens. The time of day put the sun 180 degrees apart. But the biggest difference was because of the contrast filters I used.

I used the yellow filter in the first shot to darken the blue sky and bring out the clouds. Without the yellow filter, the sky would have been white. But the tonality of the red barn and the green foliage are too close so there’s little contrast and the image is dull.

Contrast brings the second image to life. The green filter darkened the red barn because red is the compliment of green while, at the same time, the green filter lightened the green foliage. Notice how the fence next to the silo pops out in this version. I’m pleased with the results and will be playing with my contrast filters all summer. I’d like to see what happens to the clouds and the sky with a green filter.

Drop on by The Monochrome Weekend, especially if you are a monochrome maniac. There’s lots links to some great monochrome photography. And some of the monochrome maniacs still use film like I do.

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I really wanted to go out on my Bicycle on Thursday and take some nice photos. It was a beautiful sunny morning and not too hot, but a persistent, stiff breeze (call it windy) nixed that idea. I hadn’t been to Ceres for awhile because of the bugs. “Hey! Bugs don’t like windy days either so let’s go to Ceres this morning.” So I grabbed two cameras, stuck a yellow filter in my pocket and off I went to Ceres.

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Back in the middle of April, I posted a few shots of the young ferns (in color) in the swamp. Here they are again, two months later, fully grown. Ceres is like a jungle now with all manner of lush vegetation. I shot this image (and the others in this series) with my F3 and 50mm/2.0  Nikkor H (circa late 1960s) lens instead of using one of my wide angle lenses. I was in a “normal” lens mood.

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Here’s a shot of the Mantua Creek. When I first saw this scene back in March, it seemed bare and a bit desolate. Look at it now — huge difference.

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Here’s another shot of Mantua Creek from the other side of the Commodore Barry Bridge. Really. The mountain bike riders build a bridge over the creek and put a sign on one of the trees. They do have a sense of humor.

I was the only human being in the place. Loved it and I hiked the trails and took photos for the better part of an hour. I had my other Nikon with my 35mm lens and took a few pics with it. I still have about 16 shots left on that roll. I’ll probably finish the roll in the next few days.

It can get pretty dim in the Ceres forest because the tree canopy blocks a lot of light. A few times, I stood and waited while the sun was behind a cloud. I enjoy capturing the light, the highlights that do filter through. When you’re shooting B&W film, you must work with the light and the shadows. I love the challenge.

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When I got home after my bicycle/photo journey last Sunday, I realized I had one frame left on the roll of film in my camera. I told myself: “finish the roll John. Then you can develop the film tomorrow.” Not wanting to simply waste a shot, (we film shooters are a frugal bunch) I looked around for a suitable subject so …

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I walked over the the pear tree stump in our front yard and played with a close-up composition. I’ve been meaning to make a decent image(s) of this stump for some time. I did shoot one with my wife’s digicam but it stunk. I like this B&W rendition. I “printed” dark to bring out the textures and forms. I like it.

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