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Archive for November, 2011

The power of the wind amazes me. Some days the Delaware river is placid, the surface so still and smooth you might imagine you could walk on the water. Other days, the river is restless as it was on a beautiful but very windy day in October.

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The tide was out a bit, enough to let me get down on the thin strip of exposed beach for a better angle. I thought the patterns of the rocks and the swirling water interesting.

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This shot was taken to the left from further back at a higher angle. Timing the waves was fun but I got what I was looking for, more wave action and water washing over one of the rocks.

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I was as far back as I could be (on the beach) for this shot. I wanted to capture the incoming waves before they broke over the rocks and establish some context for the first two shots.

To be honest, I reversed the sequence for this presentation. I made the last image first, then moved in closer for each successive shot.

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Here’s an earlier photo of the water near the pier that I took on my way to the steps leading down to the beach. This image will give you a better idea of how windy it was that day, how the power of the wind influences the mood of the river. I’d love to shoot in a real storm but I’m reasonably sane and the park would likely be closed anyway.

I took all four images with my Nikon F3HP and 85mm lens. The camera was loaded with Ilford FP4+ film. I actually took notes with my digital recorder but can’t make them out over the noise of the wind. Lesson learned — shield the mic when recording on a windy day.

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I thought I’d have a bit of fun today. Let’s have a look a two of the critters I discovered and photographed on my visits to the swamp and river over the past month or so.

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I encountered this interesting specimen during one of my foggy morning adventures a few weeks ago. Looks like he’s walking (more like stalking) on the surface of the water.

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Here’s another curious looking critter I found swimming along the shore of the Delaware river near the pier at Red Bank Battlefield Park.

Both images were taken with my Nikon F3HP and Ilford FP4+ film using my 85mm lens.

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The next time stress and worry creep up on you — stop, don’t do it. Go to a playground instead and watch the children at play. Worried about the future? Don’t. Watch the children at play. They are the future.

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Two weeks ago, I took a detour on the way home from the polls. I knew Tracy was taking the twins to the park and I had a half dozen shots left in my camera. I found them on the swings having a good old time. Maddy’s in the foreground here. Livvy’s in the background.

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Fair is fair so I grabbed this close in shot of Livvy. Then I helped Tracy extricate the girls from the swings. They’re three years old now and getting heavy. Pulling them out of the swing is a two person job.

They both wanted to play in the dirt. Tracy didn’t want them playing in the dirt. I’ll let you imagine the rest. lol

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I can picture Bullwinkle C. Moose (my favorite cartoon character of all time) introducing our twin granddaughters, Maddy and Livvy on Halloweenie. The actual quote is “Eenie meenie, chili beanie: The spirits are about to speak.”

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Here they are, dressed as Iggles (proper prounciation if you’re from the Phila. area) cheerleaders, hanging out with two friends. They were waiting for a friend of Sue’s to show up with her brood so they could all trick or treat together. Do I have to tell you the twins are on the left? lol

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Today’s post condcludes my Foggy Morning series, with two images taken on the second day of my adventures in the fog last week. In case you missed it, here’s the link for Foggy Morning III, posted yesterday.

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I shot this one overlooking Cedar Lake from the ridge trail in Ceres park. I like the way the fog softens the light. It’s almost magical. Who would have thought that soft, flat lighting could give a sense of depth like I’ve captured here. I never photographed in the fog before. Now I’m hooked.

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This image was taken on a section of trail that I had never explored before. I didn’t realize it was there. Great. Now I have new locations for new adventures. The effect of the fog is more subtle in this image but it’s still there. I think the secret (one of them anyway) to good photos in foggy conditions is crisp detail, especially shadow detail in the foreground.

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Today’s foggy reflection is from the third roll of film I shot last week. I finished the second half of the roll this past Saturday and developed the film Monday morning. The four day wait to see results was worth it.

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Those of you who have followed me for awhile might recognize this scene. I love the shapes of these trees and how they frame the view of the north end of Emerald Lake. Shooting the same scene under different lighting conditions at different times of the year is a lot of fun.

The fog gives this version real depth — crisp foreground details gradually fading to misty hints of trees on the far side of the lake. I’m pleased with this foggy rendition.

I used my Nikon N8008s with my 35mm AFS lens, the only new lens in my collection. The film was LegacyPro 400, a re-branded Fuji Neopan 400 that was sold for a time by Freestyle. I really like this lens. If I go out shooting with one lens, this one will probably be the one. A lot of photographers (film and full frame digital) consider the 35mm focal length to be their ‘normal’ lens. I can see why. It’s not too wide and not too long, like Goldilocks’s porridge, this lens is just right.

Stay tuned, I have a couple more foggy shots I’ll be posting tomorrow for ‘The Weekend in B&W.”

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This is the second part of my adventures in the fog series I began yesterday. I was expecting fog on Thursday morning and I wasn’t disappointed. The fog was thicker and lasted longer. I paid better attention to my equipment this time and popped my incident meter into my coat pocket. I went out with the 50mm lens mounted on my Bessaflex and the 35mm AF mounted on my Nikon N8008s. And I skipped my coffee again.

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I took this shot along the north shore of Emerald Lake with my Bessa/50 combination. This image really captures the mood, just the kind of photo I was hoping for.

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This photo is similar to the image from yesterday. I shot it from the same spot (the opposite end of the lake) using my Bessa/50 on Monday morning. I think yesterday’s image is the better of the two. I think the 85 is more intimate and captures the mood better.

I used Tri-X rated at 1250 ISO for all the images shot with my Bessa. I have more goodies from the same roll that I’ll save for another time. Meanwhile, I still have half a roll left in my N8008s. Maybe I’ll finish the roll and develop it next week.

Shooting in the fog has been an interesting adventure of discovery. It’s fun shooting B&W film in flat lighting. And I love having fun.

PS — Speaking of fun, have you ever tried autofocus in the fog. Now that’s fun. lol

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When I opened my bedroom drapes on Monday morning I felt like a kid looking at lovely snow. Yay! No school. Well, I’ve been waiting for a foggy morning for ages and there it was. Yay fog! I dressed in a hurry (I brushed my teeth first), grabbed two cameras, an extra lens, what I thought was my incident meter and ran downstairs. No time for coffee either — half a banana and a cup of strawberry kefir would have to do for now. Hurry John before the fog burns off. A quick drive brought me to Ceres Nature Preserve. It’s only a mile from my home.

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This image taken at the foot of Emerald Lake (I think it’s the southern end) is the best shot from the first roll. I finished the second roll this morning and it’s still in the can to be developed tomorrow morning before breakfast. I used my Nikon F3HP with an 85mm lens and Ilford FP4+ for this photo.

My second camera was my Bessaflex. I’m glad I had both cameras because I needed the 50mm and 28mm lenses. Some of the shots I had in mind didn’t work well with the 85 — too tight. I had 18 frames left on roll of Tri-X that I finished this morning. The fog was even better today.

My adventures shooting B&W in the fog are just beginning. I’ve always wanted to try and we had two lovely foggy mornings in one week! I’m eager to see what’s on the undeveloped film. I don’t mind the waiting. Because I use film, I take my best shot and move on to the next. Shooting this way keeps me in the moment.

Film reminds me of Christmas morning surprises when I was a kid. You don’t know what you’re getting but you hope it’s what you asked for. And unless you’re like Sue, my younger daughter, you must wait until Christmas morning. No matter how well we hid the presents, Sue always found them, unwrapped them and then carefully re-wrapped. Me? I waited. So tomorrow morning I’ll unwrap my roll of Tri-X and by tomorrow afternoon, when I scan the negs, I’ll know.

Oh, since I never shot under foggy conditions before, I wanted the insurance of my incident light meter. Not! In my haste to get out the door, I grabbed my spot meter by mistake, a mistake I realized when I was pulling into Ceres. So I used the cameras built in meters instead. I did take my incident meter today though.

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I put colors in quotes because the ‘colors’ and majesty of the American Sycamore tree lay hidden beneath the monochromatic fall colors of the leaves. When you think fall colors, brilliant yellows, reds and oranges come to mind. The American Sycamore’s leaves are drab in comparison.

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Have a look at the lovely patterns created by the unique bark of the tree, the crisp shadows of the out of focus leaves and the shadows cast by the branches themselves. I like the play of light and shadow and the rich mid-tones (say thank you to the Ilford FP4+ film I used for this photo). When you see past the obvious, this tree rewards you with it’s own brand of fall color.

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Here’s another photo of the same tree shot a few days later with my 24mm lens. The first image was taken with my 85mm lens. The leaf canopy has thinned, revealing more of the ‘bones’ of the tree. During the summer months, the foliage conceals much of the tree. As the leaves fall off in the fall, the true colors of the tree are revealed.

When I was a young boy we lived across the street from a large playground. There were no trees on our side of the street, but the other side was lined with majestic mature Sycamore trees, the first trees I knew.

Both photos were taken with my Nikon F3HP in Red Bank Battlefield Park.

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I took mom to Boscov’s one afternoon last month. Since it was a nice day, I waited outside. Of course I had one of my cameras with me so I amused myself while waiting for mom to finish her shopping.

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Store windows make good reflection subjects but instead of shooting at eye level I looked up for something more interesting. Here’s the inside, the upside, the right side and the outside all rolled into one image.

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