Photographing Bald Eagles on the White River

Photographing Bald Eagles on the White River

The weather has been really crappy here lately. There has been a little too much snow and ice, and now that is has warmed up a bit, there has been non-stop rain. Today was the first day that the rainy trend ended. Clear blue sky day. What better to do than go and watch the eagles? I met up with Jim, and we waited for the fog to lift. The fog finally lifted around 10 am, and the day was perfect. The water was low in the river, allowing us to wade out in the river a fair distance, so that we could line up the shots in nice low angle sunlight.  There was quite a lot of activity, both of the adults were moving around from tree to tree, preening feathers and such…. Great day to be out watching these beautiful birds.    ...
Elk fight in Boxley Valley

Elk fight in Boxley Valley

I went out to Ponca this morning for a day of Elk photography and Fall color shooting. We arrived in Ponca/Boxley Valley area about 15 minutes before 7 am. It was still very dark, We could not see anything really. We managed to find one fair sized herd of elk, but since it was so dark out we could not really tell what we were looking at. One fo the great things about modern digital cameras is their ability to see in very low light. In fact, they can “see” much better in the dark than I can. I had pulled out the camera and tripod and set it to 102,400 iso, just to use the camera as a spotting scope/night vision scope  to see how many elk were in the field. As I was panning through the fields I came across a bull fight in progress and managed to grab a few video frames. This video is shot at 1/30 of a second at f5.6 (wide open for this 400mm lens) and at ISO 102,400. The quality is not good, but I actually got to witness 2 large bulls fighting, I have been wanting to see a bullfight since i found out about the elk here, and I just happened to stumble in to one. Awesome.    ...
Photographing Hawksbill Crag aka Whitaker Point

Photographing Hawksbill Crag aka Whitaker Point

          Over the last weekend I spent a little time in Boxley Valley, near Ponca, Arkansas. One of the most photographed rocks in Arkansas, Hawksbill Crag (otherwise known as Whitaker Point), is a landmark of the Buffalo River and a favorite hike among many. Our goal was to get some Milky Way shots of the famous Hawksbill Crag. The window for getting the shot was very slim, between our schedules, the moon movement of the moon we only had a few days. The weather forecast was initially favorable, clear skies and cooler. As we arrived to the trail to the crag, the clouds started moving in. The clouds hung around for the vast majority of the night, they cleared for about an hour around 4 am, and then came back for sunrise. With heavy overcast for sunrise, we packed up and headed out while it was still cool. Maybe next time. Spending a few days in Boxley Valley area is always awesome, even if the planned shots don’t pan out.          ...
Lens Hacking – the easy way

Lens Hacking – the easy way

I became interested in photography when I was going through High School. I spent the first two years working in the schools darkroom (read: storage closet that also held a photographic enlarger). I also spent those first two years borrowing a Pentax K100o. Shortly before graduation, my Grandfather gave me an older Revuflex T SLR camera that was his when he was in his 20’s and 30’s. I used that camera for a year or two, and eventually upgraded to a k1000 own. Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with these types of cameras; they are built like tanks. Made from aluminum or steal. They are heavy, and fairly large for what they offer. They worked only as a manual camera: manual focus, and manual exposure. The Pentax k1000 was somewhat unique, in that the k mount lenses that it used were very common. I read somewhere, that there are 25+ million K mount lenses out there in the market. That is a lot. The collections of lenses available to a k mount or an m42 screw mount are vast. I eventually bought in to the autofocus idea… and after getting my first camera, was very disappointed in the amount of lenses available and the cost of said lenses. I shoot canon now, and while canon does have a significant lens catalog, I have always found my collection missing a few special purpose lenses. Then I bought a Canon EOS M. If you want to put an older canon manual lens on your canon ef mount camera there is a little thing that you need to understand...
Stargazing – Photographing the night sky

Stargazing – Photographing the night sky

Last week, We had a storm move through and it reduced the humidity in the air, and cleared all the clouds away. Perfect time to get out at night and photograph the night sky. I met up with a friend, and we ran out to shoot. We picked a location with a view of the southwest horizon, and headed out as soon as the sun set. I used Stellarium [ http://www.stellarium.org/ ] to find the approiate time and position of the Milky Way, and I used Dark Sky finder [ http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/ ] to find the level of light pollution levels. Both are free to use and will work on virtually any platform (windows, mac, linux). Once we arrived at the location we shot for about an hour until the moon came up. Once the moon was up over the horizon the extra light made it very difficult to see any details in the Milky way,  so we packed up and called it a...