I hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th weekend! I took these photos at our annual company picnic.
For fireworks photos, I recommend starting off with settings of ISO 100, f/8, and a shutter speed of 2.5 seconds. A tripod is a must-have to get anything good at all.
A few weeks ago we visited our friends in Ohio. We happened to have some of our photo equipment with us, so Brad recommended that we take a few photos of this CZ shotgun for an article he is writing about it. I’m always interested in shotguns, so I was excited. When I picked up this particular gun, I was shocked at how incredibly light it was. The “Upland Ultralight” weighs only 6 lbs! It was a pretty good fit for me too. I wanted to take some photos of it, but I also wanted to shoot the thing!
Being winter and rainy, there wasn’t a great place outdoors to take photos of it, and the backdrops we brought were only good for a little girl (who we were planing to photograph the next day). So we found a white sheet to put it in front of. I wanted to hurry the photo shoot because I wanted to have enough time to shoot some clays with it.
When I download the photos to the computer, I was very unhappy about the result. The Upland Ultralight is somewhat of a no-frills shotgun, so to have it in front of a plain background was a huge mistake. I could not in good conscience submit those photos for Brad’s article. So this past weekend, I drove back up and brought some good backdrops etc., and we did it right.
I think I learned my lesson about doing things half-way. I never want to let myself down like that again!
Yesterday evening I was on assignment 2 hours from home at Laurel Lake in Kentucky. There was a dinner taking place on a houseboat there, followed by a speaker, and then a small live performance. I arrived precicely at 6:00 pm. As I was getting out of my car, I started gathering the equipment I brought down: Camera body/lens, extra camera battery, extra flash batteries….. my heart sank as I realized that I had left my flash at the office.
The dinner and the speaker for the evening would be inside the boat, so I figured I would have plenty of light for high-ISO shooting. The scary part would be the live musical performance outside on the marina after dark. The band had stage lights, so I knew that would be fine, but I was sure that I would need to take photos of the small audience (20-30 people) as well given the intimate setting. The big concern then was how to light the audience. Thank God for the guy in charge of the boat! He showed me how the awning above the marina had rows of LED rope lights. Not much light output really, but at least it was SOMETHING.
Thankfully, I shoot with a Canon 5D mark II and the 24-70 f/2.8L . Shooting at f/2.8 was a big help, but even better was the 5D’s ability to shoot at ISO 25600. If not for that, combined with Lightroom 3’s amazing noise reduction, I would be completely screwed.
The 952 pictures I took turned out fine, and nobody will be the wiser. But without professional equipment, it would have been a failure.
After the evening festivities were over I was released to go home. As I walked down the quarter-mile dock I noticed that fog had settled on the water, and was backlit by lighted bouys. Being without a tripod, I rested the camera on a post, and took a 10-second exposure at f/2.8 ISO4000. I wasn’t sure if it would turn out becuase I could feel vibrations on the dock from foot traffic. I try to get at least one good creative shot whenever I go on assignment, even if it’s just some boring dinner.
PS – I also made a wallpaper of this photo if you’re interested.