Benny Gettinger: Photo-Graphic Artist

Posts tagged “sky

Independence Day

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.



Up a Creek Without a Flash

Fog on the lake illuminated by lighted bouys.

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. 

Live Performance on the dock.

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.

My Sick Obsession with Clouds

The cirrus clouds this morning.

I know, I know… clouds are just masses of gaseous water, but I am somehow fascinated by them. It understandably bothers my wife when I’m driving because I can’t help but look up at the sky when a formation catches my eye. Clouds are just so moody and packed with personality! There are stormy, angry mammatus clouds; epic, powerful pileus clouds, and light-hearted cirrus clouds (my favorite). In landscape photography, the types of clouds and their formations set a distinctive mood.

At work, I have taken up the practice of building a library of cloudy sky pictures. I do this so I can enhance my photos in a way that gives them a desired feel, or simply to add texture to an uninteresting sky.


Often, as I’m taking photos to build up my library, I come across a cloud pattern that I just fall in love with. Those become wallpapers for my computer screen. I can’t help being so interested in clouds because they’re constantly changing. On a windy day they change right before your eyes. Every day the sky looks different. It’s impossible to have the same clouds twice.

My love of clouds extends to sunsets and sunrises. Have you ever noticed that the things that make a sunrise or sunset incredible are the clouds? It’s the clouds reflecting and refracting the sunlight, not necessarily the sun itself. Often the sunset is even more vibrant when the sun is just out of view and it’s only the clouds in the sky.

I know, it’s a sickness.


Yesterday I set out on a 3-hour drive to one of our locations in Kentucky to try to capture next year’s calendar photo (2009 photo, 2010 photo). We had a very specific shot in mind for the late evening, so I had a bit of extra time to explore the countryside, and perhaps collect a few pretty pictures. But after the shoot was over and I was on my way back to the hotel, I passed a scene that was the prettiest I saw all day. A gorgeous sunset lightly illuminated a farm that was quite a distance from the road I was on. I did a U-turn and parked. Luckily I had the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L plus a 1.4x teleconverter with me from the shoot. I knew that the sky, though not seeming very bright to my eyes, would overpower the dim farm. I took 5 photos from a tripod with different shutter speeds – dark to light. Today when I got home I merged them into an HDR photo, and did some split toning in Lightroom 3.

5-exposure HDR, then processed in Lightroom 3