December 30, 2012

Locomotive Springs

On Friday, I spent the day wandering with my son. We started at the Golden Spike historical site, watching the steam train.  We spent a little time out at the Spiral Jetty and then finished the afternoon at Locomotive Springs for the sunset.  Our time at Locomotive Springs was spent shooting time lapse.  I had hoped that there would be more cloud action than we had, but that wasn't in the cards.  Turns out the it worked out okay.  I really like the subtle movement in the bit of clouds that I did capture.  I've enjoyed sunset at Locomotive Springs several times, it rarely disappoints.  This was no exception.

For the best viewing experience, click here and watch it in HD.

December 29, 2012

Physics Demo

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a physics demo at the University of Utah by Adam Beehler.  Adam works in the physics department and gets to put together all of the cool demos.

December 19, 2012

Old Bottles

I've been working on setting up a bit of a small studio space in my garage.  My main intent for this is to have a place to fiddle around with water drops, high speed, macro, etc.  It would also work for a bit of portrait work if needed as well.  Anyway, the other day, I had put up my low-budget backdrop and decided to see how well it was going to work so I busted out the speed lights and wireless triggers.  I needed something to shoot, so I turned to a box of old bottles that I picked up at a yard sale a while back.  

December 18, 2012


You've all got them, the ancient ornaments that you got from Aunt Bertha on mom's side of the family.  You know the ones, there old and ugly.  They don't match anything else on the tree.  Every year your mom see's them and tells you how she loved putting them on the tree when she was little.  How somehow, Aunt Bertha managed to inherit them when Grandma died, even though she was the younger sister in Decorating the tree every year can be a nerve wracking experience.  You carefully take that precious piece of glass out of the three cubic feet of fluff that has kept it safely tucked away all year and hand it over to Junior to place on the tree.  Yeah, Junior, the little guy that can't walk from one end of the room to the other without tripping over the couch, the piano, or the dog.  You just handed him half an ounce of blown glass that has survived 17 moves, the great flood of '88, cousin Charlie, and that freak incident with the rolling pin.  What were you thinking.  I'll tell you what you were thinking:  "It's Christmas, Junior's getting bigger, he can handle it".  You were wrong.  After the 3.8 milliseconds it took to process that thought through your egg-nog-foggy-head, you leap from the couch in a frantic, heart-pounding instant, only to watch the precious family heirloom drop from Junior's candy cane sticky hands.  Time seems to freeze as you watch the ornament rocket towards the hardwood floor at mach 2.  Your only thought is "How am I going to explain this to Aunt Bertha?".

What you should have been thinking: "Let's smash these suckers!"

December 15, 2012


It snowed last night, so I thought I'd try shooting some snowflakes.
The results are pretty cool, but they aren't fantastic.

For the shoot, I used the Canon 5D Mk III and my Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.  In addition I used my macro extension tubes, I've got a 12mm, a 20mm, and a 36mm.  I also used a generic LED ring light.  My tripod, weighted down with a beanbag, a cable release, and mirror lock up were all used to help eliminate motion blur.

This first image was shot at f/22, 0.5 Sec, ISO 160, using the 36mm tube.  This is about a 75% crop from the original and was processed using LR4 and CS5.  In CS5, I did a levels adjustment and added a high pass filter.  In LR4, I tweaked the contrast and the highlights.  I'd like to be able to crop in even tighter, which means I need to be tighter for the original shot.

This was one of the last images that I shot.  For this, I had closed my lens down to f/32 to get as much depth as possible.  Because of this, I knew that I'd need to adjust my ISO so that I could still get a decent shutter speed.  I pushed the ISO to 400, not wanting to go higher to avoid any noise.  I also used all three tubes on this image, allowing me to get to about 2 inches from the snow.  This brought the light closer, and therefore brighter on the subject and allowed me to use a 1/15 sec shutter speed.  This was given a high pass filter in CS5 and a few minor tweaks in LR4, including an adjustment to the whites and blacks, as well as a contrast adjustment.  This is about a 50% crop form the original.  The results are better than the previous image, but I can still do better.

So, I think the key issue was not enough light.  With more light, I can drop the ISO back down and push the shutter speed way up.  This should help eliminate any motion blur from the wind (it was pretty calm, but it doesn't take much with subjects this small).  It will also reduce any noise issues.  My friend has this cool mount that allows you to position two speedlights for macro work,  I'm going to need to borrow that for the next round. . . 

December 12, 2012

Random DC Images

Here you go, a few random images from my recent trip to Washington DC.

A few More Of George

I think that it is next to impossible to visit Washington DC without getting a few images of the Washington Monument.  I've shot this monument before, and I'm sure I'll shoot it again.

December 10, 2012

Jefferson Memorial

While in Washington DC recently for work, I was out one evening for a wander.  I decided that I wanted to head over and shoot the Jefferson Memorial.  Well, my plans were changed by something going on that included several fire trucks, some ambulances, and a bunch of police cars.  The route I need to walk, wasn't an option.  So, Instead of Jefferson, I decided to head to Lincoln.  Now, I found myself walking along the tidal basin, with a great view of Jefferson across the water.  I could see that the sunset was starting to build, so I picked a spot, set up my tripod and enjoyed the show.  And what a show it was!