January 30, 2014

Colored Paper

This is the second round of images from my single piece of paper shoot the other day.  For these, I added gels to the speedlights to add color to the mix.  

January 28, 2014


Several years ago, I did a photo assignment that required taking a picture of a single piece of paper.  As I worked through the assignment, it became more of a study of light, texture, and shape.  Well, it's been a few years, so I figured it was time to repeat the project.  Again, this became an exercise of controlling the light and shadows to create textures, shapes, and patterns.  In a continued effort to get to know more of my cameras a little better, I shot these using the Canon EOS SL1 and the EF 24-105mm f/4.0L IS lens.  I used a pair of EX600-RTs to light things up.

January 27, 2014

Stars and Garden Of The Gods

So, last weekend I was in Denver, CO for work and had the opportunity to make a quick visit to Garden Of The Gods in Colorado Springs.We got there after the sun had set and missed the opportunity to get decent shots of the rock formations.  So, we hung around for a bit and shot some stars.  Oh, by the way, these were all captured using my Canon PowerShot S120.

First Sunrise - 2014

A few weeks ago, Doug, Rusty, and I decided that Antelope Island would be a great spot to enjoy the first sunrise of 2014.  As you can imagine, it was a chilly morning and the sunrise wasn't spectacular, but there were still a few good images to be made.  When working on these in post, I found that I was intrigued by the simplicity of these scenes and I was really drawn to the black and white versions.  I've got a few more that I'll put into a second post in the next couple of days.

January 24, 2014

Drip. . . Drip. . . . Drip

It had been a long while since I had done any water drop shots, so the other day I decided it was about time.  Normally, I would have grabbed the 5D Mk III or the 1Dx and the 100mm Macro lens to shoot these, but instead decided to go with something a little more basic.  These were all captured using the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 with the EF-S 18-135 STM lens and the EF 12 Extension Tube.  For light, I used a pair of 600 EX-RT Speedlights and the ST-E3 to control them.  I must say, the SL1 did a fantastic job!

And, just in case you wondered, here's the setup.

January 23, 2014

Red Rock Stars

I captured these star trails a couple of weeks ago while in Las Vegas for work.  A few of us made a quick trip out to Red Rock to do a little light painting.  While we were painting, I grabbed my Canon 6D and used a Fat Gecko to mount it to the windshield of my rental car.  I dialed in my settings for a 10 second exposure and locked down the cable release.  This is a stack of 431 images, captured over about 70 minutes.

January 21, 2014

Long Exposures with the Canon PowerShot S120

One of the cameras that I have access to is the PowerShot S120, the latest addition of the popular series from Canon.  Prior to a couple of weeks ago, I hadn't spent a lot of time with this camera, opting instead to shoot with my DSLRs.  Well, when I was in Vegas for CES, a few of the guys from my team and I headed out to Valley of Fire to shoot some stars and do a little light painting.  On our way out, we got to talking about the S120 and some of the unknown capabilities that it has.  One of those is a Scene mode that allows you to shoot star trails.  This is a pretty tricky setting, you chose the duration you want to capture in 10 minute increments from 10 minutes, up to 90.  The camera then takes a series of 30 second exposures and then stitches them together in camera to give you a final star trail image.

None of us had tried this feature, so we figured that we had a great opportunity to give it a shot.  When we got to our spot, I used my Fat Gecko Vise Mount to hang my camera from a sign, picked my settings, started the exposure, and walked away.  Two of my guys did the same with their S120s.  We headed down the trail and did some painting for a couple of hours before returning to the car and our cameras.  We had no expectation of what kind of results we'd end up with.  We figured the batteries would have died.  Boy, were we surprised at the results.

This is the first result of trying out the Star Trails mode.  For this exposure, I chose 60 minutes and the camera set the 30 Second exposures at f/1.8 and ISO 400.  This is a total of 120 images, stitched together in camera.  I did some minor tweaks to contrast and shadows in post.

For this image, I chose 30 minutes for a total of 60 stacked images.  There was a lot more ambient light in this location, so the camera settings (again, decided by the camera) were f/1.8 at ISO 250.  In post, I tweaked the contrast and actually darkened the foreground a bit.

After the first couple of star trail images, I clamped my Fat Gecko mount to the leg of my tripod and shot with the S120, while shooting with my 5D Mk III.  You'll notice that several of these images are very similar to images from my last few posts as they were shot simultaneously.
This was my first attempt using manual exposure setting in the S120.  The maximum shutter length available is 250 seconds and that is what I used here at an f/8 aperture and ISO 80.  In post, I tweaked the contrast, brought the highlights down in the orbs, and opened the shadows a bit.

For this image, I tried something a bit different.  I figured we'd need longer than 250 seconds to draw all of the orbs, so instead of using manual, I went back to the star trails mode.  The camera chose f/3.5 at ISO 160.  I set capture time at 10 minutes, but stopped it before the ten minutes was up.  Unfortunately, I don't know how long it ran so I don't know how many images were stacked to make the final image.

This image was captured using the same technique and settings as the previous image.  Again, I stopped the capture before the 10 minutes was up so I don't know how many total images were used.

Again, same technique and settings as the previous two images.

This last image was captured using the manual mode in the camera.  This is a 100 second exposure at f/7.1 and ISO 80.  As a side note, at anything longer than 1/30 sec exposure, you are not able to adjust the ISO settings.

As you can see, the results were remarkable for a point and shoot camera.  Straight out of camera, the images are pretty solid.  With a little tweaking in post, they are fantastic.  If you are wondering how the images hold up in print, well, we wondered the same thing.  It just so happened that we had access to a couple of large format printers at the Canon booth at CES.  So, I asked the printer guys to run a print to see how it would do.  They ran it on the big printer, 42 inches wide.  One again, I had no expectations about the results, and once again, I was fascinated by the results.  The print looked amazing.

This camera has now earned a regular spot in my bag.  You'll definitely be seeing more images in the future.