Been a while since I put my two readers to sleep. So, here's yet another post with mediocre photos that don't stand apart from the crowd and which get quietly lost in the male storm of the Internet.  Anyways, the Ottawa area has had a few days of freezing rain lately, resulting in a solid coating of ice on outdoor surfaces. At night, streetlights shine through bare tree branches which bear a freight of ice, making for some amazing reflections. I was up this morning before the dawn, and once outside, was lucky to meet an outstanding sunset. As the sun rose, there was a nice, coppery-red light hitting the ice on tree branches, which made for a rare sight. 

In the photos below, the first exposure is of the sunrise, followed by a close view of an ice-covered bloom with the sunrise out of focus in the background. The third, fourth and fifth exposures attempt to show the sunrise reflecting off the ice on the trees. This point of the sunrise was a very fleeting circumstance, and as is often the case, the photos do not come close to capturing the beauty of the real event. The sixth photo is a nice macro shot of an ice-laden branch of white pine, and by using a wide aperture, the background is pleasantly blurred to give the color of the sunrise but not the detail, so that the foreground branch is the only in-focus subject. 

The seventh and last photo is a simple shot of a line of icicles, again using a wide aperture to give foreground focus and background blur, or bokeh. In so doing, an artistic feel is developed where the subject is in clear focus and the complimenting background supports, but doesn't overwhelm, the background.

I'll try and get some night time exposures of streetlights filtering through ice-covered trees. I'll even post them so that they and the accompanying blogs I post can be blissfully ignored, or used as Internet-anaethesia to tranquilize the nervous readers out there without resorting to using harmful drugs.

Happy sleeping!

So, I decided to do some paint by light this evening, because I have that sort of time. Anyways, my idea was to use a new throw toy I bought for the dogs. This ball flickers a red light when its hit or shaken. So, I set up a tripod in a dark field, and using my black lab, I tossed the glow-ball during a timed exposure of about 8-10 seconds. Since my dog is black, he reflects very little light, and thus doesn't show up in the images, although the ball which lights up, does. 

I tried using a glow-in-the-dark ball, but it takes constant recharging with a flashlight to have an effect, and it doesn't glow as brightly. Also, as you see from the second photo, my super high IQ pup stood there looking at me, waiting for me to throw the red blinking ball while the green glow ball sat forlorn in the field.

I finished off with some self portraits using a small flashlight wrapped in a white cloth to diffuse the light. This would work better in the spring or fall when the temperatures are more moderate. Winter, its awfully cold on man and machine, and in the summer, you get eaten alive by the mosquitoes. 

Anyways, I'll try and refine my technique to do some better paint by light artwork.

Over and out,

I was driving home today, and saw a red tailed hawk sitting on top of a hydro poll near a rural highway. I continued on home, got my camera and put on the new Sigma 70-300 lens (see a previous blog entry about my initial review of this lens) and headed back out.

I have not used this lens enough, and in the rush to get back to where chummy was hopefully still sitting, I made some errors that lost me some decent shots. Before heading out, I custom set my white balance using a white/black/18% neutral grey card rig by Digital Grey Kard, and went back to find the hawk still sitting on the poll. Normally, if you drive past a hawk on the side of the road, they'll sit, but if you slow down to take a look, they fly off. I slowed, dropped the passenger window and with 4-ways on, stopped and began to shoot.

My auto focus was off (to shoot the grey card earlier to set the white balance), and this cost me a few seconds. By the time I zoomed back to see the hawk in the viewfinder, then zoomed and focused, he was on the move, quite predictably.

A classic rookie mistake, not being properly set up to tackle wildlife that you know is going to bolt upon seeing you. Generally, sitting in a blind near an area known to have a hawk population is the best way to photograph these birds, but I couldn't say no to the chance of a decent capture on the way home. 

Even with my drive set to high speed (8 frames per second) and auto focus set to AI for moving targets, this shot is still not in focus to my taste. I had to set to a wide aperture owing to evening low light, which makes for a shallower depth of field and a tougher overall sharp focus field.

Still, I need to put this lens to a proper test; this was not a test but a quick attempt to add a decent wildlife exposure to my collection. However, this isn't a decent shot! It's not in focus as it should be, but the color overall is not bad. I took 12 shots overall, all were out of focus, this was the best of the lot.

Out in a frozen marsh this morning, because I have that kind of inclination on a Sunday morning. Cold enough, where it was a trick to dress warmly enough for standing still to take pictures. 

Anyways, I took some interesting shots while my wife was chasing the dogs away from winter-kill deer carcasses. Some exposures of cattails that make me wince to look at them. There's my mind for you. Some macro shots of ice crystals. I'd have done some snowflakes, but in fact yesterday was warm, with a sudden overnight temperature drop. So, there are no fluffy snowflakes to photograph, but I shot some crystal structures because that's what I do on a cold winter's morning.
I'd write, "Hello to all my readers", but I'd be kidding myself that anyone besides myself is reading this stuff. In any event, hold on to your hats....tonight, I spent some time removing all my web photos and replacing them with some new pictures, some of the same golden oldies, but with all the photos being digitally watermarked.

Unfortunately, there are those who would take a photo off another's site, and either pass it off as their own, or print or otherwise use the image. Some print the photos off for their own use, other may use the shots as screen savers, etc., without paying me for my hard work! Yikes, my huge fortune in photography lay in peril until I vandalized my images with my web address in the name of greater security. Thousands of scoundrels in the European art-thief community are commiserating with each other over cappuccinos and long cafe drinks at charming outdoor cafes, wondering where they'll get such quality images for free now.  Ah, well.

I'm also adding more commentary to my images, for two reasons. One, some of the images are cool to look at, but the casual browser might wonder what the hell they're looking at, for example, the macro shot of the interior of a Cereus bloom, fluoresced with ultra violet light. And two, I figure if I write out commentary, then with no one reading, I'm doing twice as much work to be ignored!

Future plans this weekend include me trying a hike up a local mountain to see if I can get some half ways decent sunset photos.

Hope to post some shots if I manage to haul my middle-aged carcass up a mountain. I'll pack the sub-lingual nitro pills for my heart and stumble back with uninteresting photos, or I'll die alone on the mountainside, and feed the local coyotes through the lean months of winter. Either way, should make for some interesting shots.



    Chris Kiez, a hardcore photographer since the 80's, learned to take a picture before the age of selfies and cell phone photography, training on mechanical cameras and film. After years of taking photos of all manner of subjects and people, he did over a 10 year stint as a crime scene photographer on two continents. Now, he does portrait and landscape photos, and is currently distressing the world with his relentlessly, excruciatingly boring blogging. To buy what you see on this site, click here!


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