Sunday, February 20, 2011

Getting out and about....

This is my new FJ Cruiser. I have no words to say how much I love it. It has clearance, 4 wheel drive, and a large dash to store camera goodies while you get your camera situated. It's also got an in-dash storage space, which I use to keep my lense cloth and batteries. I love it not just for the cool storage nooks, but because it can go pretty much anywhere I need it to and that allows me to get more of the shots I want. No more worrying about how deep the snow is or how muddy the roads are, I no longer care. I can't wait for the spring and summer so I can drive all over the place. Oh, that reminds me, it's got a subwoofer and great sound system so I can listend to music as I tooley around. That is my absolute favorite thing to do. Drive, listen to good tunes, and take photographs. That is the trifecta.

"Wood Barn and Snow"

After practicing my rusty skills on Tuxedo the cat, I went and took picutres of this barn, which is the best out of about 20 shots. The sky was uniformly overcast, so it took some bracketing to get the exposure right. I tried some with the barn to the side of the shot, but since the form itself was so symmetrical, I kept the shot symmetrical and that was the best composition for the shot.

Blowing the dust off of my memory....

This is my parent's cat Tuxedo, who is irrisistable. Since he was the only willing model to do outdoor shots in 3 degree weather, we worked together and had a sucessful session. These are the best out of about a dozen shots. I hadn't used my camera in a time period that is too embarrasing to admit, so this took longer than expected. I practiced changing my lenses, camera settings, and tried my hand at some manual focusing. It's best to do these things so that you can get a shot quickly. How fast you can do it is important, but you want a quality shot as well, so I practice in all kinds of weather. In Montana, that's easy to do because no day is the same as the one before it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A trip to Butte, America

Butte is one of the most unique towns in Montana. Last October, I took a tour of the town, riding through its cavernous back alleys on a golf cart with my tour guide. While the facades of the buildings are wonderful and beautiful, the real treasure of Butte is what you don't see on the main streets. Take a walk around its alleys, and the abandoned neighborhoods and there's no end to the great things. Old advertisements hand painted on brick walls, chipping paint and vintage neon signs. The light is great for photography, slanting in at odd angles and wrapping around the rusting fire escapes in that perfectly photogenic way. The above photgraph is of the interior of one of the old hoist houses used at the height of Butte's mining days. Talk about character. It's full of pigeons, pigeon poop, and still has a wall full of abnormally large wrenches used for working on the equipment. The hoist was used to lower and raise men and tools into the mine shafts by cable.