Extra Photo #2: Corncob

During my month long photo challenge, I decided to photograph one of the many cornfields that are ubiquitous to the Midwest. I wanted to get up close with the brown stalks, using them as the focal point in my photo. (The end result was fairly successful, and that photo was shared in this entry.)

To take the photo, I walked a little ways into the cornfield itself. Almost immediately, I noticed the field was littered with red corncobs, devoid of kernels. I was immediately drawn to them. I took a break from photographing the field, attached a macro filter to my lens, and shot several photos of the cobs. It was shortly before sunset, giving a nice natural light to the photo. I was very pleased with this result.

I didn’t include this photo as a feature, because my goal was a picture of the a field, and I’d already featured one macro image. However, it definitely merits sharing.

Extra Photo #2: Corncob

Extra Photo #2: Corncob

Tech Details:
Equipment: Sony NEX-5R, 18-55mm lens, macro filter.
Image: 1/160 sec exposure, f/5.6, ISO-640.

Extra Photo #1: Cypress Trees

As I mentioned, I took a lot of photos that I didn’t feature, for various reasons. However, some of them were still very good, and definitely worth sharing. So here they are, in the order shot.

One of the lakes I visit often has a large grove of cypress trees. They’re a favorite subject of mine. The lake itself is quite picturesque, with deep blue water.

Here’s a wide angle view of the lake, with the cypress trees front and center.

Extra Photo #1: Cypress Trees

Extra Photo #1: Cypress Trees

Tech Details:
Equipment: Sony NEX-5R, 10-18mm wide angle lens.
Image: 1/100 sec exposure, f/16, ISO-100.

Photo Compilation and Thoughts

So I’ve completed my 30 day photo project. I was very pleased with how some of the pictures turned out. Others didn’t work out quiet so well, but overall, I ended up with a lot of good photos. I’d hope this has made me somewhat of a better photographer. I’m not sure how much my skill set improved, or if I learned my camera a little better, but I definitely stretched my boundaries a little. If anything, this has enabled me to see more photo possibilities in the world around me.

I’ve got a few subjects that I’d like to try again, to see if I can improve, and get the photo I was initially hoping for. So I’ll be posting these as I attempt them.

I took over 1,400 pictures throughout the month. (Granted, not all of these were for the purpose of the project, a few were personal. But the majority were taken in pursuit of good photographs.) There were a lot of photos that I took but didn’t share, since I was limiting myself to one image a day. The reasons that these photos didn’t make the cut vary, sometimes it was because I liked another image better, or because I’d already featured a similar photo, or it simply wasn’t my goal picture. I’m going to be sharing some of these extra shots in the next few days as well.

Here’s the result of my photo project, in video form. All 30 photos, back to back.

Photo #30: Parallel Paths

I waited until about an hour before sunset to leave the house again. I’d finally spotted an old barn that looked promising, so I headed back to that spot. Unfortunately, it was now in the shadows, preventing me from getting a good shot.

But I continued driving down the road, because I knew just a little further was another of my favorite subjects, railroad tracks. I’ve been hoping to catch a train throughout this project, but as of yet, haven’t been successful. However, like roads, the railroad tracks themselves also greatly appeal to me as a subject.

I found a spot where the road ran parallel to the tracks. The setting sun was illuminating both. I liked the lighting and the juxtaposition. I shot several frames, manually adjusting the shutter speed to get the light right.

I think this one turned out the best.

Photo #30: Parallel Paths

Photo #30: Parallel Paths

Tech Details:
Equipment: Sony NEX-5R, 18-55mm standard lens.
Image: 1/4000 sec exposure, f/5.6, ISO-3200.

Photo #29: Self Portrait

I wanted to include a self-portrait in this project. This was a very tricky shot.

I went to the gym, late at night so no one else would be around. Fortunately, the place was pretty empty, and I had an area of the weight room all to myself. I set up my tripod, and attached the camera. I shot a few test pictures, then adjusted the shutter speed to bring out the shadows a bit more.

The problem with self-portraits is that the camera focuses before the shutter is pressed, and doesn’t refocus. This meant almost every image I took was slightly out of focus. But I was shooting solo, so I didn’t have anyone to stand in for me so I could focus, and I don’t have a way to press the shutter remotely. To make it more complicated, I had ten seconds to press the shutter, get in position, and I had to ensure the tripod wasn’t visible in the mirror behind.

This is another subject I’d like to play with a little more, but it wasn’t bad either. The biggest problem was truly the focus, which I had anticipated. The result was less than perfect, but I’m going to share it anyway. I had a few decent ones, but I picked this one more for the composure than anything else. I like that you can see my eyes, but not the rest of my face. (Maybe I’ll put it in Photoshop and see if I can fix the focus.)

Photo #29: Self Portrait

Photo #29: Self Portrait

Tech Details:
Equipment: Sony NEX-5R, 18-55mm standard lens, tripod.
Image: 1/320 sec exposure, f/4, ISO-3200.

Photo #28: Stone Arches

It was a good evening for photography, clear skies, good sunlight. So, I set out about an hour before sunset, looking for something intriguing. Again, I was hoping to find a good barn, but I was open to any possibilities. I drove around on the backroads, through the fields, looking and finding nothing.

If I were back out west, this method would yield a subject quickly, but it’s a little bit trickier around here. I found myself still driving around as the sun sank closer to the horizon. I turned north, still looking for barns. The road dipped down through a valley. At the bottom, a small stream ran between the fields. Here, the road necked down to one lane, crossing the stream. The bridge had concert guardrails, arched somewhat like an old Roman aqueduct. Through the arches I could see the setting sun reflecting off the waters in the stream.

I drove across the bridge, parked the car and walked back. I hadn’t seen a single car on this stretch of road, and it was quiet and calm, so I walked out to the center of the bridge. I took a few shots of the setting sun through the arches, framing it with the concrete. I was pleased with the result.

Photo #28: Bridge

Photo #28: Stone Arches

Tech Details:
Equipment Used: Sony NEX-5R, 18-55mm standard lens.
Image: 1/80 sec exposure, f/4.5, ISO-160.

Photo #27: Time Lapse

I took a few pictures earlier this afternoon, one of which I was certain would be good enough to make the cut for my blog. When I pulled them up on the computer, however, I was pretty dissatisfied. I tried a few variations on my original theme, before abandoning the idea altogether.

The problem was it was now after dark, and I was without a good photo.

So I grabbed the camera and the tripod and drove a few just down the street. There’s a road was a nice curve to it, which always has some traffic, no matter what time of night. I set up the tripod, set the camera for a long exposure and waited for a car to come along.

When shooting on the tripod, I’ve learned to automatically set a ten second delay. I envisioned getting the taillights of the car, vanishing into the distance. I totally timed it wrong. The car was halfway down the road by the time the shutter opened.

In the thirty seconds the shutter was open, several cars and a diesel went by. The result was pretty awesome. I was so pleased, that I didn’t even take a second shot. This is pretty rare for me, since my philosophy is to always press the shutter a second time, just in case. But, it was late, there wasn’t much traffic, and long exposures like this take a while. Maybe I’ll go back and experiment a little more when I’ve got some time.

Here’ the photo:

Photo #27: Time Lapse

Photo #27: Time Lapse

Tech Details:
Equipment: Sony NEX-5R, 18-55mm standard lens, tripod.
Image: 30 sec exposure, f/5.6, ISO-400.

Photo #26: Evening Kayak

The weather improved today, so I decided to spend some time at the lake before attempting my photo for the day. The lake is one of my favorite places for photography, it has plenty of opportunities for large, open landscape shots, wildlife to turn the telephoto on, trees, both dead and alive, flowers and frequently people. While I was waiting for the sun to set, I wandered around the lake, photographing whatever caught my eye. I was fortunate to capture several very successful shots.

My planned photo for the evening was to get the runway lights at the airport. I headed over there just after sunset. Unfortunately, I had left my tripod at the house. To get the frame I wanted, I needed the telephoto lens, but the telephoto is best with the tripod, and for anything but short exposures, pretty much requires it. To capture the photo I wanted, a longer exposure was necessary. As a result, I got a few decent photos, but most had just a touch of blur.

So I decided I will try that one again later, this with the tripod. Instead, I selected one of my photos of the lake. I haven’t featured any photographs of people yet, so I give you this kayaker, enjoying an evening of fishing on the water.

Photo #26: Evening Kayak

Photo #26: Evening Kayak

Tech Details:
Equipment: Sony NEX-5R, 55-210mm telephoto lens.
Image: 1/100 sec exposure, f/5.6, ISO-100.

Photo #24: Cat Scan

My schedule for the day was pretty full, leaving me little time for pictures. As a result, I once again found myself at the end of the day with no photographs, no where to go to get one, and no good ideas.

For the most part, my subject material for this project has been landscapes, plants or inanimate objects. I haven’t photographed much in the way of people or animals (at least, not that I have decided to feature.) So I turned my lens to the other living subjects in the house. (Some were more willing to be photographed than others.)

I was hoping not to include a photo of my cats in this project, simply because I photograph them all the time. It’s not really stretching my skills to use a familiar subjects. However, capturing a good photo of a living thing can be tricky, especially a cat. They move, they don’t like the flash, they’re impossible to pose. And given they’re sense of free will, it can be hard to catch them in a spot with a good backdrop.

This image turned out the best.

Photo #24: Cat Scan

Photo #24: Cat Scan

Tech Details:
Equipment: Sony NEX-5R, 18-55mm standard lens.
Image: 1/13 sec exposure, f/4.5, ISO-3200. (Note: This image was cropped.)

Photo #23: Evening on the Road

Once again, evening rolled around, and I hadn’t taken a photo, nor did I have a good idea for one. It was another sunny day, with perfectly cloudless skies, so I decided to take a drive before the sun set. I headed out of town, and turned off onto the country back roads. I was hoping to find an old barn, but I was open to anything that caught my interest.

It didn’t take me long to get out in the middle of nowhere, or at least as out in the middle of nowhere as one can get in the Midwest. I found myself surrounded by lush green fields. The terrain was slightly hilly. I pulled off at several spots along the road, just to take photos of the landscape.

Roads themselves are a draw for me. I love the visual of a solid black strip winding through the natural landscape. This is particularly true when both the road and the landscape are devoid of human life. I revel in the solitude of a road going nowhere. Roads also appeal to me because of what they suggest: travel, the unknown, desolation.

The sun was sinking fast and I was losing light. Sunsets are another favorite subject of mine, but the lack of clouds meant there would be no color tonight. Fortunately, I had found a rare spot around here, a place where the horizon isn’t blocked by buildings or trees. I shot a few frames of the sun touching the hillside. My favorite of the day incorporated both the sunset and the empty road.

Photo #23: Evening on the Road

Photo #23: Evening on the Road

Tech Details:
Equipment: Sony NEX-5R, 18-55mm standard lens.
Image: 1/50 sec exposure, f/5.6, ISO-100.