Monday, February 25, 2008

Balancing Act

I waited almost a year for this day. I knew the sun was at the point where it would present itself just over the Hermosa Beach pier prior to setting. I wanted to capture that moment.

I did so in near perfect balance. It took several shots to get it right. I would take a shot, view it in my camera's LCD and reposition myself for another shot. After around 5 shots, I go the one I wanted.

I walked to the end of the pier only to find the sun balancing itself on the pier's railing. I quickly took this shot and captured another nearly perfectly balanced shot.

I like the balance and symmetry of these photos and found a theme for today's posting -- a balancing act.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Flowers in the Rain

This morning ended a week's worth of rainy days. I trekked out to shoot flowers while they still held raindrops. I usually circle the neighborhood and look for the best subjects. This one is my favorite of the day.

This shot is why I brave the wet elements. The payoff is usually very good.
While Southern California doesn't get many rain days, it is a treat to catch the small window of opportunity to get these shots.

I did not add a frame to this photo but framed it this way. I shot this throw a white pickett fence and it turned out just as I envisioned it. Sometimes I get lucky.

I really liked the geometry in this shot. I think it all added up nicely.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Moon in Total Eclipse

The west coast experienced a total eclipse of the moon and I was fortunate enough to capture a few photos between the passing clouds. The pictures may seem a bit out of focus but it is due to the high clouds that obsured the view.

I zoomed back with the telephoto lens and include two stars in the composition. This is as close as I could get to the total eclipse before clouds took over the night sky for about 45 minutes or so.

By the time the big cloud formations cleared the total eclipse took place the the moon started its reappearance.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Nikon D300 in Lowlight

I know you have heard how great the new Nikon D3 is in lowlight situations. I can attest that the new Nikon D300 is no slouch. I recently photographed a sunset at the beach and as I started to walk home, I noticed a couple heading for the swing set. Already a half hour after sundown, I knew it would be difficult to slow down the motion with little available light, no tripod and no flash.

I set the D300 to ISO 1250 and fired away. I was amazed at the quality. While not as good as the D3, it remains impressive. Of course, the resolution of these two photos do not do justice to the camera. I must resize the image to 2” X 3” at 72dpi to make image file size small enough for the web. If you saw these in their native size and resolution, I think you would be amazed at the low noise level.

I think this picture shows he had the same idea as I did. He set his flash and camera to capture at the apex of her ascent. You can see the viewing screen on his camera waiting for the right moment. I hope his image was as good as mine. I am very satisfied with the new Nikon D300. It is an amazing camera that is residing at the top of the digital DSLR heap. Only the D3 is better right now. Don't hesitate to get one if and when you have the chance. You won't regret it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Color and Light

Today I felt like an extended ride on the bike so I made my way up the hill to Palos Verdes to catch the sunset. The light and color of the tonight's sunset wasn't spectacular so I tried to make it more interesting by capturing a few boats as they passed under the sun.

This one caught me off-guard. I struggled to retrieve the camera from my bag just in time to catch this one before it passed by. Luckily all the boats travelled slowly this evening.

This boat followed the above one a few minutes later. As the sun became consumed by the clouds, the light softened at the expense of the color. The detail of the sun is better but the oranges and reds disappeared. These are the compromises we face as landscape and sunset photographers. Make the best of what you have. Both are decent pictures, just different in color and light.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Row Your Boat

Yesterday I was photographing birds in Playa del Rey and came across the Loyola Marymount University women's rowing team. I am not much of a sports photography person but I took a few shots anyways.

This is an interesting body of water where the Ballona Creek meets the Pacific. Ballona Creek quickly becomes a trickle in a cement riverbed.

This team is rowing upstream with Marina del Rey and the Hollywood Hills in the background.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Winter Shore Birds

Southern California beaches become home to many migrant shore birds for the winter. As the cooler weather produces smaller crowds at the beach and birds fill the gap.

Morning provides the best shots of shore birds. The early morning sun shines from the east against the west facing ocean. The lighting at this time is at its best.

We begin with a Godwit hunting for his breakfast. These are medium-sized birds with beautiful variable brown feathers.

I next approached a flock of Godwits that finished their morning feeding and began to soak in the morning sun. Here we find one that is drying its feathers and retaining its body heat.

Godwits are plenty but they are far from the only shore birds calling Hermosa Beach home. There are more to come as I will publish more shore bird shots in the near future.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Good February Start

The Groundhog may have seen his shadow but February started on a great note. A nice sunset ended the first day of the month and the surf was up. This young lad caught the day's last glimer with a little body surfing.
While shooting the Manhattan Beach Pier, I noticed this surfer to the left of the pier. I migrated a little south and composed a few shots against the orange sunset. I managed several good shots with these being my favorites.
Nikon D70 with Nikkor 80-400mm VR lens.