Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Green Day at Bloedel Reserve

Teresa, Mary Kay, and I spent a wonderful two hours at Bloedel Reserve today, before taking Mary Kay to the ferry on her return to the Bay Area. The sky was overcast and there were a few light droplets at the beginning. I started by taking photos at the Japanese Garden, then moved on to the main house and part of the trail between the two.

When you look at the photos, you'll see why I called this a "green day." The photo above is the only one that is not mostly green!

I saw a Belted Kingfisher in the large pond in front of the house. The photo was good enough to confirm the identification of the bird but not good enough that I wanted to include it in the album.

Today was a photographic experiment too. I used only a 40-year old Nikon 50mm f1.4 manual focus lens on the D70. This meant all exposure were manually focused and exposures were manually calculated. I used a Sekonic L-358 light meter to evaluate exposure; it did a fine job and I had to reject few images because of exposure problems. Manually focusing the D70 is difficult, although it was somewhat easier with the f1.4 lens. It felt very strange and unusual to focus with my left eye (which I have to do because it has better resolution than my right after the laser surgery on the right eye).

As always, click on the photo or title above to link to the photo album for this day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Joy of Watercolor in Port Townsend

Teresa has been taking a watercolor class so I took the opportunity to photograph "artists at work" at her last class.

There were two minor technical challenges in these photos. The interior shots were taken without flash, at ISO 800. Using ISO 800 left a lot of noise in the images. I used Paint Shop Pro 9's Digital Camera Noise Reduction utility to remove the noise. This tool is better than the one supplied with Photoshop CS2, although no noise removal technique is perfect. Unlike most days recently, the sky was mostly clear so we had harsh direct, mid-day sun for the plein air photographs. On most photos, I used fill flash to match shaded foreground images better to well lit backgrounds and to compensate partially for the color difference between direct sun and shade. Without a helper, I didn't want to try to use a reflector or diffuser to modify the light. Maybe next time....