Monthly Archives: June 2009

My disclosure statement – June 2009.

March 11, 2015 update:  Please see this page for an updated disclosure statement.

We interrupt our regular programming for a statement from the owner with regard to the Federal Trade Commission’s pending new guidelines concerning bloggers, endorsements, advertisements, and acceptance of compensation for opinions posted on blogs.

I would like to make the following public disclosure of my policies concerning this blog:

  1. The opinions, beliefs, findings, or experience stated on this blog are my own, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
  2. I accept no compensation of any kind in exchange for any of my work on this blog.
  3. I do not advertise or accept advertising of any kind.  If you see advertising in association with this blog, it was placed without my permission.
  4. Products, places, and services that I mention or review on this blog have been paid for by me at my own expense and not provided for review by anyone else.
  5. I do not identify myself before I review a product place or service – reviews are anonymous.
  6. I do not convey that my experiences are representative of what you will experience, only that they are what I experienced – your mileage may vary.
  7. I’m sorry that it is even necessary to say this.

We now return you to our (somewhat) regulary scheduled programming.

Three Letter Acronyms For Success (TAS), TAS #2: GAS

OK, gentle reader, our first TAS was HAC – Have a clue . So, once you have a clue, what’s next?

What’s the next thing you need to do to be successful in life and also in photography?  TAS #2 is GAS.  We’ll use the family friendly version here, which is GAH or “Give a Hoot”. In other words, care about your photography, be passionate, be motivated, take all the knowledge you’ve acquired and apply it.  Get out there and make some photographs!

Are you a “serious” photographer? I don’t mean serious as in don’t have any fun with it (quite the opposite).  I mean do you care about your photography? I suspect if you’re reading this blog you do.  That’s really all GAH is about.  It won’t make you a success all by itself, but it is necessary.  And it’s the motivation you need – and combined with the knowledge you acquire with HAC, you’ll be much more likely to be successful.

OK, so TAS #1 (HAC) is all about acquiring knowledge and TAS #2 (GAH) is all about applying it.  The more you apply your knowledge the more it becomes something you do instead of something you just know.  Practice builds the skills you need to get the shot when you don’t have the luxury to think things through.  This happens quite a lot in photography – the light or the situation changes quickly and you have to change quickly to capture it.  Big secret here:  I think most honest photographers would tell you that they have screwed up a photograph many times in the heat of battle.  You will too.  You need to try to minimize this.

GAH:

  • Carry a camera – use it. Always look for scenes / subjects that would make a good photo.  Make the shot.
  • Think about photography as much as possible.  Mental exercises – how would I shoot that: framing, composition, lenses, ISO, etc.  When you look at your finished photos, think about what you should have done different.  When you’re getting ready to take photos, think through how you’re going to do it. Look at other people’s photographs and try to understand how they made them.
  • Try a new photographic technique as often as possible
  • Show your work to people.  Accept feedback and use it constructively

There are the two photos that go with this post.  I used the second one in a prior post , but this is the first time I’ve posted the other one.  I think the pair together is a good illustration of TAS #2: GAH.  I was very motivated and passionate about this particular photograph and went to a good deal of effort to make the image, edit it, and print it.  It looks pretty good up on my wall.

This is the raw capture straight out of the camera:

Littleton, Colo. cabin (straight from camera)

And this is the processed image ready to print.  It took a lot of knowledge (HAC) and a lot of passion (GAH) for the final print to come out like this.

Littleton, Colo. cabin (post processed)

As your homework for this session, you can point out things that are different between the two images and how you think they got that way.  As before, I’ll grade your answers before I post TAS #3.  Oh, by the way, I’ve added a comment to TAS #1 explaining what I meant about the photo in that post.

Be passionate about your photography .  To help you with TAS #2 – Give a Hoot, and to help you stay motivated, here’s a few inspirational photo related links I’ve come across recently.  Please take the time to explore these.  They moved me, and if you’re at all interested in photography, I’m betting they will move you too.

Zack Arias – Transform Video http://www.zarias.com/?p=284
David duChemin – A question of definition http://www.pixelatedimage.com/blog/2009/06/a-question-of-definition/
Darwin Wiggett -Beyond the trophy http://darwinwiggett.wordpress.com/2009/06/12/beyond-the-trophy/
Paul Indigo – Do professional photographers love their jobs? http://paulindigo.blogspot.com/2009/06/do-professional-photographers-love.html
Scott Bourne – Taking the best photo you possibly can http://photofocus.com/2009/05/29/taking-the-best-photograph-you-possibly-can//
Rick Sammon – It’s “Have Kid Will Photograph” http://www.scottkelby.com/blog/2009/archives/3681/

©2009, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Butterfly Rainforest – Gainsville, Florida

Description

I’ve been wanting to visit the landscape photography exhibit at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art . I decided to go up yesterday, since it will only be there through the end of August. I very much enjoyed the photographs, which included several by Ansel Adams.
The Florida Museum of Natural History is right next door to the Harn Museum, and they have an excellent butterfly exhibit, called the Butterfly Rainforest .

Mary getting ready to enter the Butterfly Rainforest

Although I didn’t write about it at the time, I was there once before in 2007 with my daughter Mary, and I’ve wanted to document it as a Central Florida Photo Op ever since.

Butterfly on flower

The Museum is located on the University of Florida Campus in Gainesville, just off of I-75.  For visitors to Florida, it might make a very nice 2 or 3 hour stop along the way to Orlando or Tampa.  For Orlando area residents, it’s about a 2 hour drive.

Butterfly

The web sites above have directions and entry fee information.  You should consider the weather before you go.  When I went on June 20th, it was very, very hot and humid and this might be easier to put up with in the cooler times of the year.

Butterfly
There’s also quite a lot of pretty tropical and sub-tropical flowers to take photos of, which supply nectar to feed the butterflies.

Flower

And there are several smaller birds that are flying free within the exhibit.

Bird

So, as you can see – this is a target rich environment for the photo sharp shooter!

Photo hints

Tripod/Monopod :  They have a pretty strict policy on what you can bring in.  Tripods and monopods are not allowed.  The pathways are narrow and restricted.  You also have to check strollers and bags (including camera bags) so plan ahead.  I brought a single camera on a strap, a filter case in one pocket and a flash in my other pocket.

Lenses :  Without a tripod or monopod, vibration reduction is pretty important.   Since you’re restricted to the paths and you can’t bring a camera bag in to switch lenses, a zoom lens is a necessity. Maybe you could wear a photo vest with some lenses in it (although I don’t know if they’d let you bring it in).

I used my 70 – 300 VR zoom on my Nikon D700 and also used a close up filter at times. This seemed to work out pretty well.

Other :  Some of the butterflies will be still for you and some won’t.  Most don’t seem to mind the people.  In fact some of them will land on you!

My SB-600 flash came in handy at times to fill in shadows.  The light was variable.  There’s a lot of shadows from vegetation and the cloud cover can also make a big difference in a small amount of time.

The museum also has a page that can help you identify Florida wildflowers and Butterflies .

Summary

The Butterfly Rainforest has a lot of photos waiting to be made.  The conditions are a bit challenging, especially in the summer.  But if you can put up with the heat or go by in the cooler part of the year and deal with the lighting conditions, then this is a good place to visit.

My Gallery (34 total photos): http://edrosack.com/090620_Butterfly/
Website: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/butterflies/rainforest.htm
Address: University of Florida Cultural Plaza
SW 34th Street and Hull Road
PO Box 112710
Gainesville, FL 32611-2710
(352) 846-2000
Central Florida Photo Ops Rating: Hot! Humid! Lots of Photos!

©2009, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Three-letter Acronyms for Success (TAS), TAS#1: HAC

Well, gentle reader, here’s the grand challenge in front of us…

Can I come up with a series of three letter acronyms for key ideas on how to be generally successful in life, apply them to photography, explain them in a way to make them interesting, and illustrate each with a photograph?  If I do this, will you visit this blog and read about it?

I guess we’ll find out the answer together. This series of posts will be somewhat sporadic and I’ll be using them as a filler when I don’t have a photo expedition type of blog entry to post.

Here’s the image that goes with this post – it’s a Christmas cactus bloom:
Christmas cactus bloom

OK, so let’s get started with TAS # 1.  HAC stands for "Have A Clue".  To be successful in life and in photography too, you need to have a clue about what you’re doing.  Oh, sure, you can buy a point and shoot camera and take some good pictures, but can you do that under all conditions?  Can you do that when you need to, every time?  When one of your photos doesn’t come out, will you be able to figure out why and then do better the next time? When you’re in a football stadium or a concert will you be one of the people trying to take pictures with your point and shoot flash going off?

How do you get a clue?  How do you know what you don’t know?  Take a course or workshop, read books or magazines, talk to someone knowledgeable, join a photography club and ask questions, do research on line, read photo blogs.  Try things and see how they come out and then try variations when they don’t work.  Learn about the basics of exposure, composition, depth of field.  Keep trying and keep learning and don’t give up and don’t expect to get all the answers given to you in 5 minutes.

Once you have a clue, you still need to keep getting more and revising the ones you have, because things change.  If you thought you knew photography 5 or 10 years ago, guess what … it’s a lot different now.  You have to keep learning.  All of your clues are a good foundation for continued learning, but learn you must.  For example, if you grew up with film your brain might be conditioned to think of exposure as aperture and shutter speed – film speed was fixed for the whole role of film.  Well guess what, now days it’s aperture, shutter speed, and ISO – we can vary the ISO sensitivity for each exposure.  You have to keep learning or you might not think about things like changing the ISO.

OK, is that enough words on this?  The point is, to be successful you have to have a basic knowledge of what you’re doing and then you have to keep building on that knowledge.

Now, back to the related image at the top of the post.  See if you have a clue about what’s going on with depth of field in this image.  If you think you know the answer, post a comment.  I’ll grade your answers after the TAS #2 blog entry goes up.

To help you get started gathering your clues, here are some photo blogs where you can learn about photography:

Digital Photography School http://digital-photography-school.com/
Luminous Landscape http://www.luminous-landscape.com/
Photofocus http://photofocus.com/
Nature Photographer magazine http://www.naturephotographermag.com/index.htm
Naturescapes.net http://www.naturescapes.net/docs/
Thom Hogan http://bythom.com/

©2009, Ed Rosack.  All rights reserved.

Flower show follow up

We bought an orchid at the flower show last weekend.  There was some nice light coming through the window this morning, so I decided to photograph it. I spent a little time playing with the image in various ways. Here’s version 1:

White background orchid

I then went back and changed the cloth background and re-photographed it. Here’s version 2:

Black background orchid

And here’s version 3 (a black and white conversion):

Black and white orchid

Have you ever taken your camera to a flower show?

Description

If not, why not?  Flower shows can be a great place for photography.  They have plants in the prime of bloom and are often set in very scenic locations.  Lynn and I have been to a couple of Orchid shows and a Rose show here in Orlando and enjoyed each of them.  The most recent was last weekend’s Greater Orlando Orchid Show and Sale held at the Albin Polasek museum in Winter Park.  The museum is an interesting place to visit on its own, and is set in a beautiful lot close to Rollins college. This photo is of Polasek’s bronze sculpture of Svantovit , located in the back garden behind the museum where the orchid show was being held.

Svantovit

Photo hints

The one problem with this type of photo op is that you have to be pro-active and search it out.  Lynn noticed an announcement for this show in our local paper.  The table in the Summary section below has a link for a Google search that may help you locate upcoming flower shows in Central Florida.
orchid

Etiquette:  The purpose of these shows is to sell flowers, not to be your personal photo studio.  I think it would be rude to drag your tripod, lighting gear, reflectors, etc. in to one of the booths selling orchids and set up a shot and interfere with the vendor’s business.  So be polite – and buy an orchid.  You’ll enjoy it and you can make many photos of it in your home studio!

orchid

Lenses:  Macro recommended.  If you don’t have one, bring whatever you do have that will focus as closely as possible.  A mid range zoom lens might also be good to bring for the other things that are around the venue where the show is taking place.
orchid

Tripod:  Not recommended – see above.  There can be a lot of people at these shows.  Most of them are there to look at and buy flowers, not photograph them or wait until you get out of the way.

Flash:  Might be very handy to fill in shadows, especially in the shade or under canopies.  You might even want to get fancy and try using an off camera flash triggered with your on camera pop up flash.

For people new to flower photography, there’s quite a lot of how-to information on the web. For more information, you might try browsing through the results from this Google blog search for “flower photography how to”.

Summary

My Gallery (27 total photos): http://edrosack.com/090530_Orchids/
Website: search google for Central Florida flower shows
Location: 633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park, Florida 32789
Central Florida Photo Op Rating: Great intermittent potential

©2009, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.