I thought I’d post something different today.  I was playing with Abi’s coloring box last night for my Halo picture and I remembered a shot I did last year using my macro lens.  I basically stacked up some Crayola crayons added some soft light and shot them with the macro getting in real close.  I loved the image but never got round to posting it.  Even though I still have the images somewhere I can’t post it in my “Picture a Day” collection as my resolution states that I have to shoot the image this year.

So last night I got out the crayons, a softbox, a tripod and my macro lens.  I needed to use a tripod as when you use the macro lens the depth of field (area of focus) for a normal aperture (something like f/8) is very small.  So you need a tiny aperture (f/16-22), which requires more light and a longer exposure time.  As I can’t hold the camera still for a tack sharp image any longer than around 1/60th of a second I needed the tripod.  Note however that even with the tripod and a small aperture, not all crayons are in focus!

I placed some black card on the table and stacked two rows of crayons on top.  it took me quite a few attempts to place the light where I wanted it (I really wanted that specular line of light on the crayon’s point), but eventually I got the shot I wanted.  I was after something specific here though.  I decided to single file tone map the image too, I wanted the picture to have a gritty look and to pull out all the pit’s and details in the crayon.  This worked quite well and also emphasized the texture in the paper.

So this is the end result.  This was an example of an image I had in my mind that I was really going for.  Hope you like the picture.

Carter said that he and Red had an argument, but he sorted it out.  Not sure what he means but I haven’t seen Red all day!

When you start trying to capture a picture a day you begin with a list of ideas, then after about 3 days you start frantically looking for something to shoot.  At first you only think about this every few hours, for example you’re at work and walking from one meeting to another and you ask yourself “oh what will I shoot tonight?”  Then, after a few weeks you become obsessed!  You’re looking all the time, in the middle of a conversation with someone your either think of something or see something and break off.  Then it get’s worse.  Eventually your friends and family start looking for you and you get emails and phone calls with ideas.  This is the pain of a picture a day – don’t ever try this unless you are out of work or a professional photographer.

When you do eventually see something, if you have a camera with you (and you should always have a camera) you should stop and take the shot.  Don’t tell yourself “I’ll get that tomorrow”.  Tomorrow it might rain, the subject may move, you may forget where you saw it…  I’m sure you get the idea.

So why am I telling you all this?  Well, the first reason is to save you the pain of ever trying this ridiculous New Years resolution.  The second reason is to tell you about this truck I found.

I was driving home and saw this old F150 parked up by the side of the road.  I say parked up, but abandoned might be a better word.  All around the truck were wild flowers and I thought the old rusty truck against the green trees, grass and flowers might look cool.  So today I grabbed my camera and tripod and popped out.  I parked up down the road from the truck and walked down the road with my tripod over my shoulder to the truck and took some pictures.  The pictures came out VERY green, but apart from that looked good.

After Carters success at painting last week he decided to try using crayons…

A couple of weeks ago I visited Snoqualmie Northwest Railway Museum to shoot some trains.  They have a few steam and diesel trains there and most are in a pretty poor state of repair.  Some of the trains are literally falling apart, covered in rust, but there are a couple that have kind of been looked after.

They have this museum building that looks like an old railway station and behind the building are a couple of trains that look great.  One of them is the subject for today’s posting, and is a Mallet Locomotive.  This train was invented by a Swiss engineer named Anatole Mallet and actually has two engines.

Even though it was a nice day there weren’t too many people there so I was able to get a good shot without loads of people in the way.  Ironically just after I took this picture, a couple of families turned up and their kids started climbing all over the engines.  When this happened I figured it was my time to leave so I legged it.

Carter felt the call of the stage today – well the video camera at least, and performed Hamlet for the family.

I haven’t posted a plane in a while so here you go (I looked back at my other aircraft postings and I say this every time – I’m clearly starting to repeat myself – sorry).  This shot was taken in the World War II exhibit at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.  If you haven’t visited this museum and you get the chance, go for it.  It’s a very cool place.  It’s located at Boeing Field (where they build the Boeing Jumbo Jets) and really is for all the family.

The museum has a number of different exhibit areas; there’s the main floor that has lots of commercial aircraft, a space exhibit area with information on space craft and the different NASA missions, a World War II area where you can see a number of old planes from the era and finally an outside exhibit area where you can view and walk in some old planes like JFK’s Air Force One jumbo (yes you can see where Jacky Onassis had a poo).  They used to have a Concord there and a Space Shuttle but I think they may have gone now.

So today’s plane is a 1944 Spitfire Mk IX.  When the Spitfire first came out in 1936 it was one of the fastest planes on the planet and four short years later held the German Luftwaffe (that’s the German Air Force) at bay in the Battle of Britain.  Ironically this plane probably stopped the invasion of the United Kingdom and arguably enabled the Allies to win the war.

The Museum’s Spitfire was built at Castle Bromwich in early 1944. Assigned to a fighting squadron by May, and was flown in support of the D-Day Invasion on June 6, 1944.  So this really is a piece of history.

Today Carter decided to do some painting, here he is just finishing his picture – pretty good eh?

You can’t really visit Seattle without going to Pike Place Market and when you do you’ll probable enter the market under the big clock.  This is the south end of the Market at the end of Pike Street and arguably the part that’s most famous.  At this end you find Rachel the bronze cast piggy bank which is usually covered in tourists trying to get a market picture, and behind Rachel is the Pike Place Fish Market.  This fish market is probably one of the major attractions as when you buy fish here the guy out front selects the one you want and throws it to the guys behind the counter who pack it for you.  Throwing fish is definitely their thing, but if you want that picture you need some patience – they don’t throw fish to order!

I chose to visit the market on a day off work.  It was pretty quiet in the morning and the sun was shining and gave me the opportunity to take the typical market shot.  I actually wasn’t going to post this one as everyone shoots the market from this location, but then I thought what the hell!  I live in Seattle, I need to get this one at least once – so here is my traditional Pike Place Market.

The signage above the market here is great and when it gets dark everything lights up.  I actually drove to Seattle late one Sunday night just to capture the neon lights.  It was raining when I went too which was fantastic as I was after red neon reflections in the road.  It takes around 40 minutes for me to drive there and I was going just for this one picture.  However when I got there the sign wasn’t on.  I was totally devastated and rather than look for other subjects drove home totally depressed.  I will get that shot this year though so look out for that one.

Today Carter felt the need to hit the road and ride his Harley.  As you can see his dream came true.