01. October 2012 · Write a comment · Categories: Image a Day · Tags: ,

On Saturday morning I visited Redmond’s Farmers Market and came across these cool little candle holders.  The lady at the stall said that if you put them on white paper and light them in a dark room they light up spreading color across the paper.  Well I couldn’t resist buying them and bringing them home to try it out.

Well tonight I got in from work and thought I’d try them out.  I got the white paper, turned the lights off and lit the candles.  Burnt my finger, turned the lights on ran my hand under the faucet for 2 minutes.  Lit the candles again and then turned off the lights.  Just as she said the colors were everywhere, at least they were for the orange candle, the blue/green one was kind-a over powered by the orange one I think.  But it looked really good anyway.

So I grabbed my tripod and set up the camera.  When I took some pictures I had either a fantastic wash of light with a totally blown out candle or a well defined flame and no colors.  To get round this I took two pictures, one with the candle correctly exposed, and one with the colors illuminating the paper, then I blended the two images together to get the finished result below.

At one point I tried putting a flashlight into the handle holders to see what that did and the colors were even more vibrant, in fact they were probably too bright and I couldn’t figure out how to easily remove the light from the image to produce the end result (the flashlight needed to be very close, almost in the holder to work), so I didn’t use those pictures.

So what you see below is pretty much what my eyes saw.  And I think it came out really well – just a shame that blue/green one didn’t have more color.

Carter and Master Chief watched the “A-Team” this afternoon.  Master Chief was inspired!

I had a really good day today, we had a lazy Sunday and again it was really hot (over 95 degrees), and I got some great pictures.  First I decided to go out and see what I could shoot, but I didn’t want to go to Seattle as the I90 bridge was closed as the Seattle Sea Fair was on today and the Blue Angels were flying across Lake Washington.  As a result I thought I’d go to the Botanical Gardens in Bellevue.

I got there around 3pm and it was incredibly hot.  Fortunately there weren’t too many people there so I got to walk around the garden trails taking pictures without people in the way.  I found a really cool suspension bridge and got some great shots.  They also have a lot of rock gardens and flowering perennials but they were in direct sunlight and wouldn’t have come out that well.  So I’m definitely going back one evening after work when the sun is lower in the sky, I should get some great shots then.

That said I still got lots of really nice images that I’ll be posting in the days to come.  On the way home I saw a really cool old Chevy truck so I pulled over to shoot that, and then in my own neighborhood there were some wonderful trees covered in red berries, so I shot some of them too (against a lovely blue sky).  So I got home quite excited with lots of pictures to pick from for tonight’s image.

Then, Abi decided to go into the garden and play on her trampoline.  Now for those who don’t know, Abi is a very keen gymnast.  She trains 3 times a week putting in nine hours in her gym.  Then she comes home and spends hours on the trampoline and her own floor beam and mats.  She starts to compete in October and I’ll be going along to cheer her on and take lots of pictures.

Anyway she was bouncing up and down and doing back hand springs and flips, so I thought I’d take a picture.  I’ll be honest I didn’t think the image would come out that well but the D4 camera is just amazing.  We got the picture below after around 15 attempts, she was doing amazingly well but I had to figure out timing and wait for a shot when her hair wasn’t in her face.

I’m really pleased with the end result, she looks beautiful and I’m going to print this one out and put in on the wall.

Tonight, Carter and Master Chief decided to play a little basket ball, here you can see Carter’s basket and Master Chief’s attempt to block.

At the beginning of the year I said I wanted to try lots of different types of photography.  One form I haven’t tried yet is product shots.  As my new Nikon D4 arrived today, I thought I’d do a nice shot of my new camera, using my old camera – for the last time.

This shot took 20 minutes to set up, with some black paper behind the camera creating a seamless backdrop, the camera sitting on an upturned cooking bowl with one of James’ black t-shirts on it, and three speed lights pointing at the camera from different angles.  Amazingly it was pretty easy to set up and I got good images almost immediately.

So here is the D4 in all it’s glory.  I haven’t really taken that many pictures with it yet, but the few I have taken have left me already very impressed.  This thing can shoot images in nearly complete darkness by supporting incredibly high ISO settings.  The focusing speed is amazing and I got some fantastic shots of Roxie on the deck and Abi on the trampoline, everything was in focus, and I took 11 images a second!  Think about that, that’s almost unbelievable.

Abi did a somersault and I got her perfectly as she spun in the air.  When I go to Abi’s gymnastic meets later in the year I should be able to capture some amazing images.

Getting this camera has been a bit of a nightmare.  I decided early last year I wanted what’s called a “full frame” camera, that’s a camera with a sensor that’s the same size as 35mm film.  However the Nikon models at the time were coming to the end of their lives and the new “D4” was supposed to be coming out in March 2011.

However Japan had a really bad year last year.  There was of course the terrible tsunami and later in the year a lot of very bad flooding.  Both times the Nikon factories were hit.  All through this I decided not to by the older D3S.  Rumors kept coming out that the D4 was around the corner, and summer went to fall, and fall to winter every month the release date moved out.

January came around and on the 6th, Nikon announced the new D4.  Early in the morning camera stores around the US started to accept advanced orders (there were none around but we were promised a February delivery).  So I went to one of the largest suppliers in the US, Adorama.  I’ve purchased a lot of gear from Adorama over the years and been very happy with them, their prices are good and they ship for free.  So Adorama it was.  I would bet I placed my order within 10 minutes of them letting you in.

Anyway, February came and went, as did March and April, each month Adorama promised a delivery in two weeks.  I have to say I was getting really frustrated but I guess it really wasn’t their fault, Nikon just weren’t shipping cameras.

By the time it got to June I was really worried I wouldn’t get the camera for my July vacation.  So I signed up to an online service that promised to text me when a major supplier got some in stock.  Last week at 7:30am I got a text message saying Best Buy had some D4s.  I placed my order with them in 3 minutes and got one. 15 minutes later they were sold out.  When I got to work I called Adorama and cancelled my order with them and today Best Buy delivered my camera (exactly when they said they would).

Lisa keeps asking me if I’m excited but in truth it’s all a major anti-climax.  I’ve waited well over a year for this camera, I’ve had lenses on a shelf that only work with the full frame sensor that I couldn’t use for ages waiting for the D4 to arrive.  So yes I’m really pleased but I’ve never had to wait so long for an item I have the money for!  Very, very frustrating.

Anyway, I’m off work tomorrow and going out to test the camera out.  Expect more posts on the D4 and LOTS and LOTS of images.  Thank you Best Buy, you made my summer.

As the D4 arrived today, the Halo guys insisted on getting an unboxing shot.  I particularly like Carter’s pose.

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!

Last night we all went out for dinner (we have an excellent Thai restaurant called Silver Spoon near by) and when we got home we noticed that outside the house one of the bushes had a single pink flower.

Now this is not something we normally get excited about but we figured that this was possibly a sign that Spring is almost here.

So I could share the joy, I thought I’d photograph our single flower for your pleasure.  It’s not particularly exciting, and as you can see it was raining earlier, but hopefully it means that color is returning to the Pacific North West (we are getting a little bored of green, brown and gray).

Incidentally I have a good feeling about this week.  I think I should get my new D4.  If it doesn’t arrive, expect pathetic complaining and tragic depression.

After a relaxing day off and a few green beers, our Halo heroes get back to their circus training.  Tonight it’s acrobatics.