Sunday, September 18, 2011

We went to Goderich and all I got was this stupid Grass Shot!

For the weekly road trip this week, Wifey and I took off to Goderich, Ontario to catch a sunset and possibly some nice nature shots. Goderich is labeled as "Canada's Prettiest Town" and while a wee bit boastful it certainly is a beautiful little town! That is until the tornadoes hit a couple of month's ago and tore this scenic burg up.

I did not get any shots of the damage because I felt that had been overdone. On every street and street corner were tourists snapping happily away oblivious to the residents of this lakeside town who looked on in quiet resignation. Since we did not go to Goderich for that specific reason we started at the Laithwaite Apple Park Farm on the outskirts of town then on to the Lighthouse and down to Christopher's Beach and a delicious Fish and Chips dinner at Skippers Restaurant.

The Laithwaite Apple Park is a historic, family owned three acre Apple Farm on Highway 8 just east of Goderich. It's worth a stop there on the way in to check out, not only their farm store, but the statues carved out by George Laithwaite in the early part of the twentieth century. These limestone and field stone statues represent current events and political figures from Mr Laithwaite's era. We grabbed a bag of delicious Royal Gala Apples for 7 bucks, a shot of their early crop of pumpkins and moseyed on westward.

Pumpkins at the Apple Place

I shot this statue a couple of years ago with my trust Minolta Maxxum 450si and a Minolta 28-80/3.5-5.6 lens (film). The shot above was this trip with my Nikon D300s and Nikkor 50mm f 1,8 lens

Apple Park Farm Statue. Goderich, Ontario, Canada

The Lighthouse is the oldest Canadian Light Station on Lake Huron first established in the 1830's then officially built into a Lighthouse in 1847. (Source: Lighthouse

Lighthouse above Christopher's Beach in Goderich, Ontario, Canada (1872)

Goderich Harbour has a beautiful sandy beach with crystal clear Lake Huron water along with great landscaping to practice your Macro Photography or Flower Photography skills. I took a couple of Seascape images which I unceremoniously dumped after reviewing them on my laptop at home. I did however play with some semi long exposure images for some interesting special effects.

In this image I used my Nikon D300s in RAW and handheld it at 1/13th of a second at f 22 with the 50mm 1.8 Prime lens to give us a sense of movement from the wind in the grasses.

late summer grass at Goderich, Ontario, Canada

Now staying in the same spot I wanted to create a Dreamscape image. A Dreamscape image is one which is created by panning or moving your camera in one direction or another to create an abstract or painterly feel by having the image blurred. I kept my D300s on Shutter Priority Mode at the same settings as the above image but this time I set my focus lock and because the grasses are vertical I started moving my camera upward and clicked the shutter in the middle of my panning and ensured to follow through after the camera was finished recording. Kind of like a follow through with a golf swing it keeps the end product from being jerky.

Late summer grass at Goderich, Ontario, Canada. Long exposure and upward camera movement gives this grass a cool painterly look.

My final shot from this excursion is some more summer grass but for this shot I had to get way down low to compose the sun to be low and behind the grass blades to back light the scene. This image was also shot with my Nikon D300s and the 'Nifty Fifty' Nikkor 50mm f1.8 lens at 1/25th of a second at f 22 and ISO 200.

late summer grass at Goderich, Ontario, Canada

We left town before sunset and slightly before the Golden Hour hit in order to get a shot or two of some classic cars and trucks we had spotted on the way in. We had decided against shooting the vehicles on the way in because the harsh daytime sunlight would have blown out the shots.

This is where some planning would have come into play. I remembered all of the vehicles being within a half hours drive of Goderich..... wrong! Damn old-timers got me again. The first of the vehicles showed up right after the sun was down, gorgeous sunset by the way....missed it!

So now I have the vehicle locations marked down in the steel trap that is my memory and will head out next weekend...maybe... to shoot them.

Random Puppy Shot

I don't believe you!

Norm is tired of the weekly random puppy shots!

Next Post

This week I will be testing out the PhotoPlus x5 software by Serif. They gave me a copy last week along with their Panorama software and so far with what I have done with it, it's pretty amazing! stay tuned.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Guest with the DSLR + The My Memories Software Winner

The Invited Guest

Photographing a wedding as a guest unobtrusively with a DSLR is not an easy task. My Nephew Joel and his lovely Bride Joanne had their wedding ceremony aboard a 115 foot luxury yacht, the Yankee Lady, cruising the Toronto Harbour this past weekend. While the Yankee Lady is a large 3 level yacht, there still is not a whole lot of room to wander around willy-nilly with a DSLR and a massive 70-200/2.8 lens and expect to not be thrown overboard by the first guest whose head you whack with it!
I was actually not planning on bringing the Nikon D300s DSLR at all that day but was instead going to take snapshots with my Blackberry. But, leaving home I made the executive decision to bring it along albeit with only a small Nikkor 50mm 1.8 prime lens so as not to take up too much real estate.
I chose the the 50mm 18 Prime Lens for it's small size and the excellent low light capabilities of its wide aperture because over half of the wedding reception would take place after dark and I did not want to be using my speedlight.

Basic Guest with a DSLR rules

Most rules for being a guest with a DSLR are pretty much common sense so this is just a reminder checklist.

I brought my Nikon D300s along with the tiny Nikkor 50mm 1.8 lens only and left everything else at home. No speedlight, no tripod/monopod, no extra lens, no camera bag!
I got most of my family portrait shots out of the way before boarding so that I would not have to push guests out of the way for premium location shots aboard the yacht. Chances are pretty good that family portraits after the wedding reception, complete with with free bar, would not be as good either!
Jason and Niomi at Queens Quay
Kayla at Queens Quay

Once the Wedding Ceremony itself begins push even your pop-up flash down so that the sudden bright light of flash photography does not throw the Wedding Party off of their game during their moments of High Stress!

A huge boat going the other way was cheering, screaming and honking.... it was a tender moment :)
The Shot of the Wedding

The Number One Rule for taking your own images at any time and at any wedding is to stay out of the way of the Professional Wedding Photographer! I cannot state this more adamantly! He/She is there at great cost to whomever is paying for them to get the absolute best images of the ceremony so he trumps your need to 'Get the Shot'! Remember that the Wedding Party and especially the Bride and Groom's memories are more important than yours. I had a few instances where the Wedding Photographer got in my way and actually stepped on my toe once and I just got out of his way and thought "great, I was actually in the best spot for that shot...Kudos self!"

damn, he killed my shot :D

Do bring an extra memory card and battery along with a designated driver to get you home safely!

My Images from the J&J Wedding Ceremony and Reception.

Dood, why's your speedlight pointed backward?
Winston, father of the Bride

Images of Toronto Harbour and the Skyline

Toronto Waterfront

I forgot to remove my UV Filter from my lens, that explains the crappy reflections in the sky...

The CN Tower dominates the night time Toronto Skyline. Its usual blue light were exchanged to honour NDP leader Jack Layton who was buried that day in Toronto. Orange is the colour of the NDP Party.
The CN Tower dominates the night time Toronto Skyline. Its usual blue light were exchanged to honour NDP leader Jack Layton who was buried that day in Toronto. Orange is the colour of the NDP Party.
Ontario Place at night from Toronto Harbour

The Winner of the My Memories Suite V2 is....

The winner of the My Memories Suite V2 Software package, after much deliberation of the Gary Paakkonen Photography Team (Me and Wifey) and a lot of random throwing of darts at a list of names we have Steve Mattero!

Big hearty congratulations to you Steve and I will get the download link to you shortly. I know you will enjoy the My Memories Suite V2 as much as we do!

For everyone else who did not win I do have a coupon code (STMMMS11437) at the My Memories Website which will give you $10.00USD off of the price of the My Memories Suite V2 Digital Scrapbooking and Photobook software. Along with the $10.00 USD the coupon code also entitles you to $10.00 USD off of the price of anything in their Online Store.
The code is only good in the US and Canada.

And finally, Random Puppy Shot

Buddy with a boneMinolta Maxxum 450si (film) ISO100, Ilford B&W film, Minolta 28-80/f3.5 lens, scanned with HP scanner

It's Buddy as a puppy shot with my Minolta Maxxum 450si, B&W Ilford film