Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kerry Park at Sunset

I rode the bus home from work the other day, noticed the clouds around the city, and decided to take a jaunt over to Kerry Park. The clouds and the colors from the sun were an interesting backdrop to the city. I wanted a different angle from the park where it seems everyone comes away with the same couple of shots, so I walked around the corner past the fence and grabbed the wide angle to capture the flowers and grasses and also the city. It just so happened that the wind was blowing slightly which created some pleasant motion textures on the images. When it got a bit later, I tried out some longer exposures to see if I could get some of these clouds moving behind the city, but ended up leaving too quickly before it could happen well. Either way, it was a good choice for a visit and I came away with some quality shots.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Golden Gardens Pt. II

I headed back to Golden Gardens to test my theory of diffraction and shoot using a maximum aperture of f16. It was sunset so I was able to use a more open aperture (compared to the last time) while maintaining a longer shutter speed, which I had wanted previously. The results are definitely noticeable. An aperture setting anywhere from f12 to f16 produces crisp images without the 'fuzz' caused by the diffraction. There was no wind today, which allowed the water to be extremely calm, but the water lacked the same movement as the other day, but that was alright as it gave way to a very relaxing atmosphere. Everything was great until a dog walked up to me, which I normally would welcome, but the continued to step multiple times on all of my stuff and kick sand throughout almost everything. I managed to clean up the majority of it, but I was not very happy with that dog at the time....stupid dog....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I recently went out to Golden Gardens to see if I could get away from my fuzzy photos from last week...and I didn't. The majority of photographs looked great on the tiny LCD screen, but once retrieved and examined on a larger scale, the results were the same...fuzzy, slightly out of focus images. After a bit of research I discovered that the main source of my problems were due to diffraction. From what I understand, diffraction occurs when the aperture of a camera's lens becomes too small, forcing the light rays to 'act funny' once they enter the lens. This, in turn, de-focuses the image. Each lens has it's own 'perfect' aperture setting, and mine seems to be around the f11 to f16 range for the Sigma 10-20 (the website is great for determining when your image will start to de-focus). I was definitely way too far away from perfect for these couple of shots, as I cranked the aperture all the way down to f29 in order to minimize the light and get a roughly 1 second long exposure (with an ND6 filter). So for the next time I will shoot up to a max of around f16 and then compare results. Please share your ideas and critiques with me, thanks!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Queen Anne - ISO and Focus

The clouds finally broke today after several days of gray. I decided to head over to the East side of Queen Anne to see if I could catch some of the snow-covered Cascades at sunset. So it turned out that what I wanted didn't happen, so I tried to make the best of it. But that is what photography is though, right? You make the best out of the environment in front of you, which is usually not exactly what you had hoped to shoot. I wouldn't say that I did my very best today, but I tried and practiced some technique on focus and ISO. I find these photos to be less crisp than I would have liked, and am trying to figure out if it is the ISO (100), the f-stop (f14), the shutter speed (these are somewhat longer exposures - ~ 1/8 second), the tripod, or the lens...or maybe it is a combination of all of it. Ideas??

Monday, April 5, 2010

Seattle Sculpture Park

On Saturday afternoon I headed down to the Seattle Sculpture Park for some practice with my new Sigma 10-20 and a couple of neutral density filters and grads. I headed down to the 'stick beach' for some long exposures and was pleased with the overall scene of somewhat choppy waters, bold clouds and mostly good visibility. The angle of the sun wasn't the best for the shots, as it reflected off of the neutral grad filters and caused some glare, and I quickly found out that the Cokin P filter system isn't the best for the super wide Simga.

At 10mm you can clearly see both the filter edges as well as the light leaks from the filter system itself. This went away at around 13mm, but it was still frustrating not being able to use the lens's full angle of vision. I am currently researching ways to avoid any of this. I took my last shot around 3:45 and furiously began to pack my equipment after I watched the latest rain storm make it's way across Elliot Bay. It started to rain at about 3:48 and by the time I was back at my car I was quite wet. Overall a good day of practice. Any comments about the filter systems are welcome!