Feb. ’10 Update and Photos from Last Year

January has slipped by, and I haven’t used up my camera in anger in a long while. I’ve been busy with LEGO stuff as well as remodeling our kitchen at home.

I have a bunch of photos taken at the High Lonesome last November and December that I need to edit and process. I’ve quickly done three of my favorites:

click to see larger

I also made another time-lapse video of the night sky last December. This time, the exposures were much longer: 25 sec. instead of 8 sec. as the previous time-lapse video.

This video (click thumbnail below) is composed of 100 photos played at 8 frames per second. Each photo was shot at: 25 sec., f/1.8, ISO 3200.

click to see video
(1.5 MB, Windows Media File)

The files were shot as small JPGs on FINE with heavy noise reduction turned on. The long-exposure NR was turned off. Again, this was done using my “low-light” combo: the Canon 5DII and 24mm f/1.4II lens.

Welcome 2010!

Happy New Year!

click for larger view

The photo above was taken yesterday morning in the Texas Hill Country. It’s a 2009 image, but as I welcome the new year, I recall all the great moments and wonderful events of 2009.

Best wishes to you all in 2010 and may this new year bring you happy moments and good times.

Dark Skies Over the High Lonesome

I spent last weekend at the High Lonesome Ranch in the Texas hill country. The weather was clear and the moon was new- perfect conditions for…

click for larger pic

24mm, 25 sec., f/1.8, ISO 6400

The greenish light was from an aerial light near our cabin. The yellowish glow on the horizon was a distant small town or maybe another ranch.

The white streak in the upper left could possibly be a plane, but at 100% I cannot see the usual dot-pattern that results from blinking lights typically seen on planes. It might very well be a meteor, but I was not looking at the sky during the exposure, so I really don’t know.

The white, fuzzy glow (middle right) looks like a galaxy. I’m not sure which one, perhaps Andromeda (M31)? This shot is looking roughly NNE about 2 hours after sunset.

click for larger pic

24mm, 25 sec., f/1.8, ISO 3200

It’s kind of hard to see in this small web-sized pic, but there is a bluish glow on the tree. I inadvertently light-painted it with my LED headlamp.

I set this shot up and hit the shutter, then turned my back to the camera and paced around a bit (while talking to my wife on the cell). All the while I had my headlamp on. I was careful not to look in the direction of the shot, but the light reflected off the ground, then off the tree, and was recorded by the camera. It’s just that sensitive!

High Lonesome Trees Project

I’ve mentioned shooting the trees on the High Lonesome Ranch as my main subject here recently. I pulled together 12 shots from this “mini-project”: click here.

click to see project page

This is the final selection from my work. Overall, I’m pleased with my photos, but I’m mostly happy about the experience I gained. I’ve never before confined my work to such a specific criteria, and frankly, I’ve been apprehensive to do so. My shooting time is limited and valuable to me. But I have to say I found the experience to be worthwhile.

Please check out the final gallery here and also read the previous two entries (see below) in my blog as well as this older entry from last year for more insight on this mini-project.

High Lonesome Trees

I made two weekend trips to the High Lonesome Ranch in November. I shot in my usual ways, focusing on nature and whatever caught my interest as I walked about.

Oak tree hanging over a dry creekbed
click to enter gallery

Sometime during the second trip, I became consciously aware that I was shooting a lot of trees. I was definitely attracted to the amazing fall colors we’ve been having (it’s been more colorful than in past years… for Texas). But I was also focused on the trees in general.

Mesquite tree at sunset
click to enter gallery

At the end of the month, when I finally sat down to take a hard look at what I had shot, I really didn’t have too many shots of the fall colors. However, I did have a lot of tree photos – dead trees, silhouetted trees, Oak trees, Mesquite trees, etc.

Fall color in Texas!
click to enter gallery

Lately, when I’ve been out shooting, I’ve let myself wander a bit and have let go my forceful desires to “get the shot”, i.e. I’ve tossed out my expectations and not let myself fear the onset of disappointment if I returned home with no good photos. It’s easy to justify – it really doesn’t matter what photos I take. I’m not shooting to get paid nor for any deadlines. I have no requirements.

I’ve been a bit of an anxious control freak my whole life, and the same applies to my photography. After letting go, it felt liberating not to have that self-induced pressure to make photos.

The end result is that my “take”, i.e. my selection of keepers from the shoots, was just as numerous (if not more) than previous shoots when I applied my forceful, unrealistic photographic desires and wants. It’s hard to let go. But it works.

Click to enter the gallery and see more photos from my November shooting: