Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nov 30 - Charlie Chaplin

Movember is over! I can finally get rid of this 'stache. But of course, I can't just straight shave it off without having some fun first. I decided a Charlie Chaplin was in order. Luckily, my friend Josh lives just a couple of minutes from me and he has a bowler hat from Halloween this year.

And for those who want to see the actual moustache, here is the final product (before the Charlie Chaplin obviously). I really didn't do any grooming.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nov 27 - Magical Abstract

I hung out with Lily at the Magical Forest. This is easily the earliest in the year I've ever been. Then again, I've only been twice before. Last year, I was a little disappointed that pretty much everything was the same as the year before. I was pleasantly surprised that there were actually quite a few new things this year.

This first shot is another happy accident. I mean, the photo is exactly as I intended, but I didn't expect to get such an awesome abstract composition on the first attempt. So from that point on, I decided to capture a few more abstract shots.

Nov 26 - Polaris Serendipity

The 5D Mark II continues to impress me. This 9-minute exposure would have been insanely noisy on my old 30D body. Granted, this was taken at ISO 100. But still, this bodes well for when I try to do a real star trail photo some time down the road. I'd like to see how the noise holds up at 30 minutes or an hour. Also, the full frame sensor allows me to get a wider view of the star field (something that used to frustrate me with the 1.6 crop of the 30D).

Actually, this was just a test photo and completely an accident. We hiked to the top of a hill and I basically pointed the lens toward the glow of Las Vegas. Little did I know that the Luxor beam was almost directly beneath Polaris. Very serendipitous. (Yes, I realize that the beam isn't vertical—in other words, the horizon really isn't level—but I like this composition better).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nov 20 - Carbon Fiber

I've finally graduated from having a cheap tripod to having something resembling a pro setup. Manfrotto had a representative in town and they were offering a $75 rebate. On top of that, they gave an additional $75 off if you traded in a tripod. If there ever was a time to jump on carbon fiber, the time was this weekend.

I ended up picking the 190CXPRO3. I was tempted to pay more for the 055CXPRO4—it has four sections instead of three, reaches a taller height, and has thicker diameter legs—but in the end, I opted for the lighter and cheaper tripod. After all, the reason for purchasing carbon fiber is to save weight on hikes.

Now I just need to find a new ball head to complete the setup. I didn't go with Manfrotto because I would like an Arca-Swiss type quick release and they apparently don't offer that.

About this photo: This is a 30-second exposure at ISO 100 with just my TV and low-powered lamps illuminating the subject from across the room. The fact that it's properly exposed is entirely an accident, but it only took me one shot.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nov 13 - Prop Plane

I've gone to Aviation Nation three years in a row now. I got some great action shots my first year and then I pretty much captured the same stuff last year. So this time around, I knew I wanted to do something different. Also, ever since the event with Jeff Mitchum, I've decided to be much more selective and deliberate in what I shoot. This will also help with storage space, since the 5D Mark II is a 21-megapixel camera—yes, the files are pretty huge (I shoot RAW).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nov 10 - Jeff Mitchum

To be honest, I had never heard of Jeff Mitchum before Misti set up this event for us. Any time you get to learn a few things from a master photographer, you take the day off from work and you go. At a young age, Jeff was lucky enough to learn from none other than Ansel Adams. Jeff still shoots on film and his work is spectacular. I look forward to seeing his prints in person when we visit his Bellagio gallery next week.

This first photo is just a fun snapshot I took while he was giving us tips and explaining grad filters. My actual photo from this event is nothing spectacular, but it was definitely a worthwhile trip out to Red Rock. I find myself gravitating toward landscape photography lately and though I have a long way to go before being anywhere near Jeff's caliber, I certainly learned some key points today.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nov 9 - Mo Bro

This photo is significant for a few reasons. First off, I just wanted to document my "Movember" progress. If you didn't know, Movember is a fundraising effort for prostate cancer. It's my first year trying it and I haven't raised jack. If you want to help out, please go here. I'm one-third of the way through the month and my 'stache is pretty pitiful, but it's for charity, so who cares.

But the real significance is that this is my first time actually testing out my new 5D Mark II. In addition, I tethered the camera to my PC in order to ensure proper focus—it's something I've never really played around with before. Finally, this photo was shot at ISO 6400 and the noise level is remarkably well-controlled.

I must say that I'm already LOVING the full frame sensor on this bad boy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nov 5 - Fake Lake Foto Walk

It was a beautiful day out at Lake Las Vegas. Admittedly, I went overboard with the HDR on this first shot, but I actually kind of like how surreal it looks.

You can view the photo walk flickr group to view more photos.