Tuesday, April 30, 2019


Practicing with the "AEB" (Automatic Exposure Balance) on the Canon 50D, which lets me then combine a sequence of three photos into one in order to produce an "HDR" (High Dynamic Range) photo. First photo is taken at what I set the exposure to, then the camera automatically takes another under-exposed and another over-exposed, which then can be combined on my computer with the Canon tool (or Lightroom).

First three were taken at +/-2 (stops) on the exposure:

Canon EOS 50D,0.008 1/125, f/1.4, focal length 50, ISO 3200

Canon EOS 50D,0.002 1/500, f/1.4, focal length 50, ISO 3200

Canon EOS 50D,0.03333333333333333 1/30, f/1.4, focal length 50, ISO 3200

And Combined:

First three were taken at +/-1 (stops) on the exposure:

Canon EOS 50D,0.005 1/200, f/1.4, focal length 50, ISO 3200

Canon EOS 50D,0.0025 1/400, f/1.4, focal length 50, ISO 3200

Canon EOS 50D,0.01 1/100, f/1.4, focal length 50, ISO 3200

And combined -- first one I forgot to set to "auto align"; the second is the aligned version.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Dresser Hill to Point Judith...

Poured overnight -- a couple inches of rain so I couldn't work in the yard.

But there was a cool "dark" cloud line in the sky when I got going in the morning, and I kind of chased it north trying to find a good place for photos. Went a lot further north than I expected to Dresser Hill.

The two lenses I used today were the EF-S 10-18 f/4.5-5.6 I bought earlier this month, and the EF 50 f/1.4 which is my best piece of glass. I don't have filters for the 10-18, but I did put a ND 0.4 plus polarizing filter on the 50 (but I'm not sure I had the polarizing aligned right...I forgot to check it :/)

Canon EOS 50D,0.0025 1/400, f/13, focal length 10, ISO 200

Canon EOS 50D,0.002 1/500, f/13, focal length 10, ISO 200

Canon EOS 50D,0.00625 1/160, f/22, focal length 50, ISO 200

I was planning on the back side of Woodstock Academy but I was unhappy how much the trees on the back side had grown up. Heading further north I passed through East Woodstock -- and decided I needed to come back to try and get this photo. (For those not following that on a map, my next goal after WA was Prospect Street, but the road side was WAY too wet to try and pull over).

I had gotten to Dresser Hill it was raining there -- and by the time I waited out the rain for 15 minutes and took the photos, to the south the clouds had already moved in again!

I'll probably revisit this once the grass is greener and sky bluer -- and if I get a shot I like better it is probably a great candidate for Photoshop to remove the telephone and power lines.

Canon EOS 50D,0.0008 1/1250, f/8, focal length 50, ISO 400

Then I came across the old dam in the middle of East Woodstock. I still had the ND 0.4 plus polarizing filter on the 50 lens. I didn't take long focal length; maybe if I did I could've gotten it slow enough to get the "smoothing" effect. Canon EOS 50D,0.0125 1/80, f/8, focal length 50, ISO 400.

Canon EOS 50D,0.0125 1/80, f/8, focal length 50, ISO 400

The 50 however was way too close to get the whole scene in, and there was no practical way to backup without being in the middle of the road and having a guard rail in my photo :D
Canon EOS 50D,0.001 1/1000, f/8, focal length 13, ISO 400

Canon EOS 50D,0.001 1/1000, f/8, focal length 10, ISO 400

Canon EOS 50D,0.00125 1/800, f/8, focal length 18, ISO 400

And down to the shore to play a bit.

Canon EOS 50D, 1/2000, f/2.8, focal length 18, ISO 400

2.8 doesn't sound right to the image, I'd think at least f/8 but that is what the EXIF is saying in LightRoom.

I seriously underexposed this image...but the "after" Lightroom impressed me (as long as you don't look at the large size image which is very grainy):
Canon EOS 50D,0.0002 1/5000, f/8, focal length 50, ISO 400

Canon EOS 50D,0.0002 1/5000, f/8, focal length 50, ISO 400

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Windmills and Reservoirs

Hrrrmmmphhh...couldn't find my remote switch (or remember how to set the camera timer) and it is supposed to rain the next four days.

I bought a $20 set of ND filters (sunglasses for cameras) so I could slow the exposures down. Although I was braced against a fence, there is still an awful, awful lot of handshaking in the pics. Once the trees leaf out I'll return and set the camera up on a tripod and remote trigger to eliminate camera movement:

I used the full stack of 2-4-8 for a total of 14
Canon EOS 50D, 1.6 (), f/25, focal length 35, ISO 100

Ok, same pic as above with more playing in Lightroom -- still don't think I have it dialed in just right:

Same pic once again, but I realized there was a stonewall in the background and used that in Lightroom as the "neutral gray" source for setting the light balance. Next time I do this I'll bring my "gray card" with me that provides a 100% accurate gray that is used for setting the light balance correctly. The light balance can then be adjusted on the camera before taking the photo, or afterwards in Lightroom by applying settings from the sample gray card photo.

Then I took the above photo and went +1 on the exposure in Lightroom. I don't think I could have done the exposure different on the camera without reducing the size of the "blur" on the windmill.

Canon EOS 50D, 1.6 (), f/25, focal length 38, ISO 100

Now with the same LR settings as the previous photo set plus a little bit of fiddling with the tone curve. If the three windmills were facing me (and the photo was sharp) this would be cool:

...and the Scituate Reservoir was a spectacular blue this afternoon:

Canon EOS 50D, 0.02 (), f/25, focal length 200, ISO 400

Saturday, April 13, 2019


Rained this morning. Went to see Aunt Eleanore and straighten out some of her electronic challenges.

Too wet to work outside, so went kind of aimlessly driving -- came across the windmills in Johnston, RI.

I've gotten the notion in my head capturing the motion would make a neat photo. However there was no way I could take a long enough exposure in daylight, and my filters which might have helped reduce the brightness were all at home :/

So I need to do some research if I can filter this enough to get a long exposure, or if I could over-expose the photography and fix it in Lightroom???

(Also doesn't help I can't really make out what I took on the screen -- I really need a laptop sized screen to review the photos).

Canon EOS 50D, 0.002 (), f/22, focal length 47, ISO 400

Canon EOS 50D, 0.0125 (), f/25, focal length 42, ISO 100

Canon EOS 50D, 0.01 (), f/22, focal length 50, ISO 100

Monday, April 8, 2019

Little bit of photography

Sunday morning:

CL&P has been extensively upgrading power lines the last few years. This is the 115kV transmission line that runs from the Montville power station up to Putnam (well, Tracy Road on the Killingly/Putnam town line), which I seem to recall was built 1928 (I need to confirm that). It does show up on the state's 1934 Aerial Survey. I'm not sure if the old wood poles were the originals -- the question is are they 90 years old or ~50 years old. I wouldn't be surprised if they were engineered to last a century.

In the late 1960s (very early 70s?) a 345kV line was run from Willimantic to Rhode Island, but this line up until 2005-ish didn't provide any power to northeastern Connecticut. The 345kV line could provide power via a 115kV tie that ran from Willimantic to the substation at the Tunnel hydroelectric station in Preston, with the Montville power station being the primary power source in the regions.

Around 2005 the Killingy Substation was built which inter-connected with the 345kV line due to increasing power demands north of Preston. Even though Lake Road Generating Station was being built by that time, reading the DPUC reports there remained a concerned about capacity if that power plant was down for maintenance or other reasons.

The 345kV line just finished being upgraded by adding a second 345kV circuit when they started working on this project.

Note the old tower is using 7 disks on the insulators, the new tower 9 -- so my guess is they're engineering this to eventually be upgraded to 138kV.

(Looking at the photos now...holy crap they look not-sharp. I suspect had I used a tripod I could've taken better photos -- I'm just looking at too long of distances to handheld shots not to pickup body motion.)

And Monday I...took a sick day because I could barely move. I knew by the time I could drive in I would have a parking spot so far out it wasn't worth the pain of walking in :D 2+ years of not much physical activity since I screwed up my knee in 2016 will do that. Managed to capture another rock in the foreground :/ but I don't feel like cropping the photo. Since it was drizzling I took this from inside my car, from the driver's seat through the passenger window.

Canon EOS 50D, 1/5, f/6.3, focal length 200, ISO 100

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Gardening....and cleaning up Uncle Ed's

I'm so sore.

This morning got trenches for taters and a new asparagus bed dug, and and area for onions and peas turned over.

Then stopped at Agway for taters, peas, onions...they didn't have asparagus in yet...on the way to Ro & Ed's to help with a yard cleanup.

Casey spreading mulch...with a broom. WTF?!

Putting the leaf blower and Crown back in the car...

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Photography Toy Fund...

So we got a small bonus this year (not much more than the on-call pay I get every 10 weeks, but still unexpected), plus a small refund of unused insurance that was also unexpected.

I missed two used "ultra wide" lenses on Craigslist this week which sold in a day, and I figured it wasn't that much more to buy a new one. So Saturday began with a trip to Hunt's in Providence. (Well, actually it began with sleeping in until 10 -- the latest I've done in months :D ).

Then it was off to visit Aunt Eleanore with mom for a couple hours, then I ran up to Eric's to borrow his leaf blower since we plan a clean up at Uncle Ed's tomorrow. It was good a day, beautiful weather but I also just felt...well. Little inflammation, clear head. Can't quite bring myself to say happy, but darn close.

I paid a bit more for the filter (which protects the lens) than I planned, but the bag was only $20 so I pretty much came in on budget. I guess forest green is no longer in fashion judging by the dust on it -- but I wanted a bag smaller than my "everything" photography bag, but which could carry a couple lenses and my small case that I usually grab to go to fires can't hold extra lenses.

I'm think this will be the perfect size for places like Old Sturbridge Village to take photos both outside and inside, which really need at least two different lenses to take the best photos in both environments (if not a third) (or more...cameras are like guns, I'm not sure you can have enough for every situation :D).

Thursday night I played around a bit in low light in the house. This is my 50mm lens that can go down to f/1.4 -- a very big aperture needs little light, but the trade off is the larger the aperture (the smaller the f number) the shallower the depth of field that is in focus. Sometimes that is good for artistic shots.
Canon EOS 50D, 0.0125 (), f/1.4, focal length 50, ISO 3200

Same lens, Saturday morning in daylight, f/8 so it has a deeper field of focus so the background is not nearly as "soft."
Canon EOS 50D, 0.0125 (), f/8, focal length 50, ISO 3200

Now to show what my lens could do. Here is the 50mm again -- note the width of the photo:
Canon EOS 50D, 0.0125 (), f/1.8, focal length 50, ISO 3200

Putting on my Tamaron 18-200mm lens, set to 18mm. This was the widest I could take a photograph before.
Canon EOS 50D, 0.07692307692307693 (), f/3.5, focal length 18, ISO 3200

Now the new lens at it's widest -- 10mm, which you do see some distortion towards the edges. But notice how much more the room it picks up. (These ultra-wides are also used for very large landscape photos)
Canon EOS 50D, 0.07692307692307693 (), f/4.5, focal length 10, ISO 3200

And the same lens set to 14mm:
Canon EOS 50D, 0.07692307692307693 (), f/5, focal length 14, ISO 3200

The 10mm is as wide as the class of my camera (ASP-C / Crop Sensor). Without the distortion of a fish-eye lens the only way to get a bigger field of view without stitching multiple photos together is to upgrade to a Full-Frame camera. The 10mm on my camera is equivalent to a 16mm on a full frame -- so my 18-200 on a full frame would produce an image almost as big as my 10mm lens. You can put a 10mm lens on a full-frame, but I would need to spend at least three or four times as much for a lens in the 10mm class that is built to produce good images on full-frame. While many lenses are compatible with both camera frames when you push the edges of performance like this you end up needing high quality lenses to avoid distortion and other problems.
This, plus the new batteries I bought earlier this week, is probably the last spending on the camera gear for this year and maybe next.

There are three more lenses I'd like long term --

-- Super-telephoto (Sigma 150-600mm I'm looking at you).
-- Macro (Used for taking very close-up shots)
-- Fisheye (For funky artistic shots)