Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Very Long Stem Rose

Its fall and most of the rose bushes have stopped blooming. This rose is the only remaining one. I think the stem is about 6' long. Its also quite fragrant.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D3, 24L, f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO 100.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Back to Palo Alto baylands

This morning, after dropping my parents off at the SFO airport, Kim and I stopped by the Palo Alto baylands. We arrived at 8am (my parents' flight was quite early) but the weather was sadly not co-operative. It was quite overcast and there weren't as many shorebirds around as usual. Since no birds were flying I didn't get a chance to do any birds in flight. I did however pack my tele-converters so I took the opportunity to practice high focal length photography.

This particular guy was photographed with both the 1.4x and 2x tele-converters stacked which meant I had to manually focus. He turned towards the camera for only a split second so I just focused very quickly and took the shot (thankfully it was in focus). Due to the high focal length, 1.3x crop and overcast skies I also had to crank the ISO pretty high. Overall, I am pretty happy, now I just need co-operative weather.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D3, 500mm f/4 IS + 2x TC + 1.4x TC (1400mm equivalent), f/11, 1/200s, ISO 1600.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Alabama Hills

Yesterday, on our drive down from Mammoth lakes to LA we stopped at Lone Pine and the nearby Alabama Hills. This was a favourite location for Hollywood during the era of B cowboy movies. In addition to cowboy flicks other modern films such as Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Tremors and Gladiator were also shot here along with many commercials. We spent an hour driving around the area and it was fascinating. The strange rocks set against Mount Whitney and the Sierra Nevadas makes for an interesting location. I definitely want to return to this area to shoot during sunset and sunrise.

Technical Specs: Panorama of 3 images. Canon 1D3, 24-70 @ 24mm, f/8, 1/200s, ISO 100.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mono Lake afterglow

I started on a trip through Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra Nevada yesterday. This evening we arrived at Mono Lake and I took the opportunity to do some shooting. At first the sunset looked uninspiring but then the afterglow wasn't too bad. I will be returning to the South Tufas early tomorrow morning just before sunrise.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D3, 24-70 @ 24mm, f/22, 4s, ISO 100.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Shorebirds at Palo Alto Baylands

Early Sunday morning I went down to the Palo Alto Baylands (which I haven't visited in over a year) to photograph some shore birds. This was my first outing with my new bird photography set up so I wanted to play around and see what the gear could do and what I could learn about long lens technique. A few things I've learned:

1. Its true, you can never have enough reach for birds,
2. You really need a sturdy support, especially when its windy,
3. AI servo is totally the way to go,
4. Birds in flight really is quite challenging to photograph,
5. You don't need 10 fps for birds.

I was also curious to see if I could encounter some of the 1D Mark 3 focusing issues about which there has been much discussion on the forums. Since I haven't used the 1-series AF extensively and am new to this type of photography it is hard for me to conclude if my OOF shots were because of my error or body error. I shot a whole series of pictures at 10 FPS trying my best to track a bird with the center AF point. From looking at the sequences, my observations:

1. The focus is bang on through-out the entire series, or
2. The first image is out of focus (because I jumped the gun pressing the shutter) but over the next two images focus is locked after which the it is bang-on for the rest of the series

I had a great time and will definitely be going back the next couple of weekends. I'll also be trying to use the tele-converters the next time I am out.

I am also in the process of moving all my pictures over to Zenfolio. I evaluated both SmugMug and Zenfolio and in the end Zenfolio resonated with me much more. I have a few more pictures in my Palo Alto baylands gallery.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D3, 500mm f/4 IS, f/4, 1/2000s, ISO 320.