Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lensbaby Lunch

I took my Lensbaby Composer and camera with me to lunch at Red Robin yesterday.  The Lensbaby is a 50mm manual focus prime lens whose unique characteristic is a "sweet spot" of focus that you can move around the frame by bending the lens.  It takes some practice to use, but can produce some really unique looking images.
Red Robin Banzai Burger shot thru a Lensbaby Composer lens

Red Robin Banzai Burger shot thru a Lensbaby Composer lens

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Winter Snow Revolt

Composite of multiple exposures while rotating the camera

Like many in Northern Virginia, I was caught in the traffic snarl during yesterday's "Thunder Snow Storm."  I have never experienced anything quite like it before and don't want to again -- and I was more fortunate than some.  For those not in the area, the precipitation started just as some people were being released early from work (around 3pm).  It changed quickly from rain to sleet to wet heavy snow with snowfall rates of 2-3 inches per hour.   The combination of the sudden flux of traffic and the snow brought traffic to a dead stop.  The snowplows were useless because the roads were clogged with immobile cars.  Basically, I left work at 4:30pm and was in standstill traffic for the next five and half hours.  Finally at 10pm I was able to turn onto a side street back towards my office.  I was only about a mile away, but it took me another 30 minutes.  I spent the night in my office and went home in the morning around 6am.  I passed over a dozen cars that had been abandoned, either because they were hopelessly stuck or had run out of gas.  I heard on the news that it took some people 10-12 hours to make it home.  Completely unreal.
Lensbaby trio
While the snow on the trees was pretty, I just couldn't bring myself to take any pictures of it after that experience.  So, after I got home, I revolted against the colorless snow, went to the grocery store and bought a bouquet of flowers.  I spent much of the day photographing the flowers using either a Lensbaby or a Canon 70-200 F/2.8 with a 55mm extension tube.  The extension tube allows a closer focusing distance (~12 inches) than the 70-200 normally allows (1.4 m).
Bed of pink

Reaching for the light

I hope you will join me in revolting against the winter snow and find something colorful to help you remember that spring is less than 2 months away.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Photo Walk in Old Town Leesburg

Despite the cold (9 deg F) weather this morning, I did an early morning photo walk in Leesburg, Virginia this morning.  I love taking pictures at early morning hours as the long shutter speeds brings out colors that our eyes just don't see.  Plus, the cold and early morning hour meant that the streets were deserted, which makes setting up a tripod much easier.  Here are a few shots from this morning's outing.  More images from this morning are available on my flickr page.  I welcome your comments.

Loudoun County Courthouse at twilight


The Pink Door


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Golden Gate Bridge

Panoramic of the Golden Gate Bridge
During another business trip to the San Francisco area in mid-December, I returned to the Golden Gate Bridge National Recreation Area to try and capture some images of the bridge from different angles.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I missed the overlook I was trying to find during my previous trip in September and wanted to try again. 

For the image above, I stood on top of a overlook off of Conzelman road for about an hour waiting for the sun to set.  I was praying the sun would pop out from the clouds/haze and illuminate the bridge just long enough for a few shots.  My prayer was answered about 30 minutes before sunset.  The sun stayed out just long enough for me to capture a set of 7 images, which I stitched together to form the panoramic above.  

While there, I also stopped by the Ridge Battery and Battery Spencer and captured the images below.  These were gun emplacements set up shortly after the Civil War to protect the San Francisco Bay.  You can still see the earthen walls they build to provide protection from enemy fire.

Golden Gate from the Ridge Battery

Golden Gate Bridge from Battery Spencer