May 262012
 

While I recognize that the technological world we live in is great, sometimes it sucks too.

I upgraded to Adobe Photoshop CS6 today.  Have been watching CS6 videos for a couple of weeks.  The videos created a real excitement to me because of the improvements over CS5.  Real exciting “stuff”!  Then I downloaded it.  First problem was my GPU card.  I have a Mac Pro loaded to the hilt with RAM, drive memory, etc.  Just have an “incompatible” GPU for CS6!  After three hours with Apple it started to work.  Then my somewhat new Nikon D4 files would not come up.  Had to download the new Camera Raw BETA version.  Then had to download the most current CS6 update.  Finally!!  Well kinda.  All the plug-ins need updating and downloading!!!  This is where the bad words start flying!!!!!!!

Gave up at that point and loaded a few shots from FBWR of some White Face Ibis.  When viewing these incredibly beautiful birds  through the viewfinder I am shocked at the colors.  And what looks like metallic feathers.  They truly are one of a kind beauties!

 Posted by at 7:36 PM
May 242012
 

Enough of the Egret shots?

I never get tired of photographing these beautiful birds.  Especially their artistic method of catching snacks.   No two splashes from the Egret spearing the water are the same.   It’s like christmas for me.  Shoot hundreds or thousands of photographs and rush home at night to get on the computer to see the results.  It’s always exciting.  The birds are back in Davis County.  For lunch today I stopped over and stole some images.  The Nikon D4 is amazing.  It’s ability to capture so accurately such a dynamic range as the white Egret blows me away.  In the past I always have had to make some exposure compensations.  Not today.  And the speed and accuracy of the focus is delightful.  Makes an amateur like me look a lot better than I really am……

 Posted by at 11:06 PM
May 232012
 

I love Black Necked Stilts,

They are funny birds.

Adults have long pink legs and a long thin black bill. They are white below and have black wings and backs. The tail is white with some grey banding. A continuous area of black extends from the back along the hindneck to the head. There, it forms a cap covering the entire head from the top to just below eye-level, with the exception of the areas surrounding the bill and a small white spot above the eye. Males have a greenish gloss to the back and wings, particularly in the breeding season. This is less pronounced or absent in females, which have a brown tinge to these areas instead. Otherwise, the sexes look alike.

They fly fast and from what I have seen short distances.  For years I have posted about these pink legged critters.  Saturday I was fortunate to get a fairly sharp photograph of one in flight.  Kinda liked it…..

Played a little bit with the OnOne frame software program.

 Posted by at 6:26 PM
May 202012
 

Yesterday must have been a “Century” ride for valley cyclists.  They cruised through my little community all day.  Groups of what look like professionals all wearing sponsor cycling garb cruising at about 20 mph.  Some smaller groups with mixed garb but riding hard and fast.  Yet others riding double bikes, some alone and others just cruising along enjoying the cool day with hopes of finishing the ride.  A fun test for the photographer.  Panning with low and high shutter speeds.  Playing with depth of field.  All in all it’s great practice for panning birds.  A lot to think about when photograhing bikers including;

* Background

*Shutter Speed

*Angle of view

*Composition including not cutting off tires, heads, etc.

And many more items to consider when photographing cyclists.  To test me even further I used my D800 that has a highest frame of just few shots per second vs my D4.  It sounds like a lot.  But it isn’t.    When a cyclist is passing at twenty miles per hour and you want to pan with a slow shutter speed to show motion in the photograph, it gets tough.  Shooting with the D800 I had to anticipate the shot much better.  Out of about 2000 shots I was happy with about twenty…10%.  About my average.   If I would have been shooting with my D4 I would have had to review well over 4 times as many frames.  And probably would have had a much higher percentage of good shots.  My favorite was a cyclist that was in the fast ride “low wind resistance” position.  Added a little more drama to the photograph…….

 Posted by at 9:00 PM
May 112012
 

Along the Mississippi are Locks and Dams.  This one in particular had particular interest to me because of the clouds, red pipes and how it created depth in the photograph.  Easy shot to expose. Notice the swallow condo’s on the pole in the foreground.  A beautiful day!

 Posted by at 10:18 PM
May 112012
 

Wabasha is the home of the National Eagle Center.

Just outside the center on the banks of the Mississippi River is a beautiful statue of a Chief Wabasha.  He was a noted man in his day, and was recognized as head chief of the River bands of Sioux. During the troubles with the Winnebago Indians, at Prairie du Chien, at an early day, Wah-pah-sha was invited by them to a council. After listening to the Winnebago chiefs, and what they proposed doing to the whites, Wah-pah-sha arose, and, pulling a hair from his head, blew it away, telling the council that if they harmed a white man he would blow them from the face of the earth as he had blown the hair. The chief with his band made their summer residence on what is now called “Sand Prairie,” or, as it was called by the old voyageurs, “La Prairie au Cypre.”

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 Posted by at 8:34 PM
May 112012
 

Trip Advisor says that the “Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration” is the second highest rated thing to see in La Crosse Wisconsin.  One comment left by a visitor to this convent was that they had traveled Europe and this convent  was as impressive than those seen in Europe.  Off I went!

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As usual the first order of business was to get permission to photograph inside.  I have never photographed in a convent.  I really did not know what to expect.  I always ask BEFORE I take my gear out of the vehicle.  Don’t want to seem presumptuous.  Realizing that a convent is made up of “Sisters” of the Catholic faith my hopes were not too high to get in.  At the main door I was greeted by locked doors.  Oh well.  But as I turned a voice came from a little speaker I didn’t notice earlier.

“Can I help you?”

My response…”May I photograph inside the convent?  It looks like there is a beautiful chapel”

“Sure come in!”

The door buzzed and I walked in.  Greeted by an extremely nice and normal looking woman I realized I didn’t have my gear.  Awkward!  Out I went ran to the truck, and was back and buzzed back in.  They asked what my purpose was and if I intended to sale any photographs.  After assuring her that my intentions was purely personal.  I also noted that if by chance any photographs turned out Ok I would post them on my web.  NOT FOR SALE.  Soon a sister came out and took me to the Chapel.  I stopped at the door and by breath was literally taken away.  Remember that my whole life has revolved around construction.  This Chapel was incredible.  The architecture, colors, detail, carvings and and art was over the top.  Beautiful.  The Convent is called the St. Rose Convent.  The Chapel is the Mary of the Angels Chapel.

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I am going to do something here that really helps with the conveyance of what I saw and felt at the Chapel and Convent. There is no way to even come close to the actual experience.  I will post a color and Black and White image of the same view.  Notice that when you look at the black and white image the shapes and architecture seem more prominent….

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About an hour passed.  The only noise while there was my breathing and the clicks of my camera as I shot all views in preparation to do HDR development in post.  All photographs are 9 shot HDR’s.  My attention was so focused on trying to get it right I lost track of time.  And the fact that the good Sister was sitting in the back waiting for me to finish.  I was embarrassed that I didn’t even notice her when I turned and shot towards the door….

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I really did not know what or where any areas that may or may not be appropriate to stand in or photograph.  I really was a little uncomfortable.  The Sister told me everything was OK and that she had nowhere to go.  That helped… a little bit.

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Eventually I thought it would be best to not keep her any longer.  When preparing to leave she asked if I would like a tour.  Just me!  You Betcha!  She called another Sister and she came to take me on my own tour.  This lovely Sister is 84.  Almost the same age as my mother.  Sharp as a tack and thrilled about taking me throughout the Chapel, the Rose Convent and the Perpetual Adoration Chapel (Mary of Angels Chapel) where it serves as the place of prayer for the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.  For over 100 years the sisters of the Convent have prayed 24 hours a day 365 days a year in the Mary of Angels Chapel!  Non stop.  The sister asked if I wanted to go back to  Chapel and see it and the Sisters praying.   It reminded me of the changing of the guard at the Unknown Soldier Memorial.  Two sisters side by side.   Praying.  I really felt awkward in there.  It is a very small Chapel with a few extra seats right behind the sisters that were praying. Walk area adjacent to the main Chapel had all the detail and finishes of the Chapel.

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The Sister had tons of energy and was so courteous to me.  Of course not being of the Catholic faith I had tons of questions about the statues, art, symbols, etc.  It was very interesting.  I am familiar with the history in the Bible.  Many names she was expressing and showing me were familiar.  Though the names and their “roles” are different to her than what I have read and interpreted in the bible we both had faith in what we each had in our hearts.  We both believed and prayed to a God.  A different God.  The Faith in each of our God(s) is what we had in common.  The statues here are one of a kind.  Made of bronze with no replicas.

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Most of the symbols and symbolism was found behind the alter.  Gold, Italian marble, mother-of -pearl and other natural materials was used in this area.

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The plan view or floor plan of the Chapel is in the shape of The Cross.  On either side of the Chapel where The Cross extends is a sitting area.

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I really enjoyed the tour and this wonderful Sister.  She was so generous with her time. And so very kind to me.   I won’t soon forget her and the beautiful edifice that I found myself in today.  The amazing part is that I felt that she stretched the typical tour rules for me. I never asked.  Based on her comments I knew I was being treated a little special today.  If you are ever in La Crosse Wisconsin stop into the St. Rose Convent and see a one of a kind edifice and meet some very nice Sisters!

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 Posted by at 12:30 AM
2016