Yes it’s two weeks late. And it was my idea for the assignment. Sunset Silouette is/was the assignment. Honestly I have never found or taken a shot I liked. If you know me my passion is wildlife. Wildlife needed to be in this assignment. The last two posts have been of my Heron friends. They are still around and fun to photograph. Most of the time very shy. This is a very simple exposure (shot in aperture priority). To get the deep shadows i dropped the EV to -1.3. The meter did a great job to average the scene (without my compensation). In post I cropped to a 3/5 ratio and let Nik Silver Efex Pro do the Black and White mastering.
There is a refuge in Churchill County. A National Wildlife Refuge. That’s where I belong after a long week. Just like at home water levels are down at the refuge. Mostly ducks this time of year. My search was for my favorite refuge residents- the Egret and the Heron. It was getting late and I was not familiar with the area. All I needed was one. If I was lucky one could be situated so as the late day light rim-lit the bird. Boy was I lucky. I was a good distance away. Shot handheld with the D200 and the 200-400mm lens mounted on a 1.7 tele-converter. Wide open at f/6.7 (added f/stop due to tele-converter) and 400th of a second.
Tonight I met Mr. Decot. He is the enthusiastic supporter of a company that sounds like he founded and has ran for multiple decades. His web site can be found here. We spoke for at least 15 minutes and I was inthralled with his enthusiasm and zest for life and his business. He is in his 80’s. It seemed as though he was my age or less. It was a true privilege to visit with him as he told me of his naval service, his friendship with General Schwarzkopf, and his relationship with Barry Goldwater. Sounds like a name dropper? Not in the least. His mentions of these men were a result of my insistent questioning. I intend on investigating further the benefits of his eye wear and more about him as an individual.
The first picture of the horseman above was what I was photographing when Mr. Decot and his daughter approached me. The assignment this week is to shoot in manual. I shoot very rarely in manual because it takes me longer to capture a photograph. Maybe it’s my very old school way of starting with the spot meter. Then determining the values in the whole scene or subject. For several years I shot with a Hasselblad and a spot meter. The process to determine the “perfect” exposure was short. But not nearly as short as my D3. All that being said, I shot all night in manual. It brought back fond memories of carry a gray card and my spot meter. The second photograph is an HDR image that took a little more experimentation than I normally have to deal with. Using the spot meter vs the matrix meter gave greater variations with the exposure range. Why is that? The average metering is more lenient than me putting a two or three degree meter on the brightest spot in the scene. Because of this I had to drop the top exposure and raise the lower in the 9 frame bracket. The final HDR image turned out very well and represented nearly perfect the scene I saw tonight.
The last photo is gargoyles on the 100 year old hotel. It should be obvious why I photographed them. First – they are wierd and very interesting looking. Second – The exposure was super easy!!!!
Fun assignment…but will still shoot most of the time in aperture priority.
This week I will back in Fallon, Nevada. I really hope to get back to Dwight’s place. The meetings I will be attending will place me within blocks of his buildings. If time will allow and daylight in play I will play. With my D3 at Nikon USA for repairs. I have taken for granted some of the features of the camera. All’s good. My D200 is a workhorse. I may have to dust off the manual. Or at the very least unpack it.
Say what you want, but isn’t he the cutest thing you have ever seen? He is cute and fun. My daughters and wife’s reaction differed from mine. From “eeek” to “Kill it” they looked and ran! What is wrong with them? It seems that his antennae are a little askew. One goes up and the other goes down. That can’t be right. It was a difficult to photograph him because he was constantly moving. A pincher up front and a stinger at the end. My grandson wanted to smash him. To prove he was a friendly little guy to my grandson, the bug spent some time exploring my hand and forearm. It felt just like a grasshopper. Little prickly grabbers tickling me. The time we bonded calmed him down enough to let me photograph him. Like a true model he allowed different settings. He posed on concrete then I moved him to the grass. Shot with my D200 and a 105, f/2.8 macro lens in natural sunlight. Exposure was 1/250 @ f/11 with an ISO of 100. After our photo session I let him go back to the world where he belongs. Boy will he have stories to tell his buddy’s.