Archive for January, 2010


Posted in Uncategorized on January 28, 2010 by Edmund

This beautiful “Rose ” has been sitting on our dinning room table since the first week of December.   I also forgot to add water to the vase.  What a beautiful specimen and still looks healthy and alive.  I like the layered look of the Rose petal’s,  but I must add ( to be truthful)  that it is not real but a hand carved or however they make it from wood shavings.  A friend gave it too my wife for our 50th  wedding anniversary at a Xmas dinner party at our sportsman club.  I have to ask him (Dr. Ron) how he makes them.

The reason I like this years “Virtual Journey”  so much is because there is no pressure to post every day.  In that way I can try and post better photos and  not a bunch of snapshots.  I must admitt that being retired helps with the situation.  That said I played around with this image for at least two hours.  And if things  didn’t work out I could have tried a different day.   I first got all my gear and lenses and set up the “Rose” on the dinning room table with available light coming in thru the sliding glass door.  The back of my house faces west so it was nice warm, sunset lighting coming thru the door.  You can see from the exif data this was shot at 5:17 pm just befor sunset.  I got my camera set up on the tri-pod and first tried my 50mm f/1.8 lens.  I set my camera on “Manual”  and took a couple shots at f/1.8.  I was lookin for real quality Bokeh,  (blurred background) but the trusty 50 didn’t do the job.  So I got my other lenses and to make a long story short after three different lenses settled on my Nikor Macro 105mm f/2.8 and finally got some half way decent shots.  The image I finally choose was the last one taken as the sun was setting.  I quickly ran up to my PC and downloaded the images and processed them in Lightroom 2.6.   I  cropped  for proper adherence to the golden rule and used a medium amount of Vignetting for better control on focusing on the subject and as a creative effect.  When I use Lightroom  I work my way down the develope module and make some minor tweaks to enhance my output.  I’m not afraid to change settings as I rarely have a straight out of camera SOC shot ( don’t forget I am shooting RAW) .  I did bump the color temp to around 5900 which did add some warmth but the real effect I liked was when I used the Camera profile “Vivid” which made the “Rose”  Pop.  I also used the gradient tool on the lower right to cut down on the white highlights ( Baby’s Breath) which I found distracting ( and still do to a degree).   This was a RAW shot so every thing I did is what they call “non-destructive”.   This means I can revert back to any step in my workflow and I did not have to use time consuming Layers.   When I transferred my file to PSE-7  for resize and framing,   Adobe Lightroom converts the RAW  file to a PSD file and saves this new image in a stack with the original.   I hope I did not bore you with all the details but it was a fun project and I enjoyed myself.. 

Nikon D90   2010/01/28 17:17:36
RAW (12-bit),  Lens: 105mm F/2.8 D,  Focal Length: 105mm ,  1/13 sec – F/3.2
Exposure Mode: Manual, Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern
Exposure Comp.: 0 EV, Sensitivity: ISO 200
White Balance: Auto,  AF Mode: Manual,  Tripod mounted

Here is one of my favorite links:


Composition, “Camera Angle”

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2010 by Edmund

One of the most effective ways to make your digital images more interesting to the eye is to change the angle that you’re shooting from.
Let me use an illustration of a couple of pictures I took of a old, small building built in the mid 1700’s.  This site was the home of John Homan who in the mid 1700’s built a saw mill just a little south of here across the street on the Carmen’s River in Yaphank, NY.   

In my opinion the first picture is rather boring , just a nice snap shot of a old building.   I took this picture straight on and it is kind of hard to determine its  size because one does not a frame of reference on depth.  I just moved about 20 feet to the right re-took the picture and now one has a sense of proportion and size of the old building.   You can see that it is a very old building, rather small and one can wonder what its purpose was.  The old hand cut cedar shakes stand out and it is so much more interesting.  If I were to guess I’d say it was a tool shed or something like that. 

  Not only does changing the angle that you shoot from impact the feeling of size of your subject but it can have a real effect upon the light and shade and patterns on it.  Because I was using this shot for an example here I did not get closer and take any shots of the texture of the wood.  But you can see the difference between the two shots of the cedar shakes and the grain and patterns /texture of the wood.  To be honest I forgot that was a theme (texture) so another trip will be made.  In most of the photography books that I have read, they all say walk around  your subject and mentally choose the right angle,  height etc.

Edit:  Here is two great links for camera techniques and composition.  On the second site (photoinfo)  there is a a composition/ photo  adjuster tool where you can upload your image and try it out on all the composition tools to see how you applied your rule./adjustments. Look at the sidebar on the left and under >tools> photo adjuster.


Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2010 by Edmund

This cemetary is just down the block from my house within walking distance.   I walk my dog there  every day and go through  the cemetary then into the next developement for a few miles.   I have probably read every headstone here over the years. 

I can not imagine how tough life here on Long Island was in the 1800’s.   The “trio” of head stone’s indicate that they were the children of Adam and Rosie Hoffman.  I cannot read the names exactly but I believe the girl on the left died on August 3,  1877 at the age of 4 months -10 days.  The other two headstone on the right  looks like twins Arthur and Archie and they died on July 5th and July 6th in 1878 at the age of 2 months.  One cannot fathom the loss of a child no less three children.  I have not seen the graves of the parents but I imagine they are here someplace or they moved on. 

This all looks like a simple straight forward shot but I had to make three trips here to get it right.  The first time it was early in the morning with nice light but you could not read the headstones because they were backlit.  The next time was near sunset and the shadows were very long and you could see my shadow in every picture.  So I went back today at around 2 pm and played a little.  I tried taking a picture of the whole area but the topic ie the “trio” got lost and was too small.  I also tried some from the side at a slight angle but then could not read the headstones.  So I got close and rather low and snapped a couple off that I thought would be OK.    When you see the exif data you will see that I dialed in-.7 exposure compensation.  This was required as when examining the histograhm there were some highlights blown out and way too far to the right. 

 Nikon D90, 2010/01/21 15:13:56,  RAW (12-bit)
Lens: VR 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6 G, Focal Length: 24mm, shot at 1/640 sec-F/8
Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern
Exposure Comp.: -0.7 EV, Sensitivity: ISO 200
White Balance: Auto
AF Mode: AF-S                              
VR Control: On
High ISO NR: Off


Posted in Uncategorized on January 5, 2010 by Edmund

After taking some pictures at the TWA Memorial, I got in the car, put the heater on and un-frooze my hands.   I would guess that with the wind chill it was in the teens.  Granted not  as cold as way up in Canada or out in the Rockies or on top of Mt. Washington in NH.  But I felt the cold in my hands as no gloves with the camera.  This body of water is the Great South Bay which separates the main shoreline from Fire Island.  I didn’t go out on the ice as I really don’t know how thick it is but never the less ice it is.  The bay normally does not freeze up in the winter as we normally do not have long extended cold spells.  So I took no chances.On Sunny 16 days  I generally just use auto WB and  auto metering   as my camera the D-90 is usually right about on target.  I’ll look at the histograhn and judge from that.  If any one has any questions fire away or if you feel like giving my photos a good cririque just do so.

Exif data:Nikon D90,  2010/01/05 14:24:36,  RAW (12-bit)
Lens: 12-24mm F/4 G,  Focal Length: 13mm,  1/320 sec – F/14
Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority,  Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern
Exposure Comp.: 0 EV,  Sensitivity: ISO 200,  White Balance: Auto
AF Mode: AF-S
Long Exposure NR: Off
VR Control: Off
High ISO NR: Off


Posted in Uncategorized on January 5, 2010 by Edmund

This scene is situated at Smith Point County Park, Shirley, NY. It is a beautiful park located on the ocean front and has swimming and camping facilities. It is also the home of the Memorial of TWA Flight 800. I went there this afternoon to take pictures of the Memorial.  This is only a very small section of the Memorial dedicated to Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight 800. Flight 800 was a scheduled international passenger flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York to Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome, Italy. On July 17, 1996, at about 20:31 hrs. EDT, the Boeing 747 exploded in mid-air and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the shores of Long Island near East Moriches, New York. All 230 people on board (two pilots, two flight engineers, 14 flight attendants, 212 passengers) were killed and the aircraft was destroyed. A good link for more details on the accident can be found here.

It was really cold out today around  28 Deg.F and a good stiff wind.   I frooze my butt off but for the sake of photography I had to venture outside.  I hope all you photographers remember one of the golden rules you must adhere to  while attempting to take pictures.   The one I am referring to is ” check all four corners of the view finder “.  Well I get back home and download these photos and I notice that I had a black object cutting off the top right and bottom left corners off.  At first I thought it was my lens hood as I was using my wide anglelens.I checked that out to no avail so  I guess my baseball hat visor cut off the top corner and probably my sleeve from my heavy winter down coat (big sleeves) cut off the bottom left corner.  Never saw it in the finder.  Well live and learn.  I knew that this place had some nice arcs as I was here last year for the other 365 blog.  As a result of the corners cut off I had to crop this a little more then originally  intended.   In order to get my DOF I set my aperture to f/14 and focused on the tall grall on the right.  PS I also used my circular polarizer.

The exif data is: Nikon D90,   2010/01/05 14:13:00
RAW (12-bit),  Lens: 12-24mm F/4 G, Focal Length: 12mm,  1/160 sec – F/14
Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority,  Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern
Exposure Comp.: 0 EV, Sensitivity: ISO 200, AF Mode: AF-S,

“Pink Marble”

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2010 by Edmund

The Title for this sculpture is “Pink Marble”.  The credit for this  fine, pink marble plate  goes to my Uncle, Michael Barkin. He was married to my mothers sister Martha who just passed away this past October at the ripe old age of 97.   Uncle Mike passed away probably around 25 or so years ago. His work has been displayed in Fine art galleries in Florida, Michagen and elsewhere. Both Mike and his wife were art teachers in Brooklyn, New York many years ago. The marble used for this piece was hand picked by Mike in Italy. I believe in a town named Carrera which is known for its fine pink marble. My Uncle told me that the infamous Michelangelo picked marble from the same area. Uncle Mike died from complications of enphesima caused ironically from fine dust resulting from his sculpture work.
I must admit that capturing this image was no easy task. I tried and failed to use natural side lighting coming in the living room window. To make a long story short after about twenty different shot’s trying various lighting and lenses I figured I must have at least a couple keepers. The marble is so finely surfaced that reflections of natural and fill light came from all different angles and places and caused various hot spots.  I then got out the home made lightbox and played with that for a while.   I used both Manual mode and manual focusing for this shot.  The best lighting I could get (I think) was using one light source held in my left hand and at the same time looking thru the view finder for light reflections.   Since I already focused and exposed I just hit the shutter release and got this shot.   The plate is very thin and fragile and it’s translutent enough to see the black background thru the marble.  That said I did post processing in Adobe Lightroom-2.6 and resized and added a frame with PSE-7.
The Exif data is as follows:   Nikon D90,  2010/01/02 15:55:50
RAW (12-bit), Lens: 35-70mm F/2.8 D,Focal Length: 35mm
Exposure Mode: Manual, Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern,
Speed: 1.60 sec – F/14
Exposure Comp.: 0 EV, Sensitivity: ISO 200
White Balance: Auto, AF Mode: Manual