Monday, September 27, 2010

Answer - Friday Foto Quiz # 14

Did you guess what this is a picture of and where it is? Read more details below the pictures.

If you guessed Abraham Lincoln's eyeball, you are correct. You can hike up very close underneath Mount Rushmore and take pictures from a different point of view, one that brings out the detail in this enourmous sculpture.

I find the importance of a "catch light" in the eyes translates to all forms of art. The artist here took great pains to carve out the eyes in a way that left a block of white granite to create the illusion of a reflected light that makes eyes come alive, a very important feature to consider in portrait or animal photography.

It wasn't quite the right time of day to get that Rembrandt lighting portrait photographers strive for. They all have racoon eyes or look like they are wearing masks. Next time.

Mount Rushmore is a US National Memorial in South Dakota. It is worth a visit along with many natural and man-made curiosities in that area of the country.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Foto Quiz #14

Can you tell me what you see here and where it is? If you know, don't post the answer. I'll do that on Monday. You can email me with the answer or leave a snarky comment.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Answer - Friday Foto Quiz # 13

Only a day late with the answer. It was a busy Monday. Do you know this waterfall? I received one correct answer via email. For the answer, continue reading below the picture.

It was very crowded and hot the day we visited McArthur Burney Falls Memorial State Park and we decided not to hike to the base of the falls. So this is the only view I have. Check out this link for an overdose of pictures from Google Images.

Burney Creek orignates not far away due to the porous nature of the volcanic rocky ground. The falls are fed by snowmelt, numerous springs and a large underground reservoir, creating a wide and misty basin. Of course it is another California state park.

More information here.

Thanks for playing

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Foto Quiz # 13

Another water fall and a double at that. Do you recognize it? Feel free to say if you do but don't reveal the answer. I'll do that on Monday.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Answer - Friday Foto Quiz # 12

Did you know what's going in this picture and the event that took place this last weekend? Read on below the pictures.

These pictures were taken at the Great Reno Balloon Race in Reno, Nevada in 2009. It is the largest free hot air balloon exhibition in the nation and the 2010 race was this past weekend. I didn't go this year, but it is a great opportunity for photography and the wonderment of getting close to these hot air balloons.

When I say close, I mean that the pilots will actually let you inside the balloon while it is inflating with the fans only (which they use before the propane fire breathing blasters). You can walk through the field of 100 balloons rising at once with no restrictions or cost. I have a stop action animation of the mass ascention at this link.

It is an easy drive to Reno from the San Francisco bay area and it is possible to avoid the downtown casinos all together if you want.

Plan on getting up early if you want the "Glow Show" and "Dawn Patrol" pictures. They start at 5am. The entire 3 day event is over by 10am each day.

For more information, see the Great Reno Balloon Race web site.

Another similar but bigger event takes place in New Mexico, October 2-10, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta with more of everything. I've never been there but this is the mecca, according to the balloonists I talked to. Good luck getting a hotel room at this date.

Well, thanks for playing.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Foto quiz # 12

What 's going on in this picture? And where was it taken? Hint, it's part of an event happening this weekend. If you know, leave an indication but not the answer. I'll provide that on Monday.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Answer - Friday Foto Quiz # 11

Did you identify anything about the picture? More information below the photo.

This picture was borrowed from the Lighthouse's web site.

Pigeon Point Light Station is a California State Historic Park about 30 miles south of Half Moon Bay. At 115 feet, it is one of the tallest light houses in the United States and the tallest on the California coast. It first went into operation on November 15, 1872 using a Fresnel lens comprised of 1008 prisms which projects light as in the above photograph. That lens is no longer in use and is only fired up for 2 hours each year on the Saturday closest to the aniversary date. On that night, hundreds (thousands?) of people show up to witness the event and take pictures. The deteriorating condition of the lighthouse may stop the display indefinitely and you can no longer tour the lighthouse tower itself. The grounds and museum remain open and there is a working hostel on site.

If all goes well, the next lighting will be Saturday, November 13, from 6pm to 8pm. Some tips if you plan to photograph the next event. Wear warm clothes. Get there early, before sunset, if you want to park close by. Take a tour of the grounds, the museum, the hostel and the local beach. After lighting the lamp, the lens remains stationary for 5 minutes for photographers to capture the star formation and then it begins to rotate. Hope for some moisture in the air. Fog helps to define the rays of light. You will meet lots of other photographers with tripods. Consider using a red flashlight when adjusting your equipment. It's kinder on the eyes and less chance of spoiling other's photographs.

For long exposure camera settings, I start with an F/8 aperture. That is about the best quality aperture for my D80 and gives a decent depth of field. Experiment from there. I use the lowest ISO, again for best quality. Even though it is a low light situation, the lighthouse is not moving. You don't need that wide open aperture or a high ISO. Go for better DOF and low noise instead and use a longer shutterspeed. Use a tripod. Turn off image stabilization, at least on Nikon lenses. Use a remote shutter release or time delay to reduce camera vibration. Focusing is always tricky in the dark, but the lighthouse is pretty bright, so autofocus should work.  Be quick, the five minute grace period when the lens does not rotate goes by fast.

I'll probably be there, either to take pictures or as a docent. I recently volunteered to work there and begin training this Saturday.

Here is a link to their web site: The Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park

Thanks for playing the Friday Foto Quiz.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Friday Foto Quiz # 11

How much can you tell me about this picture? It is not a product of photoshop except that I warmed it up a little. I prefer not to think about how cold I was when I took it. Please leave a funny comment but, if you know, don't reveal the answer. I'll do that on Monday.

Click the picture for a larger view.