Friday, June 25, 2010

What I Learned

Shot a Sweet Sixteen party last weekend and learned a few things.

One thing is that I don't need to take quite so many photos - and I need to learn to be a better editor. Posting 400 images is a bit much....even when the birthday girl looks like Cinderella.

Another thing...I'd like to learn a technique for dealing with glasses.

And, I need to figure the crop in camera better, too.  To make a print of the image above, I have to either chop off his shoulder or her hand. I chose his shoulder - her hand looks terrible chopped off.

Also, I need to utilize my extra flash more. I own two and the second one would have helped fill in the girls in the back, but I get flustered and forget to bring out the tools that I have invested in. I need to slow down and make sure everything is RIGHT before pushing the shutter. I allow the momentum of the day to propel me, rather than taking the control I need to take.
Despite my scolding myself for what I did wrong, I did get some awesome shots.
And Ariana had a great time being the star. She even got into posing with each of her friends before the evening was over.
Shooting Sweet Sixteen's is fun! I'm available for hire! And I promise to get better and better!

Happy shooting folks!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Photographing the Falls

Whew - for a four day vacation, it's taking me quite a while to tell all about it. Our two days in Canada were lots of fun. We did all the Tourist things - Maid of the Mist (the boat that takes you right under the falls), Journey Behind the Falls, and a cool multi-sensory movie-in-the-round where it rained and snowed and the ground shook as we felt like we were actually going over the falls and of course the IMAX and shrine to those who tried to go over by barrel.  They light the falls up every night from 9 -10 pm which is quite lovely.  We even got to see a rainbow from our bedroom window.
Unfortunately it rained on Fireworks night, and while they still put on a show, I was unable to photograph it. As we left Ontario, I studied our map and realized there was a lighthouse on the New York side in Fort Niagara, so we took a detour to see that. Their information people told us of an even better lighthouse, Thirty Mile Lighthouse, so we we went another 30 miles east and saw that one which was cool! So many lighthouses to still find!  Keeps us traveling, photographing and staying happy!  Happy shooting, friends!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Onto Niagara Falls

You actually see a lot of these windmills as you are traveling through New York State.  They are quite graceful and appear to be saving energy... hopefully not too many birds are being affected. Sure does seem like a good resource.  

Andy &  I love to find lighthouses that we haven't seen before, so, after a brief visit to East Aurora, NY, (looking for a potter recommended by my son-in-law) we stopped in Buffalo. 
Did you know that Buffalo smells like muffins because the General Mills factory is there? Wish I could shoot in scratch n sniff and share that great smell with you. It was a pretty lighthouse, located at a Coast Guard station where it was well protected from lighthouse vigilantes like ourselves.

Next stop was over the Rainbow Bridge and into Canada where we were told we'd have a better view of the Falls. The town itself appeared to be a GAUDY TOURIST trap! As we entered, it looked like the worst of every major tourist center I've ever seen - with every chain restaurant and souvineer shop you can imagine.

But the Falls themselves were stunning and we stayed at a nice place where we could see Horseshoe Falls from our bedroom window.  I never realized how all encompassing the Falls were - how you can see them from everywhere you go - they just kind of become a background after awhile.

More to come....later.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Taste of New York State

In dire need of a vacation, we set out to explore a bit of New York State. First stop, the Museum at Bethel Woods: The Story of the Sixties and Woodstock. Really bizarre seeing stuff I lived through (albeit from afar) being documented as "history." Kiosks said things like "In 1965 the women wore beehive hairdos." Thank God I was 12 and never had a beehive, but it sure made "the women" sound like a bunch of aborigines who followed a cult trend. (Hmm. Maybe that's not so far from the truth, after all)  The museum really was a lot of fun, with all kinds of multi-media experiences to make you feel like you were really THERE. Great music, cool vibes, people helping people, rain and mud and fun.  But the very best part was an exhibit on Eddie Adams photography and how he helped to end the Viet Nam war. Absolutely awesome! Made me realize the power of this gift I have been working on perfecting.

Next stop, Letchworth State Park - the "Grand Canyon of the East." I had never heard of this place until I posted a request of Facebook for places to stop as we headed to Niagara Falls. And what a great treasure it is! This is a photo that was taken at about 5 am. The amazing part of this is that I FORGOT my tripod (trust me, I've beaten myself up about that a LOT!) and this photo was taken HANDHELD at 1/6 of a second (800 ISO) and, while not the sharpest image I've ever taken,  look at all the detail at that hour of the day! There are things you can do after you beat yourself up, if you've forgotten your tripod. Like placing the camera on a ledge, going for a time exposure or trying the burst mode. Trust me, I tried them all. But the payoff was the sunrise - which I didn't capture as perfectly as it actually looked - but shooting straight into the sun I could go for a faster shutter speed.
Letchworth is a very large park and I realized I needed some sleep, so I returned to the hotel room for a two hour nap, had a lovely breakfast at the only restaurant in town (Perry, NY) and returned to spend the rest of the day exploring the gorge, the trails and the waterfalls. Look at all the Pollywogs....
Much nicer than the snake I saw. Andy challenged me to walk into the middle of the water....
I don't think it made for that dramatic an image, but it felt nice and cool (a little slippery, though).
If you'd like to see more, go to And stay tuned for the next day - onto Niagara Falls!
Happy shooting!