Shutter Bug Hunger

Introduction:

You can conjure pictures out of thin air, if you have that rare appetite to invent a theme, when the weather does not so co-operate: say, in winter, when most outdoor shots look pretty much the same.  They are mostly white with most interest buried in snow!  As in my case, this posses a significant problem when you are far enough north that the cold can actually damage your camera…

If it were not for your persistent ‘Shutter Bug Hunger’, the situation would appear insurmountable.  So last winter, I began to consider my options for indoor pictures that fall under the category of: ‘Still Life’…  And quite naturally, it requires a considerable imagination to stir up interest in non-living every day objects, scattered about your house in their various hiding places.  I came up with three sets of shots to kill the boredom of winter: the first of which, I present to you now, in trust that you will glean inspiration, bring life to the stories behind how objects about us, help to define who we are!

How to Conqure The Impossible…

0092a

I was first given to consider, what if someone doesn’t have a fancy, wide-angle lens?  Then my eyes fell on Leslie’s dusty Crystal ball.  She may claim to see the future, yet I saw a way to cram a large area into a small space, using a simple 50 mm. macro lens.  What Leslie finds interesting to collect, also defines her character, taste and beliefs…

0111a

Another glass object shows elegance in form and simplicity of design.  The would make for an excellent still life for defining light and shadow, and how they may co-exist to animate what one might mistake for lifelessness.  I think the designer was shooting for movement within the piece, when light reflects through it.

0125a

Or, one might hover above an object that still reflects light from the window, yet rest on a homogenous background, giving all attention to the a single object, strategically placed as a desktop wallpaper, with plenty of room for icons on the left…

0129a

This is a cup from one of Leslie’s ‘Royal Dalton’ collection…  They come from England, are quite expensive, and surprisingly tiny.  This is actually a macro shot!  The mistake I made, was not to place something beside it that you’d know the size of, like a bag of milk or something.  LOL!  You may be surprised to know that she finds these things in Thrift shops for 50 cents each!  Delicate, with excellent craftmanship that describes an eye for beauty that many would over-look…

The upside is that I clean everything spotless so it shines and provides for less ‘clone stamp’ processing work later in Photoshop.  Enjoy the slide show, and keep in mind that this represents less than a third of what I found just laying about the house screaming: ‘PICK ME!!’  as an excellent opportunity to challenge your own imagination, in the dead of night perhaps: for one seldom knows when shutter bug hunger may strike :O)

Advertisements

Canada Gets Pattent for Space Elevator…

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/18/forget-rockets-this-space-elevator-could-launch-you-into-orbit.html

Most especially if you live in Ontario, you might want to take a gander at this truly fascinating article!  In fact, it will be used for tourism as well and will also serve as a launching platform for low Earth orbit.  The test model will be built in 3 years and only extend a mile high.  That would still be the tallest structure ever built.  In five years, the real thing will extend 12.4 miles up…  That’s 20 kms. in Canuck talk!  I’m sure there will be a Mall up there.  Check the site for pictures and full details!  I never thought I’d live to see the day!

Techniques for Blooming, Young, Photographers

Rigg The Game In Your Favor!

0668a

You can’t improve upon perfection.  The only thing you CAN do, is accentuate features…  These Pansies are from Leslie’s garden.  That’s usless to you.  What you do need to know, is that all of her flowers are in pots!  That means I can transport them from outside, to inside, on a table near a window, to catch some outside light.  There, the plant is free from the swaying effect that wind can have on flowers.

If you’re taking a macro shot like the one above, any movement is greatly magnified, often resulting in blurry images.  Too much color can be bad for jpgs. over time, causing uneven, and unsightly discoloration.  In the case of flowers, the field is shallow, so depth of field is not so important.  This is an excellent opportunity to use: ‘contrast’ to bring out color instead!  I sometimes use a little spray bottle before I take the shot, to add interest.  Perks up the flower too!  And since pansies are small, and the droplets are big, they make a good candidate for that: ‘Fresh rain’ feeling…

Go for Lens Effects!

0660a

Here are some pansies, using a 24 mm wide angle lens from about 5 feet away…

0661a

Look at what happens to the perspective when you are only 1 foot away…  All proportions are exaggerated!  Now, they look like an angry mob!  Even if you’re out standing in your field because: ‘There’s a Nuke Hid in Town!’, if you love what you’re doing, and are willing to experiment, the results are bound to be good! 

A Labor of Love:

0647a

You would not believe how small this flower is.  However, at full size, the picture is a foot by a foot and a half.  So this little guy looks enormous at that size.  And it came covered in dirt specs less than a pin head in size, so quite invisable in the sun: where I was standing when I took this shot.

All you can do, is find the larges clear spot, and adjust your clone tool to that size, and start clicking away…  It took me a full hour to get it all!  I look at it this way.  Though the task seems enormous, with patience, it can be accomplished!  Some of the others were just as bad.  Like I always say: ‘It’s what you don’t see that brings on the perfection flowers so richly deserve! 

See how this leaves a clear space on the left for peoples icons: a good idea to keep in mind, if you like desktop pictures.  Some peole do and some don’t.  So, once in a while is all that’s necessary.  These shots would all still be clear at 18″ x 24″.  If you intend to make any hard copies, be sure and convert the file from RGB to CMYK.

0651a

Here’s the orchid from afar…  Beautiful isn’t it?  Orchids are very fussy and hard to grow!  Most people just over water them and they die from root rot.  You should water them once every three weeks, give them indirect sun, and never spray them!  This does well as an indoor plant.  Expensive though.  This one cost me $22, plus thumb tax!

0663a

Be sure and view all these at full size!  They are perfect macros: I’m using a half life size, Canon 50 mm. lens in conjuction with tubing, to give me up to twice life size, which is pretty close!  I prefere tubbing because having no added glass between you and your subject, hence means, no degregation in quality.  Enjoy!

Strange Turbulent Sunset

074

Here are the rest of the sunset pictures I took when I took the star pictures.  Why I’m snapping away at the sunset,  I glance, (for some reason I can’t explain) to my far right, and here was this very odd cloud configuration happening…

076

Though clouds did intervien and prevent me from capturing an actual sun, the colors were really breath-taking!

0520a

This is about as close as I got to actually including the sun…  LOL!  Anyway, enjoy the slide show:

How to Capture Starlight

Introduction:

Many people who own DSLR’s are left in the dark when it comes to capturing starlight.  Their results vary from completely blurry, to light trails, to completely blank.  The object of this entry is to help you to capture some amazing shots of the night sky by using a few basic but key accessories.  I will give you these in list form.  All items that are absolutely essential will have an * at the beginning of the explanation.  I will also include instructions for proper post editing…

  • Use a tripod – * This is an absolute necessity because you can’t possibly hold the camera steady enough yourself, for the time duration it takes to capture enough light, and keep the star points concentric (round).
  • Exposure – The Earth is always moving, and the stars are moving as well.  So the I prefer 5 seconds, but can push it up to 8 seconds, and still get concentric star points.  This time frame is important because any longer and you’re going to get trails (movement), and any shorter, and you won’t capture as many star points.  The human eye creates a new picture every tenth of a second.  So leaving the shutter open for this amount of time will capture stars up to 3 more magnitudes than you can visually see!  This may not sound like much, but it is…
  • ISO – *  It’s advisable to set your ISO to 3200 to make the sensor as sensitive to light as possible.  If your camera only provides 1600 ISO max., adequate pictures can still be attained with 8 second exposures, though a reduction in size will be a must in the post processing stage…
  • F Stop – Again, you want the camera to pick up as much light as possible, so open your lens all the way to at least f 5.6.. If you can get it lower at f 4 or below, so much the better!
  • Lens – Contrary to popular belief, you may think the longer the lens in the telescopic range, the more starlight you’ll gather.  This is true, but your field of view is very limited.  So although you will see stars that are further away, there will be very few of them in your field of view!  Use as wide an angle lens as you have.  I used as 24mm to 105mm zoom lens set to 24mm to capture the most stars.
  • Focus – You’re not going to see a lot through your view finder.  To obtain clear focus, set your focus ring to infinity: that’s the sideways 8 shown on your lens.  Do this along with all of your other camera settings before you go out because it’s dark out there, and a flashlight will only blind you more! 
  • Cable Release – * This is an optional accessory that most people have to buy separately for their camera.  When you click the button on your camera to take a picture, this transfers any shake in your hand, to the image, producing ‘ghosts’ beside each star point.  A cable release is relatively inexpensive, and essential for every day use as well!
  • Mirror Lock – * Unfortunately, it’s essential that your camera has this feature!  Just before the exposure is taken, the mirror flips up, causing camera shake that is avoided of you have a ‘mirror lock’ feature.  This way, you set your camera to ‘bulb’, press the cable release once to lock up the mirror, wait 2 seconds, and then hold the button down for the duration of your exposure, and then let go: else-wise, your camera will try to focus on nothing, which is why you get those blank shots!  Alternatively, set your camera to ‘Manual’, and uncouple your exposure from your focus points on the camera, if your camera provides for that…  The newest cameras are now mirror-less to avoid the problem completely.
  • Black Mat – Not many cameras have this feature.  Mine does.  At 3200 ISO, artifacts, or ‘digital noise’ becomes a very real problem.  With this feature, a camera can take a black mat background shot first, and then superimpose the foreground on that, virtually eliminating all noise.  Though you may loose a few star points, I’ll show you a way to achieve something similar in the post processing phase.
  • Seeing – ‘Seeing is a term that describes the number of stars visible on any given night.  Sometimes you will see lots of stars, and on other nights, not so many.  I purposely picked a night when the seeing was poor, so I could show you only the tip of the ice-burg of what your camera is capable of!  The real name for the sensor that determines the number of mega-pix you can capture is called a CCD, or ‘charged couped device’.  Astronomers immediately switched from conventional emulsion film to CCD’s as soon as they came out.  This was long before commercial cameras were using them.  So you have the perfect astronomical instrument right there in the back of your camera.  CCD’s are far more sensitive to light than conventional film.  The catch is, if you own a cheap camera, you probably have a crumby CCD chip as well.  I paid $8000 for one of the best cameras there is, so I have everything listed above, including an excellent, full 35mm frame CMOS CCD chip…

Post Processing:

It’s best to shoot these in RAW format.  I then save it as a dng. extension which stands for: ‘digital negative.’  This retains the ability to still work with the image in your RAW utility without loosing data, except now, it’s an actual image that can be processed.  Next, I save a copy to png. format because it retains 16 mega-pix of data, and is presentable in WordPress format.  Jpgs. are only 8 bits which equates to presenting someone with an image capable of defining 65,000 colors, as apposed to 256 colors in jpg format.

24 Bits produces 16 million colors, and 32 bits introduces 22 million colors, which is the full extent of what the eye can discern.  So if you’re shooting for 64 bit pix., it’s over-kill…  Anyway, 16 bits makes for far more latitude in the post processing stage without the image deteriorating or developing artifacts…

At the bottom of your RAW utility window in Photoshop, you’ll see a statement highlighted in light blue, assigning 8 bits to your photo.  You don’t want this.  You want 16 bits until you intend to save a jpg. copy. By right clicking this ‘statement’, it will give you the option to convert images using 16 bit format.  This is where you need to be.  Select it, and leave it that way.

Temperature – Star colors used to be very hard to achieve without a high powered telescope.  Not anymore!  There is a trick to it though.  You’ll find, if you examine your ‘Histogram’, that all of the pixels in star shots are all slammed up against the far left hand side.  This is naturally where all your shadow content would be, and the favorite place for blue light. There’s a ‘temperature gage on the first tab in the RAW utility.  You will see it’s at the blue side of things.  Reset it to 5200 K. so that you will get the correct color of stars that aren’t apparent just yet.

Color – In the same tab, you’ll find a saturation control and a vibrancy control.  I set the vibrancy control to 45% and the saturation level to 40% and I still had to add 40% more saturation in Photoshop for star colors to become apparent!  Still, most of them are subtle differences because stars go from very faintly colored to extremely colorful on a scale from 1 to 9. The designations are: OBAFGKM.  

The sentence to remember the order is: ‘Oh be a fine girl, kiss me!’  ‘O’ stars are white. ‘B’ stars are progressively more blue: 1 being the faintest, and 9 being the most saturated.  ‘A’ stars are cyan. ‘F’ stars are Gold.  ‘G’ stars are yellow.  Our star is a G2 star. ‘K’ stars are orange and ‘M’ stars are red dwarfs.  Over half of all stars are red dwarfs.  Over half of all stars are double stars orbiting about each other  Castor in Gemini, is a six star system!

In one shot, on the bottom left hand side, near the tree, you’ll notice the big dipper, and that a couple of the stars on the handle show their double star companions.  The Big Dipper BTW is within the region of space in which we reside.  Because they’re so close, the ‘proper motion’ of these stars will radically change their position by 2050, so it won’t resemble its present shape at all…

You’ll notice subtle shades of purple and green, but you’ll have to look close!  Other stars will jump right out at you as beings deep blue or red or yellow…  Experiment with a 50 mm macro lenses you can stop down to f 1.2 in some cases.

Contrast – This is where I was telling you earlier, where you can take out the noise.  adjust your contrast in your Raw utility, to +40.  That should remove the noise, and leave the actual stars.  Do not adjust any other controls.

Get out there now and try your hand at this wonderful field of night time photography!  I took a picture here of a bright star, and to my delight, I captured an ‘Open Cluster’ of older, yellow stars beside it.  So you never know what surprises are in store!  Like I said before…  There were only a few of stars visible the night I took these pictures.  Imagine what you would capture on nights when you can see The entire Milky Way sprawled out above you!

In Conclusion:

Since the star points won’t be visible in the slide show, it’s important that you choose ‘view full size’ on the bottom of your slide show screen, and then click the photo with your little magnifying glass icon to view it full size.  Then to save it, right click and chose: ‘Save Image as’…

Why Your Blogs Lay Dormant

Whoever said life was fair?

101a

You’ve got 40 million WordPress.com users out there!  Out of those, how many of them do you really think are honest and don’t prefer a rigged game, if and when they can find one?  I started out when blogging was brand new!  In those days, if you put up a post about Bugs Bunny, people would flock all over it!  In those days, we were the pioneers.  Were the ones who kept blogging alive.  Without us mapping the road, this platform wouldn’t even be here today.  And I’ll tell you something else.  One day very soon, you’re going to have to pay to be here whether you’re ever noticed or not…  Whoever said life was fair?

I was out taking pictures using actual manual settings in the days when most of you could only understand the need for an instamatic through-away, just in case someone showed up for your sons birthday party you paid 3 million dollars to have occupy the cover page of The New York Times… 

Today, everybody takes pictures right off their cell phones.  The people in the picture above, are actually all brain-storming a single blog they all take credit for!  There are many groups out there just like them, walking all over your chances.  It would have left Einstein himself scratching his head at why he’s never read, or even considered worth reading!  You don’t even need to save great pictures anymore.  What’s the need to?  They’re out there everywhere!  You can look at them any time you like, right from where they are, or just pop it up on your screen until you’re sick of it because everyone has unlimited Internet access now…

So you try to be original!

101 

Sorry!  You’ve been beaten to the punch again.  Many people now will pay out big bucks for the information they need, so they hire people to write their ‘original’ material for them, and take all the credit for themselves.  And I’m talking about stuff that nobody knows or has access to.  Besides, most people have never picked up a book in their lives unless they were trying to get their Masters Degree, and then it was just ‘Bickers’ cheats so they could get samples of the test questions.

I’m not stupid!  I’ve seen how dismal The Reader looks!  And I watch my stats enough to know that you don’t think you have enough time to read more than 60 words a day, and that’s why all of my likes and yours (unusual und 5 though I supposedly have over 260 followers, which is in itself chicken feed for someone who’s been here blogging his brains out for over two years now), are all about famous, one liner sayings and an accompanying picture anyone can pull off the Internet and put up in less than five minutes.  That’s not blogging!  That’s called: ‘Getting away with BS’!  And you want people to comment on your blog sure enough, but you never comment on theirs…

Anyone for butchered meat?

_slaughterhouse_29

Here is what you look like to bloggers who wave thousands of viewers…  To them, you are nothing more than a commodity that can be bought or sold: taken or hung out to cure.  The truth of the matter is, soon robots will be doing everything for us, so you won’t even be able to get a job, let alone be any kind of presence on The Internet!

Someone once asked me what do I care whether anybody notices me here or not?  That’s because to him, it’s all just a game!  They care no more about leaving a legacy of helpful information behind for others than they would a crumb for a starving mouse!  They believe the oh so many expensive toys they have to leave behind will speak all the volumes they need say to those important around them:  Their dog, and a possible semen sample to bring back a clone of themselves…

The laws, rights and privileges designed to protect your average individual are just about dead now!  Voice?  You have no voice!  The only thing you have is three square meals and a roof over your head: the very same things readily provided to any inmate in prison.  And in this world of material this, and material that, you’re just about as pertinent. 

Read blogs?  How boring, when there’s a concert to go to!  How fruitless, when there’s so much money to be made!  How mundane when you’re going to be late for your world cruise!  And how time consuming when all you really need do is pick up a phone, and avoid all the effort of having to think altogether!  Blogs?  Why didn’t you know?  We’re all just a bunch of attention seekers, and no more important to you than an ant a good tin of insecticide won’t take care of.  Oh…  Excuse me…  We’re not that immediate.  You can just click us off with but a single key stroke… Petty humans!  So that’s why your blog lies dormant.  You don’t matter…

_MG_2003

How to Comment Without Really Trying

It has come to my attention through my stats page that most of you are acting like a flock of Lemmings wandering through a Flea Market rather than pushing on the pain-staking like button or leaving a comment at all!  Now I have a really informative blog here:

  •  I post about advances in Astronomy, Psychology, Nanotechnology, how to make intriguing blogs, information on designing and publishing your own web site.
  • I’ve posted extracts by the hundreds that you can simply drop into any picture you desire, that took a lot of effort to make for you!
  • Here, you will find hundreds of pictures from one of the best Canon Portrait Cameras ever made!  The Canon 5D.  Journalists use this camera!  And I have taken the time to remove every speck and enhance the rendition of every single shot in Photoshop.  And I use a tripod and cable release, so they’re all crystal clear!
  • I have featured many of you on my blog with many admirable recommendations…
  • I take the time and effort to comment extensively on as many of your blogs as I can get to on a consistent basis!
  • I have followed the rules places Headings in my blogs with lots of defining pictures and a whole slew of tags, and have taken special precautions not to display aggression, temper tantrums or foul language for the benefit of the women and children that may view.
  • There are many buttons, icons, headings, soft backgrounds and interfaces you’ll find under the category: ‘Graphic Design’.
  • I’ve given you instruction on how to design and publish your own web-sites!
  • The are numerous post, extensive ones on how to improve your health, live longer and advances in life extension!
  • I have dauntingly hung in with a total of 428 posts over two years, having just one or two likes and next to zippo comments!
  • I have hundres of spam comments, all with wonderful praises on my blogging expertise.  Only one problem.  They’re a bunch of Lemmings that only show up on two of my posts: ‘Dinosaur Extracts’ and a video on why we should revamp our educational system.
  • I’ve injected a sense of humor in many posts and tackled controversial topics elegantly!  I don’t know what else you could possibly ask for from me…
  • There are songs and short stories… And everything here is original!  I mean, good grief!
  • Oh yeah!  And I also put up a lot of those snappy picture quotes you facebook fanatics enjoy so much for their lame reading requirements…

Now I have more than paid my dues here, no thanks to you!  I’ve hung in for the long term anyway because I believe in advancing blogging as a medium presence on the internet.  I don’t ask for your attention to stoke my ego alone.  If you continue with this attitude of favoring only a very few bloggers, only pushing like buttons for the fun of it, and posting as little as you can possibly get away with, blogging promotions like WordPress will see their projects as complete flops and they will shut down!  Many talented bloggers have left already.  You still have a chance ( a slim one), to redeem yourselves.  I strongly suggest you take it!

Now I have switched over to using Internet Explorer from Opera because some spammers have suggested this may be my problem.  I don’t think it is, but I’ll give it a go.  If this doesn’t work, I’m leaving too.  BTW, you also mentioned the left side of my blog with all my awards on it, has been mostly cut off.  If you want to see them, turn off your favorites side-bar.  Another method I’ve suggested is to hit ctrl + to enlarge your view, and ctrl – to zoom out.  Thank you for your time, and I trust, co-operation…

MG_2025_thumb.jpg