Bridle Bit Bull: The Story Behind the Photo

By Darren Wiedman

Bridle Bit Bull photo by Darren Wiedman

Bridle Bit Bull photo by Darren Wiedman

This was shot a few miles west of Throckmorton, Texas, which is just down the road from the middle of nowhere. I originally chose this location because I wanted to capture the Milky Way and darksitefinder.com indicated this was one of the darkest locations in the country (and the closest to me). While cyber-scoping the area via Google maps to find an interesting barn or pumpjack to put in the foreground, I was delighted to discover this 22-foot bull statue near the side of Hwy. 380. I realized I would be facing the wrong direction to have the Milky Way in the background, but I thought the bull was too good to pass up.

Unfortunately, the dark spot I found was still surrounded by distant cities, and there were even lights on the horizon. I thought about walking into the field to shoot toward the darker south, but I’m not a fan of rattlesnakes and real bulls, either of which could’ve been out there in the black.

I tried to light-paint the statue with little success. Fortunately, on my last attempt, an 18-wheeler was coming up the road and provided very dramatic lighting with its headlights.

For future night shoots, I’ll find a darker spot, bring a stronger flashlight, and shoot at a higher ISO (and remove grain in post).

Advertisements

Closed: The Story Behind the Photo

By Darren Wiedman

Photo of Closed business sign in neon red

Closed by Darren Wiedman

For my 50th year of life, I attempted to take one photo every week and post it on a photo blog. The challenge proved too daunting to do every week, but I was determined to shoot
and post 50 images before my next birthday. By the end of the year, I was a bit behind.

This shot was taken the night before my 51st birthday. I had run out of daylight and still didn’t have that last image (or a tripod). Fortunately, the neon lights near my apartment
were bright enough to register on my DSLR. Since the signs themselves were a little boring, I tried playing with the zoom feature of my lens while the shutter was open. I even had to change the ISO and aperture to give myself more time to create the zoom effect.

I doubt this would win any awards, but I think it does make a statement about the frantic pace of the American work week. It’s a shot I never would’ve tried if my “Fifty Pics” goal had not been set.

Sometimes forcing yourself to shoot can lead to surprising results.

Camera Settings: f/22, 3 seconds, 100 ISO, 55-200mm lens

Shots in the Dark: 7 Tips for Night Photography

Photo of city at night with car lights

Photo by Joey Kyber on Unsplash

There is still some time to capture a great image for our upcoming “In the Still of the Night” competition. Seven tips to keep in mind when photographing at night.

1. Find a dark place

If you’re shooting the Milky Way or star trails, pick a date near or on the new moon, and find a dark area using sites like darksitefinder.com.

2. Keep a low ISO

Yes, that’s right. Unless your camera is really good, you’re going to pick up more and more noise the higher your ISO. Keep it low and increase your exposure time to compensate.

3. Don’t lose focus

Your camera will have a hard time seeing at night, so the auto focus feature may not work very well. When using manual focus, it may help to use live view and zoom in on your subject to set your focus. Or use the numbers printed on your lens to determine if your subject is in the ideal range.

4. Stabilize

Obviously, you’re going to need a tripod and a remote shutter release. You can also use
the timer on your camera. Set it for a two-second delay to give your camera time to settle before the shutter opens.

5. Destabilize

For long exposures, remember to turn off image stabilization on your camera, if it has it.
Cameras that don’t may have some type of vibration reduction on the lens. Turn it off.

6. Decent exposure

Use the histogram on the back of your camera to be sure your image is in an acceptable range. It’s better to have spikes on the left side (shadows) rather than the right (highlights). Shadow detail can be salvaged if you’re shooting in RAW (which you should). If highlights are blown out, there is no way to recover that detail in post. If you’re shooting a high-contrast scene, try bracketing to ensure you have everything properly exposed.

7. Things to bring

Remember to pack a flashlight. You may need it to see the camera settings, and you can use it to light paint your subject. Wear bug spray. And if you’re shooting solo, make sure somebody knows where you’re planning to go and when you’ll be back.

Silhouette of man looking at stars

Photo by Klemen Vrankar on Unsplash

 

Starry, Starry Night: The Story Behind the Photo

By Lana Macko

Photo of the Milky Way above a lake in Michigan

Starry, Starry Night by Lana Macko

For years I have wanted to shoot the Milky Way. But there are so many factors that have to line up in order to get that shot.

First of all, you have to be in a “dark sky” area. For us in Dallas/Fort Worth, that means driving at least a couple of hours.

Of course, the weather has to be good with a clear sky and no moon. So I was very excited while in Michigan to have all those things line up for me. An official dark sky area, no moon, and clear skies.

I contacted fellow TAPC member Bill Webb for advice, and I watched several videos. And naturally a couple of new apps needed to be purchased.

The only thing that made the conditions less than perfect was the fact that it was the same day as meteor showers, and other photographers and astronomers, and in fact, entire families were at the same spot.

For that reason, I waited until 1 a.m. to head to the park and walk through the dark with my red flashlight. Even then there was a crowd. So I got my shot, although I wish there had been better foreground interest. The fun really began back home as I started post processing.

That involved more videos, and I am still playing with my shots. Are we ever entirely satisfied with our shots? I know I’m not. And the interesting thing is that even though I can cross this off my bucket list, rather than quenching my desire for this type of photography, it actually awakened it. I can’t wait until I have the chance to try it again.

Camera settings: f/4, 25 seconds, 3200 ISO, 11-24mm lens

Worth a (Two) Second Look: The Story Behind the Photo

By Bill Webb

A 2-second photo by Bill Webb of insects at night flying around a light

Worth a (Two) Second Look by Bill Webb

How often do we fail to notice the beauty of the “small things” in nature?

Such is the case with insects drawn to lights at night. Their flight (seeking what?) seems futile and beyond understanding — hardly worth a second look. But, how about a TWO-second look? That’s what I did to capture this image.

Using a tripod and a telephoto lens and a two-second exposure, we are able to get a different look into the world of insects and their behavior. Some of those random and, to us, pointless flight paths now are seen as almost ballet-like. Others could be the antics of an aerobatic pilot. Still others appear to be the frantic flight of beings possessed. The briefest of pauses as the wings change direction now appear as “barbs” along a piece of wire, perhaps. There is so much to see even in the minute parts of nature.

The more I study images like this one, the more intrigued I become. I was honored to have Earth Science Picture of the Day use this image on October 30, 2009. It also garnered the award for Viewers Choice photo for the month of October.

Fort Worth Stock Show Outing

On Saturday, January 18, the Trinity Arts Photo Club held its first field trip of 2014 at the Fort Worth Stock Show to take in the sights and capture a few images while doing so.  If you like anything that is Western, this is the place to be in January in Fort Worth.  The weather was fabulous too.

After collecting ourselves, we started in the livestock exhibition buildings, wandering among sheep, cows, steer, horses and pigeons.   Yes, pigeons.  We had opportunities to photograph the owners grooming and cleaning their animals as well as putting some of them (generally horses) through their paces.  I never knew that the animal fashionistas used industrial sized hair dryers to groom their beasts at an event like this, but they do.  Since the livestock are in buildings, some with windows and some without, we were presented with various lighting challenges, depending on which building we were in.

After taking images from every imaginable angle of occupants in the livestock buildings, we made our way out to the Midway, where children of all ages were riding rides, playing carnival games and eating food that rots your teeth.  But no…even on such a beautiful day, the crowd on the midway was sparse, making is tougher to photograph the various rides in motion…since they were often not in motion.  But we gave it the old college try, and made the best of it under the circumstances, getting some nice images in the process as you see below.  Tripods were an absolute necessity for sharp shots, especially after the sun went down.  They also allowed for long exposure images of the spinning rides creating blurs and bringing the lights to life in the process.

Overall, it was a great first event for all that attended and we hope to see many more club members at future events.

MRL

_DSC7922 FW Stock Show TAPC Jan 2014_ _DSC7929 FW Stock Show TAPC Jan 2014_

_DSC7962 FW Stock Show TAPC Jan 2014__HDR-Edit _DSC8387 FW Stock Show TAPC Jan 2014_-Edit (2) NLA_3483 NLA_3450 Working Cowboys corny dog 7174  small 7155 small SONY DSC SONY DSC DSC07502 DSC07488

Lantern Lights

After trying two times and being stymied due to unforeseen circumstances, we finally attended the Chinese Lantern Festival at Fair Park in Dallas on the night before it closed.  Thanks to Groupon, five of us made it in for half price.  I was surprised by the mass of humanity waiting in line before the opening and also the number of people inside once the exhibit opened.

We arrived at the opening time of 5:00 so I could capture some images before, during and after sunset.  The lantern exhibit was not lit up when we arrived so we were able to see the various lanterns before and after.  Once the sun went down and the sky took on that dark blue shade, the lanterns were lit.  It was quite a sight.  There were more cameras per square foot (most smart-phone cameras) than I had seen in some time.  There were also a fair number of “more serious” photographers like me that toted around their tripods with their favorite flavor of camera on top.  It was really the only way to capture good images once the sky darkened.

From a dragon created from 10,000 dinner plates and eating utensils, to a lantern that looked like the Statue of Liberty to the various ants, pandas, longhorns and other plants and animals I looked for interesting angles and views to shoot.  There was ample opportunity to capture reflections in the lagoon, but hard to get shots without people somewhere in the image.  I found it to be very creative and interesting and hopefully the photos I included here provide a look inside for those that were not able to attend.