Nothing Could Be Finer!

A favorite rite of Fall is photographing the NC State Fair for Cary Citizen

I enter two of the photographs in next years competition – but not last year

This is from the 2019 State Fair and I delivered it today

2021 North Carolina State Fair Entry – Professional Photography Competition

 

Frost Moon

Frost MoonAlso known as Snow Moon.  This is Waxing Gibbous, about 20 hours before it was completely full.  It rose bright and big the next day but there were light clouds so this was a clear sky.

Since it was a clear night, I knew the base exposure would be minus 1 stop from Sunny 16.  F11 and 1/100 with ISO 100 would do.

My lens is sharpest around f8 so by opening up aperture 1 stop, I could increase my shutter speed 1 stop to 1/200.  From experience, I wanted at least that shutter speed. The relative motion from Earths rotation can blur the exposure with a very long lens.

One last exposure variable came into play.  I added a 1.5x teleconvertor to make my 300mm lens a 450mm lens.  But that comes at the cost of 1 stop so I increased my ISO to 200 to compensate.

In sum, I set my exposure before I went outside to photograph and never used a meter.  Its not magic, its just a well understood exposure.  And of course, after making a an exposure or two, just look at your histogram and adjust.  That’s how I compensate as the exposure changes through an eclipse.  It’s really how I shoot everything.  Simply use Sunny16 as a base ( EV15 at ISO 100) and adjust from there.

Lastly is mounting to a tripod, a careful focus ( auto or manual or try both) and if possible, use a delayed shutter with a Mirror Lockup and a remote shutter release.  Make enough exposures so you’re confident you have very good focus on a few.

The final step is editing and preparation for presentation.  Its my habit to record RAW images so I can make all decisions vs the camera manufacturer’s built-in JPEG algorithms.  This image was mostly edited in Adobe Camera Raw aka the Develop Module in Lightroom.  I did open it up in Photoshop to add text, then used the Image Processor in Bridge to make the JPEG the size I wanted ( 720). Finally I sharpened it with the Pixel Genius plugin and an PS Action I wrote long ago.

Gear used in this post: Pentax K5IIs camera, Sigma 100-300/4 lens,  Kenko 1.5x TC, Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod with Manfrotto 488RC2 Ball Head and Vello Wired Remote

Editing Tools used in this post: Adobe CC2015, Nik Collection, Pixel Genius Photokit, Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet, Pantone Huey Pro

Three Roses

On a morning walk after an overnight rain, I found these next to neighborhood mailboxes.

A gray, over cast day with its soft, diffuse light makes an easy exposure.  My eight year old Tamron 28-75/2.8 lens lets me focus as close as 12″.  That’s 12″ to the film plane or sensor in the camera.  At that distance, wide open at f2.8  and zoomed out to 75mm. a Depth of Field Calculator said my DoF was .05″. At 16″, it was .1″ DoF.  I believe that because I had to back up a little, it was very thin to hand hold.

My intent was to just get an edge or a hint of focused color and rain and let the background go soft with high contrast, to isolate the single blossom from the background. The mulch & mailbox posts share none of the elegance of the roses.

These are really a sketchpad, serendipity.  More carefully made versions would involve a tripod, remote release and Mirror Lock Up with a multi second delay.  And maybe some lighting. This is the large news print pad, Conte crayon version but that’s where you learn to draw.

All images are top lit with soft diffuse light, low key and high contrast.   001 28-75 4768

002 28-75 4765 003 28-75 4769