My wife and I had just survived one of those "one bad thing after another" periods and badly needed a break. So we broke the piggy bank and headed for Mohonk Mountain House, the only place we know of within driving distance that can take you totally out of your life. We brought our cameras because the grounds and structures present untold photo opportunities.
I have always liked this picture, partly because I like the way it came out, and partly because it reminds me of a very nice day in Bermuda with my wife (I know this may be doubly redundant).
I shot this with my Pentax K-x and DA-L 18-55 lens, zoomed all the way out to 18mm. I have a bad habit of leaving my tripod at home, so I put the camera on a deck railing. Of course, I believe the K-30 allows you to shoot HDR handheld... I shot at 1/100 second, f20, ISO 200, using Daylight White Balance.
First I have to say that due to my photographic greenhornship, I do not have my own style or technique yet. I shoot everything that is not sensible enaugh to hide before my camera. I am one happy shooter. This fact has made choosing the picture for the competition harder. I have lots of inconsistent shots with different themes (and quality), but I am not sure if any of them really stands out. Threfore I have chosen the one I like the most for the memory of the moment (but which is not a sentimental family portrait or something like that).
So here is the story!
My favourite photo must be the one taken with my first (3 month old then) DSLR, the Pentax (one and only so far) K20D on 9.01.2009 at precisely 18:41:51 AWDT Eastern Australian Time.
Why did I pick this particular photo? Hmmm…… every time I look at it, brings a smile to my face and to everyone who has seen this photo. It happened on my first “DSLR camera shooting” vacation.
Bisbee is an old mining town in southern Arizona. In its heyday around the turn of the 20th Century, it was a thriving metropolis. A large percentage of the nation's copper came from the mines here. My maternal grandfather worked in those mines, and he and my grandmother are buried in the old cemetery just east of the town. Over the years, many photographs had been taken by others from this vantage point looking up Main Street to the west. Amazingly, photos taken 100 years ago and those taken today are strikingly similar, as the old buildings still stand. The mines petered out in the 1970s, and were abandoned as too expensive to operate. Bisbee became a tourist destination, but the ghosts of the past still linger on its streets and in its buildings, both literally and figuratively. Many supernatural sightings have taken place, and books and TV shows have been produced on the various phenomena.
I was looking for some place that I could make use of my newly acquired Pentax K-5's low light capability. Just by chance I stumbled upon a amateur rodeo taking place not 5 miles from my house in Texas hill country.
The rodeo started at 7PM and it got dark very quickly. There were flood lights, but they were not very bright. I knew that I needed a high shutter speed to stop the action. I put on a Sigma 70-200 mm lens, set the aperture to 2.8, the focal length to 200 mm, and cranked up the ISO to 6400. That seemed to give me a shutter speed of about 250. It would, I figured, be barely enough to stop the action. I was hand holding the shot, but I was able to rest my elbows on the fence. The image stabilization that was built into the camera body might just give me the extra sharpness that I was looking for. I knew that I could get a faster frame rate if I shot in JPEG, but I decided that RAW would give me more latitude in later post processing. I used an after market camera base with a second battery. I have heard that I could get a faster response with it, but I have never been able to figure out if it is really true or not. Still it would not hurt my chances, and the vertical grip helped to steady the shots.
For each rider I shot a series of two to four shots. I was hoping to get that one action shot that told the "rodeo story."
Flamingos are colourful, stately and graceful birds. Their zoological habitat is usually well designed, offering an interesting and artistically pleasing backdrop for making great photos. In short, they make great models. As well, this particular photo presented a few challenges – to make the birds really stand out, I needed to improve the depth of field by blurring the background. And since the birds are quite detailed, this required careful use of the magnetic selection tool. In short, this photo needed additional modifications.
I chose this photo for my submission because it was one of the first pictures I took that I was particularly proud of. I'm normally pretty timid about taking photos in public but this performer was so fantastic that I wanted to capture the moment as best as I could. This picture was taken at a yearly event that showcases the diversity of the different cultures in the city. The photo was taken at the Caribbean pavilion at this event and the performer, named Prince Niah, was a contortionist/fire breather (obviously). I only had a few chances to get a nice plume of flame and I'm very very pleased with how this turned out.