Sunday, July 24, 2011


It has been awhile since I posted to this Blog. This train is from Colorado.  They had a contest to see where it would travel to and one of the cities on its stop was Cape Girardeau.  This jewel was stationed right under the Bill Emerson Bridge that extends over the Mississippi River linking Missouri with Illinois.  This made for beautiful night shot. I used my Nikon D700 full-frame and used the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 lens set at 27mm.  This picture was taken on 7/23/2011 at 9:14PM.  At this time of year the sun sets between 8:30PM and 9:00PM.  I shot in manual mode, with the aperture set at f/8 my ISO was at 200 and I used a long shutter speed of 20 seconds. Naturally this is no hand held job and requires a tripod.  I used a cable trigger device to ensure no camera shake.  Most of the time when shutting on a tripod I use a 10 second delay to take a shot or I use the cable.  What is the difference between the two?  Using the delay method you have to wait 10 seconds before your camera takes the picture were as using the cable the snap is instant.  I prefer the cable when shooting 3 shot bracketed exposures because I can hold down the trigger and capture all three shots instantly while keeping my hands off the camera.  No matter how careful you are you can get camera shake causing blurring by using your finger to activate the shot.  You need to use a good tripod and get and keep your hands off the camera.  Although I did not shot with the mirror up a lot of pros will raise the mirror as the opening and closing of the mirror can create just enough movement to prevent a crystal clear picture.   By the way f/8 is probably the best aperture setting for night shooting but try different settings until you get what is most appealing to you.  Sometime this is a trial and error process.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


A Personal Experience
I want to state up front that I am not a guru at shooting panoramas.  What I want to share with you in this post is my personal experience of the few times I attempted this method of capturing a panoramic vista.  Go on line and you can obtain information far greater than what I have posted here.  Looking back I see several errors that I should have and could have corrected.  But that is the beauty of photography you can always try again.

This is one of my first attempts at creating a Panorama.  It was taken atop Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains looking east.  It doesn't show well because of the restricted height.  It consisted of five separate shots.  The dimensions on this picture are 60 X 14 inches. Normally shooting horizontal will give a greater width, however, due to the height restrictions a lot of the length was cropped out.  I used a Canon 7D with a Tokina  Pro 16-50mm.  Since the 7D is a cropped camera I had the lens wide open in order to give me a 24mm wide angle.  When taking panoramas it is important to have your tripod level.  I used a leveling plate from Really Right Stuff, the MPR-CL II with integral clap, and a Panning Clamp.  I shot in manual mode at f/16 for depth of field with a shutter speed of 1/30 of a second.  My ISO was 200.  I was shooting in raw so I left the white balance set to auto.  It was around 4:00PM and there was a storm moving in behind us or west of us making for these dynamite clouds.  I stitched the pictures together using Photoshop CS5 and saved as a tiff file so that I could go back and make the final processing adjustments.  Note the original frames were all shot with the camera in horizontal or landscape position.  Pros: three pictures can get you a respectable panorama.  Cons: you restrict the overall height of your panorama.  There is software out there that will allow you to take six shots overlapping from left to right and top to bottom which will allow you to create a final panorama with much greater height and width.

Another option is to shot in vertical or portrait position.  Pros:  height will be larger.  Cons: you will need to take more overlapping picture in order to get the width that is created in horizontal mode. 
The following is a panorama of the Teton Mountains taken in 2011. 

This panorama was shot with the camera in vertical (portrait) position.  It consists of five individual frames merged together in Photoshop.  In addition, the individual frames were shot in 3-bracket sets with each set being merged together prior to processing as a panorama.  There were a total of 15 shots taken to create this panorama. Originally this consisted of 7 individual 3-set brackets but I did not overlap set 6 enough to enable Photoshop to include it in the final merge. Had I been successful this would have consisted of 21 separate shots.   I used a Nikon D7000 and a Nikon 24-70mm lens with a focal length set to 50mm.  The final dimensions on this processed picture are 70 X 21 inches.

Here is another attempt of a panorama taken of the Grand Tetons.  It consists of 5 vertical captures, taken with a Nikon D700 and a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens.  In my opinion the prime 50mm lens works best for these types of shots.  I also think this is a better composition than the one above because of the angle I was shooting at.  It also, in my opinion, has better color, better leveling, and overall better balance.  Aperture f/18, Shutter 1/160 sec and ISO of 200.

To shoot panoramas it is important to understand the "no-parallax point (NPP)", Unless your subjects are distant landscapes, it's essential to eliminate image parallax. Do this by positioning the optical center of the lens over the point of rotation. Really Right Stuff has a great web site for understanding this concept in addition to having all the right gear to be successful.  Follow this link to their tutorial.

An alternative to Really Right Stuff panorama equipment is Sunwayfoto.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Today I was going through some of my photo files and came upon pictures taken at the Lone Elk Park and the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, MO.  This was a Sunday field trip that Doug Adams and I took.  Lone Elk is a compound where Buffalo and Elk roam freely.  Lone Elk Park is a 546-acre wildlife management area that serves as a preserve for bison, wild turkey, waterfowl, elk, and deer. A little further down the is the World Bird Sanctuary.  This is a hospital for raptors and a safe haven for injured birds of prey or birds who can no longer live in the wild.  Many of the birds are on display roosting in the open where they can be viewed.  On Sundays they perform an educational program and will bring varies raptors to the outdoor theater for demonstrations.  They will even let the birds pose for you.  .this makes for a great educational photo field trip.  This is a picture of a Kestrel.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bollinger Mill

This is the Bollinger Mill located in Bollinger county.  This was a beautiful day for taking pictures.  This is a four picture panorama stitched together using Photoshop CS5.  I recently purchased a pano set from Really Right Stuff.  This is a great devise because it allows you to level your tripod independently from your camera and also lets you line up the axis of the lens with the tripod legs to prevent parallax.  This prevents the shifting of nearby objects to the background and makes for better alignment of the frames.  Camera settings were as follows: Manual exposure; f/5.6; 1/200sec; ISO 200; 44mm; and center-weight metering.  I also used a circular polarizer.  I processed in Photoshop CS5 to bring out the colors and sharpness. Click on picture to enlarge it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


My first post!  Not much to say just yet.  I am just getting this blog set up and it is going to take a day or two to get all the settings right.  But come back and in about a week and I should be under way.  But hey while you here come take a little detour and check out my photo work at

On The Road July 13, 2019

PHOTOGRAPHING KELPZIG MILL (Click on Any Image To Enlarge It) Another road trip with Bob Colvin this time to Klepzig Mill. It was a ...