Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

Strange Days

Working on the Alzheimers unit of a local retirement home is an interesting experience.

An interesting experience made more interesting when the full moon is on it's way. Some people don't believe that the moon can have an effect on people and their behaviors; I'm a firm believer now that it's not all myth.

Early season

Got out for a night fishing session with Meg earlier this month.

Extremely low water levels at the spot; hoping for some rain soon before opening weekend on May 15th.

Within city limits

I often head out into the rural areas outside of town in search of good nature and wildlife opportunities. Lately it seems I don't even have to leave my own back yard.
While outside BBQing a few weeks back I couldn't believe my luck when I noticed a bald eagle circling above my house while being chased by angry seagulls. I'm assuming the gulls are nesting nearby and the eagle has found it to be a chance for a quick meal.
I really wouldn't mind a 400mm f/2.8 for shots like this; problem is I don't have $9,000 to spend on fast glass. My 270 was barely able to capture this sequence from a distance of approx 200' up.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Time flies when you're... busy.

It's the common excuse around these parts - haven't had time to post anything lately because I've been too busy. It's an excuse and it's also the truth. With school winding down I've been inundated with studying, exams, and placements; hardly any time to get out and do any cam work.
Truth be told, I probably don't even have time for this now. I start another placement tomorrow evening and should probably be getting some sleep. Sleep has been super important lately. Sleep and coffee.
I might not get many chances to post much more until the end of this month so here's some stuff from lately

"Green Anaconda" : An older shot re-visited in the realm of green. Robbie loves green anacondas lately.

Robbie's been enjoying driving classes lately. Always a good photo op.

First one of these for the season. Shot this so long ago there was still ice in the river.

Kiki. B&W. Had to.

Bella. She could usually care less about most stuff.

Another one of these. I'd like to get out and do some more of this type of shot at night soon.

We've been having trike lessons lately too. Robbie has been showing me how to ride one. It's pretty hard.
I'm too tired now to keep posting so I'm going to end off with this one and a few words that aren't my own. If you have kids, you'll understand. If you don't, you will.

"Encourage your children's deepest joys
not their superficial desires.
Praise their patience,
not their ambition.
Do not value the distractions and diversions
that masquerade as success.
They will learn to hear their own voice
instead of the noise of the crowd."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A few things

"There are a few things you must know
to become a wise parent.
You must know that you are going to die,
for then you will be able to truly live.

You must know when you have enough,
for then you will be content.
You must know how to laugh,
for then you will find healing.

There are many things you need not know.
You need not know everything your children think or do.
You need not know their secret dreams and hopes.
You need not know how life will unfold for them, or for yourself.

Live your own life,
with all your heart,
with all your mind,
and with all your soul.
There is no need to live theirs.
They will do that wonderfully
by themselves."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The ice is melting

As most Canadians do when the sun comes out and the snow starts to melt, we went out to enjoy some of the warmer temps over the weekend. Spent some time out on the ice of Lake Superior at Sliver Harbor.

While the ice was still over 2' thick in most places, there were spots that looked a bit more sketchy and probably a touch dangerous. Not a place to let your kids wander around unsupervised I would imagine. I guess not every parent is responsible. The 2 kids in the above shot just wandered over to us while their parents sat over 100 yards away seemingly without a care in the world.

These pressure ridges can be highly unstable; 2 feet thick in one spot and near nothing just feet away. Meg performs an unsafety check while we debate the pros and cons of trying to cross to the other side. We opted to stay put.

That doesn't mean common sense applies to everyone. We had a good time watching these guys attempting to find safe passage across this ridge. They got a little wet but didn't go through.

Supposedly someone fell in near here earlier this month. She was pulled out.

It has to be said though that late winter ice is unpredictable at best. Lake Superior is no joke and it will kill you if you end up in the water. A local man found that out the hard way this week while venturing out onto the ice not far from here.

I think I'm done with venturing out on to the ice for another season. I'm not a big fan of cold water and I would rather not die for some photos. Cheers to spring, cheers to good times with good friends and cheers to free ice fishing desktop backgrounds that you can click on and download full size.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Long live the Metal \m/

Went out earlier in the week to check out Shadows Fall , Goatwhore, Bison BC, Baptized in Blood and a few other metal bands.

Shadows Fall frontman Brian Fair has to be one of the most laid back dudes I've had the pleasure to meet. The energy he puts into his show is insane.

Louis Benjamin Falgoust II, lead singer of Goatwhore is also an incredibly laid back guy who, with his bandmates, puts on an excellent heavy and energized show.

Here's one more of Shadows Fall covering Black Sabbath's "Bark at the Moon"

Monday, February 22, 2010

My hands got so cold

Couple more ice shots from this past weekend and my early morning of laying on a frozen lake.

It's hard to make it through a winter around here without managing a few of these kind of ice shots. Now that it's getting warmer I might have to go out specifically in search of these before everything melts.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

And on the eighth day, god created ice.

This morning I got out early in search of something. Wasn't sure what it was or where I would find it but I went out in search none the less. Ended up at my first stop but found the conditions were shit and frankly, boring. Found another spot but the rather large and conspicuous "No Trespassing" signage turned me off that location; didn't feel like running into some moron who might attempt to ruin my otherwise good mood.

I ended up taking a quick jaunt down to the waterfront to check out any possible nice sunrise action. I wasn't disappointed. The sunrise itself kind of sucked; I've seen better. When I was about ready to head back to the car, just as the sun was coming up, I noticed a natural ice formation sticking out of the snow about 100 yards out from shore. Seeing as how the ice is still thick enough I took the walk and was able to come up with this...

I wasn't in search of ice shots; this one kind of found me. I could have just gone home but instead I decided to come to this spot and lucked out.
Had to lay prone on the ice for about 10 minutes to get a series of shots.
It's hard to get a good exposure doing these and I don't practice them enough to nail it right away.
I'm happy as long as I get a couple that I like, maybe one I can print.
Like this one...

These type of shots are always fun to play around with when the opportunity presents itself.
For a real good look at some fantastical icescapes, why don't you quit reading this and go check out the wonderful world of ice brought to you by Mr. Jay Arpin.


Friday, February 19, 2010

The Trees effect

Found a few older shots from this past fall that I guess I had never got around to posting. Not just that but I'd never really even looked at them. I do that I guess; take a ton of photos each time out and never touch 3/4 of them.

Trees. Fall. Near my house. Nothing too special.
Fall always possesses me to try new things and experiment a little bit with light and colour.

This shot for example. Same area, same day, same camera, different settings and intentionally blurred to produce a bit of a painted look. I first did this accidentally but happened to like the way these shots can look when you purposely pan the lens during exposure. It's just a different spin on the same old boring shots of fall colour. I like this one enough that I think I will print it and have it framed.
After finding the last two shots the other day, I had some spare time and happened to have the camera handy so I figured I'd take a walk and try a few more. This time around the colours were a bit more bland but the effect remained the same.

So there you have it. Boring old shots made a little more interesting.

Ansel Adams once said " There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs".

That said, I'm going to go have a scotch and catch some sleep. Photogging tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Star Trails Experiment #1

Tonight the weather actually cooperated for long enough for me to throw the camera on the tripod and set up in the back yard to do a test shoot for some more serious star trails.

I'd mentioned that I think I know what I'm doing now but tonight didn't seem to work out that well. I ended up shooting a 26 minute exposure at f/3.5, ISO 200, triggered via remote and aimed straight up at nothing but black sky filled with stars.
After 26 minutes I went outside to check my results and I had an image of a white, blown out square on my screen. No stars. No sky. Just blown out white.

It wasn't supposed to be anything fancy; more a shot to see if my camera (which is only capable of a maximum 30 minute exposure) could handle this type of shot without catching on fire and blowing up causing severe injury to any unfortunate passerby within a 30 yard radius.
I think my problem was the backyard light emitted from my neighbors porch and subsequent light reflected from my other neighbors olympic sized backyard hockey rink may have been picked up more than anything else by my camera's sensor, hence the overexposed white blob I ended up with.

Since my original location is closed to the public for the next 3 to 4 weeks, I'm not sure I will get the chance to carry out experiment #2 any time in the near future. Time will tell.

On a brighter note, I did get out this morning and shoot some local animals. When I went over these shots with Lightroom (on my laptop) I thought they looked perfect on my monitor. When I got home and viewed them on my other monitor they looked a lot more contrasty and saturated. Almost too contrasty for some reason. I dunno, have a look see...

See what I mean. Too contrasty.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Old shots revisited

No time to actually shoot new material drives me to revisit older shots from way back when.

Trowbridge falls cascades lower end

Trowbridge Falls upper river

Sleeping Giant sunrise, Pool 6

Silhouetted fishermen, Dog Lake, Ontario

Images © Ian Benninghaus 2010. All rights reserved
Not to be used without permission.

Star Trails

I'm going to attempt to shoot some star trails. I've not spent a lot of time on it and have yet to give it a serious attempt.

Tried it once before without much effort and resulted in a shot with a few stars, some movement but not a lot as far as a decent result...

As it turns out, there is a lot more to it than I had first expected. From what I've been researching, star trails take a bit more effort than a simple long exposure at night.

My first half assed attempt was a 921 second (15 minute, 35 second) exposure.
Half an hour would provide for some better results but I'm not sure whether my camera will develop hot pixels resulting in unwanted noise due to sensor heat.

Seeing as how it's still somewhat cold out as of late I'm banking on the cooler night air to help alleviate this issue. We'll have to wait and see; it's going to be an experiment for sure.

I think I know what I'm doing now and have a couple locations in mind. Just have to wait for the weather to start cooperating. Hopefully I will have some decent results. Fingers crossed.

Networked Blogs?

I've decided to link this blog through Networked Blogs. Not so much to increase readership (of which there is slim to nil) but more so because I can and it's something to do.

More networking. My Flickr links to Facebook, Facebook links to Twitter, this blog now links to all of them.

I really need to update this blog more often. My main excuse is that I never have the time. It's my excuse since the last update over a month ago. Here's to hoping I keep up with it this time around.

On an unrelated note, do yourself a favor and check out Seung Kye Lee. The guy is absolutely fantastic and abundantly talented behind the camera.
On that note, also check out Bliss If you're planning on getting married or even if you're not, give Alvis' work a view and be awestruck by his incredible wedding photography.

That's all I've got.

Planning a night time photo op shortly. It's specific purpose must remain a secret for now. Will update later.

Here's some cat stuff from lately since I've not been outdoors in a while...