Many of my posts are coming from my flickr page. To see them enlarged with a black background just click on the photo and then when the flickr page with the photo appears click on the photo again. I hope you enjoy.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Into the Pool

Into the Pool by Just Used Pixels
Into the Pool, a photo by Just Used Pixels on Flickr.
Another angle on Lower Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge in North Western Oregon, USA.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunset Sunday - 122


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We'd love to have you join in with your own sunset or sunrise photo for Sunset Sunday.  It doesn't matter when you took the photo so join us every week.  If you have one to share post a link  to it in your comment, (click here to learn how) or just tell us it's there and we'll click on your name to find it.

OBTW, if you do post something for Sunset Sunday it would put a big smile on my face if you added a link to this blog in your post. Thanks!


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Thursday, July 26, 2012

"It was a Dark and Stormy Night"


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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Drained

Drained by Just Used Pixels

Drained, a photo by Just Used Pixels on Flickr.


There are still a number of photos from my trip to New England that I like but have not posted yet. Even though this seems a little old now, this is a timeless image.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How to Photograph Lightning


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My previous post was a lightning shot much like this one and actually taken within just a few minutes or so of when this one was taken. Based on some of the responses from both here and my Flickr Photostream, it is apparent that there are some who would like to take lightning photos but have not tried it or have not been successful.  So, I thought I would take just a few moments and see if I can be helpful to anyone.  Please feel free to point any friends or blog readers etc. who are interested in getting some lightning shots, to this tutorial.  Note that this is a basic or beginner tutorial on shooting lightning.  Please feel free to leave any questions, suggestions etc. in comments, or email me using the link below.

Lightning Photography Recipe

Ingredients

Lightning Bolts (as many as you can safely get)
1 Camera with manual control settings
1 Tripod or other camera holding device
50 lbs (20 Kg) patience
Editing software (optional)

First and foremost remember to be safe.  Follow all lightning safety rules.  Having said that I'll tell you that you can't take photos of lightning from the basement of your house, which is where the NOAA would have you, but do be careful.  An estimated 24,000 people are killed by lightning strikes around the world each year (that is about 66 people every single day) and about 240,000 are injured.


Once you have established that there is lightning in your area observe where there are frequent bolts.  In many cases you might see it on all sides, but generally there will be a direction where there are more than the others.  Get your camera on the tripod or some other device where it will hold perfectly still and aim it in that direction.  Remember most of the lightning is going to happen in the sky.  I like to have just a little bit of the ground at the bottom for reference and there seems to be more drama when the lightning is shown hitting the ground.  Put your camera in (M)anual mode to include manual focus.  Set your focus on infinity. If the lightning is so close that it will be out of focus when the camera is set on infinity, it doesn't matter; no one will ever see the photos anyway, even at your funeral.  I like to have my lens fairly wide angle to cover more area.  Set your camera ISO as low as possible.  The photos I posted were at ISO 100.  Set your f-stop at somewhere between about 8 and 13.  This photo was at f 13.  Do not use any neutral density or polarizing filters as these will darken the lightning flash.  

Unless you have a bunch of money lying around to buy a sensor trigger device, which opens the lens at the instant of the flash, then you are going to have to do it the poor man's way like I do.  The trick for us is to try to catch the lightning and you do that by opening up the lens and hoping that some lightning strikes while it is open.  Unfortunately there is no trick or magic that I know of.  If you have a shutter release cable which allows you to keep the lens open as long as you hold down the button on bulb (b) setting then this is an excellent way to take the photos.  You simply open the shutter and wait and immediately after the lightning has struck you release the button to close the shutter.  However, you can only hold the button so long or you will over expose the whole scene and even if you do get a bolt you may not be able to see it because the rest of the scene will be too bright.  The only way to know how long that is is through experimentation.  Try some different lengths and look at them on your LCD screen to decide if you can lengthen the exposure time or if you need to shorten it . . . remember photography is an artful science.  The time that you can keep the shutter open will change as the sky gets darker or brighter.  Another way to do it, (even though I do have shutter release cable, I do it this way) is to set your camera to be open for a specified period of time.  I've used everything from 10 to 60 seconds, again, depending on how dark/bright the sky is. You should look at each photo after the exposure and see if you need to adjust.  Immediately after viewing the image and making any adjustments I want to make, I open it again and start hoping.  (This is where the 50 lbs (20 kg) of patience comes in.)  If the heavier concentration of lightning moves to a different spot then turn your camera on that new area, but don't do it just because of one or two strikes.

Unless you are incredibly lucky or pointing the direction of the most amazing lightning show of all time, most of your exposures will go in the waste bin, but every once in a while you'll get one just right and it makes it all worth while.  On those occasions where the lightning strikes when there are still a few seconds or more on the exposure time, I have the lens cap handy and cover the lens to keep the rest of the image as dark as possible; that makes up for not using the cable release and closing the shutter immediately after the lightning strikes.

I mentioned software above in the ingredients.  With even the most simple and free software you can crop, increase the contrast and even correct color balance.  Both of my posted lightning shots were cropped, color balance adjusted and contrast adjusted.  


If you are not already comfortable with all the manual controls on your camera, take a few minutes and get comfortable with them today, before the lightning begins to strike and it's too late.  Now get out there get some lightning shots.  Leave me a comment to let me know when you get some, or if you already have some you want to share leave a link in your comment.




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Monday, July 23, 2012

Warning - Shocking Image

Photo taken last night about 10 miles from my house.

If you would like to learn about taking lightning shots like this just click here for my tutorial.


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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunset Sunday - 121



Click on photo to view enlarged.


The title of this photo is "Don't Bug Me".  If you take the time to enlarge and look closely at the bottom half of this photo you will notice many many tiny spots on and over the water.  If you look at the rocks above the water you will see that they are almost black, but look close enough you will see that that blackness is made up of tiny spots.  Each of those spots is a live brine fly.  Brine flies are very small and fortunately they do not bite people, unlike the mosquitoes and the "No-see-ums" who survive on our blood.  Brine flies follow the normal life cycle of that type of insect from egg to larvae to adult.  The adults emerge from the pupal casings which are left to dry out and rot. The Utah Division of Wildlife once counted over 7,000,000,000 (seven billion) pupal casings in a six mile stretch of shoreline along the causeway.  That is just about the same as the total population of all the humans on earth.  There is a lot more than just that six miles of shore line, that was just a sample. As you walk along the shoreline the live brine flies scatter to avoid you stepping on them and it appears that the shore line is moving.

Just as a side note . . . How the heck do you count 7 billion pupal casings that are about 1/16 inch (1.6 mm)?  I see this guy with thick glasses sitting there with tweezers with a huge pile of these little brown pupal casings on his left and a gigantic huge pile on his right you hear him counting "6,137,538,323" . . . "6,137,538,324" . . . "Oh CRAP!!!! who turned that fan on???" . . . "1" . . . "2" . . .

We'd love to have you join in with your own sunset or sunrise photo for Sunset Sunday.  It doesn't matter when you took the photo so join us every week.  If you have one to share post a link  to it in your comment, (click here to learn how) or just tell us it's there and we'll click on your name to find it.

OBTW, if you do post something for Sunset Sunday it would put a big smile on my face if you added a link to this blog in your post. Thanks!


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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dandelion

Dandelion by Just Used Pixels

Dandelion, a photo by Just Used Pixels on Flickr.
I've been away for a few days, camping. I know you won't believe this, but I didn't take one single photo . . . and yes I did take my camera. This particular camping trip kind of ended up being a mission of mercy. Anyway, I'm back and here is a photo from my trip to Washington and Oregon last month. If you click on it it will take you to my flickr page and there is a map in the upper right of the page that will show you where it was taken.


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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunset Sunday - 120


Click on photo to view enlarged.
We'd love to have you join in with your own sunset or sunrise photo for Sunset Sunday.  It doesn't matter when you took the photo so join us every week.  If you have one to share post a link  to it in your comment, (click here to learn how) or just tell us it's there and we'll click on your name to find it.

OBTW, if you do post something for Sunset Sunday it would put a big smile on my face if you added a link to this blog in your post. Thanks!


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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Crystal Pool & Falls

Crystal Pool & Falls by Just Used Pixels
Crystal Pool & Falls, a photo by Just Used Pixels on Flickr.

Crystal Falls in Linn County, Oregon is one of the many falls along the McDowell Creek. Interestingly the signs don't mention Crystal Falls only Crystal Pool at the bottom of the falls. The water was very high at the time this shot was taken.


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Monday, July 09, 2012

Nobska Lighthouse in B&W


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Sunday, July 08, 2012

Sunset Sunday - 119


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I named this one Happy Sailors.

We'd love to have you join in with your own sunset or sunrise photo for Sunset Sunday.  It doesn't matter when you took the photo so join us every week.  If you have one to share post a link  to it in your comment, (click here to learn how) or just tell us it's there and we'll click on your name to find it.

OBTW, if you do post something for Sunset Sunday it would put a big smile on my face if you added a link to this blog in your post. Thanks!

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Friday, July 06, 2012

Into the Mist

Into the Mist by Just Used Pixels
Into the Mist, a photo by Just Used Pixels on Flickr.
The day we drove down the coast of Oregon from Astoria to Newport we were blessed with wonderful fog that was constantly moving in and out and up and down to provide many interesting photo ops.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Independence Day America




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It was on this day in 1776 that 13 little colonies declared their independence from the tyrannical rule of King George III. Even though these little colonies, some 3000 miles across a great ocean from Great Britain had been at war since mid 1775 with their mother country it wasn't until July 4th 1776 that they actually declared themselves as a free and independent state. That war that began in 1775 was to continue until late 1882 and the official treaty giving the US their independence was not signed until 1783.

The US Constitution was the first such document in human history and was not created until 1787. Most free and many not so free nations have similar documents today to guide the government and protect the rights of the people.

Most citizens of the world have benefited from the independence and the subsequent creation of the Constitution of the United States. It is my belief, along with most of the builders of this country, the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the framers of the Constitution of the United States, that all this was done under the watchful guidance and direction of a loving God. That is one of the many reasons that the motto of the United States is "In God We Trust".

God bless the USA and all free people in the world today.




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Monday, July 02, 2012

Teton Mountain Range of Yesteryear

Shut the Door by Just Used Pixels
Shut the Door, a photo by Just Used Pixels on Flickr.

Well it's not really yesteryear, it was actually just a couple months ago, but I sure had fun making it look like yesteryear.  Some people thought I should call it Room With a View, but the truth is the view you can see from inside the "room" is very flat and plane.  You'd have to get a mirror to make it a room with a view.  


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Sunday, July 01, 2012

Sunset Sunday - 118

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I named this photo Tandem.

We'd love to have you join in with your own sunset or sunrise photo for Sunset Sunday.  It doesn't matter when you took the photo so join us every week.  If you have one to share post a link  to it in your comment, (click here to learn how) or just tell us it's there and we'll click on your name to find it.


OBTW, if you do post something for Sunset Sunday it would put a big smile on my face if you added a link to this blog in your post. Thanks!

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