Our granddaughter. I'm really pleased with this photo

First, let me say I am not a professional photographer, and people photography is something I need a ton of work on.  That being said....

What a great weekend we had.  It was our granddaughter's first "sleep over" and it couldn't have been more fun. When the kids are around, out comes my camera(s).  In this case it was an Olympus E-M1 with the Panasonic 35-100mm zoom at 35mm (FF=70mm).

Nearly all the family images I have are what would be called "candid's". But this one is an exception, and I am very pleased.  For some reason I smiled and called her name, and she looked at me, hugged the kangaroo tighter and posed.  What a delightful result!

Some technical comments.

First, as far as light goes, it was awful.  The family room was lit by three incandescent table and floor lamps. But at least it was consistent light.  I was using AWB, and upon review I needed to make an adjustment in Lightroom to reduce the yellow tint.  I was shooting raw, and this helps when adjusting WB in post processing.

I like the composition, though I felt it would only work as a square crop.  Also, with a little time it would improve things if I cloned out the window frame in the background... though some might not find it distracting.

I like the exposure.  But it was a challenge because of the natural light coming through the windows in the background.  As I recall, I accepted the center weighted metering and then added +1 EV.  The result was the following exposure details:

No Flash
ISO 2000 (I almost always use autoISO when not using a flash)
1/25sec (I love image stabilization!)
F2.8 (I'd shoot at F2 if I could have it in a mFT zoom)

If I had a willing subject (who could sit still for more than a few seconds haha) I would have loved to have tried the same shot with a flash, bouncing behind and to the left of me.  At the very least I could have mixed it (50%) with the ambient light (50%) thereby bringing the ISO down to 1000.

But I am not complaining. Not too many years ago I'd have been shocked if I'd been told that one day I would be satisfied with images shot at ISO 2000.


This season's last day of skiing

My brother and friends "out west" were pretty jeoleous of the ski conditions "back east" this winter.  It was a combination of a low snow fall in the west and a bountiful snow fall in the east.

Yesterday was the last day for many New England ski areas.  I skied Cannon Mountain, a New Hampshire owned and run ski area with a storied history.  It's a rugged mountain in winter, known for its wind and ice.  But when the snow is good, there's nothing better than a day at Cannon.

As an avid skier it seemed crazy that Cannon was closing.  There is just so much snow.  Sure, there were bare spots.  But they were few and far between.  The icing on the cake yesterday morning was a touch of overnight snow on the upper mountain.  As cold as some of these pictures look, the temperature pretty quickly moved into the 50s and near 60 about 2 p.m.  The April lift ticket pricing of 2-for-1 was a nice bonus.

These were taken with a Panasonic TS-3 weather resistant point and shoot camera.


Red Maple: Which do you like better?

This is one of my favorite pictures from a vacation Laurie and I took last fall.  Interestingly, though we were staying on the coast of Maine, this image shows a Red Maple next to fresh water.

I recently entered this image in a photo club competition.  The judge had nice things to say about it, but nevertheless scored it with a 25.  The comments are more important to me; however, 25 is a pretty mediocre score.  (Scores almost always range from 20-30.)

Here are the judge's comments:
Love the composition, it is pleasing and balanced.  It has a calmness to it -- the tree and its reflection are the clear subjects.  Beautiful colors without being in your face.
Because of the disconnect between the critique and the score, I talked a bit with friends at the club to see what they thought would improve the image.

One friend (thank you, Paul) mentioned the layer of white sky at the top... and that perhaps some might find that distracting.

So, below I am showing the original image followed by one in which the white layer of clouds has been cropped out.  I tried first to crop the original 3:2 aspect ratio image to 4:3, but that cut off too much.  The resulting crop is somewhere in-between.

Which do you like better? If you would prefer not to comment publicly below, shoot me an email (my "contact me" address is in the left side bar).


I'm Stuck on You

"I'm Stuck on You" was the obvious title for this image.  Please don't think of me as cruel, but I chuckle every time I view this picture.

Actually this is tight crop of an image already taken with a macro lens.  The bug was so small that I didn't even see it until I viewed my photos from that day on my computer.  I was really only after the flower!  What a surprise it was to see this insect on my computer monitor.   It made this "capture" all the more sweet.


Cannon Mountain: winter is still in full swing

While the melting has begun in southern New England, yesterday gave us winter ski conditions at Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire.  After a luscious 8" snowfall Sunday and Sunday night, with a colleague from work, we drove up for a fine day of skiing at Cannon, one of New England's oldest ski areas. These snapshots were taken with a little Panasonic point and shoot camera.

Depending on your screen size, larger versions of these images and a few more (20 total) can be seen on my Web site at http://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/p901834333

View of Mt. Lafayette from Cannon Mountain.



"Pattern(s)" is the assigned category for next month's "salon" at my photo club. I really don't like that word "salon".  In my mind it's really a contest. Why don't we just call it that.

Anyway, I did enjoy going through my images two nights ago looking for recent mages showing a pattern.  Though the monthly categories are known a year in advance, I usually forget to have a list with me when out shooting.  Nevertheless, I did find some candidates in my library of images. None were taken with this category in mind, but they do fit the category. 

Last night I decided on the fifth (last) image below, and submitted it digitally to my club at the required slide show resolution of 1400 x 1050 pixels. 

Below are the five candidates I considered:

This is a closeup of a lawn owner's least favorite flower, the dandelion.  I could not submit this image because I had already submitted it a few months ago in another category, using the title Nature's Symmetry.

This scene taken at low tide shows a very nice pattern formed in the sand by little lapping waves as the tide receded.  I think it needs something more.  Perhaps a starfish sitting off to the side, or a little child sitting with a pail and shovel.

This scene is a mogel field at Mount Sunapee, NH.  It needs a skier or two skiing through the bumps.

I think this agricultural scene is a little flat.  It fits the category for sure, but I like the final image, below, better

Here the pattern is in the process of being completed.  There's more of a story to it because of the addition of the farmer and tractor, and the action of the grass being cut by the 13 foot New Holland model 1431 disc mower.


Last June: lobstermen plying the water off Cape Breton Island

These images of the Jason and Jeffrey were taken at about 5:30 in the morning from a bluff in Ingonish, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Lobster boats in NS will typically have three men aboard. You can see that in these pictures. As I understand it, with unemployment running high in Nova Scotia, captains are required to hire two additional lobstermen.  (Along the coast of Maine you will usually see just two men per boat.)

I watched this boat for quite a while as it worked its traps.  I very much enjoyed seeing the traditional wooden traps being used. 

The the harvesting process was one of pulling up a trap and circling while one man (blue jacket) removed the lobsters and a second man (tan jacket) dumped a new pot, freshly baited, after the boat completed its circle, at nearly the exact spot where the first trap was hauled.  The hauled trap was then rebaited and staged to replace the next pot hauled, and so on and so on.  Unfortunately my angle did not allow me to photography the pot being dumped, as it was always on the far side of the boat. Image #3 is the closest I got.

The following pictures were taken during a one minute period.  Actually, the difference between the first and last image is 58 seconds.  They indeed worked fast!

If you look closely at the wake in the water, you can see that the captain circled nearly twice during this short sequence... rapidly moving along the shoreline like a corkscrew.


Winter doldrums: Page 4: Way too much snow

In the last 11 days we've measured over 50" of new snow.  It all started on a Tuesday with 36".  My brother had actually flown into town from his home on the west coast for a little family reunion, and was planning to fly out on Tuesday afternoon.  That turned out to be an impossible task, as the airport began canceling flights on Monday evening in anticipation of the big storm, and a driving ban was imposed by the governor.  The bonus was that we had two more days together, plus we never lost electricity in spite of wind gusts near 50 miles per hour!

Now I hear that more snow is expected to begin tomorrow and to last four days.  It will be light, but total accumulation is likely to be 8"-16".

Below is a "portrait" of my brother's rental car during that first storm.  (The rental car company did provide him with a plastic window scraper, which made us laugh. Not only that, but it was in the trunk!)

Dark blue 2013 Nissan Maxima


Winter Doldrums: Page 3: Another Saturday Inside

The middle Saturday in January is reserved on my calendar for the annual Fly Fishing Show.  It is a three day event and I enjoy meeting old friends there. January is a good time for it, when many fisherman (unless they like ice fishing) are suffering from cabin fever.

As a photographer I have a great deal of fun.  I am completely inept at "street photography".  Every attempt I have made to improve my skills at candid shots of people on the streets has been met with more anxiety than the effort is worth.  I am so fearful that someone will spot me aiming a camera at them and, even worse, take exception to that.

But at the Fly Fishing Show, this is not a problem.  It is so busy with people excited about talking and looking, that I am simply not noticed. Of course, I make things easier on myself by leaving my flash at home, even though I know many images would be made better with it (i.e. get rid of those raccoon eyes caused by terrible ceiling lighting).

Plus it's a relatively safe place to be, as we are all of the same mind.  A funny story: I did have one fly tying demonstrator see me, and he actually took off his reading glasses so I could capture (what to him would be) a better picture!

So, if you would like to experience the fun of candid people pictures, go to a show. I'm thinking a flower show or car show would be good places to "get away with" aiming a camera at people without much stress or notice.

One disadvantage of the Fly Fishing Show is that most of the demonstrators, vendors, and participants were middle-aged men. (Hey, I fit right in.) There were very few women, though as you will see below I tried.

I used an Olympus E-M1 with a 35-100mm Panasonic zoom (70-200mm-equiv), generally wide open at F2.8.

Below are reduced-resolution images: