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October’s Pumpkins and Halloween

What did one pumpkin say to the other.

What did one pumpkin say to the other.

Halloween is one of the most photographic times of the year. It is rich in decorations that beg to be photographed. Pumpkins are a recurring theme and between the leaves changing color and the pumpkins, every photo becomes a potential seasonal masterpiece.

If you remember from one of my earlier posts, I never go anywhere without a camera. A few years ago when I was living in the Ocean Beach area of San Diego, I would always walk my son’s dog while he was at work. It kept the dog and me active, and I was always on the lookout for a photo opportunity.

When I made this photo, I always knew what I wanted to do with it artistically, it just took me a while to refine the idea. There was always a project or two distracting me. I finally settled on pumpkins, coffee and Starbucks. Love pumpkin pie, and hot black Starbucks coffee. I’m not a fan of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte, too sweet for me, but it does have a huge following.

Two full size pumpkin scarecrows.

Two full size pumpkin scarecrows.

The Ocean Beach area of San Diego is both eclectic and eccentric. The residents there are very easy-going and never turn a neighbor down if they need a hand. It has also been called “… where the 60’s Hippies retired  …” You never know what you will find photographically throughout the community and the various seasons.

These two photos were made while I was out walking the dog just before Halloween. Two separate locations, blocks apart, and basically the same theme. The Happy Halloween photo was made with my Nikon D90, Nikon 18-200 lens, massaged with Lightroom 5, finalized with Comic Life 3.

Strategy Meeting

Strategy Meeting

Strategy Meeting

Whenever I decide to spend a few hours just making photographs, I will shoot everything. If it’s in my field of vision, I compose to capture the subject at hand and I also think about  what I can do with the photo in post-processing.

This photo shows of one of my favorite subjects, seagulls. Most of the early photos that I made in my childhood were of seagulls, probably because I was always at the fishing piers or the beach. I burned a lot of film on seagulls. In the early years, it was Kodak film, and a lot of blurred photos. My favorite format, because I could not afford color film, is black and white. I shot so much Plus-X and Tri-X, sometimes I think in black and white.

Stats on this photo: Nikon D90, Nikon 70-300, 70mm, 1/320 at f8.0, ISO 200. Post processing with; Lightroom, Tonality (trailing), and Photoshop Elements 12.

The August Moon

August Moon

August Moon

I have tried to make a decent photograph of the Moon for over fifty years. Now that might seem to be an exaggeration of sorts, but I can tell you that is how long it took me to finally get it almost right,

By a decent photograph I mean in-focus, not over or under exposed too much and not obscured by a haze. Well, tonight I was finally able to make a tick mark on My Bucket List as is shown by the above photo. It is still not as crisp as I would like it or as I have seen in other photographers work.

The humidity was 74% and the air was heavy. I don’t know if that was a reason for my less than perfectly sharp focus. I do believe the sharpness that I did meet was in part due to the TriggerTrap app. It was the first time I used it for this type of shot since I purchased it. Definitely a very useful and easy to use app.

August Moon Equipment

August Moon Equipment

Equipment and settings:

  • Nikon D90 set on manual, ISO 200, Aperture set at F11, Shutter Speed at 125, and manual focus as well.
  • The lens is a Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300 1:4.5-5.6 G ED also set to manual focus, VR set to off. The lens was zoomed in at 300mm.
  • Apple iPhone with the TriggerTrap app, using the Timelapse option. TriggerTrap to Nikon D90 dongle.
  • A heavyweight SLIK tripod to further reduce any vibration.

Weekly Diner Stop

Western Omelet, rye toast, home fries, and coffee - fairly standard fare for any diner, and a good test of their overall quality.

During the week I am very good about watching what I eat and try to stay healthy. However, on Sundays I get up early, and head out in the truck to find a diner that I haven’t eaten at before. My favorite test of a diners food is always the same; Western Omelet, home fries (crunchy), rye toast – actually toasted and not that sponge they try to pass off, and last but not least, good fresh hot coffee.

This past Sunday I stopped at a diner on Rt. 37 (no names), and could only give it two stars. Overcooked eggs, and spongy toast. I gave them a try.

The parking lot and my view; I suppose the overcrowded lot should have been a clue.

The photos were made with my Nikon D90, no flash, ISO 400 and a lot of stares as to why was I making a photograph of my breakfast. I explained that it was a religious ritual and everyone just backed away.

I post processed with Nik Software’s Snapseed running on my iMac. Fantastic software, I also have it installed on my iPad and both products are easy to work with and very intuitive. I’m also a big fan of their complete collection of plug-ins for Aperture 3.xx, Lightroom, and Photoshop. More on that topic in the future.

Review – Satechi TR-M Multi-Function Timer & Remote Control for the Nikon D90

Interested in the Satechi TR-M for Nikon D90? Click for product spec info.

Yesterday, I received my Satechi TR-M Multi-Function Timer & Remote Control in the mail. I had been putting off making a purchase for a an intervalometer and remote for some time now. Always looking for something better, but never finding it. Well, at the end of August, I decided to bite the bullet and place an order for not the most expensive, and not the cheapest, but the one with the best reviews, the Satechi. I made the purchase on Amazon.com and I’m convinced I made the right product choice.

The product arrived in good condition via the USPS, wrapping intact and the box not crushed or damaged. This is the shipping method used when you opt for the least expensive method. Hey, there is no point in going to Amazon.com, getting the best price, and then blowing the savings on shipping. Don’t get me wrong, FedEx and UPS are great, just too expensive for me.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was a pair of AAA batteries. This is unusual for most manufacturers these days and was a pleasant surprise since I just ran out of this type and had not made the trek to Costco to re-supply. Armed with batteries and an instruction sheet, I was ready to shoot.


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