Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fells Point Streets

One of my favorite aspects of Fells Point is the old and diverse buildings from the early years of Baltimore's history. Englishman William Fell purchased the land in 1726, realizing its potential for shipbuilding and shipping in colonial America. Beginning in 1763, his widow Ann Bond Fell and son Edward divided and sold the land to speculators and adventurers anxious to take part in the growth this natural deep water port promised. Docks, shipyards, warehouses, stores, homes, churches and schools quickly turned Fells Point into a bustling seaport that was the commercial heart of the area. Fells Point was annexed by Baltimore Town in 1773 and then the two were incorporated, along with Jones Town, as Baltimore City in 1797. Shipping traffic moved upriver to the docks at the Inner Harbor when its channel was dredged, but shipyards thrived here, most notably as builders of the famous clipper ships that irritated the British so thoroughly during the War of 1812 that they tried to capture Baltimore by land (stopped at North Point) and sea (stopped by Fort McHenry). The neighborhood was saved again in 1967 when locals banded together to form the Society for the Preservation of Fells Point and Federal Hill, which successfully blocked the extension of Route 95 along the waterfront – a project that would have destroyed not only the Fells Point neighborhood but also the Inner Harbor basin, Federal Hill and Otterbein. Since then, the Society and various community organizations have worked to protect the local heritage and vitality of this diverse and colorful neighborhood. How wonderful is it that we had folks with foresight and strength of conviction to save this treasured part of Baltimore history!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

HDR Workshop

It was an early cold Sunday morning and I headed down to Fells Point to meet the group of interested photographers that had signed up for my HDR workshop. The sky was very overcast and threatening but we managed to escape any bad weather. We had a great group and enjoyed a little lunch at Brick Oven Pizza before heading out to Penn Camera for some processing work. These are a few shots of the tugs and boats in the harbor I made to work on for demonstration purposes.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Maryland Country

This afternoon I had the pleasure of working one on one with a student. We looked at some images and did some Photoshop work and HDR work on his computer for an hour, until it was time to head to the horse farm that he had been granted the opportunity to shoot on when he wanted. In a couple hours we made some images as we watched the light on the rolling hills fade into night. I had hoped for some silhouetted horses on a hillside but the horses were not obliging...I helped him find compositions and took a few shots hand held while he was making some images....it surely was a place filled with opportunities. But I was working, so I only came away with a few grab shots. The Country Life image was a Lensbaby shot cropped to square. I added two image overlays to add texture to the image. The other shot is one I had lined up for the client and I was using my 12-24 lens. Two hours go by fast when you are having some fun.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fells Point Photoplay

These images are a few more I made on Tuesday... I have not had the camera out of the bag since then, and I expect the next time I do will be in Fells Point again on Sunday with a group of Workshop participants who will be working on honing their HDR skills. I am looking forward to that!

When I was making the image This Old House, I got a good laugh when I looked through the lens, as I was using the Lensbaby telephoto and it hardly seemed as if this old house needed any more distortion than it's extended life had already given it, but I made the image anyway and liked it.
I goofed around with the City Pier image, by using a layer and creating a monochrome image, then added a mask and revealed the colors in the tug. It was an experiment just to see..and I liked it.

The Dead End well thats where we ate lunch!

I must also tell you that we had a photographer Connie Imbodin at the Baltimore Camera Club last night, who's work and technique was amazing. She has been photographing the human body in black and white, in water and with mirrors for over a decade. Her work continues now in color and is adding a dimension to her images that is unexpected. Her Blog includes some of her most recent work. She photographs under water in a black swimming pool to get some of her images...wow! My little street shots pale in comparison! She is truley dedicated to her pursuit of creating amazing images of the human form. Check out her work.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fells Point

Today I met Nancy and Kathy who drove to Baltimore from Virginia. We had a fun time shooting street scenes and details. While they were here I shot exclusively with the Lensbaby Telephoto adapter for the Composer, which I have had for at least a year and never even tried...I got some fun shots with it; but that's another blog. While we were on the street shooting I was approached by a man who asked me why I was photographing. He said he wanted some shots of the area for a power point presentation. He said he was working on the recently announced development project for the old pier. Turns out he is the CEO of whitecap Real Estate. I had just heard that it was going to be turned into a Boutique Hotel with shops....and to think that's the same building that the show Homicide had made famous. He gave me his card and I am going to follow up on the request.
We had a nice lunch at the Dead End. The Dead End had a great bar pool room that just begged for an HDR shot, so I made one there with my 12-24 mm. After Nancy and Kathy left to head home I stayed and made some HDR street images...It was a good day in Fells Point.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thinking Spring

Today I spent many hours in the garden doing some spring clean up. I raked around the garage under the Pyracantha bushes and in the ivy, netting six yard bags of leaves. Then I cleaned up a small raised flower bed around the patio and was happy to see some real signs of spring, the Mertensia were breaking groud as were the Columbine. The miniature rose I received last year as a gift was sprouting new leaves and the daylillies were pushing up from the  ground cover of Vinca. Sadly I lost a very old Azalea so I pulled that out. The Chinodoxia and Helebore were blooming as well as a few crocus. The snowdrops were just about spent. I walked around the front and back yard picking up branches that had fallen and raked the mulch back into the edges; those darn squirrels and robins like to dig it out.
After spending the entire morning outside, a friend stopped by and we went to lunch. That was a much needed break. When I came back I put my tools away and called it a day! I still have the shady bed around the patio, and the entire front and back gardens to clean up! Whew it will take the best part of a few more days to get cleaned up...then it will be time to plant and start grass cutting!

Tonight I processed a couple more images...One an image overlay and the other a straight macro shot.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Johns Hopkins

This morning I met some students on the campus of Johns Hopkins for our field shoot. It is always good to get out and have the students start working their cameras. Inevitably we have some great learning experiences.

The day was awesome with clear blue skies...I wanted to get some grab shots, in between helping the students, but didn't want to carry my tripod.
So I decided to use the Lensbaby.....all these images were made with a Lensbaby with a 5.6 aperture ring inserted for a shallow depth of field. Now its yard clean up time!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bits and Pieces...

It's been a very busy week! Monday picked up my car from the shop and ran it over to VEIP. Monday night I made a presentation on "Improving your Garden Photography" at Penn Camera on Reisterstown Road. I had a great group of participants who traveled from as far away as Silver Spring and Annapolis!

Then on Tuesday the contractor came over to look at the damage done to the rain spouts out back so he could write up an estimate for repair and I had class at Hopkins in the evening. On Wednesday I met Ed Vatza at Longwood for some more spring flower shooting. Today I did some work on a special project and had a board meeing followed by camera club tonight. Tomorrow I head to Chesapeake City. Saturday I have a field shoot with the Hopkins group and Sunday is yard day! Whew a busy week...here are some shots from Wednesday!

Bits and pieces of a big lily, a multiple exposure of a giant palm, and an image overlay of some very dark purple tulips...(that one is an experiment)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Longwood Gardens Again......

Today I met Nadia at Longwood Gardens. We were in search of the Himalayan Blue Poppy. Well, I had to laugh..when we got into the conservatory there were a bunch of photographers around two large planted pots of Blue Poppies...that could only be accessed by one side as the other side of the large pot was facing the pool. I made a few shots and moved on...oh well. I spent the morning using my 200mm macro lens, working close ups. After walking around a bit I changed to the Lensbaby and made some "Garden Shots" to enhance the presentation I will be giving on Garden Photography at Penn Camera tomorrow night. It was tough getting up early with the shift of Daylight savings time. At noon the conservatory became busy and we headed to lunch in the rain. When we left the witch hazel beckoned us to get out our cameras and I made a few shots, then headed home.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Macro Photography Lessons

Today I had the great pleasure of working with Marian and Susan on advancing their macro photography skills. Both Marian and Susan are very talented with their crafts, Marian makes Bobin Lace and Susan beads on fabric. Susan blogs and makes images of her work and tools.
We made some images and really covered a lot of ground....some tips on Macro Photography:
a. Keep the plane of focus parallel to the surface of your subject for maximum depth of field.
b. f8 is not f8 in macro land. To gain great depth of field f16 or greater is required for subjects with relatively shallow textures and shapes.
c. Selective focus, using auto-focus isn't the best way to focus a macro lens, the lens often has a hard time "grabbing" or finding an edge to focus on as we often are not shooting "edgy" subjects...so choose manual focus and use the focusing ring while holding your depth of field button to "see" where the lens is focusing.
d. Get close, fill the frame and watch the edges for intrusions and bright spots.
e. Use a tripod for tack sharp images, and use a remote or cable release. Use mirror lock up if you have it.
f. Reflectors are great to pop light into areas of your subject.
g. For table top photography...Lowel Ego lights are easy to transport and provide a daylight balanced light at 5500k.

The images in this blog are of the handy-work of Susan Elliott. I made these images while demonstrating different lens so they could see what the benefits are of quality and different mm lenses. The largest piece of work pictured is about 5 x 5 inches square.

I used a 105 macro, and a Lensbaby with a 5.6 aperture ring with a +10 dipoter and a +4 Diopter. The lensbaby images are of the bird and the two images show the different magnifications. Working with the Lensbaby macro diopters, you have to get physically very close to the subject.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Longwood Gardens

While waiting for my car to get service, I have been working on images I shot on Monday at Longwood Gardens, for my lecture next Monday, March 15 at Penn Camera on Reisterstown Road, on Improving your Garden Photography. I hope I get a few more participants to register between now and then.

When I first arrived at Longwood I went to the large room with the big garden pool. There were large calla lilies in the beds and the light was fairly harsh on the blooms as the sun was shining through the conservatory ceiling. There were a few blooms in bright light, but not harsh light. I made some exposures there enjoying the beautiful shapes of the trumpets on these lilies. I knew if I exposed for the highlights the background I worked hard to set up with dark vegetation, would go black, which is what I wanted so when I converted these to Black and White the trumpet would be the focal point of the image with no foliage detail. I guess you could create this in a studio with a black velvet background and controlled lights, but I like to shoot in the environment, not a studio.

I'll be working on another collection of images from that day I made outside with the Lensbaby. I will post a few of those later...after I fine tune the presentation I am working on for the Arundel Camera Club on the Governors Cup Race I photographed last year. Lots to do!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Longwood Gardens

Today I made a run to Longwood Gardens. I wanted to see the Orchid display, and see if the Blue Himalayan Poppies were in bloom. I met Jeff Wolk in the parking lot at 9:00 and we headed in. I had not been shooting for two weeks and I was looking forward to making some new images...but really didn't have a mission. It was quite a warm day and carrying my gear through the green house was work. The orchid display is nice but I don't think there are as many as last year. I had to get my photo mojo going again and it took a little visual warming up. I never did make any orchid images, and after three hours I was working on a headache from the heavily perfumed air from the star gazer lilies. So we had some lunch and regrouped. After lunch we dropped our serious gear in the car and enjoyed a stroll outside around the grounds in early spring like weather. It was nice to get out and enjoy the fresh air..