“Super Moon” – August, 2014

The summer of 2014 is a good summer to observe the Full Moon when the moon was at the perigee of its orbit around the Earth. Wait, what is perigee? Perigee is when an object orbiting another make it’s closest approach to the object. Apogee is when it’s furthest from the object being orbited. When the Moon is at perigee, it appears larger than at any other time in its orbit while at apogee it appears smallest. On August 10, 2014 the Full Moon is perigee and will appear about 13% larger and 30% brighter than it would at apogee this is why its called a “Super Moon.” For you non-astronomical folks, here’s a link to a good illustration of it on the Huffington Post. If you missed this one, there is another coming on September 9, 2014.

Even in the city, the view of them larger moon can be very rewarding. A pair of binoculars or a small telescope provides a great experience when observing the Moon. If you have camera that has a longer lens, you can silhouette the larger moon rising behind a foreground object. If you have a really long lens, you can get a good close-up of the moon. To get the best exposure for the moon, you need to open up one stop from the basic sunlight exposure, f/16 @ 1/ISO setting. That is if you ISO is set at 250, the normal sun setting is 1/250th of a second at f/16. But even though the Moon is in Bright Sunlight, it’s darker than mid gray, it only appears white because it is in a black sky. So open up on stop 1/250 sec @ f/11 and you’ll have a good exposure.

My reason for going out to photograph when we have a Full Moon is not to photograph the Moon, but to use its light to illuminate terrestrial object. The moon is reflecting sunlight back to the Earth and illuminating it. Since the moon is about 30% bright, I can get slightly shorter exposure. While you use normal sunlight exposures to photograph the moon itself, the moon reflected light is much dimmer than the direct sunlight during the day. Even though the reflected light is dimmer than daylight, once your eyes adjust to the light you’ll be amazed at what you can see. Head out to a dark area with no lights around and be amazed by the beauty of the moonlight on the scenery. My wife and I have hiked and backpacked with just the light of the full moon, a most magical experience.

I wasn’t going to be hiking this time. One of the photo projects I’m working on to photograph old structure using moonlight. The results provide a photo with and interesting effect. Since the structure is illuminated by reflected sunlight, it appears to be illuminated by the sun. But since there isn’t as much light, there isn’t enough to illuminate the sky, so while the structure looks like a daylight exposure, the sky is a very dark blue with stars.

So I set out to photograph a few old building I had seen on recent trips. The location I was heading for was Red Mountain. It’s a small town, if you can call it that, along US 395 in California, about 25 miles north of Kramer Junction and 25 miles south of Ridgecrest. During the last couple of times passing through Red Mountain on or way back from Lone Pine, I had noticed a couple of buildings that looked interesting. We left home in the early afternoon on August 9 and headed to Red Mountain. Since I was also going to be getting up early the next morning to do some more moonlight photography, we got a room in Ridgecrest so we could get a few hours sleep that night.

I returned to Red Mountain just after 8 pm as it was getting dark and set up my equipment. I’ll throw in a little MS related info now. I have a very difficult time walking now and use a cane for support and have balance problems. With it being dark, it only aggravated the problems. My wife, Margaret, works an outstanding assistant. I could find the spot where I wanted to photograph from and she would bring e my camera and tripod.

I found three building I thought would be good subjects. On appeared to an old residence, another appeared to and old store and the other was an old grocery store. It’s kind of hard to identify what they may have been as there is little room in front of them as the road has been widened over the years. I set up the tripod and attached the camera. This type of photography is where the advantages of digital quickly become apparent. It’s hard to get meter reading in such dark light, isn’t that an oxymoron, dark light? I set the ISO at 1600 and took the first exposure at ¼ sec at f/8. Not to bad, but a little dark. After a couple more test shots, I arrived at good exposure of 1/15 sec and f/8. With film, I wouldn’t have been able to see my results until the film was developed. I would have needed to bracket and record the info for future use. Using digital I can always start new each time in case the lighting is a little different and still get the correct exposure. Here are the three buildings.

Old Residence, Red Mountain, CA

Old Residence, Red Mountain, CA

Old Store, Red Mountain, CA

Old Store, Red Mountain, CA

Old Store, Red Mountain, CA

Old Store, Red Mountain, CA

 

Even though I was out shooting building, I did turn around a shoot a couple of moon shots. I was using my Nikon D800e. I took my Nikkor 500mm f/4 lens and put a Nikkor 2x convertor on it to give me a 1000mm focal length. After all, if your out there, you might as well take the shot.

Supermoon - August, 2014 Shot with Nikon D800E with Nikkor 500mm f/4 with 2x convertor. ISO 1600, 1/800 sec f/16

Supermoon – August, 2014
Shot with Nikon D800E with Nikkor 500mm f/4 with 2x convertor. ISO 1600, 1/800 sec f/16

After shooting in Red Mountain, we slept about 4-5 hour in Ridgecrest and then headed out to my next target. My main project at this time is shooting subject for my “Land of Giants.” In Pearsonville, about 20 mile north from Ridgecrest is a giant statue of a woman. It looks like it may have onetime been used as an attraction for a golf course. I have photographed it in the daylight, but I thought that moonlight would add a little something to the photo. We arrived a little after 4 AM and set about photography. I was nice that I could use my scooter to get around as it made it easier to find the right angle for the photo. Again, my loving loyal assistant would bring me my tools.

Giant Woman Pearsonville, CA

Giant Woman Pearsonville, CA

A few dozen yard north of the statue is the Pearsonville water tank. I couldn’t resist photographing it also.

PearsonVille Water Tank

PearsonVille Water Tank

We got back into Ridgecrest about 5:30 AM and stopped at a McDonalds for something to drink and a quick bite to eat. As we were walking back to the car, I noticed beams coming from the horizon from the full moon that had just set. I’ve seen this from the Sun but this was the first time I had seen this from the Moon.

Moon rays after Full Moon had set.

Moon rays after Full Moon had set.

All in all, I was a very interesting trip. Daytime temps were about 100° F during the day and the low as about 70°. It made shooting at night very comfortable.

I was mentioned in the Chatterbox Newsletter

Today I received the latest newsletter from Chatterbox Enterprises in my e-mail. Louisa Curtis of Chatterbox was one of the reviewers of my portfolio when I attended the Palm Springs Photo Festival at the end of April. In the newsletter, Louisa had a link to activities at the festival on her blog. I went to the blog and read her description of the festival. About 2/3 of the way through her blog post I was surprised to see myself mentioned in her post. I had a great time at the festival and came away with excellent input on how I should proceed. Seeing my name mentioned positively in a blog from one of the reviewers only adds icing on the cake.

Here is the lick to the blog. The mention of me is about 2/3 of the way down, under the picture of the statue of Marilyn Monroe.
http://chatterblog.chatterboxenterprises.com/2013/05/palm-springs-photo-festival-aprilmay-3013/

Here is my “Land of the Giants” photo of Marilyn.

MarilynMonroeStatue-PalmSprings-20121204-074

David Nelson
http://www.djnphoto.com
Blog: http://photoms.djnphoto.com

Photography with a scooter in Italy.

It’s been almost a month since I posted the blog about y experience of taking a scooter to Europe for our vacation. The post was about the general use of the scooter on our trip as it was my first real use of a scooter. At the end of the post I stated I would be posting again shortly about how the scooter affected my photography. Well, shortly has turned into a longer time as daily life got in the way. Life has finally slowed down a little, so I hope to be posting more and getting caught up. As part of that, here is the post on the scooter and my photography.

Before leaving for Europe, I didn’t get a chance to do photography while using the scooter. The second day in Rome, a group of us were going to go to St. Peter’s square to see what it was like during holy week. This would be my first real use of the scooter and doing some photography at the same time. I immediately noticed what could be a problem. If you look at many photos taken by the general public, you’ll quickly see that they generally take at a particular angle of view. The photo is most often taken from standing height, about 5 ft. to 6 ft. 6 in. for the general public. Once you get serious about photography, you realize that one of the items that make a photo interesting is showing a different Point Of View, POV. In other words, vary the height you take your photos from.

EuraopeanVacation2013-Italy-(20130325)-041

My wife, Margaret, son, Shawn, his wife, Cara, our 2 granddaughter, Annika & Giuliana, and their 2 nephews, Giuseppe and Luca, in St. Peter’s Square.

Being in the scooter, you tend to shoot you photos from the seat you’re seated in. At first you see this as a new POV as you’re not used to shooting from this height. But I realized after a time, that I wasn’t varying my POV. I would need to get off the scooter to vary my point of view, Standing for a higher POV, kneeling for a lower. Having to do this, adds another layer of inertia. Inertia, what does inertia have to do with photography? Maybe I should provide a definition of Inertia.

Inertia, a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.

As photographers, we’ve all experienced Inertia. Who hasn’t been traveling down a highway and seen a scene waiting to be photographed. But, instead of stopping the car and returning to that spot, we just continued on our journey. We then justify our not stopping by thinking it’ll be there tomorrow, the light could be better or we need to get where we are going or any of a dozen other good reasons. This was inertia, we were moving and it was just too much work stopping. It also works the other way, it’s going to be a great sunset, but there are any number of reasons to stay home rather than go out. We’ve all experienced “some form of this at least once.”

When you’re on foot, it’s easy to stop or turn around to take a photo. It’s also fairly easy to kneel down or sit down to change your POV. When you are on a scooter, you’re usually there because your legs aren’t fully functional, there is quite a bit of inertia to over come. It’s easy to just sit rather than get off the scooter to explore a better POV. I found that it was just to easy to just sit and take the photo. It’s something that I have to make sure I don’t fall into in the future.

While there are definitely drawbacks to the scooter, it is also a big positive. I can now cover much more distances than I could without it. When we were in San Quirico d’Orcia in Tuscany, it was great having the scooter to be able to get up and down the streets. I noticed that all the doors into the residences were different, but there were also similarities. I could drive up and down the street photographing the doors, though it was easy to just stay on the scooter. I’ll insert a few of the doorway photos for you to see.

I can definitely say that using the scooter provided me with an easy of mobility that I haven’t enjoyed for sometime. In fact, it was probably easier and faster for me to get around than a normal walker. I just have to overcome my own inertia and get of the scooter so that I have more of a choice of the POV I want. What I wouldn’t give to be able to walk, but having the scooter gives me back some of the mobility I’ve been missing.

Here are a few photos of the door in San Quirico d’Orcia. I photographed a couple of streets with doors and have about 40-50 different doors.

EuraopeanVacation2013-Italy-(20130401)-828 EuraopeanVacation2013-Italy-(20130401)-823 EuraopeanVacation2013-Italy-(20130330)-633

 

My Portfolio Review at the Palm Springs Photo Festival

I have returned from the Palm Springs Photo Festival, an annual event held in Palm Spring, California each spring. Earlier this year I completed a seminar on “Fine Art Photography” taught by Bob Killen through the Calumet University. During the seminar we learned about what Fine Art Photography is and what we need to do to start producing work that could be considered Art. This was an exciting new direction to take my photographic endeavors.

During the seminar we needed to choose a theme to work on and produce some work that would be good enough to be show worthy. After the finish of the seminar, our work would be displayed in a show hosted at the Calumet store in Santa Ana. The show for our seminar opened Friday, April 26, and was well attended and received excellent reviews. It was a great way for the attendees to launch their new path in Photography. As we were finishing our seminar and preparing our work for the show, the discussions we were having was were do we go next.

Bob talked about how we need to get our work out in front the people that will be able to assist us with our work. Bob mentioned a few photography shows that provide portfolio reviews and recommended that we should try to attend on of the show and have our portfolios reviewed. This sounded great, but we may have produced 6-8 images during the seminar, not the 15-20 that would be needed for a portfolio. One of the shows that Bob mentioned was the Palm Springs Photo Festival that would be at the end of April. Could I enlarge my portfolio to enough images to have my portfolio large enough for a review?

I decided to throw caution to the wind and made a commitment to go to the PS Film Fest and have my portfolio reviewed. This would also force me to continue to work on my theme and continue to expand my portfolio. With just over 3 months to the festival, I definitely have to stay focused. During this time, I would also be finalizing my images for our show and on top of that, my wife and I had a 3-week vacation planned to Europe. The festival would be less than 3 weeks after we returned from Europe.

At times I was worried that I wouldn’t be ready in time for the festival. It even worked out that I got a couple of images for my portfolio while we were in Europe. In the couple of weeks between my return and the festival, I got all my images printed and my portfolio assembled and was read for the portfolio review. Even though I had many fears about my work and what would take place at the review, what could I lose? I looked at it as a learning experience, whether my work was loved or hated, I should receive a lot of valuable data.

So, how was the portfolio reviews? They were great. I received a lot of very good information about my work what I may want to do with it. I received data on my presentation and some changes that I may want to incorporate in the future. I had five reviews and all the reviewers were very positive about my work, which help remove the initial fear of possible rejection. If my work was not the type of work the reviewer would use, they understood my work and provided references to many who could use it. All the reviewers provide great information on whom I should consider contacting and how I should make contact.

All the reviewers were so helpful in providing with information and contacts so that I can expand the exposure to my work. The reviewers were professionals I the Art Business. I had 5 reviewers and I chose two consultants and three Gallery Owners/Curators. I was looking for information on my portfolio and how to present it, received excellent information, and am definitely going to make some changes to the portfolio. I was also looking for information on how to move forward with my art and where it might fit.

Here are the reviewers that I had chosen to have review my portfolio.

  • Susan Baraz – Creative photography consultant
  • Louisa Curtis – Creative photography consultant in New York City
  • Crista Dix – Director of the Wall Space Gallery of Seattle and Santa Barbara.
  • David Fahey – Director of the Fahey Klein Gallery in Los Angeles
  • Dana Salvo – Owner of Clark Gallery

They all were extremely professional and were willing to provide the information that I needed with my experience level. I would definitely recommend these reviewers to other photographers that are looking to expand the way they expand their horizons.

Would I go to the Palm Springs Photo Festival and have portfolio reviews? Yes, I planning now to return next year for portfolio reviews next year as I’m sure I will need more help next year after my growth this year. I’m also planning on participating in a few of the seminars and workshops next year. I just didn’t have the time to investigate and plan for ant seminars this year.

I’m hoping that I will see some of you there next year.