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Birding Along the River

This past Sunday, I was invited to tag along with a handful of Audubon Society members for an impromptu photo shoot along the Cheboygan River. Led by local birding “phenom,” Steve Baker, the group met at Washington Park where we took shots of several varieties of ducks and a few swans.  From there we worked our way south along the river stopping at a half dozen other riverside sites ending near the M-33 bridge.  It was great fun and I was pleased to have been invited.

welihan 20140209 Ducks & S Baker-6499

The shoot started with overcast skies, but the clouds soon dissipated giving us a mostly sunny afternoon.  The sunshine not only brought out the plumage on some of the birds, but also perked up winter-weary photographers.     

welihan 20140209 Ducks & S Baker-6517

From the start, I struggled with my Sony a7.  I bought the camera just a couple days before and this was my first adventure in the field.  In bright sunlight, I had difficulty seeing images on the LCD screen.  (Which is standard with an LCD screen in bright sun.)  What really bothered me was the minimal visibility through the electronic viewfinder.

I knew there had to be a camera setting to fix the situation, but while in the hunt I just couldn’t find it.  (Can I say “hunt” around my Audubon friends?) 

 

 

So, I faked it, tried not to complain too much in front of the others and managed to get a few usable shots.  (Thank you back-button focus…) 

welihan 20140209 Ducks & Swans-00382

Once home, indoors and out of the sun, I located the camera set-up page and a “monitor brightness” setting called “sunny weather” (Check ON) and a “Viewfinder Brightness” manual adjustment. (Increase +2)

I ventured out in the sunshine yesterday and discovered when properly adjusted for sun and snow I could see images on the LCD -pretty much- and EVF work well… and that was a big relief.

Dan

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Tom Cadwalader (L) and Steve Baker “focused” on their photos

 

 

 

 

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Quote for Today!

The first image you take is never the only one you can make.  Take the time to slow down and really see the light interacting with the subject of your photograph.  Let the light be your guide.

– Ibarionex Perello from Chasing the Light Improving Your Photography with Available Light

It Really Is All About the Light

Several years ago I enrolled in a community college photography class in southern Michigan.  The class, an entry-level photography class, included digital imaging.  I had recently purchased my first digital camera and was making the switch away from film.  On the first night I arrived a few minutes early and took a seat in the second row.  After a quick look around the room I could see that my tripod was twice as old as most of the other students.  A young guy seated next to me leaned my way, whispered, “Aren’t you suppose to be up there?” and hooked an index finger toward the desk at the front of room.  He thought I was the instructor.  I assured him I was in the right seat.  A few minutes later the real instructor arrived.

The instructor, a commercial photographer, handed out the sixteen-week class syllabus and began with his philosophy of photography.  The first thing he said was, “It’s all about the light.”

At that time, I had been taking picture for close to forty years and had the carousals of slides, sleeves of negatives and boxes of photos to prove it.  Over the years, I had documented more family celebrations, vacations and school events than others in my family cared to remember.  I taught photography classes for a short time (in the dark ages of the seventies); made a little money selling photos and had some photos published.  But in all that time, I never thought about photography in that simple, clear, singular way… It’s all about the light!

Light is everything to a photographer.   There can be too much or too little.  Photographers fret about light direction, intensity, contrast and color.  We see light as indoor, outdoor, natural, mixed, artificial, infrared, warm, cool, filtered, mottled, reflected, refracted, the list goes on and on.   And that’s light before it gets to the camera.

Inside the camera light is bent by a lens, a shutter determines how long or short the burst of light that make it into the camera will be and an aperture Read the rest of this entry

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