Browsing archives for 'Wilmington NC'

Scaring the Ghost

Figure Eight Island,Wildlife,Wilmington NC 23 March 2010 | 0 Comments

Ghost crabs aren’t known for being diurnal, so when I saw this guy scurrying across the sand one afternoon I felt I had to seize the opportunity and chase him down for a photo. At first he did his best to evade my pursuit but eventually stopped with his back to a dune, claws up, seemingly ready for a fight. He stared me down with his beady little black eyes until I snapped some pics and moved on. I’m sure he was relieved to get back into his dark tunnel and wait for the night.

An Unlikely Sunset

Figure Eight Island,HDR,Sunset,Wilmington NC 19 March 2010 | 1 Comment

I’m a big fan of sunsets in general but didn’t have much hope for this one. You can think of clouds as the canvas upon which a sunset will be painted (if you’re into metaphors), and without them all you usually get is a uniform haze of light gradually fading to black. As you can see here there were only a few scattered clouds in the sky and they weren’t really picking up any color, so the fact that this sunset turned out to be so awesome definitely took me by surprise. Apparently there was some kind of atmospheric disturbance beyond the horizon that caused huge luminescent bands of orange to streak up into the sky radially from where the sun was setting. I tried to capture one of these flares in the shot along with the deep blue surrounding it.

What makes this shot even more unlikely is that it’s an HDR image taken with a point-and-shoot camera, which is theoretically possible but highly impractical. After a few minutes of watching this incredible sunset and castigating myself for not having a real camera/tripod to photograph it with, I thought I should try to make the most the situation and attempt an HDR sequence anyways. I had to hold the camera firmly down against a deck railing and adjust the EV through a menu between each shot for a total of five times; even with my vicelike grip on it I still had to manually align all the images in Photoshop before importing them into Photomatix. Thankfully since I got a DLSR this isn’t something I’ll have to repeat, but I’m glad I made it work to capture this scene.

The Daring Gull

Figure Eight Island,Wildlife,Wilmington NC 2 March 2010 | 0 Comments

Seagulls are probably on the second rung from the bottom as far as ornithological wildlife photography goes, with the most base subject being pigeons. But hey, you’ve got to start somewhere, and since seagulls are ubiquitous in coastal areas it seemed like a natural first step. This was taken on one of the barrier islands off of Wilmington, North Carolina. The island and its marshes are teeming with birds, and I’m planning to rent a more powerful lens next time I’m down there to get some detailed pics of the sandpipers, egrets, and pelicans for use later this year. And don’t worry, I’ve got some pigeon photos as well.

Float to the Moon

Figure Eight Island,Long Exposure,Wilmington NC 23 February 2010 | 2 Comments

I spent a lot of time playing around with the 15-second long exposure setting on my point-and-shoot camera (see these photos), so being able to hold the shutter open for longer time periods and stabilizing the camera on a decent tripod were two of the things I was really looking forward when getting a DSLR. This was one of the first pictures I took with my D90, a 30″ exposure while the moon was still low enough in the sky to illuminate the water. Apparently this was long enough for the scattered reflection to become a continuous path of light, and if you look at this pic at its original size you can even see some star trails developing in the upper left.

Flickr: The First 100

Alaska,Annapolis MD,Charlottesville VA,Figure Eight Island,Ireland,Italy,Travel,Wilmington NC 19 January 2010 | 2 Comments

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Let’s hope that’s true. Around the spring of last year I downloaded Google’s Picasa software and started organizing the various folders of digital pictures on my computer. I soon realized that I had amassed over 10,000 images since getting my first digital camera in late 2003. A few of these I had already uploaded to Flickr, but it wasn’t until I had a system for sorting and tagging my files that I made a conscious effort to get the rest of my decent shots online. As I added more I began to fixate on the round number of 100 pictures; the “best” 1% of my work so far.

Does this mean I think it’s smooth sailing from now on? Hardly. First off, I haven’t even taken anywhere near 10,000 real photographs. Henri wasn’t talking about poorly composed snapshots of my friends at 3AM. Also, while I’d like to think that I’ve improved as a photographer in the past years, the learning process has encouraged me to experiment with different approaches and techniques that sometimes fail miserably. I believe both my best and worst photos are still ahead; hopefully you’ll see some of the former here in this blog.

All the images on my Flickr page were taken with “point and shoot” digital cameras and most of them came from my 3.2 megapixel Pentax, the limitations of which I’ve become acutely aware of when trying to crop images that were only 1600×1200 pixels to begin with. I expect that most of the pictures from now on will have been taken with my D90, and the majority will be in HDR as well. At a rate of two new images per week, I’m hoping to have at least another 100 pictures up by this time next year.

You can check out my full photostream by clicking the Flickr link in the sidebar. Here are some of the ones I like best:

Next up: Releasing my first HDR image into the (digital) wild

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