Over the last couple of weeks we’ve explored the Atlantic coast of Florida as we consider a move to the sunshine state. A visit to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge treated us to an amazing sunset and a young American alligator in brilliant blue water the following morning.
Unfortunately, I made a pretty serious tactical error the evening before: I mounted the 300mm lens I would use to make the image above while the car’s air conditioning was still running, and did not check and clean the sensor back at the motel that evening. The result? The above image, upon scrutiny, revealed a field of dust bunnies scattered along the lower third of the frame (top 1/3 of the sensor, since the image is reversed.) While image cleanup has become easier with each new version of Photoshop and Lightroom, I still prefer not to have to do very much in the first place. Lesson? Better to take the 10 minutes to clean the sensor than to spend an hour and a half in front of the computer to rescue a photograph!
A few more frames from my day on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal with Illinois Marine Towing. I wanted a little “more” both from the portrait of Dan Egan and the image below, with Steve Gray growing in proportion from one frame to the next. As for the third image, I can’t help but be drawn to photos of flowing water, although usually I try to make it silky, I enjoyed the way that the faster shutter speed froze the large droplets.
Last Wednesday I had an opportunity to spend most of a day on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal with three men who make their living pushing cargo up and down the man-made waterway created 110 years ago. Bill Russell at Illinois Marine Towing, a small barge company in Lemont, Illinois, granted me access to one of the fleet boats as it repositioned barges and other tug boats around the shipyard and up and down a stretch of the canal. Capt. Dan Egan, Antonio Lopez, and Steve Gray were all very open to the idea, and basically allowed me great access to the work that they do, although there are some safety precautions that certainly limit how much of their job I could photograph from close range. But I didn’t want to be the victim of a snapped line or fall into the water, either! Be sure to see the rest of the images after the jump. And there will be more to come!
From the early morning before I rode out on the Cal-Sag Channel with the crew pictured above. Oh, if only that lamp post wasn’t growing out of Andy’s head…or if I could have a little more separation between Heather and Brett’s feet. As always, comments and criticism welcome.
On September 11, 2010, I left Durham, North Carolina to get to Racine, Wisconsin by way of Chillicothe, Ohio. Last Sunday I departed Racine for Columbia, Missouri, by way of St. Louis. Since then I’ve lost a pillow (it will be returned), been slimed by a Silver carp, photographed a levitating Kim Komenich at the 62nd annual Missouri Photo Workshop in Macon, Missouri, and played tourist at my Alma mater. My odometer cracked 27,000…not so happy about that, and I’ve also had my share of meals on the road. Things will slow down soon, but not yet…
I am presently writing a full review of RawWorkflow’s LensAlign Pro–a product I briefly worked with in June–so I’ve been busy adjusting the autofocus performance of my cameras with several of my lenses. While it’s nice to look at a test photo of a focus alignment ruler and see your depth-of-field falling exactly where it should, there’s no substitute for confirming that the changes are for the better than to go out and make some images!
Note that both images in this post were created at f/8, but for different reasons. In the image of the feather and debris on the beach, I wanted to make sure that the feather, which was almost flat against the beach, as well as the taller matter, would all be rendered in sharp focus. However, for the photograph of the Ring-billed Gull below, I was using a Canon 1.4x II teleconverter, and I always try to stop down either 2/3 or a full stop from wide open in order to eliminate the vignetting introduced by the teleconverter, and to counteract any loss of sharpness.
On Sunday, Salmon-a-Rama wrapped up with angler Roger Hellen taking the grand prize of $10,000 for his 41.5 pound Brown trout caught on Thursday. It was the final day of the tournament, and I knew that it was a make-or-break day for me as I needed a few more interviews and some different images. I was tired of hauling all of the lenses that I had been taking with me every day, so in favor of the 70-200mm f/4L IS lens that is my standard telephoto, I borrowed my dad’s 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS lens–one of only two Canon lens that intentionally diffracts light to create a more compact lens. (The other is my longest lens, the 400mm f/4 DO IS.)
I’m hoping to put together an audio slideshow of Salmon-a-Rama that could stand alone from, as well as become a part of, my master’s project on Asian carp and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.
On the morning of July 16, 2010, Roger Hellen set out in his boat, “Get Hooked,” with his friend Joe Miller. He came back with what is quite possibly a world record for Brown trout: 41 pounds, 8 ounces. The fish will likely earn Hellen the grand prize of $10,000 at Salmon-a-Rama, and also stirred up a bit of a media frenzy given the possibility of a new record for Brown trout. The current record was set only back in September 2009 by an angler in Michigan with a 41 pound, 7 ounce Brown trout. The catch also beats the Salmon-a-Rama record for largest fish entered in the contest which has stood since 1997.
So far, I’ve met some great people out at Salmon-a-Rama, and I think that the stories I’ve heard will be compelling for the argument that sport fishing is an important part of Lake Michigan–something that could be lost should Asian carp gain access to the Great Lakes. Continue reading “A world record for Brown trout?”→
The largest freshwater fishing tournament in the Great Lakes kicked off on July 10 in Racine, Wis. One of the great concerns about the possibility of Asian Silver and Bighead carp entering into Lake Michigan is the potential for the destruction of sport fishing due to the radical changes that could happen to the food chain. The carp are voracious filter-feeders, and could out-compete the fish that serve as “food” for the trout and salmon, and could be the final nail in the coffin for the lake perch.