Last week I flew back to Columbia, Missouri to attend my friend August Kryger‘s wedding to Amanda Shea. I flew into Saint Louis on Thursday and the following day, a few hours after consulting with my committee members to figure out the right direction for my master’s project on Asian carp, a tornado touched down at the airport. By the time I flew out on Tuesday, STL was up and running once again, and plywood replaced the glass that had been shattered during the storm.
The other day I received my Lumiquest Softbox III that I ordered at the Joe McNally and David Hobby “Flash Bus Tour” in Durham, North Carolina on 4 April. A new light modifier? Well, I simply had to play with it. Trick is finding cooperative subject matter. As I mentioned a few weeks back, Elizabeth and I have been working on a new garden/cooking/home improvement blog, and it was high time for an update on the crop of peas growing along the “whimsical trellises” that she made in the back yard.
So I set up the Softbox III on my 580EX II Speedlite, gelled 1/4 CTO on a stand at camera right as my key, and placed my 550EX in the back, zoomed out to 105mm and gelled 1/2 CTO to work as a kicker. While outdoors I tend to use my low-end radio triggers for wireless flash, in cloudy conditions and after sunset I find that I can get away with wireless ETTL with either my ST-E2 or a flash as the commander. This makes setting the light ratio and also the amount of light a lot faster when I don’t have much time (like when the sun is setting and the sky is getting really dark and really fast). In this case, I think the warmer light created by the gels contrasted nicely with the cool sky at dusk.
While I was not able to use the Zeiss 85mm lens I rented nearly as much as I had anticipated during the week that I had it, I will say that it is disappointingly soft wide-open, but sharpens up dramatically by f/2, and is wickedly sharp at f/4. The detail in the fallen cherry blossom petals is amazing!
Also, some big changes are coming as I am in the process of becoming an LLC in the state of North Carolina. More to come…
Finally, I present the last of my Chicago images. Not necessarily for the master’s project, but for me: Elizabeth and I lived in Chicago for a time, but I never really carried a camera with me because I was concerned about keeping my equipment safe at our apartment in Hyde Park. I figured the less I had, the safer we were (and we never had a break-in). But this project gave me an excuse to walk around downtown and the Loop with some of my better gear. Frankly, the 5D Mk. II and a 50mm lens would be a great combination, with a wide-angle lens and a telephoto as two accessory lenses, but I really needed to have the 24-70mm with me that day as I was working on my project, and needed the flexibility that it provides. The next time I go to Chicago with a camera, it will just be for me, and the equipment choices will certainly reflect that!
Three more photographs after the jump!
I’ve been spending the better part of the week processing my photos for my master’s project. The trips to Chicago were surprisingly productive. And the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS lens that I’ve been borrowing from my dad–I briefly reviewed it here early this year–proved to be invaluable in the city. Sure, the images aren’t as sharp as they would be with a 70-200 lens, but it’s a smaller, less “obvious” lens for street shooting: the black barrel doesn’t draw attention to itself.
As always, comments and criticism welcome! And more photos after the jump!
A few images from Berkeley, Illinois, where I took the Metra West line to get into Chicago a couple of weeks ago to play tourist at Wendella Boats. I think it’s fitting to show some of the rail infrastructure surrounding the city as rail would be one of the alternatives for carrying the cargo that barges currently push in and out of the region.
Also, I’ve been experimenting, perhaps too much, with leaving my large-aperture lenses wide open even mid-day for the selective focus and natural vignetting that you can get…and then enhancing the latter a touch in Lightroom. Don’t worry–I’m sure it’s a phase that I’ll get over sooner rather than later. At least the vignetting part!
Two more photos after the jump! Continue reading “Berkeley, Illinois Metra Station”
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.
(Two more photos after the jump!) Continue reading “Like living on a working river”