Ice dripping from leaves

Melting ice
Melting ice, Durham, N.C. | Canon 5D Mk. II and 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens | Exposed 1/80 sec. @ f/4.5, ISO 800

I made this image last Thursday during the second winter “storm” of the season in Durham.  It was a dusting to this Midwesterner’s eyes, but a pretty one at that.  Many of the images I created seemed to be a touch melancholy.  It seems a fitting image for today, which carries a decidedly somber mood.

Another Chance, Same Results

Storm over the water tower
Storm over the water tower, Columbia, Mo. | Canon 5D Mark II and 70-200mm f/4L IS lens @ 135mm; exposed 10 seconds @ f/7.1, ISO 800.

Last night a line of thunderstorms tracked through Columbia, Mo., changing the hot and humid air for the better, leaving much cooler temperatures in their wake. Before the rain came, I set up my tripod on the balcony of my apartment to try to get some lightning strikes.

Lightning was plentiful, if far away–I counted out the seconds between the light and the sound, lest I be caught outside with my own personal lightning rod–but I had little to no success at capturing a bolt across the frame.

However, I did get one image that was almost surreal: the city’s water tower encircled by the light from the lightning strikes and the clouds as they sped past overhead.

I’ve added some contrast to the image, but the colors are how the camera saw them. A fun, if a bit surreal landscape.

Next time I’ll get lightning bolts.

That said, if anyone has a suggestion for how to capture them, I’m all ears!

Thunderstorms over Columbia, Mo.

Thunderstorms over the Water Tower from David Kennedy on Vimeo.

In the wee hours of the morning on June 2, 2010, a wave of thunderstorms swept through Columbia, Missouri.  I took it as an opportunity to make a “thunderstorm time-lapse,” and set up my tripod.  My apartment faces one of Columbia’s landmarks, the water tower, but to get a decent composition of it, I actually had to use a 300mm lens, several feet from the door to my balcony (no need to get wet, though!).  I was hoping for some lightning strikes, but the reflections of the lightning on the water tower, and the illumination of the clouds, was all I could get in the hour that I made these images.

I set the camera up on a remote trigger with an intervalometer, and exposed them all at 30 seconds @ f/9 using 200 ISO on the 5D Mark II and 300mm f/4 L lens.  The time lapse above is made of 57 such photographs.

I should note that part of the process of putting this time lapse together was discovering, a resource of royalty-free music.

Overall, the thunderstorm presented a good opportunity and it was a lot of fun to put the time-lapse together; I hope you enjoy the final product.

A Winter Wonderland

Trees and hoarfrost, Burlington, Wis.
Trees and hoar frost, Burlington, Wis. | Canon 5D II and 70-200mm f/4L IS lens @ 150mm; exposed 1/320 sec. @ f/8, ISO 200.

While I was driving from Racine, Wis. back to Columbia, Mo. last Sunday, 17 January, a I found that the “freezing fog” advisory we had heard about the night before had given the branches of all of the trees along the way a white glow.  Much of the drive was on the interstate, but before I could get out to I-43 to shoot to Beloit and drive the length of Illinois via Rockford, I had to drive on two-lane highways.  Here, on Wisconsin Highway 11 in Burlington, about one mile short of the on-ramp to I-43, I decided to stop and make a few pictures.  It was a supremely overcast day, so the 11:30am sun did not hurt the pictures at all.

Fortunately, while all of my equipment was loaded in the trunk of the car, it was not entirely inaccessible.  I pulled over to the side of the road, switched on my hazard lights, popped the trunk, and reached for my 5D Mark II and a couple of lenses before walking about.  The only thing I didn’t take the time to do was switch out my shoes for boots.  Those snow drifts on the side of the highway are a little deeper than they look!

More photos after the jump!
Continue reading “A Winter Wonderland”

A Dark and Stormy Night

Starting last night and not really ending until early this afternoon, a large storm system passed through Columbia.  It was pretty severe at times: I lost power a multiple points last night, often regaining power just to lose it once more twenty seconds later.  Unfortunately, the storms this morning produced pretty heavy rain, so I did not feel comfortable with following through with my original plan to drive out to St. Louis to visit Wild Bird Rehabilitation, the focus of a long-term project.  I’ll be going tomorrow, instead.

However, the storm did provide the opportunity to photograph lightning from my balcony.  Sadly, by the time I was really set for it, precipitation had finally reached my building so I had to move indoors quite quickly.  The most interesting photo, really, was a 30 minute exposure of the patterns the lightning was producing on the walls of the bedroom of my apartment:

Canon 1D Mark II N & 16-35mm f/2.8 L II; exposed 30 minutes @ f/8, ISO 200
Canon 1D Mark II N & 16-35mm f/2.8 L II; exposed 30 minutes @ f/8, ISO 200

I would have used the 5D Mk. II for its superior noise performance, but its battery was dead.

Continue reading “A Dark and Stormy Night”