East Side City Lights

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This is a very old photo (an early attempt with my first digital camera). It’s a study in mistakes. Technically, it’s just… awful. Still, I kinda like it for some reason. Maybe it’s the somewhat eerie colors illuminating those wisps of smoke… maybe it just reminds me of how excited I was to be taking photos… or maybe I’ve just bounced off my head one too many times. Either way, have a great weekend, everyone!

Dark Helmet: “What the hell am I looking at?!”

– Rick Moranis – Spaceballs

About this image: digital photograph (Canon 300D) modified in Adobe Photoshop

Leland Harbor at Dusk

It was getting late at Leland Harbor and, as we were leaving, I happened to glance over my shoulder just as this light turned on (kinda fortunate). Also (speaking of being late), my blog-rounds will likely be later than usual today. Please bear with me, and have a great weekend, everyone!

Judge Smails: “All right everybody, it’s time to christen the sloop!”

Mrs. Smails: “Come along, children… you can shake your booties down on the dock.”

– Ted Knight & Lois Kibbee – Caddyshack

About this image: digital photograph (Canon 600D) lightly modified in Adobe Photoshop

Stars of Glen Haven, Michigan

I thought I’d share a few photographs I took of the night sky in and around Glen Haven MichiganSleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This was my first attempt at this kind of photography, so I took a few notes as well.

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Tug boat – Cannery Boathouse Museum, Glen Haven, MI

1. Don’t rock the tug boat (use a tripod and shutter-release cable to prevent camera-shake). Even with a high ISO setting (3200 +/-) and a wide-open lens capturing stars requires slow shutter-speeds (30 seconds +/-). Earth’s rotation will cause motion-blur / star-trails in exposures of much longer than 30 seconds.

Mast – US Life Saving Station, Glen Haven, MI

2. The moon can be surprisingly bright (shoot during a New Moon or wait for the moon to set for maximum star-capturing power). The illumination on this mast comes entirely from the moon, and while it can be helpful at times, if the moon is too high and/or full it can significantly reduce the number of stars you (and your camera) will see.

US Life Saving Station, Glen Haven, MI

3. Got a light? Bring that, too. I know, I know… I just mentioned how bright the moon is. Still, it’s very easy for a blogger (and her/his gear) to go bump in the night. Also, in extreme low-light situations you’ll often have to rely manual focusing – shining some light on nearby objects can be a big help with that.

Sleeping Bear Inn, Glen Haven, MI

4. Charge your battery (and your camera battery, too). Pre-plan (scout locations, look-up moon phases, weather reports, etc.) and pack-up early. Then get some rest. If you are like me, you will easily get carried away and the sun will be up in no time.

Cannery Boathouse Museum, Glen Haven, MI

5. Shoot the lights out (take lots-o-photographs). I find it never hurts to hedge my bet. It’s often easier to delete a few ‘bad’ photos than it is to get back on location and shoot more ‘good ones’.

Trees, Glen Haven, MI

6. Thank your lovely wifey. It takes great patience to help scout locations, transport gear and carefully aim flashlights at 3 o’clock in the morning, etc. It will all be greatly appreciated.

About these images: digital photographs (Canon 600D) lightly modified in Adobe Photoshop

St. Louis Art Museum at Dusk

Yikes! It’s past time to post something… that’s what happens when I start working at dusk.  It probably also means I’ll be fixing all kinds of mistakes tomorrow. If I’m awake.

About this image: digital photograph (Canon 600D) lightly modified in Adobe Photoshop

Revisited Sidewalk, Concordia Park

Revisited Sidewalk, Concordia Park © Robert Jay Matejcek

A different look at a park I shared last November (you’ve probably guessed I’ve had a chance to catch-up on a few ‘mysteries’ lately). Have a great weekend everyone!

Inspector Lestrade: “In another life, Mr. Holmes, you would have made a excellent criminal.

Sherlock Holmes: “Yes, and you an excellent policeman.”

– Eddie Marsan & Robert Downey, Jr. – Sherlock Holmes

About this image: digital photograph taken and modified with smart phone

STL Science Center at Night

Derek Zoolander: “What is this? A *science* center for ants? How can we be expected to teach children *science* … if they can’t even fit inside the building?”
Mugatu: “Derek, this is just a *photograph*…”
Derek Zoolander: “I don’t wanna’ hear your excuses! The building has to be at least… three times bigger than this!”

Ben Stiller & Will Ferrell – Zoolander

(*modified text*)

About this image: Ilford 35mm film scan lightly manipulated

First Attempt at Light Painting

I recently came across an interesting article on light painting – and I gave it a try last night. There’s no expensive special equipment required – just your camera, a tripod, shutter release cable and a flashlight. Then, in low ambient light use long exposure times and the flashlight to ‘paint’ light on your subject(s). Blah blah blah. It is a lot of fun… and you can get some fairly interesting results.

What have I learned from all of this?

1. I need better subject matter.

2. There are apples buried in the back of our fridge (I have no idea how they got there).

3. I am not a wine drinker (evidence? label falling off old bottle and dirty, dirty glass).

*whew* That was fun. Now beer me, please!

About this image: Digital photo, 30 second exposure… at… f-11-ish? Moderately manipulated (quite a bit of dodging and burning with levels adjustment layers, etc.)