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11 posts from March 2004

March 22, 2004

Cats for Dan

I had comment from my friend Dan about taking pictures of Cats using the fisheye lens.

This is for you Dan.

March 20, 2004

Dogs with Fisheye

I have always been a fan of images with dogs shot with a fisheye lens. Everytime I see one I have to laugh, they are just so funny. Since getting my new fisheye lens last week, I have been doing a bunch of pictures of Murphy and his friends. I have come to realize it's not an easy task to get a great dog picture using a fisheye. It requires just the right angle, light, pose and background. I've managed to get a few fisheye dog images that I really like but still require a little refinement in the technical aspects of the photograph (like exposure and focus).

Some tips and tricks I have learned so far.
- Keep the sun to your back at an angle to your left or right shoulder. It's very easy to end up casting an unwanted shadow on your subject. The closer the lens is to your subject, the more difficult.
- Carry a lens cleaning cloth. When shooting dogs really close, your are most definitely going to get the front of you lens wet (dog lick, saliva flying, etc.). Keep the front of the lens clean because even a finger print is easy to show up in your final image. Also remember to take lots of care with the front of the lens since most fisheyes cannot take a front protection filter.
- Get down on your knees and lean forward, be sure to keep yourself out of the frame (unless you know it will be cropped out).
- Learn what effect each lens angle and tilt will have on the final image. The only way to get the shot might be holding the camera in a position that you can't get yourself in to look through the viewfinder. Basically, learn to shoot blind.
- Find a dog with character and make it your goal to figure out how to represent that character in your photograph (this goes for all types of the Dog photography).

OK, now some of the images.

I love the first image because of Murphy's pose. This is something does when he is playing and is so happy, he seems to run over and say "Thank you dad, thank you dad!", and then run back off to play. If you look close in the background you will notice his friend Mack running into the frame to come see Murph. The only thing I'd like to see diffirent is getting rid of the powerlines.

The next image makes me crack up everytime I look at it. Murphy's favorite place is in your face or nuzzled into your chest. When he does it, you end up getting a big wet nose all over you. Technically this image needs some help. His eyes are a black hole, focus is too shallow and that white car in the background needs to go.

The final image is my favorite. This is a picture of Murphy's girlfriend Chloe that I took today. I love everything about this image. The funny part about it is that Chloe makes this face, all the time and if you look at her feet you will see a little part of Murphy laying the ground. That's because Chloe always jumps on him and he falls over loving every minute of it (and Chloe is more than 30 lbs lighter than Murph).

March 18, 2004

Lens collection is complete

Yesterday I finally finished my lens collection by purchasing the long sought after Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8 Fisheye. I have always wanted a Fisheye lens and when Nikon announced their 10.5mm lens made for digital cameras, I drooled everytime I would see one. I have a big photo shoot coming up in just over a week and I had to get this lens before than.

I have a ton of ideas on things to shoot with the Fisheye, and my first one was completed today. It didn't come out exactly as I wanted, but I'll get a chance to try again soon. I found it very difficult to isolate a flower with a blue sky background because the Fisheye is such a wide angle lens. I need to find another group of orange Poppies somewhere in a large field with no electrical wires or buildings nearby. I'd also like more puffy white clouds in the sky and remember to set my camera back to ISO 200 (I accidently left my camera at ISO 1000 today - rookie move).

And another from yesterday, a couple hours after I purchased the lens.

March 14, 2004

3 Mile Surf

Yesterday Sharon and I went to Santa Cruz early in the morning to shoot some surfing photos using my new lens. The weather was very foggy, making for some somewhat dreary images, but I really like a few of them. The lighting kind of gives them the feeling like they have soul.

As always, you can find the entire gallary on my PBase.com site in the sports section.

The new lens rocks! Its got a great reach, super fast autofocus and is very sharp. To go along with it I purchased a new Gitzo 1377M tripod head and a Wimberly Sidekick. The Sidekick is simply amazing. If you ever purchase a long heavy lens, get a Wimberly head. They allow the lens to rotate around its center of gravity making the lens feel almost weightless. Best of all, if you let go of the lens and camera, they stay were they were or slowly move back to being centered. Very cool! No more worries about forgetting to tighten down my tripod head each time I let go of the camera.

March 11, 2004

Slinky Pop Art

I ordered a few Slinkys to use as props for some studio pictures and I finally got them tonight. For my first picture I decided to try and do something Retro or Pop Art like in the name of Slinky. Here is the result.

For the lighting I used a single large flouresent lamp with a diffusion dome to the left of the camera and a white reflector on the opposite side. Exposure was set manually taking a meter reading off the box. The only photoshop work was bumping the saturation +75, very small bump in white level and sharpening.

March 10, 2004


I've always loved taking pictures of my pets (mainly my dog Murphy) but I have never given any serious thoughts about taking it further. I mean, people are fanatical about their pets and are probably more likely to spend more on a portrait of their pet than they would of a picture of their family. Who wouldn't want to honor their wonderful companion by putting a really professional portrait of Fido above the fireplace?

I've been all over the web looking for pet photographers and have found several that are wonderful and MANY that I hope didn't quit their day jobs to become a photographer.

Here are some of my favorites:
Sutton Studios
Jim Dratfield - Petography (apparently he has trademarked "Petography")
Old Yeller's Revenge

And finally, a couple shots I did last night after being inspired by those websites.

I have a smile from ear to ear

A special thanks to everyone who helped me track down the new Nikon 200-400mm lens. I got several leads as to which stores had the lens in stock however all of them sold out before I tried to put my order in. Late last night I got an email from someone (thanks Phillip) letting me know that Norman Camera in Kalamazoo, MI had the lens in stock. I placed my order just after midnight last night and after a call this morning, the lens in the mail heading west.

As a special thanks, I'm sending Phillip a framed 8x10 print of one of my photographs, his choice. Thanks again Phillip.

March 08, 2004

Come on Nikon, let me give you my money

Nikon does this all the time. They announce a new product, months go by, then they finally start shipping the product but in very limited quantities. Camera stores end up with waiting lists and prices on eBay rocket up. The only way of getting your hands on the camera or lens is to get on a waiting list very early (before you even get a chance to see a review), pay a premium on eBay or get lucky and walk into a camera store at the same moment they get one in stock.

Nikon announced the new 200-400mm f4 VR lens over a year ago and just recently began shipping the thing. I've called store after store and no one has them in stock or they have a waiting list so long it's not worth getting on. I did find one store that had a few in stock but they sold out within a few hours. Now this is a $5500 lens with people lining up to buy it, and still Nikon won't ship it in large quantities. I say won't because I have heard from several people that Nikon has the products in their warehouses, but for some unknown reason likes to creep them out the door. Come on Nikon! Let me give you my money.

If anyone has a line on one of these lenses, please let me know. I'm ready to purchase it immediately.

March 07, 2004

A new baby is born

Our best friends Dave and Alison gave birth to Owen Davis on March 3rd 2004. Way to go guys.

Owen was 8lbs 2oz.

March 05, 2004

Bob Martin, Sports Photographer

Bob Martin is one of my favorite sports photographer. Check out his website and you'll see why. I aspire to create images like these. The emotion his images capture, is nothing short of amazing.