Category Archives: Photography

Toyota FT1 Photos

Photos of the new Toyota FT1 sports car, which was displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit MI. I don’t know if my photos will do it justice, but the car really does look good up close and in the flesh. This is supposed to be the replacement for the legendary Toyota Supra. Enjoy the photos, while I continue testing this theme :)

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Sunrise Photos

I love photographing the sunrise, the serenity before the day begins and watching the wildlife wake up and get moving is always magical. There are so many colors and moods that can be found during that short window of time. Last weekend I went to Hoover Reservoir in central Ohio to capture some sunrise photos. I got there around 6.15am because I wanted to capture the scene well before the sun came up. A few minutes before sunrise the light changes really quickly and the drama and moodiness fades away within perhaps 5 or 10 minutes. I’ve shot photos at Hoover Reservoir before, but never at this location. When I arrived it was still quite dark so I needed a flashlight to navigate through the terrain.

This shot was taken at 6.36am, 45 minutes before sunrise and required a 30 second exposure at f/16, ISO 200
Before sunrise

When photographing water, a long a exposure will smooth out the waves and ripples into a lovely, soft, smooth surface, reflecting the colors in the sky.

As the sun starts to get close to the horizon, the clouds are alight with yellows, oranges and reds, making the trees on the skyline look like they’re on fire. There’s a lot more light now, so this only required an exposure of 0.8s at f/16 and ISO 200.

trees on fire

This is the time when animals start stirring and moving around, looking for their breakfast. By now the light levels are rising rapidly and the colors are changing as the sunlight takes a more tangential path through the atmosphere. Capturing this gaggle of geese only required 1/80s at f/16 and ISO200.

gaggle of geese

We’re still seeing highly diffused reflected light as it’s bouncing off the clouds, but once the sun breaks the horizon, the direct sunlight casts warm, strong beams providing a lot more contrast between the highlights and deep shadows. This makes metering the scene a bit more difficult for the camera and really starts to stretch its EV range. Fortunately with combination of modern image processing software and recording images in the uncompressed RAW format, the highlights can be tamed and details brought out from the shadows. None of these images were processed using HDR techniques. To be honest I did try with a couple out of curiosity, but wasn’t thrilled with the results for these images.

warm tones, harder light source

This last shot was taken at 1/60s at f/16 and ISO200.

Only one hour passed from the first to the last photo, but it’s such an interesting time of day as there’s such a huge transformation in not only the light but the wildlife and photographic opportunities. Composition is also very different depending on whether the sun is above or below the horizon. If the sun is visible in the sky, shooting towards it will usually create lens flare, which can be used artistically, but most photographers try to avoid it.

If you get the chance, head out to a location before sunrise with your camera, the range of photos you can capture within one hour is amazing. Be sure to head over to my flickr stream as there are a few more photos from this shoot that I didn’t post here.

Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012

Misty Blues Skydiving Team at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012
Misty Blues Skydiving Team at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012
The weather forecast before I left said it was going to feel like 112 degrees. I don’t think I’ve ever felt 112, but it was certainly a lot of degrees, I can tell you. Despite the searing heat I was able to take in some fantastic aviation showmanship at the Vectren Dayton Air Show and even capture some of it with my camera gear. I rented a Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 lens which, coupled with my Nikon, can zoom in and count the barnacles off a sperm whale from the other side of the Atlantic. I also had a monopod with me but found it was better hand holding the big green monster and letting it hang off my black rapid strap between flyovers. A sore back and shoulders were a small price to pay for the enhanced handling.

I had brought enough water and salty snacks to carry me through to September, but I didn’t want to take a chance, since I still had to drive home alone. I’m quite sure I drank enough water that, if I were a camel I would have grown a third hump on my back.

Twin F-16 Fighting Falcons at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012
Twin F-16 Fighting Falcons at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012

The first fast movers to roar by were a pair of F-16 Fighting Falcons, driven by some immensely talented gentlemen, then there was the customary barnstorming biplane, piloted by Gene Soucy and another more modern, the Porsche 911 version if you will, flown by Mike Goulian, in his German Extra 330C.

When I was there two years ago I witnessed a mock D-Day attack with B-17s gracefully strolling by, but this year they had something a little more animated for us. In their place were eight Japanese fighters and bombers from the movie Tora Tora Tora. They swooped, circled and dived down for what felt like half the afternoon, while chest pounding pyros were set off sending great plumes of thick chewy smoke into the air. The wind direction ensured that the crowd got a mouthful of it.

Japanese Zeros at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012
Japanese Zeros at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012

There was even a British Sea Harrier flown by Art Nalls, an ex Marine aviator and Harrier test pilot. After success in real estate ended up buying his own, which he keeps in Maryland, near the sea I presume. If you think Land Rover parts are expensive, I can’t imagine the cost of maintaining a Sea Harrier. Perhaps he keeps it in Maryland so he can fly over for an oil change and check up.

What airshow is not complete without the skydiving team? The Misty Blues were to fulfill that obligation, an all women team lead by Cindy Irish who has over 2,100 jumps under her belt. Then as Gene Soucy flew his Grumman Showcat, a perfectly good bi-plane I might add, Theresa Stokes decided to climb out and stand on the top wing and pose. She has to be stark raving mad especially since she wasn’t even wearing a parachute.

More historic aircraft were shown to us, by way of the A-4B Skyhawk, the same plane that John McCain was shot down in, the P-51 mustang and two F-4 Phantoms. The mustang named “Quick Silver” was privately owned and had a special paint job commemorating veterans and paying tribute to various branches of the military. The two Phantoms were actually QF-4s, named so because they were fitted with remote control devices turning them into multi-million dollar RC toys. During the weekends they’re used as part of the Air Combat Command’s Heritage Flight, while during the not weekend days they’re used for target practice. We were told, eventually they’d be shot down, probably a fitting end for a fighter aircraft, like a ship’s captain I presume.

Blue Angels Diamond Formation at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012
Blue Angels Diamond Formation at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012

Last but not least were the Blue Angels and their amazing precision flying. These guys were so cool I’m sure they could text and fly while eating Klondike with one hand hanging out the window. In close formation there’s a mere 18 inches between the tip of a wing and the canopy of the next guy. If you’re reading this on a laptop, the size of your screen diagonally might be 17 inches, just add one more, then imagine hurtling through the air at over 400 miles an hour trying to maintain that distance, while not getting bonked on the head by the wing on the other side, simply unbelievable.

It was a very hot day, but I was glad to make it back in one piece with no major sunburn or heat stroke, which is probably a first for me. Viewing the photos online really doesn’t do the air show justice because you don’t get to smell the smoke, get deafened by the afterburners, or end up with a crick on your neck, but if you want to see more of my photos, head on over to my Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012 set on flickr.

Memorial Day 2011

On Memorial Day, the Rotary club here in Westerville, along with volunteers from many other organizations planted 2,500 flags, into what is called the Field of Heroes. It pays tribute to the sacrifices given by the many people in harms way, in order to protect our rights and freedoms. I missed photo opportunities in previous years for various reasons, but was adamant that I was going to capture the field this year.

On Monday morning I arrived at the field around 5.40am which gave me just enough time to scout for some good locations before the beautiful sunrise hit. From the weather forecast I knew there were going to be some clouds in the sky so I hoping for some crepuscular rays (aka God Rays). Below is one of the images I captured and processed into an HDR image from 5 separate frames.

Field of Heroes - Memorial Day 2011

Thank you to the Yahoo Editor who chose this image to appear in the Memorial Day gallery on Flickr alongside other wonderful images.