Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Lights 2020

For two consecutive nights in December I took out my new Canon EOS R6 and Tamron 24-70mm lens capturing images of Christmas lights in my neighborhood and at Phoenix ZooLights.

Around the neighborhood, I decided to go auto ISO.   There were some images that the camera selected the highest ISO of 102,400.   I was obviously very worried about grain in those photos and sure enough, I got some.   SOME.   Not overwhelming grain.   Most were fixable in post processing with Lightroom and sometimes with Luminar.   

The next night, we went to Phoenix ZooLights.   Here, I decided to go with an ISO set to 6400.  I wanted to test the in camera and in lens stabilization.   

On both nights, the photos showed very little motion blur, so the stabilization was a vast improvement over previous Canon cameras.   

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Jim Patterson

Click the photo below to see all the images from my neighborhood...

Click the photo below to see all the images from Phoenix ZooLights...

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Japanese Friendship Garden "Illumination 2020"

The Japanese Friendship Garden in downtown Phoenix opened its gates at night to what they called "Illumination 2020.".   The pathways and lake were lit with colored lights, giving off a surreal feeling.   

It was so very dark!   I had to walk gingerly because the footpath was so hard to see.   

I recently purchased the Canon EOS R6 and was anxious to test it out in extremely low light conditions.  My lens was the Tamron 24-70mm.   All images were captured with the lens fully open to f/2.8.   I put the camera in AUTO ISO, knowing full well I might have some grain in the photos.   Everything was hand held.   

Post processing was done in Lightroom.   

I do believe I'll do some additional low light photography in my own neighborhood as there are some lovely Christmas lights out!

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Jim Patterson

.... and all of the photos!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Lake Pleasant Arizona October 2020

Lake Pleasant Marina
A lovely day in the desert this October day, with temperatures in the lower 80s.   This is the marina at Lake Pleasant, a man-made lake in Peoria, Arizona, just a few miles to the northwest of Phoenix.   

Just outside of Dillon's restaurant (by the way, I am addicted to their barbecue beans) there was a water slide tower.   I captured a few images of people going off that thing.

Today's purpose was to take the naturalists boat cruise around the lake.   Lots of things to learn.   

There is fishing in the lake.   There is bass and what we called panfish from my youth in Michigan.   

On the shoreline on the north side of the lake has wild burros.   The tour guide said those burros are the descendants of gold miners from a hundred years ago or more.   When the gold ran out, the miners left everything there including their animals.  

And, we are in the Sonoran Desert, so the shoreline also had a number of saguaros.   

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Jim Patterson

View the entire collection of images by clicking HERE!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Odysea Aquarium 3 October 2020

Odysea Aquarium is located on the north side of Scottsdale Arizona.   I've been here before and it is a fascinating place to visit, especially since it brings the ocean to the Sonoran Desert.

I specifically visited at 9am on 3 October to capture images to enter a photowalk contest sponsored by Kelby.  

Here is the photo I entered in the contest....  

If you plan to visit Odysea or any other aquarium to photograph, a little pre-planning can save you time and frustration.   

Lighting is usually dark'ish with various colors coming in.   One less thing to worry about is the ISO setting, so I set it to "auto ISO."   You are going to have photos with very high ISO and that may mean some grain, so in post processing, you might have to control that.   

Today I used a Canon 24-240mm lens opened all the way, which let in the most amount of light.   I was living in f/4 for that lens.   My camera body is the Canon EOS R.   Other lenses I could have used include the Canon 50mm f/1.4, the Canon 24-105mm, or the Tamron 24-70mm.  

Do I have to say it?  NO FLASH.  It won't do you any good anyway and it will cause security to either ask you to stop or leave the aquarium.  

No tripods.  Don't even try it.   Especially if you go during their busy hours.   I went at 9am when they first opened, so there were few people there.   I'd also try two hours before their closing.    

You will be shooting through glass a
nd into water, plus the sea creatures are liking going to be moving.   This could create havoc with your auto focusing.   So take several shots of the same thing.   I took in total about 158 shots and kept only 51.  Nothing much you can do with an out of focus image except hit the delete key. 

Frame your photo and watch for distractions in the background.   In this case, there are reflections from other lights in the area, like red "exit" signs!   So move your feet around to minimize these distractions.  As careful as I was, I still found these pesky reflections in the images I captured.   I used "content aware fill" in Photoshop to take care of most of these issues.  

I shot in "raw" format.   I post processed in Lightroom and Photoshop (mostly to get rid of distractions) and often used Luminar 4 to give the images a bit more pop.   

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Click HERE or on the photo below to view all of the images from Odysea Aquarium!


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Prescott Arizona August 2020

By August of 2020, the Wuhan Virus and the intense heat of Phoenix got quite old.  So I had to get out and go somewhere.   I didn't want to go by plane or travel long distances.  I thought it best to stay within Arizona.   Prescott called!   It's a mile high city and certainly will be cooler than Phoenix.   I checked directions and it said base camp (Forest Villas) was an hour and a half away!   

Lots to do and see in Prescott.   My equipment:  Canon EOS R, Canon 24-240mm lens and, for Forest Villas interior shots, the Tamron 15-30mm lens and Manfrotto tripod.   

Downtown Prescott's focu
s is the lovely Yavapai courthouse.   Around that area are plenty of places to shop and eat.  

Not far away is Watson Lake.  

... and a sample of wildflowers there!  

Forest Villas has beautiful interiors, so I took shots on a Manfrotto tripod with a Tamron 15-30mm lens, all high dynamic range (three photos combined into one) post edited with Lightroom and Luminar 4.

They had a lovely white piano on the main floor, too.   

Outside of Prescott was Granite Creek Vineyards.  Time to get a bottle of wine!   Here's a peek at their vineyard.

And a close up of the grapes!  

And a visit to the Heritage Park Zoo!  

Downtown, the Hassyampa Inn has beautiful interiors filled with antiques!  

The Inn has the oldest elevator in Arizona, too.   It's a "fun" ride, folks.   

Oh yes, the Verde Canyon Railroad... a three hour trip through the Verde Valley!  Go first class... they have a bar on board and a snack tray.   

The Sharlot Hall Museum downtown is a must visit.   You will learn much about early Arizona.   Prescott was the territorial capital too.  I took this shot in a nearly dark room, by the way.   

Finally, a last visit downtown... Salvatore the "Grumpy Sicilian" makes the best pizza in town.  He's on Whiskey Row, across from the county courthouse.  Tell him I sent you.   

And a downtown protest.  One group had a beef with the local animal pound; the other group was protesting the Wuhan Virus lockdown in Arizona.

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Watch the entire slideshow below!





Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Vintage Planes in Prescott 7 June 2020

Canon graciously sponsored a shoot with vintage airplanes and models with Explorer of Light Bruce Dorn.   A few years ago, I took a class with Bruce photographing models in Oak Creek Canyon.  He has a cinematography background from Hollywood and is a treat to work with.

We had a few hours to capture images of vintage World War Two planes with models!

I captured images with a Canon EOS R and Tamron 15-30mm wide angle.   Post processing with Lightroom and Luminar 4 (quickly becoming my go-to Lightroom plugin!).   

I bought the Tamron wide angle based on reviews and how nice it would work with astrophotography and real estate.   But look how well it worked photographing planes!

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Watch the entire slideshow below!

Bull Riding at the Buffalo Chip 6 June 2020

Cave Creek is a neat western town minutes north of Phoenix and Scottsdale.   I've always considered it an escape from the city.   But this #$%$ virus has shut so much down.   People were cooped up and wanted out.   

So the Buffalo Chip opened up their little arena on the 6th of June to feature bull riding.  We sat in the VIP section and it was perfect for photography.   I used a Canon EOS R and a Canon 24-240mm lens.   I think the longest reach I used was around 100mm, that's how close I was to the action.

They had four sessions of about eight cowboys a session.  

There were some amatuer riders and some darn good professional riders.  You could tell the difference.  And it made for great action to capture!

And between one of the sessions, they brought out the little cowboys and cowgirls in something called "mutton busting."

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Watch the entire slideshow below!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Photography Around the House

I, like everybody else in the world, had a lot of time waiting out the #$%$@ virus.   I spent much of that time thinking  about things to photograph

Driving around my neighborhood, I saw flowers I didn't have.   So I marked down houses I wanted to visit.   I also had plants and flowers I wanted to photograph in my own yard. 
I tried using a telephoto lens for close ups using natural light.   I also used a Canon EOS R, Canon 100mm macro lens, and Canon 14-EX-II ring lite for times when a plant or flower was partially in shade.  

One day I was in the back with my Canon EOS R and Tamron 100-400mm lens. 

And two birds showed up.

Both photos post processed in Lightroom and Luminar 4. 

And I worked on some home food and product photos, as well.  I mostly used the Canon 100mm macro lens.

The moon was full in April.  But it was in the wrong place, directly behind me.   So I photographed the moon, then photographed my back yard.   Then, put the moon in my backyard photo with Photoshop.   

From mid-March on, I also went to many webinars sponsored by Photoshelter, Canon, and probably the best from Tamron.   I'm also a Tamron VIP member, so if you have Tamron lenses check out the VIP section to see if you are eligible.   

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,