Sunset on Moonville Road

Sunset from Moonville-Hope Rd 04-17-2015_8864Curator Jessica and I were headed back to Athens, Ohio, after trekking over a muddy trail to the allegedly haunted Moonville Railroad Tunnel in Vinton County. (More about that soon.)

The sun was thinking hard about going down when we passed over a low-water crossing and saw the sky splashing orange over Raccoon Creek. When I spotted the house glowing dimly in the distance, it was time to stop for a photo.

The first photos were just a little bit “cool,” or blue, so I changed the color balance adjustment on my Nikon D3100 from “Auto” to “Shade” and dialed in a bit of blue because the orange was TOO orange.

I won’t say this was entirely faithful to what Mother Nature provided, but it’s close enough that I don’t feel guilty.

Drops of Rain

Rain Art 04-13-1967 16I had four situations on a roll of film: the St. Charles Hotel, the Indpendence traffic jam, the actual assignment (I’ll publish it later) and this random shot of rain drops.

I probably shot the assignment at the airport, then cruised around looking for stuff to burn up the rest of the roll.

There were four frames of the raindrops, but I like this one with a drop making its escape at the bottom the best.

The key to shooting something like this is to shoot so that only the important part of the photo is sharp. I probably used a 105mm or 200mm telephoto set at a wide aperture so there would be very little depth of field – in other words only a little of the frame would be sharp.

Through a screen fuzzily

Rain Art 04-13-1967 18This looks like it was shot though the screen on our side porch. It’s interesting, but not interesting enough that I was going to spend much time spotting out some ugly scratches at the bottom.

Nikon D7000

I got a box in the mail Tuesday with a shiny Nikon D7000 in it. I mentioned that my Nikon D3100 started hiccuping on my way back from Cape in March. I thought it might have gotten a bit sticky from experiencing cold weather. It turned out that a piece had been rattling around for almost a year after I crashed on my bike. It’s been out of service for a couple of weeks and a couple of hundred bucks.

(By the way, if you are interested in buying those cameras, click on the links and I’ll get a piece of the action to help pay for MY camera. Also BTW, the first link to the Nikon D7000 is for a body by itself. If you want the basic Nikkor 18-55mm lens with it, you’d go here.)

It dawned on me that had it crapped out at the beginning of the trip instead of the end, I’d have been in a lot of trouble. That gave me an excuse to buy a second, much improved camera body. That will also mean I don’t have to switch lenses when I use the 55-200mm lens birthday present the boys bought me.

The only thing is that I’ve had it almost 12 hours and I haven’t had the nerve to so much as put the camera strap on it. The operating manual is about as thick as War and Peace and just about as easy to understand as the Russian language version of the book.

I long for the days when I could eyeball the exposure, focus on what was important and change the shutter speeds and f/stops by feel. The camera shouldn’t be smarter than the photographer.

Wow, half a century

First Missourian picture 04-18-63I was talking with the Athens County Historical Society Museum curator Jessica Cyders this morning. She was putting together a bio for an upcoming exhibit and wanted to know when I got into the newspaper business. “April 17 – HEY! That’s today – 1963. I was 16 and didn’t even have my driver’s license when my first picture appeared on the front page of The Missourian.” Today would have been my Dad’s birthday, too. He would have been 96, which puts him on the verge of being old.”

Nearly Full Moon

97% Full Moon Cape Girardeau 02-23-2013

I was headed out the door to grab something to eat when Mother said, “There’s a full moon tonight.”

“Oh, I wish you hadn’t told me. I’m too tired to shoot it,” I lamented after a day of cutting wood. (I’m also too tired to write about THAT, too, despite promises I made on Facebook. It’ll come.)

That’s when I remembered my early birthday present from The Boys: my Nikon 55-200mm lens. How could I pass up a chance to see what THAT would do with the moon.

Not bad. It’s always more interesting if it’s lower in the sky and if it has some kind of interesting landmark in the foreground, but this will do for a lens test. You can click on it to make it larger.

Photo geek info

I shot the photo with my Nikon D3100. The ISO was 400 and the exposure was 1/320 @ f5/7. The lens was zoomed to the maximum 200mm, which would be the equivalent of 300mm on a standard 35mm film camera.

I underexposed five stops from what the meter indicated (because it was reading all that black sky). It was taken with manual focus instead of automatic because it kept wanting to either grab onto some tree limbs in the foreground or not fire at all because it didn’t think there was anything there. One of the nice things is that the focusing ring on that lens is big enough to grab; that’s not the case with my 18-55mm lens.

It would be a little sharper if I had bothered to drag a monopod or my new Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT tripod out of the car, but I was too tired and hungry to fool around with fancy stuff.

Oh, and when I got home, I found out that the moon wasn’t all the way full. It was only 97% full.

The Delta Windmill

Windmill outside of Delta 02-03-2013I don’t know if this is the Allen Henderson windmill I shot in the spring of 1967 on the Cape side of Delta along 25. There was another windmill missing all its blades about a tenth of a mile down the road that could have been it. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

The 1967 windmill

Allen Henderson windmill 06-06-1967

Here’s the 1967 photo. You can read more about the Allen Henderson Farm in my 2010 post.

Mother and I cruised down to check on storm damage at Dutchtown – we might have lost a piece of tin off one of the buildings – then we decided to see where the tornado touched down in Delta. The F1 tornado lifted the roof off a brick building, held it in the air over a car wash, then dropped it on a house. It missed all the normal tornado magnets – mobile homes. It could have been a lot worse.

On the way back, I saw the windmill spinning lazily and did a u-turn. There was no shoulder, so I had to park and walk about a quarter mile. The temps were in the 40s for a change, so I worked up a bit of a sweat under my coat on the way out with the wind behind me. The walk back, with a brisk wind in my face, was a bit chillier.

Not happy with the photos

Windmill outside of Delta 02-03-2013I didn’t shoot anything that I liked as well as the 1967 photo. The 18-55mm lens I use on my Nikon D3100 is great because it’s light and adequate for most things, but it wasn’t the piece of glass I needed today. My first shot was with these red berries in the foreground. They aren’t strong enough to carry the picture and the windmill is too small.

Similar shot isn’t much better

Windmill outside of Delta 02-03-2013I walked down the fenceline because I liked the tangle of weeds in the foreground, but the composition is still not quite right. If I had moved to the right just a little more, the fence post would have shifted to the left and it would have balanced the windmill better. Focus and depth of field is hard to judge with this lens, too. The focusing ring on the lens is tiny; it’s clearly designed for folks who are always going to use it on automatic.

Compositionally, the top shot is the best of the current pictures, but it would have been improved if I could have used a longer telephoto like in the original B&W photo. There are some interesting things happen with that tangle of brush around it that would be worth exploring. Oh, yes, and some cows would have helped.

Maybe I should have just kept on driving instead of doing the u-turn.