Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The nicest Brant I’ve ever met

No kidding. This was the nicest Brant that you’ll ever meet. I was walking along the lava flow in a protected bay area and I found this loan Brant grazing. A woman walked up to me and said, “He’s really friendly and you can walk right up to him.” I thanked her and took a safety shot. After all, I’ve been in this business long enough to know that birds have wings and they use them when they see a camera coming up to someone’s face. And the Brant we have here in Cape Ann will take off if you get within 100 yards of them. Yup, take a safety shot and work with the bird.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

If you’ve never seen a Brant, they are a little bit bigger than a Herring gull, but not much.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

But sure enough, this was the friendliest Brant that you’ll ever meet. Brant are rare visitors to Hawaii.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

This one was just too cool. More interested in munching that in me.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

More green stuff to graze on.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Tasty-delish.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Visit Watery Wednesday

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Princess Laura

©2012 Steve BorichevskyWe had winter on a Saturday this year. Last Saturday to be precise. It has been unseasonably mild all through December and January. So when this snow came, I though I better take advantage of it, force myself out and get some shots.

I went over to State Fish Pier here in Gloucester and bumped into the crew of the Princess Laura tending to the nets. They encouraged me to take some shots. It was quite a lot of fun and a challenge. If you caught last Sunday’s Shooting Scenes in a Snow Storm post, I really wanted to test my skills at outsmarting my camera.

Now here in Gloucester the boats need to take advantage of the season when the season is open. And if it means that there is work to be done, snow storm or not, it gets done.

I have to chuckle though. This snow was very much like the snow we got in Colorado. It was very fine and slippery. Just before I took this photo, I was walking around the nets and I hit some ice that was hidden under the snow. I had gear in my bag on my back and a camera in my left hand. It all happened in slow motion as I rolled my elbows inward and down protecting my exposed camera with my feet in the air somewhere out in front of me and down I went. Fortunately, Bumbles bounce and nothing was broken…including me.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Evening Creature Feature: Low Key Crab

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Back in Kona, Hawaii there are small, blackish crabs that inhabit the splash zones. These are Thin-shelled Rock Crabs, also known as 'a’ama.

This gives me another example to encourage you to outthink your camera. When I spied this crab, I decided to grab the shot because they are skittish and dash for cover.

As you can see, this is pretty neutral and gray. But since I shoot in RAW, I new that I could fix this in the darkroom when I got home.  However when it came to taking a second shot, I decided to decrease the exposure by 2/3rds of a EV. EV means Exposure Value, for us old timer’s, it’s a fancy name for stop.

If you caught my Shooting Scenes in a Snow Storm post last Sunday, you know what I’m up to. I’m giving you an example from the Dark Side. In last Sunday’s post, I increased the exposure to get whiter snow in my photos. In today’s photos, decreased the exposure to get darker darks. You see, the camera looks at this black lava rock and is going to try to make it gray lava rock. In order to get a correct exposure, I’m going to decrease the time the shutter is open.

Back to the first photo, I pulled the camera out of the bag, focused on the subject and squeezed the shutter release. The result was 1/125th of a second at f5.6, ISO 200. Now I knew what the result would be (gray), however I’m shooting RAW and if I’m off by a EV or three I will probably be able to fix it in the darkroom. If you’re shooting JPG for output, then you really need to understand what I’m up to here because you will not be able to correct over such a large latitude. Thus, you better get it close!

Since I’m was going to get a second shot and I’m sensed that I’ve had time to get closer to an ideal exposure, I set my exposure compensation to –2/3 EV. The result was 1/200th of a second, f5.6, ISO 200. See the difference? Much closer to where I need to be. It still needs tweaking, but you get the idea, right?

 ©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Now for the money shots. Again, I’m shooting at –2/3 EV.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Sometimes the black lava is on the gray side, but this crab is dead on.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Now I’m sorry to tell you this, and I don’t mean to throw stones at your gear, but chances are pretty slim that you’re going to get a shot like this without outfoxing your camera.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Not the best shot of the series, but I’m driving home a point today. This was the first crab shot from two days earlier. I shot this one at -1.0EV. In the darkroom I still took another 1/3EV off during post processing. Just saying, it’s not the first time I’ve done this.

 ©2012 Steve Borichevsky

That’s the tip, when shooting black cats in coal mines, decrease the shutter speed! Got out and try it. Now. Close the browser and grab your gear.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Forgotten Photo Friday, Death of a Goddess

The news came out a week ago Thursday that Kodak is filing for bankruptcy. My dad shot Ektachrome in his German made camera that was built during the Korean Conflict. It did not have a built-in light meter. He used to eyeball his exposures, which when I think about it was quite a trick since the lens stopped down when he set the aperture meaning that the light level through the pentaprism dimmed in proportion to the aperture.
But in every box of film came a little sheet of paper giving guidelines of how to expose the film in bright, cloudy and shady conditions. It was not the stone age but the beginning of the space age. Okay, we’re talking Sputnik here.
Kodak, what happened? You were the darling of Wall Street. Now you’re an OTC penny stock. Surely you were not a one trick pony but the mighty Kodachrome. (Anyone notice that I slipped two Paul Simon references in one sentence?)
Here in Massachusetts, we had Polaroid. Talk about an instant hit, you could see your pictures instantly. Well, almost instantly. You had to wait two or three minutes. Polaroid was pretty cool. The teenagers loved them. Professional and technical people used Polaroid because of their faithfulness to color and rapid results. High-end large format photographers had Polaroid backs for their cameras because you could take a shot, see the results, tweak it and then put the film back onto the camera. A great help and time saver.
Polaroid had kick ass, high end processes that the normal consumer new not what of. They developed a instant movie system that arrived on the market when video cameras and players became mainstream and never recovered. They were involved in the digital market, but couldn’t capture market share.IMG_0158
Sad. We get Julia Child re-runs from the ‘60s and ‘70s on our local PBS station. It proudly proclaims that the French Chef was sponsored by the Polaroid Corporation. I guess that will keep the brand name alive for new generation.
My first photography course was when I was a junior in high school. It was at a community college. My instructor referred to Kodak as the “Great Yellow Goddess”. Back then I was mucking around in a dark room that I built in the corner of the garage. It was just too cool to expose the photographic paper, dip it into the developer tray and see the image pop out. Magical.
I experimented with Agfa 64 and Kodachrome. I didn’t like the colors of Ectachrome, to blue. In my late 20’s I hopped over to Fujichrome 64 as I got into bird photography. I loved the colors and the tight grain as did a great deal of other wildlife shooters of the day.
Then along came children and I was carrying kids on my back instead of my gear. I took a 15 year hiatus.
In 2001, my mother remarried. At her wedding I was sitting at a table with a family friend who was a professional printer and my brother. They were talking about the new digital cameras. He had one in his hand. I was thinking exactly what our friend was about to say. “Digital would never replace film”, he said as he passed the camera over. Well, in that day consumer grade digital was pretty sad and I didn’t want to fool with it.
In 2004, Becky (bless her heart) gave me a digital point and shoot. A Cannon 3.2 Mpx PowerShot A70. It was pretty cool and I was surprised with the results. If you think I’m kidding, I took this wine bottle photo for our old wine blog and this graveyard picture. Both were shot with that old camera. Click on them to see a larger version. I’m telling you for its day, it did okay.
Click to enlarge. This was shot with an 3.2 Mpx Powershot A70.Click to enlarge. This was shot with an 3.2 Mpx Powershot A70.
But the problem was that it just didn’t perform like an SLR. The time lag after you pushed the shutter release drove me nuts. It scratched its nether regions while it figured out the exposure and then finally tripped the shutter. I was missing too may “moments” and I went DSLR and my love affair with photography was rekindled.
Do I miss the magic moments in the clean room when the image come onto the paper? It’s a tiny price to pay. What I don’t miss is pushing the button on the camera, finishing a roll, sending it off to the lab, getting the slides back only to find that I was off by a stop or three and there was nothing I could do about it. Face IMG_0191it, digital photography is really inexpensive. Not only instant gratification, but instant correction. Besides, my “darkroom” is a lot more comfortable and doesn’t smell up the garage.
But I am sorry that the Big Yellow Goddess has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. George Eastman made photography accessible to the masses. Kodak made the digital innovation but was not able to execute. In my estimation, Kodak Board of Directors must have been asleep at the switch. How could you pioneer digital photography and let it slip through your fingers? And what now? Now they are suing Samsung and Apple for patent infringement. (Can you do that if you’re out of business?) I don’t understand this anymore than I understand IBM screwing up the kazillion dollar PC innovation. It don’t make no sense.
Polaroid is dead. IBM is still blue chip. Kodak? We will have to see. You never know. I understand that you can still buy buggy whips.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Becky’s Plover

No, the American Ornithological Union didn’t get together and rename this bird. It is a Pacific Golden Plover. I owe this one to Becky, who is not a birder. She said, “Hey, there’s a plover!” And what a cool plover it is.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

I’ve always been a bit jealous of blogging buddy Chris for his spectacular Golden Plover shots. Now I’ve got some of my own. The Pacific Golden Plover is a winter migrant to the Hawaiian Islands, so I’m going to rack this one up as a life bird, since it is supposed to be here.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

What a thrill. This was on our second day in Kona. It turns out that they are fairly common, but never-the-less, it is a really cool bird!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Along the walk to ‘Akaka Falls

Along the short walk to the viewing platform of 'Akaka Falls one finds some wonderful gems.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A side trip to ‘Akaka Falls

Welcome to Akaka Falls State Park on the Big Island. If you find yourself on the east side, take a side trip up to 'Akaka Falls. It is a wonderful sight. This is the view as you reach the park.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

A shot walk and the falls opens up for a grand view. That’s 442 feet for top to bottom.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

A detail of the top.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Spilling down below.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

It is just a wonderful place.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Visit Watery Wednesday

Monday, January 23, 2012

Japanese White-eye

Continuing with photos taken on our Hawaii trip, today I have photos of another alien species, the Japanese White-eye. In Japan, this bird is know as Mejiro. It was introduced to Hawaii somewhere around 1927 as part of an insect control plan. This bird has done very well as they utilize a wide variety of food sources, including insects, larvae, fruits and nectar. This has helped make it the most common bird on the Hawaiian Islands.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Our condo had a balcony on the second floor where I had my breakfast. This made it a great spot to get photos if the White-eyes as they came through in the morning.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Yes, you’re a cutie.

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