Reed's Photography Blog
Covering photography, travel, food and whatever else comes to mind!
Several people have approached me asking what type and what brand of camera they should purchase. The main rule to follow in deciding what camera to purchase would be for you to be honest with yourself and decide which camera, of the many types, would you most likely carry with you the most. If you don’t want to carry around extra lenses, filters, tripod, and other gadgets, then purchasing a digital DSLR would probably not work well for you. For years I used a Sony camera that would fit in my shirt pocket. It took great photos and I would still be using it now if it had not been stolen. If you want to take total control of your camera then I would recommend a digital DSLR. As for brand, when it comes to Nikon or Canon, I usually tell them it’s like Ford and Chevrolet. Just pick the brand that works best for you because they are both great camera manufacturers and produce an extensive line of products. Sony and Samsung are also getting into the digital DSLR camera business. I have no personal experience with either of these brands when it comes to their DSLR products. My guess is they are both good but lack the extensive lens and accessory selection that Nikon and Canon offer.
No matter what brand or type of camera you own or purchase, it would benefit you to read the manual. If you don’t like the manual that comes with the camera, there are numerous aftermarket manuals for almost every camera on the market. You can find a “For Dummies” manual for Nikon, Canon and some of their accessories. If you don’t understand something in the manual, you can look up the word or phrase in “Google”. “Google” is a wonderful avenue to direct you to free sites which will help you learn more about how to use your camera.
Once you purchase your digital camera, or if you already have a camera, I strongly recommend you set your camera to take the highest resolution possible. If you reduce the resolution you can fit more photos onto the camera’s storage card, but having more photos is not as important as having the highest resolution possible. In your computer you can always reduce the size of the image, but you can never increase the size of the image. With my first digital camera, not fully understanding digital at the time, I set my camera on a very low resolution so I could store more photos on the storage card. The kids and I took a trip to New York City and I was able to take lots of photographs and not change my storage card. The only problem was I got some great shots and had photos I wanted to print, but the resolution was so low I could only blow the image up to a 5”X7” photo. You need high resolution to produce the larger prints. So keep the resolution as high as possible.
Here are some of the photos I took in New York City back in 2005 with a Sony Digital pocket camera:
I always told Ryan this would be his first album cover if he continued to pursue music.
Travis looks like a native New Yorker - except for the cap.
Great shot of old Yankee's Stadium. Very unique experience.
The passed out bum on the left is none other than my good friend John Young.
Near Ground Zero.
For those of you who don't know this is the "Naked Cowboy".
This was the second game we took in. The 6'10" pitcher on the mound is Randy Johnson.
The two photos above are of Central Park.
Just the tip of the Empire State Building on a hazy day.
I will leave you with this photo that I took in the airport as we were leaving. I had to do a double take when I saw this pilot hanging out the window to clean the windshield of his 737. This was a first for me.
If you have never been to New York City, I would encourage you to go when you have the chance. I have been twice and I'm ready to go back. It does not have to be as expensive as you might think. Hotels are expensive, but you can find deals if you are willing to stay away from the tourists areas. I was told that food was going to be one of my most expensive items. I found that not to be true. You can eat in "Little Italy" for less than an average meal in Houston. There are, what seems to me to be, hundreds of restauraunts in "Little Italy". Besides "Little Italy" there are 'mom and pop' deli's throughout New York with simple food for reasonable prices.
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Wikitravel describes Chaco Culture National Historical Park as "a major unit of the United States National Park system located within Navajo Nation in northwest New Mexico." I have always known the area as 'Chaco Canyon' and have always wanted to travel there. Chaco Canyon preserves ancestral pueblos of prehistoric American Indian tribes. It has been on my travel list for many years, since friends have repeatedly told me it was a 'must see.' In October of 2012, Mary and I started our trip to Chaco Canyon. She talked with me for quite some time about camping in the area. I've done my share of camping and it is not exactly what I live for these days, but knowing that Chaco Canyon lies 17 miles northwest of any paved road, I figured it was the only option. We purchased all new equipment before leaving, thank goodness for Walmart! I did not want to go high end because I felt there was a good chance this might be the one, and only, time we used the equipment. We purchased food and other supplies in Albuquerque before heading to the park on New Mexico highway 550. Shortly after leaving highway 550 we hit 17 miles of the roughest gravel washboard roads I have ever been on. No AAA out here!
We arrived and set up camp in the designated camping area. You can see me in the left side of the photo keeping first watch for any hostile Indians. This had to be one of the most remote areas I have ever camped. The Park Rangers, whom I usually find to be friendly, were somewhat distant. I got the feeling they did not want us there. Perhaps they were upset about being assigned to a park in the middle of nowhere. Regardless, we rarely met them during our stay.
This was one of the first photographs I took of the ruins, and yes, the sky was really that blue. It's a difficult area to photograph because everything is the same color. I asked one of the Park Rangers if I could take photos of a certain area before sunrise, but apparently this was allowed. He kindly explained the fine for passing the gate before 7:00 a.m.
I found black and white to be the best medium to photograph the ruins. The contrast of the black and white shows the details of the architecture better than color photos.
This photo depicts one of the largest kivas in the park. Most kivas are round, much smaller in size, and do not have any structures inside. Again, the contrast of black and white provides a great view.
As you can see from the size of the wall, this was a thriving community at one time.
There were numerous pictographs throughout the park. After a 3.5 mile hike during mid-afternoon temperatures in the high 90's, we finally reached the last pictograph known as the "Super Nova". Mary and I both had water and good hiking boots, but after the 7.0 mile round-trip hike we both had blisters from walking in sand as fine as baby powder. These are two photos of the "Super Nova".
What's unusual about these particular pictographs is they are red in color, where all others we had seen were just etched into the rock. They are in remarkable condition located just underneath an outcrop of rock. This provided a great deal of protection from the weather over the years.
Some of the local wildlife hanging around the camp. Below are some photos of our camp.
The next photo is not only my favorite of the trip, but one of my most favorite photos so far.
I shot this photo just after sunrise. It was extremely cold, so we decided to drive to the ruins just to warm up in the truck. The environment was typical desert with hot afternoons and freezing nights. Despite a few hardships, we had a great trip! If it's something you are interested in, I would encourage you to make the trip. My only warning would be to think twice before taking children, especially small children, to this area. There are many things here that sting, bite or stick you. Not to mention you are miles from medial care.
A few weeks back I was privileged to be invited as a second photographer at a wedding reception and "reveal" that was being held at the NASA Space Center. Kia Lerner is a local Pearland photographer who I would like to thank for giving me the opportunity to accompany him as a second shooter for this event. Check out his web site at www.kailerner.com. It was a unique experience to be able to photograph an event such as this at NASA (It's still the Johnson Space Center to me). The couple met while working together there at the center and the groom actually proposed to his bride to be there at the center. Here is the actual location of the proposal:
Besides photographing the event we were privileged to be escorted around the facility by two people who knew the facility well. They were quick to point out areas of interest that would have been over looked by most on a general public tour. Several items there at NASA are original items that were actually flown in space. It is a great place to visit. If you have not been lately you are in for a treat when you go.
As the second shooter I was assigned to take photos of the groom while he was preparing for the reveal. The "reveal" is where the groom sees the bride for the first time in her gown. The couple decided to have their wedding reception before the actual wedding. Their plans were to depart to Cabo the next week where they would be married. So they both dressed, the groom in his tux and the bride in her gown, and then we photographed the first few moments when for the first time the groom saw the bride in her gown. Here are a few of the photos I took of the groom with the best man before the reveal:
My shots of the reveal were limited. Kia Lerner uses Canon equipment and I use Nikon, so the lighting set up could not be triggered by both the Canon and Nikon. Kia photographed most all of the reveal. I was forced to use such a high ISO (because I could not let my flash interfere with Kia's light set up) that most all of my reveal photos were somewhat grainy. Here is a photo I took during the reveal but unfortunately it was photo bombed by Kai:
I did learn a very valuable lesson as I usually do when I shoot any of these events. What's that saying "I learn more from my mistakes than I ever do from my successes". This is a mistake I should have already seen coming. We walked outside to photograph the bride and groom leaving. We had been inside a very cold building for several hours and then walked outside into a warm humid environment. Needless to say my lens fogged up and stayed fogged up for several minutes. I told Kai to go ahead and photograph the bride and groom coming out so everyone did not have to wait outside in the humidity while my lens cleared. I was a sport and went ahead and took a few photos thinking "who knows maybe the fog will create a special effect". You be the judge:
I can't end with that photo so I will leave you with a couple of my favorite from the reception:
Father and daughter dance together after the first dance
A little cake adjustment!
Well I hope everyone enjoyed the photos as much as I enjoyed showing them. Be sure to post a comment below and let me know what you think about the blog, web site, and photos.
My first blog posting on my web site, I guess I should say my first blog ever. My blogging will cover the subjects of photography, travel and some food. I was not sure where to begin so let's just start at the beginning. I first developed a love for photography in high school. Junior year was one full year of black and white photography. I can't remember my teacher's name but she always wore scarves around her neck and she was pretty hot. We always thought she was wearing the scarves to hide the hickies. Senior year was mostly color photography instructed by Mr. Dolan. Can't believe I can still remember his name. I think it was my involvement in these high school classes that made me appreciate photography as an art form.
Here is a photograph of my grandfather that I took in high school. I used a process called Kodalith to get this effect. The process turns every aspect of the photograph to black or white. Two negatives were sandwiched together and I had to paint over the areas I wanted to show as white with opaque paint. The process took hours back then and would only take minutes today with Photoshop.
I entered this photograph into the local newspaper photo contest and won 1st prize. I think it was a whopping $5.00. I was hooked and have been hooked ever since.
I lost track of this photo until recently. I found the newspaper clipping my mother had saved and I was able to restore the photograph. I'm glad to have the photograph back but was wish even more I could have my grandfather back.
In the future I will blog about some of the photos I have taken along with blogs about camera selection, lenses, and basic camera techniques that everyone should learn.
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