80D

Nifty-Fifty Day

Today I wanted to have a little fun and do shot some images with a lens that I haven't used in a while, but really love to use. I wanted to go out on this beautiful day in Jamestown North Carolina and shoot some images with my old trusty Canon EF 1.8 50mm lens. I really had no real subjects in mind for my trip into town. However, I wanted to see if I could capture any nice photos in my little town. My goal was to find some images within a 5-mile radius from my home. This time of year the trees are starting to bloom and some beautiful flowers are starting to show up. So I wanted to concentrate on those types of subjects for my images.

Anytime I shoot with my 50mm lens my main objective is to find subjects with a lot color. I love shooting with the 50mm lens because of the availability of light and the sharpness of the images the little but powerful lens gives me. Today was a pretty nice day to do a little photography. The natural light was not too harsh and there was some cloud cover. I ventured out to see if any of the local parks in Jamestown had any colorful subjects to shoot. My main objective was to locate some flowers.

I wanted to share a few images of my trip today. I was pleased with the images because I did get what I was after; color and clarity.

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Every photographer should have a nifty-fifty lens in their bag. It is one of the most useful lenses a photographer can own. Yes, the lens can make a photographer work a little harder to get a shot, but that is fine with me. My 50mm lens has no stabilization and no zoom. So it requires me to really think about my shots. I had a lot of fun shooting some nice but simple images today. I got the opportunity to put my old trusty 50mm lens on my new Canon 80D camera and capture some nice images. What a great way to enjoy a beautiful day.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Blue Ridge Mountains Visit and My New Camera

One of my favorite places to visit is the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia. I am pretty lucky to have access to both states. For me, the drive to my nearest access to the park is about two hours away. Each year I look forward to visiting the Parkway even though I see a lot of the same locations. A lot of people may find it crazy that I go back the same locations and photograph the same sites. For me, each visit is different depending on the time of the year.

This year was different for me because I purchased a new lens and a new camera and of course, I had to test them out at the Blue Ridge Parkway. The parkway was a great place to test my lens and camera. I have access to beautiful mountains, landscapes, valleys, and historic sites throughout the Parkway. I wanted to test out my new Canon 80D and see how well the dynamic range was on the camera. I had read the dynamic range was very impressive. I was very impressed with some photos I took while on my trip.

My first stop on my 9 hour trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway was the Mabry Mill in Virginia. The Mabry Mill is one of the most photographed locations on the entire parkway. Thousands of visitor from all over the world viist the Mabry Mill each year. Below is a little history of the mill.

Around 1905 Ed and his wife Lizzie Mabry set in motion actions to realize the dream of their own gristmill.  With the help of a neighbor, Newton Hylton, they built the gristmill, waterwheel, and water supply flume system with hard work and hand tools. By 1908 the gristmill was in operation and people from as far away as eight miles were bringing their corn to be ground.  Also by this time, Ed Mabry was ready to move on to his next project which was to build a sawmill on the left side of the gristmill.  While Ed was busy building the sawmill, Lizzie took over the milling duties at the gristmill.  Many said Lizzie was the better miller of the two.  There was a problem though.  Because the streams used to supply water to the mills were small, there was not enough needed water power.  Due to the lack of water power, the process of grinding the corn at the Mabrys’ mill took longer than at some of the other nearby mills.  Mills with plenty of water power would at times grind too fast.  The resulting friction turned to heat which would then burn and scorch the cornmeal leaving it tasting bitter.  Because of the low water power problem at the Mabrys’ mill, it was known as a slow grinder.  Due to this problem, the Mabrys could not grind the corn fast, but they also never burned or scorched the cornmeal which resulted in some of the best tasting corn meal around. This news spread fast which brought many loyal customers to the Mabry’s little mill.

Soon the sawmill was finished and Ed began to build a woodworking shop on the right side of the grist mill.  This shop had a double-bladed jigsaw, a wood lathe and a tongue and groover all run by the water-powered waterwheel.  This completed the gristmill complex with the sawmill, gristmill and woodworking shop all attached.

I really enjoy photographing the mill and try to visit each year. Last year, I got a take a great photo of the mill in the winter and frozen ice was on the wheel of the mill. This year I got a great shot in early Spring. The mill opens up in later April each year. For photographers, photographing the mill can be a challenge due to crowds each year. It is good to plan your photo shoot at the mill early in the year or after late October. In late October, the mill will be closed but it is easier to photograph the mill.

The Mabry Mill

The Mabry Mill

I was able to get a couple of other images with my new camera that shows off the dynamic range of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Since it was Easter weekend I photographed this very colorful display that was positioned along the roadway. I had to stop and get the image. Last year I stopped in October and the display was covered with hay and pumpkins. This year's display featured some very colorful displays for Easter.

Blue Ridge Parkway Easter Display

Blue Ridge Parkway Easter Display

Another great image was an image of the blue ridge mountains. I found this image fun to shoot. I wanted to capture the mountain range and the lone tree in the foreground gave the image a dramatic feel to the image. Many of the trees have so much character and a photographer could spend a week exploring just the trees along the parkway. I love the blue colors of the mountains and this photo demonstrates why the Parkway is so special.

The Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains

I had a great time testing out my new camera and telephoto lens. I always enjoy visiting the parkway because every visit is unique. If you get a chance to visit North Carolina or Virginia, you have to take a day or two to stop and photograph the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is must-stop for any landscape photographer.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

Stabilization is Kind of Important for Sharper Images

Every photographer knows that there is more to taking a photo than just clicking a button. There are so many elements to keep in mind when it comes to taking a photo. But, one thing I find not mentioned enough for beginner photographers is the need for stabilization and why it is important to keep in mind when planning a photo shoot. In this post, I will explain how I forgot to keep stabilization in mind on a recent photo shoot at a car show in Greensboro NC called "Cars and Coffee". 

I decided to attend the car show for the first time even though I have lived in Greensboro many years. It is that time of year when I look for photo opportunities and like to photograph beautiful cars. So, I decided to attend the Cars and Coffee event. The event was a pretty big event. When I arrived I had no idea the event was that popular. There were cars and trucks of all types and it was interesting to see the cars and the size of the crowd. 

Prior to my trip, I had to decide what gear I would need for the event. I felt it was important that I took my wide angle lens, new Canon 80D, cell phone for taking a quick video, and my tripod. I even took my 50mm lens. I felt that was all gear I would need. I knew that I would need the wide angle lens and I would have to get fairly close to each vehicle to get a decent shot. My original plan was to use my tripod to help me get some very sharp images. But that did not happen. I decided when I arrived at the location that I was not going to have the luxury to set up for my shots and set a 2-second timer like I normally do. There were way too many people and I knew they were not going to cooperate with that plan. So, I decided to leave my tripod in my vehicle and just shot "hand-held". 

Here is why it is important to remember the type of gear you have and do a little additional planning for any photo shoot. In my case, I had no stabilization. My new Canon 80D does not have stabilization. I knew that. However,  I thought my wide angle lens did. I was wrong about that. You are probably wondering if my tripod would have helped. Yes, it would if I could have used it. The problem was there were too many people around for me to set up properly. That is why I left it in my vehicle. 

So, whose fault was it that I could not get the sharp images I wanted to get? Why that would be me. I did not take into consideration stabilization. All of my lenses have "stablization", except for my wide-angle. I forgot that little detail. So, what did I learn from my experience? I learned I need to do a little more in-depth planning and take into consideration all the obstacles I will have when I get to a location. A car show sounds like it can be an easy location to shoot but it is not. Every car show I have ever attended was very difficult for me and I can imagine it is for many photographers. The conditions can be very challenging. 

I learned that no matter how bad I want to use car photos for my gallery it is not going to happen. There are too many people getting into the shots, many times the sun is directly in your eyes, vehicle's glass causes a great deal of glare, and most car shows are pretty unorganized. The Cars and Coffee Car Show was very unorganized. 

With all that said, there really is no excuse for not properly planning for the car show. I learned a valuable lesson about the need to plan for stabilization issues. I can not blame anyone but me for not getting sharper images from the car show. Below is just one of the images I was able to salvage from the photo shoot with a little help with some Sleeklens presets and Lightroom. It is not a great image but the best one I got. I will do better next time. 

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Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger