California's Central Coast
Today we left base at 6:10 AM to head up a creek behind San Simeon. It was foggy at dawn, and burnt off as we explored.
Weed, San Simeon, California, 7:26 AM.
I dialed-in -0.7 stops of exposure compensation, otherwise the predominately dark areas caused the weed to be too bright. No big deal, I looked at my LCD and adjusted accordingly.
I shifted the program to give me f/11 to get more in focus. The weed was wiggling in the breeze, so it was tough to keep top and bottom in focus.
To keep the entire weed in focus, I had to move around until I found a spot that let me put my plane of focus on the weed. In other words, I had to ensure that the weed was lying in a plane parallel to my image plane. If I had used a view camera, I could simply have tilted the lens or film instead.
Notice how at 300mm that nothing is in focus in the background, even at f/11. You don't need fast 300mm lenses to lose backgrounds when focusing closely. Notice also the perfectly round blobs in the background, courtesy of the 70-300mm VR's rounded 9-blade diaphragm. Darn, this 70-300mm is sharp!
Photo Tour Group, San Simeon, California, 7:40 AM.
Since half the group wanted to take my picture, I figured it would be fun to snap one picture of the group.
The light became glorious as the fog was lifting, so I shot this directly into the rising sun. I did this to get a sense of the light, which creates halos around all of us. I shot deliberately into the sun, and as expected, it's casting a bit of glare over much of the image, which only increases the sense of light.
Of course I used fill-flash. I brought my bigger SB-600 instead of my SB-400 because I wanted to be able to use it on the F5 as well as the D3. The SB-400 doesn't work on older cameras, while the SB-600 does. It's good I brought the SB-600, since I needed plenty of power shooting against the sun at this large a distance.
I taped a 1/2 CTO warming gel over the SB-600, and simply pointed and shot (OK, the camera was held by a tripod). Nikons are smart enough to do all the flash calculations perfectly as you can see. I didn't take any time to set this up; this is a grab shot.
Present, from left to right, are leader Dave Wyman, Manya, Chris, Erik, instructress Jean Ray, Roy, instructor Rockwell, Sam and Titus. Mike (more here), Jim, instructress Christine, Susan, and Rocci were off doing something else. We had 10 participants and four instructors, a 2.5:1 ratio. Hah! Much more expensive workshops expect you to accept a 10:1 or 20:1 student teacher ratio. Heck, with those ratios, why even bother? I have no idea why other trips are so expensive, especially since they are sponsored by equipment companies, not photographers. Dave and I do these for fun, which must be why.
Junky Photo of a Junk Truck, San Simeon, California, 8:03 AM.
I'm so glad I don't have to judge photo contests. This is what you get 90% of the time: boring, malexposed snapshots where no one FARTed before snapping the shutter. Why should I like this picture? What are you trying to show me? If you don't know when you snap a picture, then the resulting photo will be even more clueless.
Get closer! FART more!
Ford 85, San Simeon, California, 8:06 AM.
Stainless Steel Handle, San Simeon, California, 8:06 AM.
Not that these two snaps are much better, but you get the idea. Simplify and get closer.
This snap still has too much going on. There are two pictures here: one on the left with the handle, and one on the right with the paint. Pick one, and show me that if you want to catch my attention.
Isn't it great how I can make dull photos, and then blame it on others? Hee hee! Actually, I can teach more this way since I don't worry about hurting my own feelings. Telling myself that my photos are boring is what keeps me working all these decades trying to make less boring ones. Anyone who tells himself that he's great never gets any better.
Shiny Wheel, US 101, California, 12:22 PM.
I snapped this through a window as we drove down the road. That's our van in the reflection! Can you see me? This is another great thing about the 70-300mm VR: I can shoot from moving vehicles with much better luck that I could ever imagine. Heck, with an unstabilized 300mm lens, I'm lucky to get sharp hand-held shots on solid ground at 1/250.
Oak, Solvang, California, 1:18 PM.
That last shot wasn't too exciting, so here's one last shot of a signature Central Coast Oak out standing in its field. Not great, but better than a wheel.
We returned to Los Angeles, from which I returned to sunny La Jolla.
That's it! Return to start of trip