Dec 24, 2009

Snow in Terrell

Christmas Eve snow in Texas... who would have thought?

Come over to the Tribune for a slideshow, or check out (and become a fan of) the Tribune's Facebook page...

Some snow ducks?

Slowish shutter make it look like a blizzard!

Y'all be careful out there...

don j.

Dec 23, 2009


Driving westward toward home in the evenings has given me a wonderful light show over the last couple of days. Today I finally stopped on the side of the road to take a snapshot. This is the Sigma 14mm on the 40D.


This lens has a tendency for lens flare, but I did not take the time to remove the little dot on this one.... it is just part of the deal I suppose.

In case I do not post between now and then, blessed, happy, safe and meaningful Christmas and holiday season to you.

happy shooting,

don j.

Dec 20, 2009

It is a season of lights... have fun with them!

Christmas lights can be a lot of fun as a photographer...

One of my favorite things to do is to make them fuzzy little highlights in the foreground or background of a photo. All of these photos involve Christmas lights hung on the side balconies of Terrell ISD's Performing Arts Center.

Opening up to maximum aperture (in this case, f2.8), will do the trick, especially if the lights are a good distance from the subject. Using longer telephotos make the background look closer, and the out-of-focus effect will be great, like this one from backstage, behind the elves. (just wish I could get some smiling parents in there too... could not find the angle.)
Canon 40D, 120mm at f2.8, 1/125, iso800

For a really cool effect, put the lights between yourself and your subject. Up on the balconies, you might think that the lights are in the way...
Canon 40D, 115mm at f2.8, 1/200, iso80

... But if you focus through the lights to your subject, the lights turn in to little dots of translucent light over your subject.
Canon 40D, 115mm at f2.8, 1/200, iso800

With some careful composition, you can find a point of interest and frame it with the lights. We cropped this one down a bit for the newspaper, but the group of musicians in the center becomes the focal point when the rest are obstructed by dots.
Canon 40D, 200mm at f2.8, 1/160, iso800

You can also use lights on a tree to frame one side of a photo with lights... this one with colorful lights was on the far edge of the stage.
Canon 40D, 200mm at f2.8, 1/125, iso800

To make it a really cool photo, you also have to catch a great moment, which didn't happen with the shots above.... my favorite shot from the TISD Christmas programs was during a choir concert... alas, no lights. Poor girl almost got slapped in the face.
Canon 5D, 200mm at f2.8, 1/200, iso 1000

Have fun playing with the lights....

don j.

Dec 17, 2009

Quick Pic - Santa

Elementary kids went to see Santa today, and I was very happy to see that this particular Santa was the real deal. The character lines on his face and wonderfully real white beard and hair.. it was all good.


don j.

Dec 13, 2009

Quick Pics - Snowball Fight

Kids don't get to play in the snow much around here, so even if the snow is some slimy fake stuff, the smiles, fun and energy that it brings is something to behold.

Photographically, I was pretty happy to get anything interesting. I was doing quick family head shots at the indoor portion of the event..
snowball blog-22 when it was time for the kids to go play in the "snow," I got to go play too.

Without seeing how the snow area was lit, I was tempted to take a flash, but decided to go with the 5D/50mm f1.4 combo. For shooting in the dark, the 5D not very good to focus with. Add to that the very narrow depth of field while shooting at f1.4-f2, and shooting at slow shutter speeds in the dark, you just have to have fun with it.

This was my favorite shot...
snowball blog-3

Lit reindeer statue = giant softbox
snowball blog-12

I did a lot of random shooting with the camera held down at kid height while looking out for flying snowballs (that stuff cannot be good for electronics).
snowball blog-11

Light was provided by a halogen work light set similar to this, and the various Christmas lights. Up close it was bright, hard light over slippery ground.
snowball blog-10

While close to the lights, shutter speed was high enough to catch flying snow.
snowball blog-9

A little further away, slower shutter made for dramatic action...
snowball blog-1

snowball blog-13

Post processing was fun too.. all done in Lightroom.

Happy December Everybody,

I am working on new blog concepts for 2010... we will see where that goes!

Happy Shooting,

Don J