I’m just about to burst…

I’m so excited about my photography right now that I’m just about to burst!  I know, it’s been 3 weeks since my last post and I’m sure you’re all asking, ‘if he’s so excited, why so long since his last post?”  The answer is simple – I’m having too much fun to make a post!  The problem with that, however, is the backlog of images to share.  I still have two posts worth of images from my trip home last month – stay tuned for them!

We’ll get to current pictures in a minute because there are fun things I want to share.  First, I’m waiting for my new lens, the Generation 2 Tamron 150-600, to arrive.  I’ve been shooting with the first generation 150-600 since it came out almost 3 years ago and have always loved the results.  The new lens has better optics, faster autofocus, and a shorter minimum focusing distance (by almost a foot!).  I found a nice home for my old lens (the new owner has already made some great images, and has nicknamed the lens ‘Godzilla’), so I’m without a super telezoom for the short term.  My withdrawal is almost as bad as when my camera body fried a circuit board last June and I was without my 7D for a time.  I’ll get through it – I promise.  With the raptors returning to the Carson Valley, I’m excited to try out the new lens!

Second, I’m launching my exploration into Shutter Priority (Tv) mode.  For the last couple years, I have shot primarily in Aperture Priority (Av) mode, which controls light using the aperture opening.  Aperture size impacts depth of field, or how much the image is in focus from the foreground to the background (large openings = shallow depth of field, small openings = deeper depth of field).  For wildlife shots, especially birds, I shoot wide open.  Large aperture openings also allow fast shutter speeds, capturing detail and freezing motion.  I don’t worry about the background being in focus because I want to highlight the bird or animal in the image.  For landscapes, I use smaller aperture openings to have more of the scene in focus.  I shoot my landscapes from a tripod, so shutter speed is not really a concern.  I use Manual mode for my landscapes, allowing me to control exposure with either shutter or aperture priority, looking for the best settings for the particular subject and conditions.

What prompted me to explore Tv mode?  Sports photography!  One of my son’s friends has two little boys who play flag football.  I took pictures at a game last Saturday (they won – it was very exciting), and asked a friend/mentor to critique my work.  His comments were very helpful, pushing me to explore the wild world of Shutter Priority.  Here’s a couple pictures from Saturday.

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He had just intercepted a pass and was running into the end zone for a touchdown!

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These little guys take the game seriously – look at the intensity (or maybe fear of getting hit) on their faces!

As you can see, the focus is just a little soft.  I shot these in Av mode, so a shift to Tv mode will give me a faster shutter speed to freeze the action better.  I’m excited to give it a try!

A couple weeks ago, I went to Mormon Station State Park in Genoa to take pictures of Treffen Lake Tahoe, the Porsche Club of America’s cruise around the Lake Tahoe area.  The tour made a lunch stop in Genoa.  Go to my Treffen Lake Tahoe page (https://photorogr.com/treffen-lake-tahoe-2016/) to see my pictures from the day.

My retired guy ATV group made the ride up Mt. Patterson the other day.  Here’s a few images from the trip!

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I took this on the drive up, with my mobile phone. Note the smoke low on the horizon.

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This is the view looking west from the top of Mt. Patterson. It was mid-day when we arrived and I wasn’t happy with the light. I made the image anyway and am pleased with the result.

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The view to the north. Lots of smoke low on the horizon. The signage going up the hill described Mt. Patterson as ‘Mars with vegetation.’ I love the colors in this mountain.

On the way to Mt. Patterson, we passed the turnoff to CA 120, the Sonora Pass Road, and I just had to go back and drive Sonora Pass.  The leaves are starting to turn, and the PHOTORANGER loved the drive.

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The PHOTORANGER at the summit of Sonora Pass.

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Fall colors, on the east side of the Pass.

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Hopefully a sign of a good fall color year.  I found a great book on fall color in the Sierras, with excellent information on where to go.  Fall color exploration, here I come!

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I was amazed at the amount of water still flowing.

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The mountains had a fresh dusting of snow.

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This panorama was stitched from 8 images, then processed using a couple Nik Color Efex Pro filters. Some of my mentors/friends think it’s a little overdone. I like it!

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The scenery was stunning, everywhere I looked.

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I made several images of this mountain. I like this one for the trees in the foreground.

I didn’t forget to make images of the yard.  Here are a few.

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Remember the discussion of Aperture Priority above? This flower was shot with a wide open aperture and close up filters. The foliage in the background becomes a pleasing blur, while preserving the detail in the petals, stamens, and pistils. When I master focus stacking, the petal at the top will also be in focus.

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I finally found a Daisy bloom that hadn’t been molested by the rabbits.

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I love these Roses, but they are proving very challenging for me. I am constantly fighting the monochrome of the petals and work to introduce meaningful shadows to separate the petals. I was drawn to this composition by the dead bloom at the bottom of the image, in contrast with the vibrant blooms above.

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The last image of this post. I took a quick trip into the Pine Nut Mountains, just a couple miles east of our house, one evening last week. The sun was going down and was shining through some clouds. I’ve never made an image like this, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m not totally happy with the result, so I’ll be working to improve my image capture processes in these lighting conditions.

That’s a lot of fun for me.  I promise that I’ll get the images from my trip done and posted.  They’re worth the wait – I promise.

Thanks for reading my blog.  Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

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Happy 4th of July!

Can you believe that it’s July?  The calendar year is half over, but the business year is not.  Next month will be one year since I decided to become a full-time photographer.  Am I making lots of money?  No, but I’m having a lot of fun and my knowledge of photography and photo editing is growing by leaps and bounds.  You’ll see some of that growth in this post.  For the business year – It’s time for me to report my business assets to the County Assessor for tax purposes.  I think I can get everything together and look forward to the tax bill.

But first, an update on the wild horses.  Until last week, I have been photographing four bands in the area.  The studs are Blue, Blondie, Socks, and Shorty.  Please also recall that we have a group of bachelor studs, the ‘Boys’ Club,’ waiting for their turns to establish a band – Sampson, Jack, Little Socks, and Skip.  In a major power move, Shorty stole all of Socks’ mares so Socks is now a bachelor.  When I see him, he appears very lonely and forlorn.

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A very lonely Socks!

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He won’t even look at the camera.

I have a theory that Socks cut a deal with Shorty to look after the family while he took a little break.  I’m told that’s not a viable theory.

Here’s an image of Shorty’s band taken yesterday, with all of Socks’ mares and foals in the group.  Please don’t ask me which mares formerly belonged to Socks.

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They were enjoying a lazy day, just relaxing and not too concerned as I approached on foot.

And my buddy Blondie – remember the butt shot from my last post?  Well – late last week I found his band, parked, and approached on foot.  Blondie didn’t like that in the least!  For the first time, he ‘challenged’ my approach, actually running towards me.  He stopped when he could see me and I was never in any danger, but it made me a little more wary than usual of where he was while I made my images.

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Blondie keeping a very watchful eye on me!

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I only made a couple images due to Blondie’s obvious ‘discomfort’ with me being there. I like this one – I think it’s Little Scarlett and Mama.

Yesterday, Blondie’s band was across a small valley from Shorty’s band.  As I approached in the PHOTORANGER, Blondie gathered everyone up and off they went.  I’m not sure what I did to make him mad.

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Blondie’s band moving off. Horse butt pictures aren’t really exciting, but I like the pattern created by the numerous rears as they walked away.

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And Blondie, walking away – keeping himself between me and the band.

And what about the Boys’ Club?  Some of my friends have pictures of Socks with the Boys, but I don’t have any as yet.  I found the Boys close to some of the houses, just being boys.

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Our temperatures have been high the last couple weeks, with intermittent rain and thunderstorms.  We have a fire south of us that has burned 18 square miles.  Thankfully, the wind has blown the smoke away (and my power bill likes that!).  Since I melt at about 85 degrees (figuratively, not literally), my shooting time is short, leaving me lots of time to stay indoors and work on my editing skills.  A really BIG SHOUT OUT to my Photoshop mentors (you know who you are!!), who helped me over a giant hump in learning a couple techniques.  Here are a couple of images I edited this week – see if you can identify the changes I made!  Hint – they’re very subtle.

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This is Little Jo with Mom, Dad, and several other members of the band. The exposure is way off and there is the horse at the bottom of the shot who just doesn’t belong.

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Through the magic of Photoshop, I removed the horse at the bottom of the picture and rescued my poor shooting. The result is very pleasing, I think. Oh yeah, Blue is facing the camera behind the black horse. That’s not him on the left.

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During the winter months, the Raptors migrate through the Carson Valley. Photo opportunities are everywhere. I caught this juvenile Red Tailed Hawk last February at one of the local ranches. Exposure has been one of my greatest challenges, and lately I’m getting a better handle on it.

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I think the image works better with him facing right instead of left, and I fixed my poor exposure and got a little closer.

The night skies have also called to me.  The sunsets have been gorgeous and I’ve worked on my ‘low light’ shooting while I’m out there.  Temperatures are much better when the sun goes down, so why not?

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I made this image from my backyard while we still had a hint of smoke from the wildfire.

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Another from my backyard, through the trees. The smoke is gone, but the storm clouds made gorgeous light!

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Same evening – different vantage point.

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…and a little to the right…

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A look at the Pergola in our backyard. This is looking northeast, so the evening light is much different.

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One final night shot. This is looking southeast from my front yard. My neighbors very thoughtfully built this beautiful scene in the front corner of their yard. I photograph it often.

And I’ll close this post with a couple images of the PHOTORANGER in action.  This little truck has been a great addition to the stable, and I continue to be impressed with its performance in the field.  I took my father-in-law out to look for the wild horses yesterday.  He was impressed with the truck, but said he preferred the ‘softer’ ride of the other cars.  I understand completely.

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Enjoy – and have a wonderful 4th of July!  God Bless America!  PHOTOROGR

…you may be in for a shock…

I have no idea where the time gets to.  I sat down to build this post and realized that it’s been over two weeks since my last post.  I haven’t been sitting around, however, as you will see from the images below.  I have made some changes, too.  The first change is that I bought a new camera body – a Canon 7D Mark II.  To help me learn the camera, I bought a book by David Taylor.  I’ve used his books before, so I was confident things would go well.  Then I read the first page – “If you’ve just upgraded to an EOS 7D Mark II from one of Canon’s consumer DSLRs you may be in for a shock.”  Boy howdy, was he right!!  It’s a big learning curve, but the results will be worth the work.

I would also like to introduce you to the PHOTORANGER!

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The PHOTORANGER – a 1999 Ford Ranger Sport – in its natural environment. You can see Blue and his band above the bed on the far hillside! This image was made with the new camera body.)

I took it into the Pine Nut Mountains to find the horses and see how it performs.  It did not disappoint.  I took it to a few places that I wouldn’t take the Expedition.  Very fun for me!!

A couple weeks ago, my friend Rich and I went to the Restomods in Reno Car Show.  See the Automobiles page for more images, but here’s my favorites from the day.

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Who doesn’t love a classic Mustang with a matching pedal car?

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Some people just know how to live. The Reno Mustang Club president just acquired this a few weeks before the show.

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This Boss 302 belongs to a good friend of mine. He’s still working on his ’66 hardtop.

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I’ve always had a soft spot for Cougars. This car was beautiful and I was pleased with this picture. Note the Parnelli Jones tribute car on the left.

And I hate it when I hit the wrong button and publish too soon.  My apologies to those of you who will get this again.

I took a ride with my ATV group to the Hoonie Mine on Quartz Peak.  The scenery was gorgeous and the quartz formation was awesome.  See the Landscape and Scenery page for more images.

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The view of the Sweetwater Range from the summit of Quartz Peak.

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Who knew that quartz could sustain life?

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But plants are everywhere, if you know where to look…

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As I said, the quartz formations were great!

I spent some time in the Pine Nut Mountains.  When the horses were hiding, the cactus flowers made great subjects.  Check out the Wild Horses page for more pictures of the horses, and the Landscape and Scenery page for more cactus flowers.

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This is the Boys Club – Samson, Little Socks, Skip, and Jack. These 4 bachelor studs are hanging out together until they get their own mares and start their own bands. They were on the hill overlooking Blondie’s band and lined up for this shot.

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This is Blondie, not too worried about the Boys Club (who were behind me) but wanting to know what I was doing.

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For my Wyoming friends – a cactus flower shaped like a ‘W’.

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I submitted this macro image to a contest – we’ll see how it fares in competition.

Well, that’s it for this post.  Enjoy and I’ll try to be more timely with my next post.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR