Having A Blast On Halloween

Halloween is a fun time of year where you can dress up and assume the identity of someone else. My daughter is just now getting to the age where Halloween is really fun for her. As you can see in the photo above she really loved running around Lafayette as Wonder Woman a few days before the main event.

Having Some Fun With The Candy

In the past I have had some fun with the candy bowl. I have put cameras in and around it to capture the joy of the moment that a child sees the candy that they want. This year I went with a boring photo of the candy in the bowl. My focus was on chasing Lanie around the neighborhood. These next few years will be fun before she doesn’t want me to come around anymore. I will chase her for as long as I can.

Pumpkins On The Porch

Last weekend I was supposed to be away, but with one of my teams in town the plans changed to just stay here. That allowed a lot more time with the family which is always nice. We were able to have some fun painting our pumpkins for the porch. I thought that some of that hard work should get a little shout out on the site.

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Picking Just The Right Pumpkin At The Pumpkin Patch

Last weekend was a busy one for me as far as sports photography goes. I was on the road for most of the weekend. I was home Sunday though, and we made our yearly trip to the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkin. I usually take one camera and one lens to document the day with the family. I always make a few extra pictures without the kids in them because it is fun. I love how the pumpkins seem to stretch for miles so I tried to show that in this photo.

Photos Everywhere At The Pumpkin Patch!

There really are photos everywhere at the pumpkin patch. It is a fun exercise to try some new things, and improve upon things that you have shot in the past. I love the little decorations everywhere that help get you in the Halloween mood.

The Week In Photos

As I said above last week was a busy week. I really was pleased with my weekly collection of photos from the week. You can view that here. This week is already looking good, and the best part of it is yet to come.

Making Some Photos at the Pumpkin Patch with the iPhone 7

When I heard about the cameras in the iPhone 7 I was very eager to try them out. I did not watch the keynote until the phone had already come out. I did order one that day though because I really wanted to try it out. I received the phone, but the portrait mode I really wanted to try out had not come out yet. A friend hooked me up with the Beta iOS that included the portrait mode while I was in Austin for Austin City Limits. I had a lot of fun trying it out during the festival. I sent out a tweet during the festival saying that the portrait mode would be a game changer. One thing that always sticks out with photos made with your phone is the infinite depth of field. You see everything in the frame fairly sharp. This makes your iPhone photos look a little more professional without really doing very much. You just have to position yourself in the right position to your subject to make it work. While at the pumpkin patch I decided that it was the perfect place to try some things out with it. Here are a few thoughts from my time at the pumpkin patch.


What a Difference a Little Bokeh Makes

I made the photo above to show just what a difference a little bokeh (the blurred out background) can make in a photo. I found an angle of this scarecrow that had a lot going on in the background. The phone lets you save both versions of the photo so you can see just what was done here. The top photo is what you have always seen from an iPhone. You have everything relatively in focus. The bottom photo allows the scarecrow to stand out a bit by blurring everything out in the background. The distractions do not completely go away, but they do sort of melt into the background. One thing that really amazed me was not that the stuff on the right side of the photo went into bokeh. It was that the flowers and pumpkins that you can see in between the stalks of corn went into bokeh as well. The 3D mapping really seems to be on point even in the Beta stage.

The Limitations of the Portrait Mode

One big limitation that the portrait mode has is the fact that your subject must be within a certain range for the effect to work. The corn above was not in that range, and it did not work for me. I really wanted to see if I could create a more interesting photo by just having a little bit of the scene in focus here. Of course that didn’t work. Your subject has to stay relatively still as well. While trying it out on the kids I found that when I could get them to stay very still it was amazing. A little movement though confuses the algorithm a bit. The portrait mode also does not work in darker situations. You really need some good light for it to work. The average light in a house is on the borderline of being acceptable. The good thing is that you can see what is happening live. It will tell you that you need more light, or that you need to move back or forward. Beyond that you can see how the effect is working in real time. Once again though this is an amazing breakthrough that is still in its infancy. I can only imagine that it will continue to get better before it is released to the public. Continue reading “Testing the iPhone 7 Portrait Mode at the Pumpkin Patch”

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The Candy Bowl Cam

Last night I tried something out for the first time. I put my GoPro into the candy bowl to see the faces on some of those who came to the house. I got this idea from my friend Andy Jessop. You can find some of his work here. The look of joy while the kids picked out their candy is hard to beat. I liked this photo the best as both parties seemed to really be enjoying themselves. This is a concept that I would like to try again next year with a little light on the subjects. It worked really well while I had the light on my side. When the sky turned dark though it did not work as well, and I had some grainy images.

The Setup

I tried two things at once here. I had the GoPro set up to record video, but at the same time it was making a photo every five seconds. I is not the most scientific way to do it, but it cuts down on the editing. Next year I might have it record every 1/2 second or second. This is a setup that I think might work well in an Easter basket or on a Christmas present. I am sure that those will show up during the appropriate season.

Another Thank You

Now that October is behind us I can look back at what was a great month on this little blog. I had more hits than I have had in what I call the modern era. Last April I changed the format a bit so that you could view multiple posts at once. I felt that it was a better design to give a reader a chance to see a bit more with less clicking. Right away I noticed that my hits went down because of that change. Last month was the best month since that change, and the fifth best overall. I keep this going because of the support of you, and I wanted to thank you for that.

Trying Out the iPhone 6 at the Pumpkin Patch

One of my first times out with my new phone was to the pumpkin patch. I wanted to see what kind of detail it could capture. I was very happy with the results. When making photos of my step daughters class I used it for the group shots. I had the Canon G16 with me, but the iPhone performed just fine. It is nice to have a good camera with you at all times, and I am starting to really trust the iPhone for certain shots. Don’t worry though my dSLR will not be replaced just yet. It does way too much for me.

Spending a Couple of Weeks With the iPhone 6 Plus

I have spent the last couple of weeks really trying out the photo features on the new iPhone 6. It is a great upgrade from the iPhone 5 that I was using prior to it. The size is something that you really need to get used to at the start. Once you do though the old iPhone just seems too small. I have posted a video that I made entirely on the phone using the new slow motion feature along with iMovie. You can really do some cool things from a video standpoint. What I wanted to see was how the phone handled low light situations, and how far the HDR function has come. When I first picked up the iPhone 4 the term HDR was new to me. Now after spending the early days of this blog using HDR techniques on food I know it all too well. I also know a certain look that I like from my HDR images. For some reason the iPhone just seems to fall short here. It works in small doses, but for a truly dynamic scene it does not do too well. I do like the burst mode on the camera though. This basically allows you to motor drive a scene and then pick the best one. I didn’t even realize what I was doing at first, but I was very happy to see the results. When you are trying to get that one expression from your child the burst mode really helps capture that key moment.

Photography is getting much more into a state of making your images and sending them on the go. For someone like me who likes to tweak them in post that can be rough. The new IOS 8 helps you perform some of the tweaks. It even makes it easy to tweak them in a program made by a third party. Adobe has really stepped up to the plate with their new phone and tablet apps. Lightroom mobile is great for performing most of the quick edits I like to apply to an image. SmugMug has really made it easy to upload from my phone or tablet as well. My workflow has the ability to become much more streamlined if I want it to.

Making Photos of More Than the Animals at the Indianapolis Zoo

While at the Indy Zoo last weekend I had a lot of fun making photos of my family and the animals. When you go to the Zoo Boo though they have other decorations that are also fun to photograph. They cover a lot of territory with the various decorations, but I liked this one for some reason. At first glance you think that someone is looking at you from around a tree. You have to get close up to see that you have been fooled.

The Zoo Boo

As I have said before we like to make the Zoo Boo a family tradition. It is a great way to get out and see some animals, but also a good chance for the kids to get some extra Halloween candy. The event is still going on this weekend at the Indianapolis Zoo so get out and see it if you can. While you are there check out the new Orangutan Center. You can get up close and personal to see that they are not much different than us.

A Haunted Trail

I took a drive out to Prophetstown State Park yesterday to see how the color looked out there. The leaves have really turned making it just absolutely beautiful outside. While driving through the park I saw the scarecrows that the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls have set up. This is a great way to for local business and organizations to get their name out and to also be creative. I love the way that this looks like an actual circumstance that could happen at a bout.

Catch the Brawlin’ Dolls ‘Live’

This was the closest that I will get to photographing roller derby this month. Next month though the Brawlin’ Dolls hit the flat track again. On November 8th the Dolls skate in Beloit against the Beloit Bombshells. They then return home the next weekend on November 15th to face the Aurora 88’s. These will be the last two times that you can see the Brawlin’ Dolls in 2014.

Having Fun at the ZooBoo

Saturday I spent a good portion of the day out photographing sports. Sunday was a day to spend with the family. I did not edit an image or even post ahead a day on this blog like I normally like to do. We spent the day out enjoying some of the fun of fall. To start off we went to Indy to enjoy the ZooBoo. This has become a yearly tradition that is great fun. This year we had another girl walking around at the zoo which was very cool. My one takeaway from the zoo is that I think every girl this Halloween will be dressed as Elsa from Frozen. After the zoo we explored Exploration Acres just west of town. We had a long but fun day enjoying the last few days of the good weather. This is a great time of year to get out and enjoy yourself.

Acting Like a Squirrel

My wife has been having a little fun with me as I put away pictures for the winter. This is a crazy endeavor posting a photo a day. When the weather turns in the winter I don’t get out as much as I would like to make new images. I have been going out to make a few images a day in order to prepare for the winter. With sports thrown in the mix it really does not have to be many, but it is nice to know that you are not back to going day to day looking for images. The days of the photo 365 project cured me of that.

Having Fun at Kent’s Cucurbits

Yesterday I spent the morning with my step daughter at Kent’s Cucurbits just outside of Brookston, Indiana. After a couple of days of rain we had great weather to explore this farm. We had a great time seeing all of the pumpkins and squash of various sizes. When I first saw the farm I noticed this barn. I am guessing the lift is for the straw, but I liked the pumpkins outside of the barn. You know how I like a good barn. The sky was a little gray for me, but I still think it is a nice photo. It is one that will remind me of a fun day anyway.

Using the Canon Powershot G16

This was another shot that I made with my Canon G16. This really is a great camera to take with you if you want to cut down on the weight. My normal dSLR setup weighs about as much as my daughter. The G16 fits nicely in my pocket, and produces good results. This was a jpeg that the camera gave me. I am normally a guy who shoots in RAW, but here the jpeg did just fine. I made some small adjustments in Lightroom 5, but not too many.