Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Camera Fun-ness

Well if you didn't read my last post, this past Thursday I got a new camera. It's a Nikon dSLR and it's all mine. No more making my dad share his camera with me; I'm sure he'll be very glad to get his back.

So far one thing that is the main difference between this Nikon and my dad's Olympus is the focusing on the lens. The Olympus was mostly an autofocus lens with some minor focus. So it would focus and then there was a ring I could turn that would slightly change the focusing, but it never seemed like much. Now my Nikon lens has full manual focusing, which is awesome! But I am out of practice so unfortunately quite a few pictures I took today didn't have the focusing right.
Then obviously things like the menus and button layouts are different, but that's no big deal. I will give Olympus props for having probably the most through camera manual ever. It's about four times the size of my Nikon one and has way more explanations of pretty much everything on the camera.

Today I went to another park(what a surprise). I always feel silly going to a populated area by myself with my camera, so I usually stick to nature trails in parks where there are fewer people. Today I used manual mode on my camera with manual focus. Which of course doing that leads to some bad shots, but it's fun and good practice so I do it anyway. Now here are some of the things I found on my walk:

[I took quite a few shots of this grassy stuff. It took me a few tries to get the focusing right. Partly because I was sitting on some funky hill and swatting bugs off me every two seconds... along with the whole new camera thing]
[A fly]
[I think this picture is a bit overwhelming and therefore not that great. What do you think?]
[A stump, I had to take a picture of it]
[Thoughts on this one too...I'm not sure how I feel about the harsh sunlight]
[Some creepy, old, abandoned building.]
[Had some fun with the reflections in this lake]

So there you have it, some of my first pictures with my new camera. I am very thrilled with it so far and I think it is going to be a fabulous camera. Too bad I can't afford all the other lenses and sweet accessories I want yet.

For serious I will hopefully have some new subjects soon. I need to stop being a chicken and go into populated areas, like downtown Grand Rapids, and find something new to photograph. Including people...

Thursday, July 28, 2011


This post is brief.

I just want to say that I got a new camera. I'm super, duper excited to use it. Sadly I might have to wait a few days because I'm working the rest of the weekend.

I got the Nikon D3100, the one that I wanted.

It was a super gift from my parents. So, happy birthday times two and merry christmas times two to me. Hurray!

Soon there will be pictures via my new camera.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Danger Zone

Grand Rapids will most likely make national news tonight or tomorrow, and sadly for a terrible reason. A man went on a rampage killing seven people and eventually shot himself. And during all this chaos I went downtown to Lookout Park to take some sunset pictures again. It was slightly cloudy, which I figured would make for some good pictures and I've been talking and talking about getting out and taking pictures and I needed to force myself to go. Luckily I wasn't too close to the action all though I did hear some sounds of the car chase on the interstate.

Tonight I also worked on some long exposure shots, I even took some with 30 second shutter speeds. It allowed me to spend some quality time with the tripod my father purchased a few months ago. That thing is amazing, its so easy to use, I'm glad I have access to it. I did some long exposure shots of the moon at the park, but I did most of them in some little turn around thing at the zoo on my way home. I felt like such a creeper. The zoo is obviously closed at 10 pm but I could drive in far enough to reach this turn around thing right before the parking lot start so I just parked my car in the round-about and set up my tripod. I was standing there snapping shots....slowly and then some other car drove into the area. It was some pimped out car and I was kind of nervous since it was so dark and what not, but they just kind of drove by me then went about 200 feet away and parked. I took two more shots then left because I was scared. They were freaking me out by just sitting around, but they probably wondered what the heck was wrong with me since I was using a camera on a tripod without a flash in the dark....

I also played around with manual focus. The camera was freaking out trying to auto-focus in the dark so I had to switch to manual focus. Luckily I finally figured out how to get manual focus to work on that camera, it was being very illusive.

I'm slightly upset with my sunset photos. They turned out fine, but I was really hoping I could manually adjust the white balance to get the color effects I wanted, but sadly the presets weren't doing it and I don't have the Kelvin Scale memorized so I could use that either. I ended up using the preset scene for sunsets. It worked pretty well, but I guess I'd say I'm slightly old school and wanted to it myself.

Enough of my blabbing. Photo time:

I'll start out with my favorites, my long exposure shots of the moon. The long exposure allowed time for the clouds to flow in front of the moon for a pretty cool effect. Granted it made some of my shots look like a blurry mess, but I was patient and took quite a few shots and came up with some winners.
[the previous for images were all taken near the zoo]
[these two images I found interesting because one focused on the moon while the other focused on the plants]

Here are some long exposure shots of the road. These are pretty fun because you get light trails from cars driving by. The last image I was actually mid-shot with a 30 second long shutter speed when the creeper car drove by and I grabbed my tripod and moved it out the way as they drove by and then I put it back in place, its kind of interesting.

Now here are the sunsets, the whole point of my expedition tonight.

And here is some more work from the night. Some graffiti covered bench, a streetlight and a shot of the city.

As always all this stuff is on my Flickr account. Direct link to this set here or general link to my Flickr under the Photography tab at the top.

Hopefully this extremely long post has helped to make up for lack of posting the past like....two months. I really enjoyed today, I just need to keep forcing myself to go out. Also to get over my fear of feeling awkward taking pictures because I totally want to do more night photography, but in downtown and I will definitely earn some weird looks down there.

And in case if you got worried about me forgetting to add funny things to my posts, have no fear, it's back:
A funny link to some photoshop (photoplasty) contest from

Now comment it up.