Archive for category Photo Techniques

Solar Eclipse – Second Image

This photo shows more of the corona as the three shutter speeds merged here are 1/8, 1/15 and 1/60.  If you look closely, to the left of the sun is one little white dot.  I’m not sure if it was a planet, star, space shuttle or space alien but I do know that while observing the totality I did see something moving in the sky.  I wonder….


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Solar eclipse 2017 – Some tips for viewing and photographing

On August 21, 2017 parts of the United States will see their first total solar eclipse in almost 50 years!  While many would just as soon watch it on the internet or on television, many will want to see this major event (the next one to cross the states will be April 8, 2024) live as it happens.  If you want to be out there watching it as it occurs there are two things you will need, the right location and proper eye gear.  Mom was very right when she said don’t look directly at the sun or you will go blind.  Staring at an eclipse can do major damage to the retina which includes blindness.  There are no sunglasses made even if you were to stack them that will be safe enough for your eyes; make sure you get some eclipse glasses which are reputable. Sadly there are people out there hustling a buck who are selling counterfeit glasses.  Here is an article from the American Astronomical Society which explains where you can get them and how to make sure they are safe ones.  If you haven’t gotten a pair already you may find them difficult to acquire as there has been quite a rush to get them but there may still be some out there; some local libraries are handing them out.  When in doubt you can always resort to the old shoe box method of viewing the eclipse we learned in elementary school.

But what if you are a photographer?  That requires not only proper gear for your eyes but also for your camera lens.  ND filters no matter how many stops or how many you stack are not strong enough!  You will need a specialized solar filter.  Again, they may be all sold out by now but you can try you local camera store or an online store.  Without this filter, just like without glasses your eyes can be damaged, your camera’s sensors can get fried and while not as precious as your vision, that could still hurt a lot.  No matter what type of camera, cell phone, telescope or binoculars you wish to view the eclipse with,  they all need a protective solar filter.  The only time you and your equipment can look at the eclipse without protection is during totality.  Then and only then!  Just make sure you remove your glasses and the filters from everything at that moment or all you will see is just darkness.  Put them back on when totality is over.

So, besides glasses for your eyes and a solar filter for your camera what else will you need?  A tripod to steady your camera for the shots, a remote shutter release to avoid camera shake, charged and ready batteries, extra media cards and either a flashlight or your phone for when it gets dark.  At minimum, a 200mm lens will work but 500mm or more will really get you those shots.  I won’t go into detail about how to shoot an eclipse (I have some great articles listed at the end of this post for that) other than you will be taking plenty of shots, bracketing your shots with shutter speeds ranging from 1/8000 to one second and eventually doing a composite image taking your best shots into your photo editing program of choice.  I highly suggest doing a trial run with your camera to find out what settings will work for you.  If you don’t have a solar filter then practice shooting the moon – not the sun – to get an idea of what image you may get with certain settings if you will be in an area that will experience totality.

This will be an amazing event to behold but don’t become so engrossed in taking photos that you don’t stop for a bit to just take it all in with your fellow watchers; see it and what’s going on around you. I want to see if the temperature goes down and if, as I’ve heard, birds stop chirping.  I intend on photographing the eclipse and my fellow watchers to have a full record of the day.  I’m just hoping that there will be good weather and clear enough skies for it.  Here is one image I took to test my bracketing settings.  I did a 7 shot bracket but this isn’t a composite image.  I shot handheld – which means there was some blurring in all of the images – but it gave me an idea of what settings could work for me.  Whatever you do on eclipse day enjoy yourself and be safe!


(If you haven’t followed me on Instagram already at  then please do to see my reporting of the eclipse)

Where best to see:

Tips on how to photograph:


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Still working on doing still life photos here.  I asked DH what sauces in the fridge does he like to put on his food the most and this is what happened.  Actually the Tabasco sauce is his favorite; puts it on almost everything.  I am learning and have learned that when shooting subjects like this you will run into some of these issues:

Shadows you may or may not want occur depending on where the light is coming from.

You will discover that what you once thought was clean wasn’t as in water stains on crystal glasses or fingerprints just from moving the objects around.

Dust just “magically” appears in the shot but you won’t see it (sometimes) until you upload the image and use the visualize spots tool or you zoom in.

About the prior tip – you will need one of those lint rollers for your backdrop or if it is vinyl a nice soft non shedding cloth to clean with.

Glass and lights mean reflections!

Hope your weekend is saucy…

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Still Life: Prelude to an anniversary

It’s our anniversary and DH is taking time off from work (which means my time here may be spotty) so that we can both exhale and celebrate by doing whatever we want to.  A lot of that might be catching up on some sleep – we are one wild and crazy couple!  Still experimenting with still life photography and the lesson I learned from this shot is that glass and reflections can make you want to scream.  This was my first attempt at photographing these objects against a black background using a light box.

Practice, practice, practice but perhaps later 😉

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Still Life: Calla Lilies in Color

I usually see calla lilies in the white classic variety but when I found this bunch at my local grocery store in this color – I had to have them!

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Still life: Calla Lilies in Black and White

A still life (plural: still lifes) is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (food, flowers, dead animals, plants, rocks, or shells) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewelry, coins, pipes, and so on).  wikipedia

One goal I set for myself this year was to work harder at my photography; read more, take lessons, get out of my comfort zone, etc.  Practice practice practice!   Recently I’ve been trying still life photography.  I believe I have the basics as far as the camera aspects are concerned, it’s just coming up with the subject matter that’s been giving me some trouble.  Here is one of my first attempts, a vase of calla lilies shot from above in monochrome.

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End of year bits and pieces – Selfie

While writing my wrap up of 2016 I came across this “selfie” I had completely forgotten about.  This was taken in Bar Harbor, Maine in September right after I had taken some sunrise shots by the harbor.  Normally I don’t hold my camera quite like this, I decided to strike a pose.



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