How I Shot The Moon

Truth is if I took my Canon Xsi and set it on auto it would produce the same type of shot you get from a point and shoot–overexposed and a little blurry.

I went out and shot the Moon last night. A reasonably pedestrian shot, but it got a bunch of comments on Facebook and Twitter. That’s probably because lots of people try to shoot the Moon with little success. I’ll give you my secrets.

If you’ve got a camera that’s full automatic you’re screwed! The moon will be white and totally featureless. Sorry.

However, it’s possible your camera isn’t as automatic as you think! Lots of point and shoot cameras also have manual modes or ways to play with the settings a little.

My shot is underexposed! Well, it is to the on-camera metering system.

The Moon is small enough in the field of view that the camera is willing to think it’s an anomaly and set-up for what’s in the rest of the frame–black! I told the camera, “use your judgement then subtract two f/stops.” That made the finished product darker than what auto called for.

Even with my 200mm lens the Moon was small in the frame. I cropped the shot with Photoshop. You can easily crop or cut away the unimportant parts of shots with Picasa , from Google and free, or at Picnik.com, also free.

Cropping a photo is almost like zooming in farther. You’ll be showing part of the frame in the same space you’d normally show all of it. That exaggerates any motion and increases the chance of a blurry shot. To combat that I set my shutter speed reasonably high at 1/640 second and mounted my camera on a monopod for extra stability.

No monopod or tripod? Sit the camera on a stationary object like a car or a fence. Lean up against a tree or building. If you’ve got a jacket use that to cushion and steady the camera and give yourself a little more latitude in where it’s pointed.

I wasn’t confident my lens would properly focus on the moon so I focused manually. I’m not sure if that helped, but I was more confident in my abilities that its.

This photo was sharpened after it was downloaded to my PC. Almost all my photos are. Again, this is something Picasa and Picnik both provide which really help. Sharpening a photo a little can make it pop out at you.

When I post photos I’ll often be asked what kind of camera I used. Truth is if I took my Canon Xsi and set it on auto it would produce the same type of shot you get from a point and shoot–overexposed and a little blurry. Spending a few seconds to manually adjust can make a world of difference.

Photos From My Favorite Secret Manhattan Overlook

In this case it’s a tiny public park with spectacular river views.

We left New York City early this afternoon. Our hotel was on Madison Avenue so I headed toward the FDR Drive on the Upper East Side. A confusing on-ramp near the U.N. left me circling and looking for the next entrance. It also allowed me to buzz by one of my favorite New York City photo locations.

The Upper East Side has been an affluent area as long as I remember. That may be why the stubs of some East Side streets have remained open and accessible. In this case a tiny public park with spectacular river views.

My vantage point was the foot of 57th Street looking toward the East River, Roosevelt Island and the Queensboro (aka 59th Street) Bridge.

Out And About (photos)

The two lane road I picked was more like a 1&#190 lane road. Shoulders? We don’t need no stinkin’ shoulders!

It’s been days since our last snow. Based on past history it should have faded by now. It has not! That’s why I packed “Clicky” even though I was just heading to Woodbridge to meet a friend for coffee.

I took the well traveled Wilbur Cross Parkway on my way to Starbucks, but more sparsely traveled roads for my trip back. Specifically I wanted one spot near Lake Watrouss. I’ve taken hundreds of pictures there though normally when the water is blue and the grass green.

The two lane road I picked was more like a 1&#190 lane road. Shoulders? We don’t need no stinkin’ shoulders! I literally stopped the car in the travel lane, put on my flashers and headed out with the camera.

The road is so thinly traveled that a few minutes later a car heading in the opposite direction saw me, slowed down, then stopped. It was the McDonalds who’ve lived near this idyllic spot for 37 years. They just wanted to say hello. I was touched they did. No one was worried that we’d now set up an ad hoc roadblock!

Here’s a look at what I saw while out and about. Click any thumbnail for a larger version.

Everyplace Has Something Unique

From time-to-time you hear the unmistakable sound of bird poop hitting the water.

I’m in Boynton Beach just west of Military Trail. Not long ago this was swampland. The communities that now fill the area were planned and executed. Little was left to chance. Within each is a Stepford-like level of conformity.

Yet even here at the condo where one unit looks like the next there is something unique! My parent’s condo complex features a single sprawling tree at the edge of a man made pond housing an amazing flock of egrets.

As long as I’ve been coming I’ve been heading to the tree. As my photographic skills get better I’m able to bring more of it online for you to see.

The tree is desolate during the day, but as sunset approaches the birds return. One-by-one they fly toward the tree changing direction at the last possible second to land into the wind.

Every night the tree is loaded with egrets. Mainly they perch silently with their head tucked into their feathers. From time-to-time you hear the unmistakable sound of bird poop hitting the water.

Sometimes a bird will shift position forcing his neighbors to shift as well. The tree gets busy and wings being to flap for fifteen or twenty seconds. Then it’s quiet again.

These three shots are long exposures with my camera on a tripod allowing me enough light to see the birds in the dead of night.

I photograph these birds every time I visit!

Stuff I Never Saw Growing Up In Apartment 5E (photos)

A woman was on cross country skis heading toward the closed end of our cul de sac!

Sunday saw a big snowstorm across the Northeast. Though Connecticut didn’t get the worst we got some. Frank who plows my driveway will get a check!

The first day after a snowstorm is the pretty day. The snow is still pure white and this afternoon the sky was pure blue. I went for my camera.

Santa brought me a new lens, a Rokinon 8mm fully manual fisheye. It is a low end lens which has gotten rave reviews.

I took a few shots of my front yard… and then I spied her. A woman was on cross country skis heading toward the closed end of our cul de sac! I ran upstairs to get a more appropriate lens.

This is a site I never saw growing up in Apartment 5E back in Flushing.

Dog Sitting For Tallulah–Let The Photos Begin!

We love having Tallulah around the house especially since she’s such a wonderful model for my photography!

We’ve got a visitor this weekend. Tracey is off to a wedding her high school reunion and she’s entrusted us with Tallulah. We love having Tallulah around the house especially since she’s such a wonderful model for my photography!

Let the games begin. Tallulah’s on the sofa resting. I hope the clicking doesn’t disturb her.

The First Snow

We seem to go from summer to winter more quickly with each succeeding year.

Winter hasn’t officially begun, but game on–it snowed this morning. This wasn’t your Currier and Ives snowfall. It was as if Mother Nature couldn’t make up her mind and infused the snow with ice.

There wasn’t much of it. I’ve posted two photos with this entry because the snow is so well hidden.

We seem to go from summer to winter more quickly with each succeeding year.

This was one nasty morning, but the first of many.

Connecticut Fall Foliage Photos

On our way home from Dr. Mel’s birthday party Helaine suggested I stop for a few foliage shots. It’s tough to go wrong with those!

Saturday was a beautiful October day in Connecticut. If the fall colors haven’t peaked we’re getting awfully close.

On our way home from Dr. Mel’s birthday party Helaine suggested I stop for a few foliage shots. It’s tough to go wrong with those!

We got off I-91 and cut across to the ballfields at Wilbur Cross High School to shoot East Rock then on to Lake Whitney. I took a walk around my neighborhood to get a few more.

Dr. Mel: Birthday Boy – Party Pictures

Though Dr. Mel often claims we’re in prediction and not production it’s tough to believe he didn’t have some hand in this beautiful day.

Today’s Dr. Mel’s 65th birthday. There was an even more important occasion for the party he and his wife Arlene threw. It’s 165 months since Mel was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

The disease develops in 1–4 per 100,000 people per year. It is more common in men, and is twice as common in blacks as it is in whites. With conventional treatment, the prognosis is 3–4 years, which may be extended to 5–7 years with advanced treatments – Wikipedia

If there’s a single reason Mel’s still alive it’s because of the relentless advocacy he and Arlene have shown. The Goldstein’s have made sure his treatment has been thorough. There is no slacking off with a very educated patient.

The party was a great celebration held in Mel and Arlene’s beautiful house on-the-water in East Haven and attended by many of my co-workers and friends.

Though Dr. Mel often claims we’re in prediction and not production it’s tough to believe he didn’t have some hand in this beautiful day.

Fall Photos Come Easy

I’m sure there’s some advantage of using my Canon DSLR but today I could see none.

This time of year is made for picture taking. That’s why about 45 seconds after I left my driveway I stopped to take this photo. It’s a small mill pond surrounded by old trees. If I’ve taken one shot I’ve taken a thousand shots from this vantage at the side of the road.

This photo was taken by my iPhone camera. I’m sure there’s some advantage of using my Canon DSLR but today I could see none.

The New York Subway System: 660 Miles, 468 Stations, 106 Years

It is my favored mode of transport while in the city.

I got hooked on the New York City subway system as a kid. Not sure why. Still strangely attracted to it. It is my favored mode of transport while in the city.

This week to mark the 106th anniversary (some parts of the subway look every bit that old) the New York Times has published two photo essays under the heading “660 Miles, 468 Stations, 106 Years.” One is a contemporary view of the system, the other a timeline from day one.

I love this stuff.

A Few Old Family Photos

I love the picture because of the high pouffy hair! It’s like they all went to the same hairdresser who did it all on an assembly line.

Without the Internet I’d probably be out of touch with my Cousin Barry. He is a few years older than me. I always looked up to him when I was a kid. If he’s reading this it’s probably the first time he’s heard that. We all sometimes forget to say the important stuff, but it’s true.

I got an email from him last week.

I recently had reason to look through some old pictures of me that one of my childhood friends requested and came across some old pictures of your parents and grandparents.

I’m not going to post them all here–just two. The first has a family I recognize, but whose name I forget plus my grandmother, mother, sister and two aunts. I love the picture because of the high pouffy hair! It’s like they all went to the same hairdresser who did it all on an assembly line. Only my sister made it out unscathed!

The second shot features my folks and my grandmother. It was taken on the balcony of my grandparents apartment twenty three stories up in Trump Village in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Back then, before additional buildings went up, they had a view out to the Atlantic (plus the two elevated subway lines which ran near the building).

My mother saw the photo and commented she was good looking back then. She still is. My dad too.

Sleeping Giant In The Clouds

This shot was taken with my iPhone using HDR Pro to allow the dark and light to co-exist.

I pulled off the road this afternoon on my way in to work. It’s a grey, rainy day in Connecticut. Low clouds obscured the peak of Sleeping Giant Mountain.

This shot was taken with my iPhone using HDR Pro to allow the dark and light to co-exist. In a perfect world I’d Photoshop away the power lines.

No–actually in a perfect world the lines would be underground.

I’ve driven past Sleeping Giant every day for twenty years. I am still in awe of its beauty.