Another stop at Lamb's Canyon but this time around sunset with a partly coudy sky. The light quality was really nice--diffused yet with body. I strolled up the trail about a quarter of a mile and found this abandoned shell on a granite rock:
55mm, 4/5ths of a second, f/16, ISO 200. Burrrr...Lesson previoulsy learned: Always keep your gloves in the camera bag. Fortunately, I had them with me along with a hat that covers the ears which combo made the conditions tolerably comfortable.
As mentioned a while back, I used my Amazon credit to purchase a Nikon SB-800 Speedlight (Nikon's fancy name for a flash or strobe). And to get the full studio lighting effect, I also dug out my old flash gear from the first time I decided to be a professional photographer: a Vivitar 283 and Novatron 400W studio monolight. Now that should be enough lighting power for just about any situation I'll encounter!
I foolishly stayed up until about 2:00 AM Saturday morning checking to make sure that my older lighting equipment would not fry my relatively new camera. Evidently, the older SLRs used mechanically triggered shutters so some of the old flashes would produce ridiculous voltages because such voltages wouldn't harm the camera circuitry. It was not unusual for some of the portable hotshoe flashes to run right around 250V.
The trick is that the newer SLRs use electronically controlled shutters and expect charged voltages in the 6V range at the hotshoe. So, to make sure I wouldn't fry my camera, I spent hours scouring the internet for explicit instructions on how to use my little old analog volt meter to measure the voltage. In the end, I learned that my equipment, though dated, seems to be surprisingly safe because they only produce about 4 - 5V. Cool!
This one's for you, Contrast Girl!
55mm, 1/60th of a second, f/16, ISO 200, 400W Monolight shot through an umbrella and diffusion panel at 1/4 power (diffusion panel set approximately 2 feet in front of the umbrella, 4 feet from the "subject"), Nikon SB-800 strobe shot through a diffusion dome, bounced off of the 8' ceiling.
Now I have a lot to learn about using strobes. The diffusion panel helped produce a relatively soft, even light but the bounced light seems to have created a slight shadow in the right eye. More to come.
Taking us back to Boulder, on Saturday morning while the girls stayed cozy in their warm beds, I made a quick trip out to what we now jokingly refer to as the "Narrow Neck of Land." This is a road that weaves through spectacular exposed sandstone of the most brilliant tones. Just before descending into boulder, the road winds atop a ridge with several hundred foot cliffs to either side. It is quite a show.
And here we have the sunrise on this particular morning:
18mm, 1/100th of a second, f/16, ISO 200. I thought it interesting how the clouds distorted the shape of the sun. I don't think I did the canyon justice, however, as it looks like a little ravine rather than the massive canyon that it is...
EV and I made a trip up to Utah Olympic Park and watched the bobsled and skeleton events. I've never seen this kind of sledding in person and found myself struck by the speed of the sleds. On TV it is far more difficult to judge the speed because they often pan with the sleds as they move through the curves of the ice-coated track.
We started at the bottom of the track, watching the sledders come into the finish station and then made our way up to the various curves. I noticed two things that I hadn't thought through previously: There are hundreds of "No flash photography" signs along the track. It hadn't occurred to me previously but it makes perfect sense that a strobe would probably blind a sledder. Secondly, the track is mostly covered with white awnings so that spectators cannot see the sledders. At first I was intrigued by this fact but when I leaned up to the guard rail and looked into one of the "tunnels," I quickly realized that the awnings create a softer, more diffused light that allows the sledders to see and judge the ice more effectively.
The sleds move so fast that I had no hope of capturing a non-blurring sled but I sort of like the effect of movement that the blur creates.
We also made our way up to the start station to see how that all worked. There we arrived just in time for the 2-man women's (?) bobsled event:
Note: Walking alongside a bobsled track to the start station is a great workout--high elevation, plenty of 15% grades. This makes up for missing out on a swim which we had planned but fell through earlier today.
Thanks to Nick at work, a skeleton athlete himself, for tipping me off about the event.
Here's an experiment as I continue to evaluate the various Panorama software packages. This consists of 8 images taken in vertical format of Lewis Peak at sunrise from the dining room window.
8 frames, 135mm, 1/80th of a second, f/11, ISO 200. Again, please excuse the watermarks. This one seems to suffer from quite a bit of luminance noise but that's because I didn't do bracketing which would have made this same panorama at least 24 frames. Click for larger image.
We stayed at a rather charming place near Boulder that offers a yurt with a wood stove and an outdoor kitchen. Mikhaal and Tena, from Switzerland as I recall, created this little "Ranch" over the last five years. It was quite a lot of fun to stay way out, miles from the nearest neighbor in our cozy little room and fall asleep warmed by the rather effective stove.
I used DD's little LED lantern to light the interior for this shot (18mm, 131 seconds, f/8, ISO 800):
You can barely see the top of the yurt in this next shot because it is pretty well secluded by the fence and various trees surrounding it. This is, of course, a long exposure that reveals the movement of the earth in the form of star trails:
50mm, 460 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 200. Interesting effect due to the slight breeze moving the leaves.