From the monthly archives: "August 2011"

I took the family to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center on Saturday.  It was a great adventure but very tiresome for a day trip.  It was a dream of mine when I was smaller to go to Space Camp there, but that never came to fruition.  I was glad to finally make it to the center.  When you pull into the parking lot, you are greeted with the massive view of a Saturn V rocket sitting in front of the building.  The length of the shadow which it throws at 9 A.M.  is just amazing.  There was a lot to see there, but not as much as I would have liked.

Today’s Photo:  The Quick Plane

When you enter the front of the Davidson Center for Space Exploration, you are greeted by the Quick Plane.  This plane was made by William Quick and it is hard to believe this plane was the competition to the Wright Brothers.  To me, it looks so much more advanced.

The Quick Plane

A Content Creation Day

I decided late last night (Friday) that I would take the family on a museum trip. Today was the perfect adventure day to top off a very adventurous week. So, after being so busy this week, I will just leave you with the Daily Photo. Oh, by the way, of course I will be posting the photos soon.

Today’s Photo: Images of Daddy in Her Eye

As most of you know, I have two daughters. I posted the portrait of one yesterday and I think their grandparents would cause me great trouble if I did not post the other.

So, today’s photo shall be of the other. I got them both to pose in a similar fashion, which worked out wonderfully. I got the added self portrait with this one too. I love reflections.

To see this one big, click on the photo, which opens it in Flickr. Then, at the top right, you can select other sizes. Once that page opens, you can see it in full size.

I posted two photos of The Girls. While you are at it, check out last Sunday’s Daily Photo.

Images of Daddy in Her Eye©2011 Just Shooting Memories (all rights reserved)

Confessions of Portraiture

For anyone who has read this blog, you know that I am not a portrait style photographer.  However, I am of the opinion that everyone should expand their horizons and learn new things.  When I am teaching someone, I usually use the phrase “If I am not learning, then I must be dead”.  I have taken this attitude and applied it to photography.  When I first started photography it was in a primarily documentation aspect.  Since then, I have come to love the artistic expression which can be found in the many different styles of photography.

I have a habit of seeing something and then deciding that I need to do it too.  Not because I want to recreated someone’s work, but because I have a never ending desire to learn how it was done.  I love the technical area of photography and feel the drive to perfect my knowledge of it.

Over the past few months, I have added several areas of experimentation to my “toolbelt”.  Some have been more successful than others.  I have made it a point to learn portraiture, astrophotography, time-lapse and tilt-shift, to name just a few.

When I took on portraiture, I began reading and learning some of the aspects of a good portrait.  The other day, I put some of those tips and techniques to use.

I must confess, I am beginning to like this portraiture thing.

Today’s Photo:  I See You

I was having a great time the other day chasing my children around.  One of them hid behind a metal pole and began peeking out at me.  It made such a cute scene, I decided to get both of the children to pose for me.  I think I am beginning to get the hang of this portraiture thing.

You can find one of my first attempts at portraiture (this was a pure accident) Daddy’s Little Patriot.  And don’t miss last Saturday’s Daily Photo, which just happens to be another portrait.

I See You ©2011 Just Shooting Memories (all rights reserved)



Photographing movement can mean two things, movement of the subject or movement of the background.  You accomplish this feat by using the same mechanisms for both, a slow shutter speed.  For me, creating movement during the day has been difficult.  There is usually so much light that you cannot get the shutter speed slow enough. I guess with the right kind of filter, I would be able to, but I just have a polarized filter on the camera for now.

I have found that to blur the background, I set the camera to shutter priority and the shutter speed around 1/30 of a second.  This allows me to get fairly good crisp photos of the subject and, depending on the speed of the subject, good movement in the background.  Decide what area of the subject you want in focus and then follow the subject with the camera and attempt to keep the subject framed as you want.  The beauty of this technique is that most of the time, the background colors are the only thing that matter.

On the other hand, to blur the subject, I set the camera on a tripod, shutter priority and a shutter speed somewhere below 1/30 of a second.  To keep camera shake out of the picture, use a remote shutter release.  As the subject moves through the photo, push the button.  If the subject is not blurred enough, make the shutter speed slower.

Today’s Photo:  The Drive-By

I decided to take sometime with the family the other day and just watch my children ride their bikes.  I promised myself prior to going out that I was going to put the camera down.  Of course when I got outside, I began seeing all the photographic opportunities.  So, I had to get the camera.  My youngest was riding her bike at a very unsafe speed, at least I don’t think I ever rode that fast when I was that young.  I convinced her to drive in circles around me while I took photos.  I found out quickly that she has the precision driving skills of an Indy Car driver.  Or maybe like the Drift Racing drivers, she almost had enough speed to start drifting and was only about 6″ from me most of the time.

Here is another portrait of my Little Treasure.  And don’t miss last Friday’s Daily Photo.

The Drive-By©2011 Just Shooting Memories (all rights reserved)

Trials and Tribulations of Astrophotography Time Lapse

Okay, I know you all want to know how last night’s astrophotography went.  (head hanging)  Not as well as I planned.  This time, I forgot to switch to manual focus.  The rig ran all night.  I could even see the auto-focus light as I was walking up to it.  I only go about 10 minutes before it got too dark to auto focus.

I am taking a few days off from attempting the astrophotography.  The moon is too bright right now and the New moon will be in a couple of weeks.

Today’s Photo:  The Cold Flag

This year was one of the best for snow in the North Georgia Mountains since I was much younger.  At least it seemed that way.  I was in heaven.  I love the cold.  I hope that this winter will be as exciting and snow bound as last.  Maybe it can be even colder and snowier.

I could not resist the contrast of the flag against the white snowy background.  I enjoyed taking photos of the snow greatly this year.  So, don’t miss this other one of my little Winter Wonderland.  And while you are looking around, don’t miss last Thursday’s Daily Photo.

The Cold Flag

The Importance of Preparation

This was not what I wanted to write about today, but current events dictated that I address this as I was the victim of my own poor preparation.

Growing up, I was not a team sports player.  I always enjoyed extreme sports such as rock climbing, kayaking and scuba diving.  I learned in each of those that safety was extremely important.  Part of safety is being prepared and making sure you have everything you need to help facilitate your survival.  Now you are asking how this translates to just the photography aspect; right?

I am glad you asked, but not much, except for the attitude of preparedness.  Whenever you plan to take go on a shoot, set out all the items you think you will need in advance.  Go through them and make sure they are in working order, charged and if need be replace / recharge.

It is the worst feeling to need something and it is not there.  However, what is even worse is to finish with a project, only to find out you did not get it at all, just because you forgot to prepare.

Last night, I planned to shoot a time lapse of the night sky at my house.  I was prepared.  I had the camera, the settings I wanted to use, research done on settings for the intervalometer, checked the weather to make sure it was not going to rain and it would be sort of clear.  Just in case, I had the rain cover for the camera.  At about 10:00 PM I went to set up.

I put the camera on the tripod, focused the lens, set the intervalometer and it was off to the races.  I set the camera to take a 15 second exposure with one second between exposures.  This would give me about 1400 images.  At least that was the plan.  I waited a few minutes to make sure everything was working fine then went back into the house for some sleep.

I got up at 4:30 AM as giddy as a school child the first day of the year.  I couldn’t wait to see what I got.  When I made it to the camera, I noticed that it was off.  Not a problem, I expected the camera to run out of battery, possibly.  I went back inside and began checking the photos.  I immediately noticed there was a problem.

I had a 32 GB SD card and there was 30 GB free.  So, a card which should hold over 1400 photos was only about 6% full.  I opened the folders and found that I only got about an hour worth of time-lapse.  I began thinking back over my preparations.  I realized I violated a rule of being prepared; check gear prior to expedition.

Just because you are only taking photos at home, don’t forget to check everything.  This includes the things you can’t see such as battery percentage.  On the other hand, I am glad this happened at home and not out in the field.  That is why you should practice on a small scale before taking on an actual shoot.

As this is being posted at midnight EDT, the camera should be about three hours into the re-shoot of last nights hiccup.

Today’s Photo:  The Tunnel

I have driven by this road hundreds of times.  It was not until the other day when I stopped at the gas station at the corner that I noticed there was a tunnel under the railroad tracks here.  I thought it was such a cozy looking area that I had to extend my stay a few minutes to capture some shots.

Here is a photo of another beautiful view I have passed by hundreds of times:  The White Road.  While you are at it, check out last Wednesday’s Daily Photo.

The Tunnel ©2011 Just Shooting Memories (all rights reserved)


Composition has been the most challenging aspect of putting a photograph together for me.  I find that I have to consciously work at making sure the photograph is framed right and lines are where I want them to be.  However, for some, like my wife, this seems to come natural.

I have been making a great effort lately to make sure I have been following one of the most basic rules of composition, the rule of thirds.  It is a very simple concept, but can be what makes or breaks a photo.

Simply put, the Rule of Thirds is to divide the framed picture into three equal vertical areas and three equal horizontal areas.  In fact, most SLR cameras now have grids imposed on the photo in the viewfinder.  This means that you will have two lines vertical through the photo and two horizontal dividing the three areas.

The Road Grid

Now for the hard part, place the subject of the photo at the intersecting of these lines.  Then, place supporting forms, lines objects along the lines leading to the subject.  Example: In a sunset or sunrise photo, place the sun at the point of intersection of the lines and the horizon along one of the horizontal lines.  For sunrise and sunset, I find myself looking for clouds that I like and placing the horizon on the bottom of the two lines.

Today’s Photo:  The Road

I was out taking photos the other day when I ran across this bridge.  It was getting dark and some really good clouds were moving in.  I was looking for a good shot of the sunset, but that did not happen.  So, I got low and followed the rule of thirds for this one.

Here is another photo where I used the rule of third’s for the composition: The Bench.  And don’t miss last Tuesday’s daily photo.

The Road©2011 Just Shooting Memories (all rights reserved)

It is amazing how changing your perspective can change the look and feel of a photo.  I have begun to look at subjects from every angle if I have the time.  It helps to have a wide angle lens also, but a zoom lens can make for interesting shots with the right distance.  I like the view when you get close and low to the ground.  It makes the subject appear large and looming.  However, if I back up just a little, it becomes less impressive and not as strong a subject.  Changing your perspective can turn one subject into many photos.

Today’s Photo:  The Hay Bale

I took this photo the other day.  I drove by this little field full of rolled hay bales.  It appeared the hay had just been cut, at least within the last few days.  There was short stubble all over the field.  I did the photographers U-turn, went back to the field and had my wife drop me off.  Surely I am not the only one who does this?  I took a quick set of photos and exited the area.

I have taken a few other photos with a close up perspective like this one of a Chopper.  And don’t miss last Monday’s Daily Photo.

The Hay Bale©2011 Just Shooting Memories (all rights reserved)

I love classic cars.  I understand completely how America can have a love affair with the automobile.  These are fascinating vehicles.  I try to make it to several auto shows, but have not been as successful this year.  In fact, I have not had as much time for photography as I have wanted this summer.  However, I have several things planned, including Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk.  I am going to attend the walk in Chattanooga on October 1.  If any of you are in the area, I would love to meet.

Today’s Photo:  The Purple Racer

I was exploring the Museum of American History and made it to the bottom floor where the vehicles were located.  The first vehicle seen is this race car.  I don’t remember the name and right now I have horrible internet connectivity or I would look it up.  It is so much fun to explore museums and see the history that is contained there.

I think museums are some of the most difficult to photograph, but some of the most beautiful buildings.  This is another photo from Washington D.C. and what I called The Blue Room.  And don’t miss last Sunday’s Daily Photo.

Purple Racer

I know a lot of people who are switching to Google+ and now spend less time on Face Book.  However, since Google+ is just by invite now, stop by the face book page and say hello.  If you like what you see here, make sure to like the Face Book page.  I am really interested in getting to know the readers of this blog.  I am fortunate enough to get to travel sometimes and don’t want to miss the opportunity to meet some of you if possible.

Today’s Photo:  Dreaming

I have two very girly girls.  They like the usual girly things.  Princesses, Barbie, Tinker Bell, etc.  You get the picture.  The other day, I walked into their room and say the youngest sitting at the desk.  She was staring out the window.  I quickly grabbed the camera and snapped this photo.  I can only imagine what she was thinking.  Maybe Princesses or Barbie, I don’t know.  She promptly became the shy, camera unfriendly little girl that I know.  (The other one is usually not as shy).  I tried to find out what she was doing there, but immediately gave the normal child answer “I don’t know”.

I have a hard time not taking all my photos of the children, but here is another photo of The “A” Team with her bling.  But you can’t miss last Saturday’s Daily Photo.

Dreaming©2011 Just Shooting Memories (all rights reserved)

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