Down Time

With my relatively recent schedule opening up, I’ve been spending more time out in the fields shooting birds.  I’m a complete newbie and almost always have no idea what kind of bird is in my view finder.  I enjoy the challenge though.

On January 28th, 2017, a friend and I spent the day driving around the Skagit Valley WA area looking for Bald Eagles.  We knew it was a bit late in the season, but we wanted to see what we could find.

 

 

I didn’t know what I had captured until I got home.  Caught this Short-eared owl with what he caught.  Previous frames showed it tearing this poor mouse up.

www.JasonTanaka.com

The Degradation Of Quality Photography

As a photographer, I have my opinions about what makes a technically great photo. One person recently made a comment about my photos, “One thing I miss is the lack of realism in the shot. Meaning you don’t set your shutter speed high just cause. It causes a weird effect on the shot. So you might get a less sharp photo but it looks more real.”

How did you read that comment?

Rich Kim focuses his exit

2014 Track Season Opener

T3 at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton WA. http://www.JasonTanaka.com


Ahh… Another track season is upon us. Time to dust off the big guy (Canon 400mm f2.8 L lens) and head out to the track. This year’s opener was a double with it being on a Saturday and Sunday. It was a bit rough getting back into the swing of things.
As with any other track season, I continue to look for new angles and locations to shoot on the track. I think I found a new angle, but it may be tough on days of variable lighting (patchy clouds). For sunny days where the lighting is consistent, I can put the camera in manual mode and set my exposure appropriately. This is new angle requires shooting against the sky and can throw off the camera’s metering. Using manual mode, I can set the camera to properly expose for the subject. Throw in mixed lighting and I can’t shoot in manual mode anymore. It’s going to be a challenge for sure!
I’ll keep looking for new angles… And saving my pennies for my next big lens…. Canon 600mm f4.0 L….

Mark of 2-Fast taking T3 at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton WA. http://www.JasonTanaka.com

The Abandoned Farm VR Tour

As I begin my venture into the world of real estate photography, something really caught my attention; VR tours. As I learn more about how to create VR tours, a whole new world of multi-row panoramas has opened up. So far I’m learning quite a bit and having fun doing it. Last Friday, after Thanksgiving, I took the opportunity of black Friday to apply what I’ve learned so far by created a VR tour of an abandoned farm in Sedro Woolley WA.
After quite a bit of post processing work, here is what came out.

>>> Please follow this link to view the VR <<<

The Canon TSE

Local HS football game. http://www.JasonTanaka.com

I’ve always been interested in using a tilt shift lens. I finally got a hold of the Canon 24mm 3.5 TSE. Interesting lens that’s for sure. I’m having a ton of fun with it. Couple things to note.
1. Getting the work flow with working with all the knobs while trying to use live view to get focus and exposer set has been a challenge.
2. Using live view to set exposure has been tough, especially in low light conditions. With my eyes adjusted to the low light, the exposer from the back of the screen seems bright enough, but it’s not.

All in all, I’m having fun with it.

My days in the box. http://www.JasonTanaka.com

Took a couple friends to NSRA farm up north. http://www.JasonTanaka.com

A friend’s wedding. http://www.JasonTanaka.com

Light Balancing Act

At Myrtle Edwards park in Seattle with the old Seattle PI building as the backdrop. http://www.Jasontanaka.com

One of the things I really enjoy in photography is playing with strobes. I hear many photographers say they are ‘ambient’ photographers and I wonder why? Artificial light should be treated as another tool in a photographer’s bag of tricks. Master your strobes and master your lighting. Master your lighting and you’re one step closer to mastering photography.
Not being a master of anything yet, I try to find reasons to shoot with my strobes; little or big strobes. On Saturday, I practiced on balancing my strobe lighting against the power of the sun. Strobe vs. ambient. Since the ambient lighting is constant, there are two places where you can make adjustments to work with the ambient light; in camera and your strobes.
Generally speaking my workflow is as follows:
1. Think about how you want your photo to look. Without a target, how do you know where to aim?
2. Position the subject and evaluate the ambient light. This is the base that I work from.
3. Assuming my strobes have enough power to do what I want, I position them based on how I want the light to fall on my subject.
4. Power up the strobes at 1/2 power. This is normally my starting power level.
5. Test and calibrate the strobes. This is the tricky part.
A. With the camera in manual mode, compose my subject and set my camera settings to my desired exposure using only ambient light as the light source. Being mindful of my camera’s max sync speed, I may also use a couple different filters. Polarizers add some contrast, reduce glare, and add some pop to some colors. ND filter to knock down the strength of the ambient light. I have 2, 6, and 10 stop ND filters to play with. Generally the polarizer + 2 stop ND filter is enough to knock down the ambient lighting to a controllable level.
B. Power up your strobes, fire off a shot and evaluate. If the strobes do not provide enough light, I can either move the strobe(s), increase the strobe output or open up my aperture.
C. Repeat step 5B until I get the correct strobe exposure.

As I execute step 5, I ask myself a few things. Are my strobes to be the key light or just fill? If key, will they have enough juice to do what I want them to do? Should the expose of the ambient light be neutral or under? If underexposed, how much?

Behind the scenes, what the header images looks like as shot from the other side of the main bike. – http://www.jasontanaka.com

Behind the scenes with the big strobes. trying to overpower the sun which is opposite the strobes. – http://www.jasontanaka.com

Balancing ambient light and strobe light. – http://www.jasontanaka.com

Playing with the little strobes, I turn the crew into light stands. Why? Experimentation. – http://www.jasontanaka.com