Wanda Merritt Anthony

Wanda Merritt Anthony

Friday, October 10, 2014

Total Eclipse of the Moon

Thanks to my daughter's web serfing I learned there would be a total lunar eclipse.  She wanted to find a good place to view it.  We didn't find the "perfect spot" but fortunately we had a decent view in from out front yard.

I went online for exposure settings so I'd have a jumping off point.  Settings for photographing a full moon were as expected; use a tripod, cable release or two-second timer, F8 or F11 at 1/100 to 1/125 second at ISO 100, manual focus.  I experimented with the white balance to see how that would affect the moon's color.  You can see the different results here. Getting exposures right once the moon darkened became more difficult. I started with the recommended settings of ISO 400 at f5.6 at 1 sec. We found this setting what we thought was overexposed and definitely noisy. We tried various combinations of ISO 200 and different shutter speeds. We decided to stay at f8 for a good compromise of detail and shutter speed. Although I was worried about a 3 sec exposure it gave us the best results. I was worried about the long exposure because I was afraid the camera would pick up ambient light from nearby street lights. I was also concerned about the natural movement of the moon and the earth's shadow. Final settings were ISO 200 at f8 for 3 seconds. A lunar eclipse is a good time to experiment because it lasts for hours, giving you time to experiment with different settings until you get a pleasing effect. Use these settings as a reference point. Your settings may vary based on how far the moon is from you. Yes, a few thousand miles make a difference. When the moon started taking on an orange color my daughter and I tried to fix out exposure. The orange part of the moon had nice detail while the uncovered part was a blank white disk. Dispite all our efforts we couldn't get the uncovered part of the moon to show any detail. Later, when I was online I saw pictures from agencies that should know how to photograph a lunar eclipse with the same characteristic. http://earthsky.org/tonight/total-lunar-eclipse-blood-moon-hunters-moon-october-7-8-2014 and http://www.newsweek.com/photos-total-eclipse-moon-276099. We decided a camera will show this phenomenon; to avoid it, maybe you need a telescope. At lease something more powerful than a 300mm lens. I would welcome comments and recommendations on this issue. I narrowed my many photographs to eighteen to make a slideshow. Individual images can be seen at http://www.blindaseyelook.com/Events/Lunar-Eclipse/October-8-2014/i-cdR2Bt3. I am thankful that through the telephoto lens I could see the eclipse. The full moon looks like a bright light blue ball. Other phases look like a smaller, less bright ball. I don't see crescent moons and half moons. forget about craters. I could see detail on the moon and later the eclipse by using the live view feature through my camera's telephoto lens. When the moon turned orange I couldn't see it at all with my naked eyes but I could use my camera to see it.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Senior Pictures

While searching photography videos on YouTube I came across some how to footage about senior pictures.  I clicked through thinking it would be nice to get some tips on photographing senior citizens.  I quickly learned the seniors they were talking about were high school seniors, not old people.  I knew high school seniors got photographed in their graduation gowns but i knew nothing about high schoolers, especially girls, dressing up, going on location, and getting a whole portfolio of photographs taken. 

I figured this is something Ialso could do.  First and foremost, I had a living, breathing, high school senior girl right under my roof.  On top of that, this senior girl had been my model since she was in fourth grade. 

Now for a cool location.  Piedmont park, no.  There's no good place to change clothes if we take MARTA, and parking is expensive.  Plus been there....So I hit the internet.  I found Stately Oaks Plantation in Jonesboro, Georgia.  Stately Oaks is thought to be Margaret Mitchell's inspiration for Tara in Gone with the Wind.  Though I wasn't able to get hold of an antebellum dress we had a good time.  While there we toured the house, general store, tenant farmer's house, and kitchen.  Just bring your patience while touring the house.  They use a CD during the week and the man on the CD talks on and on.  I'm told live people conduct the tours on Saturdays; I hope they move a bit faster. 

You can see the gallery at http://www.blindaseyelook.com/Portraits/Andreas-Senior-Pictures/

Contact Blind as Eye Look Photography to book a portrait session, senior pictures, wedding, or architectural photography.  blindaseyelook@live.com.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Describing Photos, NO

There was a big discussion on "The Blind Community" Facebook page about describing photos.  I had no idea this was such a hot topic until after Merritt's wedding.  I posted a photo along with a link to her  Smugmug Gallery.  Basically I was putting it out there that I'm a legally blind photographer.  A lady commented in a snide fashion about this being "The Blind Community" and was I going to describe the photos.  She said other blind people may be intrested but she wasn't.  I responded that the interested people would ask and I skip posts that don't interest me.  In my opinion she simply wanted something to complain about. 

I could have responded, "Bride and groom standing close together in front of the Kansas City, Missouri Temple."  Would this have been enough?  I have no idea.  Do I need to describe the couple's facial features, their attire; if it is a full-length, three-quarter length, or head and chest; the part of the temple that is showing, what?  Merritt had described her dress to me but what I imagined was different from the actual dress.  

Later on still another blindness oriented site someone posted a picture and another person asked for a description.  For some reason the picture posted without the caption.  I decided to exercise my describing abilities.  I described the scend and materials but I don't think I did it justice.  If the person who asked were to go to the place in the picture I wonder if he'd think it had been described well.

Facebook is a place for sharing what we want to share.  If you like it good, go ahead and hit like or leave a comment.  If you don't like it say so in a respectful comment and maybe an interesting discussion can get going.  If you expect regular people with many other things to do to describe in enough detail to make the description worthwhile your expectations are unrealistic.  Captions help tell the story in these posts but don't describe the photo.  Here's and example.
The Missionary Training Center, which prepares young adults to spread the...
NPR|By NPR Staff
  This is the last photo I will describe unless if's for a stock photography agency.  People may be very interested in what every photo on Facebook (where I got this on) says but I don't believe it.  The photographer is situated above the subjects so the tops of heads can be seen. Ten Mormon missionaries, two of them women, standing in a circle with their heads bowed and arms folded in prayer.  They are in a classroom with the door open.  Desks can be seen behind some of them.  One desk has papers beside it on the floor.  The side wall has a coat rack with 5 black jackets and 1 blue jacket on it.  The back wall has three flags hanging sideways from it; Union Jack, another flag that incorporates the Union Jack, and a flag that looks like the Samoan flag but the star is wrong. 

If I described this picture for a stock photography agency I'd simply say, "Mormon missionaries praying at the MTC." I've had my rant.....moving on.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Available Light Photography

It has been said the photographers who label themselves existing light photographers don't know how to use flash.  I can only speak for myself; they are right.  I don't know enough about flash to use it effectively.  I do know enough to not turn on my built in on-camera flash.  When I had a separate flash for my film camera I knew enough not to point it straight at my subject.  I knew enough to tilt or swivel the flash head but me results were terrible because I didn't know how to adjust the flash output.  Now I know enough to not only buy a flash that tilts and swivels but to also get a stand to put it on, remote, (The remote may be already built into the camera and/or flash unit), and possible a reflector.    Because I don't have the money for all that, and haven't studied how to set it up, and practiced, I'm still an existing light photographer. 

I've been thinking about calling myself an available light photographer.  This came about at this club/bar/restaurant we were in the night before my daughter's wedding.  Between the need to photograph people in low light, and wanting as little noise as possible in the pictures I was momentarily in a quandary.  I started out by using that terrible on-camera flash.  I don't know why, wishful thinking I guess.  As you know, the pictures turned out awful.  I put on my thinking cap.

I remembered YouTube videos where the photographer used a flashlight to "paint" light where needed in night scenes.  "Andrea, turn on your flashlight app," I said. 

"My phone is dead," she answered.

I thought a bit more.  Then it came to me, my magnifyer light.  I dig out my magnifyer and turn it on.  I hold it in one hand and my camera in the other.  Now I'm able to angel the light so it makes their faces look pretty good for a club/bar/restaurant. 

Use substitutions in a pinch.  For the most part shoot in conditions your equipment can handle.  Be an available light photographer when you have to be; it's better than putting your camera away.  


Give this video a look 

"People like to take pictures, not have pictures." Constance Merritt

 Recently I had a unique experience at a wedding.  I may step on some toes but I've only calmed down a bit since the wedding.  I had offered to photograph my oldest daughter's wedding as my gift to her and her groom.  How hard could that be?......

My experience as a wedding guest or as the wedding photographer is both limited.  Maybe I should crash some weddings to see what happens at picture taking time.  Times do change, am I not with them? 

When my best friend Shirley got married in 2000 I offered to photograph her wedding.  She had planned a small church wedding but her friends showed up anyway to wish her well.  I wish I had some shots from back then to compaire with my current work.  The shoot was uneventful. 

In 2003 when my sister-in-law got married in her home church, wedding guested gathered behind the photographer in an effort to capture the same shot he was taking.*  He asked everyone to wait until after he had shot each pose, then he'd give them time to get the same pose with their cameras before he moved on to another pose or grouping.  This worked well, he got his shots without people firing off flashes at random times potentially ruining his exposures.  Guests interested in taking pictures heeded his instructions and nobody positioned themselves in front of his tripod on any plane to take a snapshot. 

My neighbor's daughter employed a different tactic at her wedding.  The ceremony and reception were held in a Victorian house converted for weddings and such.  I was the photographer for her wedding so I was aware of her plan.  All the guests were to wait in the dining room until the DJ called their family or group to come to the stairs to take pictures.  This worked well too.  Again, nobody got in front of my tripod's plane to snap off a picture.  Most of her guests stayed in the dining room as requested. 

My daughter's wedding was a photographer's nightmare.  As soon as she and her new husband emerged from the LDS Temple they were bombarded with well wishers wielding smartphones and possible a camera or two.  As soon as I got set up nothing changed.**  The location of my tripod made no difference to these wedding guests; they simply moved in front of me and kept snapping away.  I was told somebody would be taking the video.  If someone was taking video they were shooting in the midst of the smartphone mob.  I'm sorry to say I lost it when two people realized they didn't have any shots with the bride's mother and sister in them and offered to take them for me.  Maybe I should have lost it sooner because they finally backed off and I was able to get some pictures.  I have never seen anything like it and hope never to see anything like it again. 

I had come prepared and with high expectations.  My youngest Daughter was my second shooter.  She has less patience than I and got pictures of the guests huddled together with their phones and cameras snapping pictures. 

We don't mind if you take pictures at events; really we don't.  We do mind if you prevent us from getting pictures.  Stay behind the tripod and make sure the photographer isn't about to press the shutter if you're using a flash.

My daughter's wedding pictures can be seen at http://www.blindaseyelook.com/Clients/Weddings/Merritt-And-Gabriel

*You are not going to get the same shot the photographer gets.  You may be close but it won't be the same.  The photographer or his tripod is covering that spot.  Being a bit to the left or right, higher or lower will change the shot.  Other things determine the look of the shot as well; focal length of lens, exposure with it's permutations of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO; if indoors the white balance settings, post processing, etc.  

**We were a bit late setting up because we had the wrong address.