15 Aug

Roar. Grr. Rawr. IR.

So, infrared photography.

Cool stuff, right?

I KNOW!

But man, what a bitch.

Wait, what is infrared photography?

Pretty much, you take a photograph of infrared light. WHICH IS TOTALLY COOL! Our eyes cannot (virtually) distinguish infrared light so when you photograph it, you get some pretty interesting images. Things that are familiar take on new casts and previously nigh-invisible things pop out.

The most notable bit is that after post processing, green things turn white resulting in a surreal landscape of powder-puff trees and snow-grass fields. The sky darkens into this rich blue – so different from the standard “blue sky” shade that we are used to. It is very alien.

To illustrate my point, here is what a properly processed infrared photograph should look like:
http://img.weburbanist.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/naomi-frost-infrared-photography-4.jpg

Feel free to google more if you find yourself interested! I know I did hence the despair and rage at failPhotos.

To illustrate that point, here are a few of my [failed] attempts. Note: they have not been post processed! But trust me, no amount of Photoshop will save these puppies. They are dead to me.

Oh god, my eyes...

Oh god, my eyes…

This is totally normal.

This is totally normal.

This is NOT normal!

This is NOT normal!

Awww, cute...

Awww, cute…

This would be a very interesting photograph... IF NOT FOR THE RED DEATH AND PEE-COLORED CLOUDS!!

This would be a very interesting photograph… IF NOT FOR THE RED DEATH AND PEE-COLORED CLOUDS!!

What am I doing wrong?!

I didn’t exactly jump into this subject, mind you. I spent some time reading and trying to understand it before I decided I would take a shot at it. Granted, in a rather un-Birdy like bit of sporadicness I went and bought an inexpensive but highly-reviewed IR filter off of Amazon. I figured for $15 + free shipping, I didn’t have much to lose. I still don’t! Even the time I spent out trying to get the shots was fun. I got to hang out at the park in the sun and feel like a neat photographer with all of my gear. I AM LEGIT BECAUSE I CARRY A TRIPOD!

… only not so much.

Anyway, from what I gathered, here is what I should have done:

1) Get an IR filter or IR-modded camera. I got the filter because I’m too poor to mod my camera and I wasn’t willing to give up my ONLY DSLR to the mod gods for something that I hadn’t even tried yet.

2) Know your settings! Low ISO to keep the noise down, big aperture to keep the focus neat, sloooooow shutters speed to make sure you get enough light through the dense IR filter, and compose your scene BEFORE you put your filter on your lens. Oh, and tripod.

3) Set your white balance to something fancy that I don’t understand and this is a really important part I guess I should figure it out!

See that step 3 right there? Yeah, that’s the kicker. That’s the one that ALL of the knowledge bases just slide right by like you should automatically know what the fuck is going on because since you’re JUST STARTING OUT with IR photography and reading things and watching things you obviously don’t need any further explanation on custom white balance.

Rawr.

The first batch of red death happened without using a custom white balance. I pretty much derped about in Cloudy because that’s what I do since I like things warm. That should work, right?

Nope…

So after I destroy all of the cones in my retinas, I come home and  read read read read read.

OH! It seems I have to set a custom white balance. That seems straight forward enough. I just take a picture of something bright green, like grass in full sunlight and then set that picture as the source for my white balance. Easy enough! A quick YouTube video showed me how to do that with my T3i.

Time for photograph excursion #2!

FAIL AGAIN! ROAR!

The first two images shown were from Day 1, with no custom white balance. The next two are from Day 2, with a custom white balance of some bright tree leaves. Why so ugly? WHY?!

It seems that I am supposed to take the custom white balance photo of the bright, green something WITH the IR filter on! GENIUS!

It took a forum thread from 2008 with someone having the exact same problem for me to figure this out. Woo

I can’t tell you how many tutorials I read before that tiny yet very immensely important snippet of information appeared.

Shoot your custom WB photo with the filter on. Magnificent!

Tomorrow is another day. I’m hoping for some sun. I’m going to do it right this time. The aperture is right. The ISO is right. Bulb mode is locked and ready to go. The tripod is quivering with expectation (but will stand totally still when I need to use her). The filter is practically jumping on my lens… and with god as my witness, I will never shoot with the incorrect white balance again!

Then you get to read me rage about post-processing. :3 YAY~!

06 Jul

Fireworks: 2014

Without much doubt in my mind, my favorite holiday is the 4th of July. Every year, I try to capture the beauty of the fireworks as best as I can and generally come up short in some way.

At the very least I’m stuck wielding an awkward device trying to snap pictures while I should be enjoying the show. The pictures I get are usually lacking in some way and I sometimes resort to video which is a bad idea. I scream during the show. A LOT! And then the device usually runs out of memory. SIGH.

This year, I was determined to try with the T3i and did ample research before the show. I went on the second night to test my theories so that I could go during the final night fully prepared.

Tripod, low ISO, big aperture, and bulb mode for manual shutter control. I shot the second night mostly in portrait mode and the third night in landscape. The second night really saw some GREAT results, though I do regret taking nearly all of them in portrait. The third night also had some spectacular images but there was a bit of a hullabaloo with setup a few minutes in and then DUN DUN DUN! The T3i’s battery took a poop. The poor thing had been running with the LCD screen on the whole night and what more could I expect? Lesson: learned.

Enjoy!

Night 2

IMG_4102

Probably my favorite even though there aren’t any fireworks!!

IMG_4137 IMG_4123 IMG_4117 IMG_4116

Night 3IMG_4364 IMG_4355

15 May

May Flowers!

At long last, spring is here!

[Even though it's relatively chilly and rainy right now. I'm writing this post from the future! Oooo~~]

An afternoon stroll around the neighborhood produced some lovely flower shots. And who doesn’t love flower photographs? A neighbor always has an amazing garden and this year, I gathered up the courage to ask if I could take pictures. He happily obliged and I dove into his tulip- and daffodil-filled garden with glee.

IMG_1769

Daffodils!

White daffodils! These guys are pretty awesome with their double petals.

White daffodils! These guys are pretty awesome with their double petals.

On top of a great garden, the neighbor also sports some charming birdhouses.

On top of a great garden, the neighbor also sports some charming birdhouses.

Enjoy some hi-res tulip action!

 

IMG_1743IMG_1738IMG_1753

 

These ones are from Zion Lutheran's little gardens.

These ones are from Zion Lutheran’s little gardens.

Some AMAZING grape hyacinth also from Zion.

Some AMAZING grape hyacinth also from Zion.

White violets in the front yard.

White violets in the front yard.

The trees blossom!

The trees blossom!

There isn't much to say - I simply adore this photograph.

There isn’t much to say – I simply adore this photograph.

Some greenery from work.

Some greenery from work.

I tried to be... something... here. I'm not sure. The toy-strewn yard was just interesting. What do you think?

I tried to be… something… here. I’m not sure. The toy-strewn yard was just interesting. What do you think?

Ma's favorite. Just an old fisherman tending his ship at the foot of a huge factory.

Ma’s favorite. Just an old fisherman tending his ship at the foot of a huge factory.

So the blog is increasingly becoming a photoblog for just Birdy. Nick is committed to writing something here but hasn’t yet. We should all harass him into writing! Who’s with me??

09 May

The year’s first goslings!

Yay! There’s nothing quite like the first clutch of fluffy, yellow, peeping goslings to make your day better. It was a poopy Friday so coming home to these little guys was a major-pick me up.

Goose parent.

Goose parent.

Can I eat this?

Can I eat this?

Can I eat this?

Can I eat this?

Maybe if I pull harder...?

Maybe if I pull harder…?

DISCLAIMER: I know geese aren't supposed to eat bread, I didn't feed them. My neighbors did and I just took advantage of the opportunity.

THIS! I can eat this!

My brothers and sisters ate it all...

My brothers and sisters ate it all…

SO FLUFFY

SO FLUFFY

Peep!

Peep!

Uncle Mallard

Uncle Mallard

03 May

Detroit May, 2014

Yesterday, Nick and I went to Detroit with the intention of going to the Michigan Science Center however we got there too late. :( It’s a bit of a bitchy story so I won’t go into it.

Since we were in Detroit, Nick made the decision to drive around some so I could take pictures. It was very windy and cold so I stayed in the car and shot photographs out of the window, usually while the car was moving. That being, said I am pretty damn proud of a how some of these turned out!

It’s difficult to take photos from a moving car, mostly because a lot of opportunities are missed. There’s a few things I want to return to photograph during a holiday afternoon when there is next to no traffic. I also have the intention of going to Maritime Park because it’s pretty and to hunt down the Mariner’s Cathedral. Brutalist buildings are on my list, too! My father suggested we hit up Greek Town for food.

Have some photos.

MGM Grand Detroit

MGM Grand Detroit

Classic buildings next to graffiti are interesting and sad. The impression of time passing is extremely apparent.

Sometimes the comparison is extreme, where the old is enveloped by the new. I do wonder how the graffiti painters managed to get up there and stay up there.

Sometimes the comparison is extreme, where the old is enveloped by the new. I do wonder how the graffiti painters managed to get up there and stay up there.

Sometimes the new isn't vulgar at all.

Sometimes the new isn’t vulgar at all.

And sometimes thew new escapes a decaying fate.

And sometimes thew new escapes a decaying fate.

Have some perspective.

Have some perspective.

Neva be forgotten <3 :P

Neva be forgotten <3 :P

Remnants of an industrial past make a good canvas for graffiti!

Remnants of an industrial past make a good canvas for graffiti!

Boob dog.

Boob dog.

Just a dude on a hand.

Just a dude on a hand.

A few stragglers from the storm earlier this week.

A few stragglers from the storm earlier this week.

On the way home I spotted a heron! He was in someone's backyard.

On the way home I spotted a heron! He was in someone’s backyard.

I tried hard not to startle him but I think my bright pink shirt was too much. He started and flew off to the safety of a fenced-in yard.

I tried hard not to startle him but I think my bright pink shirt was too much. He started and flew off to the safety of a fenced-in yard.

Now, before you go off on and say, “Yeah, Detroit is bad. They’re bankrupt,” take a moment to consider:

I’ve lived in Michigan pretty much my whole life. Detroit was bad when I was a small child. Flint was bad. Saginaw was bad. Bay City was bad. Everywhere was bad. It is just as bad or worse now. I’ve watched it become that way from the inside and I love it even as it rots. It is more than likely that the current condition of Detroit is as apparent or more so to me as it is to you. Unless you are literally living in Detroit and have lived in Detroit, hush.

This may seem bitchy and it may not even apply to you, but so far most of the people that I have mentioned this to didn’t grow up in Michigan and have minor experience with Detroit compared to mine. So, if you feel like saying, “Yeah, that’s Detroit,” just don’t. Close your mouth and don’t say anything.

I’m aware. Being aware doesn’t make it unremarkable. To me, life isn’t an ambivalent pissing contest spent trying to out-uncare each other. I like to have wonder. I like to be amazed. I don’t mind seeing something and weeping, mouth agape and heart fluttering at how it moves me. All your impassive reaction does is make you seem like an insensitive know-it-all. /end rant