Despite some really bad weather was able to see the Blue Angels perform at the Duluth Air Show on August 24th, 2014. The cloud deck was low so they had to perform their “flat” routine. I’m sure the normal routine is even more spectacular but what they performed was truly inspiring.
See the full Blue Angels gallery.
Of course you gotta get the mirror shot. Happy I didn’t miss it.
Here’s a great example of the precision and teamwork involved. The lead pilot flys the routine while the pilot next to him follows. Except for the lead pilot the rest just follow the plane next to them. Easy right? They make it look as if it is.
Finally a movie I put together with stills and video clips to capture the action. Hope you enjoy and you can see the best photos in the Blue Angels gallery.
Was in southwestern Minnesota last weekend and went out to try to get my first shots of the Milky Way. Went to Touch the Sky Prairie (gallery here) which is up on a hill in the middle of farm country. This is actually a nature preserve founded by National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg who is originally from nearby Luverne, MN.
The above photo was at 16mm on a Sony A99 full frame. It was f/2.8, 30 seconds at ISO 3200 I believe. Even with a good lens and camera combo I had to be aggressive in pulling out the milky way. It’s a dark area but still plenty of light pollution from nearby Luverne and Sioux Falls, SD.
Also had a bit of fun up there with some light painting. Used my flashlight with red filter to create this sort of Mars landscape scene.
Check out more photos from Touch the Sky Prairie.
I’m sure others have tried this but I’ve never seen anyone really talk about it or recommend it. Basically instead of varying the shutter speed to take 3 to 5 photos for creating a HDR I varied the ISO instead. The results were way better than I expected. Now I only wish I had taken a similar set with the shutter speed changed to compare the two methods. If nothing else it says it can be done with good results for a night HDR.
I’ll explain a little about the setup and process. I’m using a Sony A99 with a Zeiss 24-70mm 2.8 lens at 60mm focal length. Each exposure was f/9 and a 30 second shutter speed. I took 5 shots from -2 EV to +2EV. I simply started at the dark exposure with ISO 50 and doubled it to 100, 200, 400 and finally 800 for the brightest shot. Doubling the ISO changes the exposure by ~1 EV step. This was then combined in Photomatix and finally tweaked in Lightroom which is my normal process.
Benefits of the HDR ISO Bracketing method.:
1) The shutter is the same on each exposure so moving objects create similar patterns. That can help with ghosting issues. In this scene the 1st Bank sign rotates and flashes on different sides. The shorter exposures which are most important for that sign can end up not capturing the sign as it is lit.
The second part is the water and traffic which often create similar patterns over 30 seconds where they can be quite different in a 2 second shot.
2) The Zeiss lens is pretty sharp at f/4 but hits it’s stride from f/5.6 to f/11. The f/9 aperture is right in the sweet spot. In using HDR ISO bracketing I choose manual mode and set the shutter speed to 30 seconds and the ISO to 50. That means I just need to find the aperture which is f/9 in this case. You could use a shorter shutter speed for all exposures but 30 seconds works well with painting all that light on the water.
Issues with this Method:
1) Noise could be a problem depending on the low light ability of the camera. The A99 does a great job even at higher ISO and it’s full frame. A camera with poor ISO performance like my old A55 might have issues with this. That’s one reason I like 5 exposures or more at night because noise is reduced with more exposures
2) While this method is great for repeating patterns of motion it’s not good for more random motion. There were airplane trails all over the place that I had to deal with after the fact. This is an issue in any time you combine multiple exposures but in this case each light trail is 30 seconds so there’s more to deal with.
3) It takes a bit longer. At 30 seconds + long exposure noise reduction (dark frame) that’s 6 minutes of time for one HDR. A normal bracket would have taken about 2 minutes with the same 5 exposures. At this time of night there’s virtually no change in exposure so time isn’t as much of a factor.
Would I recommend this method. Yes, in certain situations. If your camera has good ISO performance give it a shot. It probably makes most sense to use this at night after the blue hour has ended and on a clear night. Hopefully I get a chance soon to test this further.
This is maybe THE iconic view of Minneapolis taken from the 24th St pedestrian bridge over interstate 35W. I had to share a few more shots from here as the sunset was magnificent. The other reason is there is a plan to expand the transit station and add additional freeway access in the area around Lake Street. A few of the bridges may be replaced including the pedestrian bridge I’m standing. If the plan goes through construction it may impede the view and eventually there won’t be a bridge to stand on for this shot at least for a while.
To see the full gallery go to Minneapolis Skyline 35W View.
Here’s a view of the pedestrian bridge (below). On the right there are probably 5-6 holes cut into the fencing for photographers to use.
Here’s a closer view of the diffuse light on downtown Minneapolis. To read more about the proposed redevelopment plan go here.
Finally a long exposure shot with the light trails.
Back again with another model from the Air Expo 2014 Pinup shoot. This is Mary who is a former roller girl. Talk about the complete package. Not only does she have the looks but she’s got guns for arms too! That’s a lot of firepower combined with a TBM Avenger.
See more here!
Here’s a great pose that would look good in the barracks back in the day…or any day for that matter.
Another great shot of Mary and here you can see how toned her arms are! We all had a lot of fun and Mary was definitely infectious with her charm. Plus she might pull a roller derby move on you so we just kept smiling ;)
See more of Mary in the gallery.
I always enjoy movies and the different looks they achieve. It’s great inspiration for photography and the Sin City movies (based on the comic I know) have a distinct look. Some people scoff at selective coloring but I think in the right situation it can work quite well. In fact dare I say most non-photographers love the look.
Check out more of Minneapolis in the gallery.
What do you guys think of selective coloring in general?
Really enjoyed my time at the Air Expo 2014 at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, MN. A lot of the same planes are there every year but there are always a few new ones. This year they had a Corsair and another P51. You really can’t have enough of those in my book.
Check out the Air Expo 2014 gallery.
The F4U Corsair is one sweet looking plane. It had a powerful engine but was ill suited for landing on aircraft carriers so most of the planes went to the Marines instead of the Navy as was planned. Later the British made some modifications to the plane and learned techniques to land on carriers.
Another new and very cool addition. The Cessna T-50 known as the Bamboo Bomber. It does look like something that might fly in the South Pacific.
Of course we need to have the P51 Red Tail of the Tuskegee Airmen. Maybe one of the finest fighters of World War 2. Always a favorite of mine to view these in action.
Gallery Air Expo 2014
Last weekend I went to the Air Expo at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, MN to shoot vintage planes on the ground and in the air. I also had an awesome and unexpected opportunity to shoot a pin up model shoot with the vintage airplanes after the show. How exciting to take photos of these gals with a TBM Avenger, Corsair and B-17.
I will be sharing each of the models here who all did a fantastic job. Also this was the first time doing a model shoot like this so I was thankful to be able to learn from the other great photographers and see how they work.
If this isn’t your sort of thing I understand but everyone had a great time and felt like they put their best out there. Many of the woman were first time models and embraced the shoot and really did most of the hard work climbing around on the planes.
Let’s start with Dee Marie! See the full gallery here.
Queen of the Sky
To see more go here Air Expo 2014 – Planes and Pinups.
The MLB All-Star Game is in Minneapolis and half the city is lit up making for some interesting shots. Here’s a couple from around town. These are not normally lit so it’s nice to get some unique shots.
See the gallery here 2014 MLB All-Star Game.
Gold Medal Flour lit for the All-Star Gala after the Home Run Derby on Monday night.
Here the Stone Arch Bridge is lit in yellow. I’ve never seen the bridge lit like this so it was really cool to see. This was on Sunday night as they were testing the lights. You can see part of the projection missed the bridge and is displayed on the Lock & Dam area behind it.
See more here 2014 MLB All-Star Game.
Well as promised here are the girls of the Wizard World 2014 Minneapolis Comic Con. Enjoy and see more from the convention here!
Most people didn’t mind getting into character.
Here’s Supergirl and her trashy friend ;) I could be wrong but I think they liked the attention.
Here’s a kitty costume. If anybody knows what characters these are drop a line in the comments please.
Here’s a couple booth girls. Not sure what they were selling…maybe just the photos in the foreground. I need to ask more questions I think :)
And finally you may be wondering why there’s a dude in this. Well there’s actually a girl in a Where’s Waldo costume. I’ll wait till you find her….okay didn’t take too long. Apparently Waldo couldn’t find her pants either. Oh and who knew that Waldo and Freddy Krueger in the back dress nearly exactly alike?
For more girls and seriously awesome costumes from the Wizard World 2014 Minneapolis Comic Con go here!