Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sitting on the Dock on the Bay

Yep, we now have a dock that is actually in the water. Two of them in fact. A storm earlier this year left one of our existing docks landlocked and the other floated away, never to be found.

Freddy was first to notice the arrival.

Captain Ron and First Mate Jim arrived in a pontoon boat towing something.

Freddy had to check it out.

Then Captain Ron and First Mate Jim came back with another dock.

Freddy was so happy that he invited a friend to play on it.

Pretty soon the word got out and campers were jumping at the chance to see the new docks. Literally.

The boaters came by to see what the fuss was about.

And spread the good news to their friends. Yes, there is cell reception on the water.

There was much rejoicing.

We had several groups camp with us over the weekend. This was the largest.

A wonderful herd of campers that took over the new docks, much to the chagrin of the campers on The Point.

There was a smaller group from Europe that camped in cabins on either side of Freddy and me. He made sure they were safe, putting out any small fires caused by drifting embers.

And zealously guarded their picnic tables from birds and squirrels.

He is a good dog. Everybody loves Freddy.

The smallest group was the Ford Family, which wasn't fully complete as two of the nine kids couldn't make the trip. Freddy played some ball with them. Even occasionally giving it back.

He even filled in for the absent family members in the portrait.

With his ball. He is a very good dog.

Let us wrap up our final blog post here with some pretty sunset pictures and a final photo tip.

Yeah, that is site 128, the Osprey Nest. Can't beat it.

Beauty can also be found as you simply walk down a road. Nature has a certain symmetry if you look close enough.

Like this weed for example.

Nothing special, right? Wrong. Get close.


Last photo tip is about flowing water.

Flowing Water

So you have found a nice waterfall or river and you want your photos to look a bit more “artsy” than usual. The trick is a slower shutter speed. You want to show some movement not a static frozen image.

Below is a standard auto program photo of Madison Falls in Olympic National Park from June 2012.

The camera chose a shutter speed of 1/400 of a second. Kinda boring. Not what it looked like in person. I did not have my tripod with me so for the next shot I chose a shutter speed of 1/8 of a second.

Just set your camera to shutter priority and spin the dial. 1/8 is about the slowest I would do handheld and that is with a vibration reducing lens. See the difference?

That is closer to what it looked like to my eyes. How about a more extreme example? OK, I have one. 

When I was hiking some trails in Hillsborough River State Park in Florida  I came across their famed rapids (Hey, when the tallest mountain in South Florida is 86 feet you take what you can get). And I brought my tripod with me. This photo was shot at 1/500 of a second.

Next I put my camera on a tripod and changed the shutter speed to one second.

Big difference between the two. Maybe too much. But you get the idea. Experiment with the shutter speed and you will get results that will make your friends jealous. 

The last photo below is from Silver Falls State Park in Oregon this last summer. I broke my own rule and shot it at 1/2 second handheld, but I was bracing myself against a railing. 

The background is a little out of focus but the movement of South Falls is clearly shown.

That was from behind the waterfall. One of my favorite campgrounds.


Greg and Freddy and the extremely hard working staff at Camp Coeur d'Alene.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Birthday USA. Enjoy the Flowers.

The butterflies are out and about and the flowers are blooming.

If you don't want your photos to look like this:

Then set your camera's aperture wide open (low number) and get close.

You might even see someone hard at work.

The staff has been busy as well with a full campground for the long holiday weekend.

And, of course, Freddy had new friends to meet.

Yeah, the tent area is crowded with no understory to provide privacy, but this is a family oriented campground. The kids love it. They make new friends easily and often take over a paddle boat and play in the water.

How many kids do you think can fit on one?

I count nine.

We do have several tent sites available away from the water that offer more privacy. Including one with the best view in the campground.

That would be site 128, aka The Osprey's Nest.

I captured a portrait of the current guests and then realized something.

 I need some sort of squeaky toy to get the dog's attention when I am doing these portraits. Granted, they were watching the sunset, but it happens all the the time.

Dogs ignore me, even my own sometimes. Especially when something fun is going on. Like chasing a tennis ball in the water. Freddy decided to supervise this time.

And he watched nervously as his ball was approached by boaters.

But now he doesn't care. He will just jump in and swim.

He says the water is cool and refreshing.

So come on by and enjoy our coolness.

Like this little guy did. King of the world!

Yes, that was a Titanic movie reference. He was so excited and his laughter was contagious. Very happy to see future campers enjoying the outdoors. And trying to get Freddy to drop the ball.

Just a quick photo tip to end this post. Last week I talked about fireworks so it's not far to segue to moonlight pics. This is from my previous blog several years ago but the principal remains the same. The next full moon is July 9th, called the Full Buck Moon by the Native Americans.

Moonlight Photography

Just because the sun has gone down doesn’t mean you have to put your camera away. Moonlight photos can be done quite easily with the right equipment. I am not talking about pictures of the moon showing details, but using the sunlight reflecting off the moon as a light source.

You will need a tripod and a camera capable of taking long exposures in the 20 – 30 second range. In the days of film, photographers would use a device called a “bulb” to make long exposures. It was a hollow rubber ball that resembled a grenade. A four foot piece of thin hollow tubing was attached to the bulb and at the other end was a fitting that screwed into the top of the shutter release button on the camera. 

Squishing the bulb would result in air being forced through the tube and pushing out a small rod of metal at the other end. Since this was end was screwed into the shutter button, the rod would trip the shutter. You would continue to compress the bulb for however long you wished to make the exposure. Releasing the bulb would result in the rod retracting and closing the shutter. That is what the bulb setting was used for on the shutter speed dial.

Most modern cameras also have a bulb mode although you no longer get to squish anything. To access it you need to put the camera in manual mode. Depending on the camera, the shutter will either remain open for as long as you hold down the shutter button, or will open with one press and close with another. 

Some newer cameras also allow you to set a shutter speed manually of up to 30 seconds or more so if yours can do that just ignore all the babbling above.

Here are some examples taken while camping at Lake Mary in Mammoth, CA.

The lights on the far shoreline are from cabins. The first exposure was 20 seconds at F/5.6 and the second was 30 seconds at F/5.6, all at ISO 100. 

The second one looks much better to me, almost like a path across the lake and more detail. 

Don’t be afraid to turn your camera for a vertical photo. Even though I lost some reflection on the lake because the moon was rising it still looks nice.

To sum it all up, find a full moon rising or setting over your favorite body of water. Mount your camera on a tripod. Use a 30 second exposure at F/5.6. Watch for the reflection as it only lasts for a short amount of time. 

Oh, and have fun while you are taking the photos. I sent my camping neighbor’s kids out on a Snipe hunt. 

Earlier in the day I had rigged up some fishing line so I could shake some bushes and make some noise. We explained to the kids all about the secretive Snipes and how to catch them. 

The parents relaxed around their campfire while I took  moonlight photos and pulled some strings. That was a fun night.


Greg and Freddy and the fantastic staff at Camp Coeur d'Alene.