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.

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