Do you have a good camera and don't know how to use it?
I can teach you all the buttons, dials and menus you can handle.
Start taking photographs that you like!
Hands on instruction: 1 person-$60/hour and a half; 2 persons-$100/hour and a half
Contact me: klmilstein@aol.com

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fall into Winter in New England- our Little Pond

Winter and a new year coming! The glowing warm colors of fall are gone now - my favorite time of year to photograph is over. But not without a last trip down to the Little Pond in my neighborhood with my camera. What is going on everyday in the beautiful places in your neighborhood? Look very close and you might find stunning color or step back and see faces in the landscape. Look sideways and you will see a foxy face in the reflection of the pond. It can depend on whether you hold the camera for a vertical view or a horizontal view. It can depend on whether you angle up or angle down or even get down on the ground.
One trick is to immediately turn around 180 degrees and check out the possibilities of a good shot behind you.
New years always bring energy and possibility - that one stunning photograph is always out there to be captured! Here's to the beautiful images of 2010!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

North shore of Boston - getting better exposure

Our German friends, Ulli and Norbert, came to visit this fall and arrived on Halloween! I thought this was a less that perfect time of year to be here - not quite fall and not quite winter. But they brought lots of ideas about where to go and after some discussion we ruled out going north and they decided to concentrate on the north shore, Boston, Cape Cod, and Nantucket. Their guide book suggested a tour of the north shore which began in Ipswich, then Castle Hill/Crane's beach, (the first 6 images), and down 133 with a side trip to Wingaersheek beach (the 7th image). We took a short ride going north on 128 and got off at 127 going north to Annisquam and around to Rockport ( a fun place to take pictures but not today) and Gloucester. Because we didn't want to retrace our route we took 1A back north (the last 2 images) to Newburyport where we had dinner at the Black Cow. "This reminds us so much of England!" they said.
A beautiful day makes it easy to take pictures but there are a few things to remember. I used a polarizing filter most of the afternoon which saturated the sky but could make shadows deeper. In Photoshop there is an Image Adjustment called Shadows and Highlights. That will take care of the shadows when they get a little too deep because you are exposing for the highlights. Remember: expose for the highlights and let the shadows fall where they may. When I use the shadows/highlights adjustment tool I like to set the amount slider and the tonal width slider to very nearly the same physical place on the sliders then I set the radius slider to the right of both of them. I think this gives the most realistic rendition while lightening the shadows. I did this to the photo of the scary looking leafless tree I took at the Crane Estate on Castle Hill.
Castle Hill is a beautiful place to hike any time of year and the beach is long and shallow! Views of the salt marshes are especially pretty this time of year because the grass colors are mostly yellow and orange. The places we visited surprised me. I didn't think there would be so many photo opportunities this time of year. I guess a photographer needs an open mind.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market - Our own Backyard

When family comes to visit Boston right off a cruise ship I get a chance to explore my own backyard. They walked right into the hustle and bustle of the modern day Faneuil Hall - Quincy market complex but lets not forget the history!

Faneuil Hall, fronted by a statue of Sam Adams, was financed by young Peter Faneuil for the commercial benefit of Boston's merchants. John Hancock called him "the topmost merchant in all the town." It was dedicated on Sept. 10, 1742 in the hurly-burly action of Dock Square, which had market stalls on all four sides - waterfront, fish market, hay market and sheep market. The hall served as a forum for the opinions of rebels and patriots, including Sam Adams and Paul Revere. George Washington toasted the nation there on its first birthday!

Quincy Market was constructed in 1826 and served for almost 150 years as a retail and wholesale distribution center for meat and produce. By 1950 the area had become rundown and there were plans to demolish it. In the early 1970's a committed group of Bostonians wanted to preserve it and by 1976 it was rebuilt through the efforts of Jim Rouse, architect Benjamin Thompson and Mayor Kevin White.

Today the shops and restaurants attract more than 18 million visitors annually. There is always music, food and people to watch. The 25th annual tree lighting will happen Saturday, November 21st with a Holiday Tuba Concert Saturday, November 28th. Click on the link above for more information and enjoy your own "backyard"!
Thank you to the Boston Insight Guide for much of the information presented here!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Macro with a long lens!

Summer photography was even more fun this year with my long lens! I went out several times to shoot the summer flowers with the aim of getting in close. These shots were taken in a garden in Newburyport, MA and in Prescott Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

I did want a very short depth of field so I used a wide open aperture and usually let the camera decide on the shutter speed for the correct exposure. This setting is indicated on the camera body by the symbol "Av". I used apertures of 4.0 t0 9.0. The smaller the number, the larger the aperture and the smaller the depth of field. Depth of field is defined as what is in focus in the image. All the images I've posted today have a very small depth of field.

My long zoom lens has a focal length of 70-200mm. It allowed me to pull in my subjects and gave me a small depth of field at the same time. The one disadvantage to my long lens is that it does not have image stabilization. So my shots are often out of focus. I traded that for great optics and a great price because it was used. Live and learn! Use the tripod!

I like macro photography. It is a different way of seeing the subject. Now I just want to get closer and closer!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yucatan - Underwater caves and cenotes

The area around Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya is fast becoming a vacation destination. The ancient Mayan civilization has spawned such adventures as The Mayan Experience, Xel Ha (a natural water park) and large resorts designed to look like Mayan cities. And there are many experiences available for the adventurous spirit as well.

The Yucatan Peninsula is composed of a large and intricate system of beautiful underwater caves and cenotes (pronounced say-no-tay). The word cenote refers to a large natural sink hole whose limestone covering has caved in to reveal the running stream below. Cenotes played a large role in the lives of the Mayan peoples of the past and continue to do so today. Mexico is fairly dry, with relatively no rivers or streams on the land surface so the underground water beds provide an important source of water.

The Yucatan's Dept. of Ecology has identified and mapped over 2,200 cenotes. Some of these are accessible to tourists for exploration on foot or by scuba diving.

RIO SECRETO gave us an incredible afternoon of exploring the beauty of the caves! The images above were shot by the very talented team of photographers on site and, of course, are available for purchase. Since we were doing some swimming cameras were not allowed.

The four of us hooked up with a guide and another family, showered, donned our wet suits, water shoes and helmets with lights and began our trek through the jungle to the cave entrance. We felt like explorers as we scrambled, sloshed and swam our way through the cave system. The kids loved it and it was the first thing they told friends about when we got home.

I say, go and experience this part of Mexico before it gets too built up and touristy. It was wonderful!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Diving Cozumel, Mexico

Underwater photography is a whole new challenge! The Milstein family is now a scuba diving family and our moto (coined by my husband, Geof) is, "A family that dives together, thrives together!" The images in this blog are all by Geof and editted by me.

Geof decided to record our first family dive. He bought a small 10 megapixel camera that can be converted to an underwater camera by placing it in a waterproof housing. One or two underwater flashes can also be added. Another bonus are two settings: a blue water filter and a green water filter. As we discovered, it will take several dives to figure this all out! As you can see Geof got some very good shots on his first try! The divers are Alyssa and I with our divemaster, Allen, of Deep Blue Diving in Cozumel. Aaron joined us for a couple of weeks of R&R from his job with the 82nd Airborne.

The reefs that lie off the western coast of Cozumel are protected as a National Park of Mexico. We did 4 open water dives over 2 days to complete our PADI scuba diving certification. On the second day we took a boat out to a section of the reef called Palancar Gardens. This is a beginner to advanced area with a depth of 20 to 90 ft. It is a beautiful reef full of coral and gorgeous fish. We felt like explorers in an underwater garden. We stayed in the 50-60 ft. range. We saw a tortoise, a nurse shark and hundreds of different fish, coral, and sponge.

This was an incredible thing for us all to do together. Diving is relaxing and peaceful in part because it is silent and almost weightless. A whole new part of our world to experience and to photograph!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Vacation on the Playa del Carmen!

The Milstein family flew down to an all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We all agreed this was one of the best family vacations we ever had! Look at a map, it's just 45 min. south of Cancun and a 45 min. ferry ride to the island of Cozumel! There was so much to do that 5 days did not begin to satisfy us! I'll be sharing my blog with other photographers as I describe the fantastic adventures we had in Mexico!

Our all-inclusive resort, The Royal was delicious and relaxing! The food was 5 star and served with flair and friendly faces. We spent wet afternoons on the white sand beach in the warm tourquoise water and warm evenings strolling along the tiny town's 5th Avenue of shops. "Hey, amigos, come into my shop and have a look!" Stay tuned for a blog devoted to our scuba diving adventures in the reef just off the island of Cozumel and one of our exciting spelunking trip into the Rio Secreto!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Lens - New Perspective

My main lens is a beauty! It is a Canon 24-70mm f2.8 and takes fantastic photos - very sharp. The more experienced I became the more I understood what other lenses I might want to add to my collection. I got a lighter weight Canon 24-85mm f3.5 for travelling. It is easier to hold and carry around on a day long hike, for example, or pack for a trip to Europe. The drawback is that the optics are not as good.

This spring I felt ready to invest in another lens. Did I want a wide angle or a longer lens? Because I wanted to actually touch, pick up and look through the lens I took my camera and I went off to shop at the biggest camera store in my area: Hunts in Melrose. I have been looking on line and I know that lenses can be thousands of dollars! So I was looking for the best lens that I could afford. I took into consideration several things: focal length, speed (this refers to the maximum aperture diameter or minimum f number of the lens), optics, image stabilization and ease of handling. Luckily I was helped by a very knowledgeable person and he showed me a used Canon lens 70-200mm f4.0 with very good optics for a great price. The pluses were the price, the focal length and the optics. The minuses were the speed and lack of image stabilization. I bought it.

I have been having a lot of fun with it in two situations. First, I can be further away from a scene and still zoom in. I had not realized how limiting my other lens was. Now, between the two lenses, I have the the choice of focal lengths from 24mm to 200mm! Second, I can really blur the background and/or foreground when I'm doing macro and portrait photography with the longer focal lengths. The images above are examples of the first situation. My next blog entry will highlight macro photography. The only thing I regret is the lack of image stabilization. My advice is to buy lenses with image stabilization.