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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quebec City - Fireworks and Fun! - Notes on night photography

How do you tempt someone to join you for a vacation in Quebec City?  Just mention the International Fireworks Competition that is held each summer there!  It doesn't hurt to talk about the European feeling (read "romantic"), the food and the WOW factor of Canadian scenery.  Do you imagine cobblestone streets, fun little shops and restaurants, street entertainers and music?  Yes!  The beer is excellent and the fishing and hiking too!  Portugal won the fireworks competition with a superb 30 minute show set to great rock and roll music.  They will be back in 2012 to defend their title.

Poutine is slang for "mushy mess" and comes in all kinds of variations.  The basic recipe calls for French fries, dark brown gravy and cheese curds!  Mine had some meat added and sprinkles of fresh parsley.  It's not to be missed!  Comfort food Canadian style!

An hour or two outside of Quebec City are huge national parks that offer gorgeous scenery and great fishing, hiking and skiing.   My fisherman husband caught and released 8 beautiful rainbow trout that day.

                           Waiting for the fireworks to commence at Montmorency Falls Park.

I did not have a tripod with me so I experimented with a very high ISO on my Canon EOS 5D.  Using railings and benches as a platform I got really great photographs at night with no noise to speak of.  I say experiment and see what happens!!
Quebec City was so much fun that we are going back next summer for more fireworks and poutine!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reston, Virginia - Wine and Food Festival

It's harvest time and wine festivals are in full swing the world over!  Virginia you say?!  Yes, Virginia is for "wine" lovers!  There were over 20 Virginia wineries represented at this 2 day festival in Reston, VA..  We bought a ticket, grabbed our souvenir wine glasses and began to taste!

I had decided to bring my camera and concentrate on creating narrow depth of field images.  So I used fstops  in the 3.2 to 5.8 range.  That meant I would have lots of blur in front and behind what I chose to focus on.  A great look for close ups!  If you are using a small point and shoot camera you can use your macro or "flower" setting.
Aren't these wine glass huggies cute?!  Find yours at Shop Linda's Line.

There was food to taste also:  Balsamic vinegars, cheeses and tortilla soup!  Surprise! Surprise!   Mary Amons of the Real Housewives of D.C. was there to cook tortilla soup and tell her fans about a website she is promoting: Cancer Schmancer Movement  Lots of information on this website about how to shop wisely and avoid cancer causing products.  Check it out!

Mary Amons and my friend, Brenda, a big fan of the show.  The soup was fabulous!  Mary can cook!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

UC San Diego's Birch Aquarium - La Jolla, CA

Don't miss this aquarium!  The Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  What a view!  It is full of species and habitats from the colder waters of the Pacific Northwest to the warmer waters of Mexico.  It is an interactive museum with an outdoor explorable tide pool.
So how do you take pictures inside a darkened museum with glass fronted exhibits?  This was a first for me too!  And I didn't have a tripod with me.  The first thing I did was to up my ISO to 640.  As I found out later, I could have even used up to 2000 with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II.  I used an f stop of 4.5 and a shutter speed of 1/30 of a second.  I'm pretty good at leaning against a wall, tucking in my elbows and holding my breath at that speed.  But not always.  Next time I will bring a monopod at least! And no flash to eliminate reflections.
Here are a few of the better results:

If you have a small point and shoot camera turn off your flash and/or try some of your scene modes like fireworks or candlelight or indoors.  If you use your flash stand to the side so there is no reflection in the glass.  Experiment!
This ugly boy is a wolf eel.  Friendly, but fierce-looking, he is really a fish.  They live all along the western states in rocky reef-type habitats.  They form pairs and sometimes mate for life!
There's Something About Seahorses is a wonderful exhibit, which teaches about many species and how the aquarium is helping to conserve this threatened creature.  The leafy sea dragon above is a relative of the seahorse.  Breeding seahorses in the tank is below:
Kids love to watch a starfish turn itself right-side-up without breaking the surface of the water outside by the interactive tide pools.

So much fun to see, learn and photograph!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Garden in the Woods - Framingham, MA

A wonderful place to take pictures!  To quote their brochure: "In New England Wild Flower Society's renowned botanic garden, you'll discover an unrivaled collection of both rare and common native plants offering a changing tapestry of flowers and foliage through the spring, summer and fall seasons."
I wandered on the paths through wet and dry landscapes, beside ponds and meandering streams, shaded by trees of every kind marveling at the beauty all around me.

It was a slightly overcast day just after a night of gentle spring rain.  Perfect!  These lovely, airy things are Tiarella or Foamflower.  The website for Garden in the Woods offers a Bloom Board, which lists what is blooming in the garden at the present.
There is a native plant nursery on the premises as well as a garden shop.  Several classes are offered each season in horticulture, gardening, design trips, botany and conservation.
 The paths offer many places to just sit, relax and feast your eyes!

Trillium come in several colors and absolutely carpeted the ground!  Another violet-like ground cover is in the photograph below.  If you know the name of this one, let me know.  The droplets of rain on everything adds to the feeling of a wet spring and gives us an extra clue as to how big the flowers are.

This is an interrupted fern - one of the strangest plants I saw.  It is named for the blackened leafs that "interrupt" the green leaves right in the middle of the stem.  Green towards the bottom and again at the top.
And the best find of the day were these beautiful lady slippers!  I did not bring a tripod with me and in this low light situation I used the wider apertures available with my Canon 24-70mm macro lens.  That gave me a smaller depth of field with less in focus - a great way to photograph flowers.
The day I spent at Garden in the Woods was such a rich photographic experience.  I hope I can do a field trip with some of my students in the future!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dale Chihuly at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

What a fabulous special exhibit! I have been a fan of Dale Chihuly's work for a few years now. This exhibit has been too long in coming to Boston as he did study and establish the glass program at the Rhode Island School of Design. When you go ( exhibit is through Aug. 7) rent the audio guide, which also has wonderful videos of glass blowing and how the larger pieces and the Persian Ceiling were set up.

The exhibit is shown in several rooms all of which are extremely low light settings with spot lights trained on the pieces. Pieces are reflected in the black glass on which they are placed. The light is luminous and the reflections are very much a part of the whole effect.

I brought my Canon EOS 5D MarkII with a 24-70 macro lens. I did not have a tripod, which would have been prohibitive due to the number of people. So how did I manage to capture the images in such a low light setting? The three settings that determine exposure are the ISO, shutter speed and aperture settings. I put the ISO on 800 (an experiment), the shutter speed on a slow 1/30th of a second and the aperture I opened all the way up to 2.8. The slower shutter speed meant I had to hold my breath and steady myself when I depressed the shutter release. The larger lens opening or aperture meant I would have a very narrow depth of field (not much in focus), which was a bonus for the close ups! I was also very pleased with the lack of noise or grainyness in the images, which happens with a higher number ISO.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Monticello in October, a pictorial essay

Monticello means "little mountain" in Italian. This beautiful residence of one of our most famous Presidents is now a National Historical Landmark. Visiting Monticello is an immersion of the senses into the colors, textures and ideas of Thomas Jefferson's America. His immense intellect, creativity and exploration of the world around him is evident both inside and outside this beautiful home. I wouldn't have been surprised to see him step from around a corner to expostulate on ideas or projects on which he was ruminating or planning.
As visitors we come to get a sense of the beginnings of our country. How did it feel to live and work in the 1700's? We can, for a few hours, walk instead of ride, think instead of watch a monitor, and marvel at life before electricity and computers. We go back in time!