Wordless Wednesday: Photographing a Sunset

Lake Huron Sunset

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Spring in the Village

Glassblower

I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for Greenfield Village to open up again for the season. We had a beautiful day this weekend and we had to head over for our first visit of the season. One of my favorite places to visit is always the glassblower shop. The people who work here are amazingly talented and they are so fun to watch. We also rode the train and got an interesting lesson in the history of gasoline (it was more interesting than it sounds, I promise) from the driver of a Model T. It is always fun to step back in time at Greenfield Village! I can’t wait to spend more time there this season!

Photographing glassblowers is tricky because it tends to be dark in the glassblower shop and of course, they are moving around in there so a fast shutter speed is key. So, I popped on my nifty fifty and had to deal with the limited focal range. I set my ISO to 1600 and opened my aperture to f/2.5, that gave me 1/160 shutter speed and allowed me to freeze some of the motion.

Thanks for stopping by! To plan your visit to America’s Greatest History Attraction, visit TheHenryFord.org. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

Fall in the Village

Baling Hay

Fall is probably my favorite time to visit Greenfield Village (America’s #1 History Attraction) in Dearborn, Michigan. From the harvesting of the farms to the historical fall cooking in the houses, in my opinion, fall is the best time to experience the Village. And probably the best part about in the village is the food! I love eating at The Eagle Tavern! When you sit down at The Eagle Tavern, you sit down to a meal in the 19th century. The servers wear period clothing, there are not electric lights, and the recipes are the same that would’ve been enjoyed in the 1850s. All ingredients are locally sourced and the menu is seasonal. Which means, if you enjoy good fall cooking like I do, you can’t go wrong with The Eagle Tavern at harvest time!

About the Photo:
During my last visit to the Village, it was hay baling day at the Firestone Farm. The workers were using period appropriate farm equipment and the hay was flying! With this shot, I tried to capture the workers, the equipment and the hay in the air.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
September 26, 2015

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. To plan your visit the Greenfield Village visit TheHenryFord.org.

Epic Michigan Road Trip: The Soo

Soo Locks Boat Tour

I have wanted to visit Sault Ste. Marie (which means the Rapids of the Saint Mary’s River, thank you Google!) for as long as I can remember. Since I was little, I’ve heard about how my grandfather guarded the locks during the Korean War and yet, I had never seen them. So, when we were planning our road trip, I added a stop in the Soo. After doing some research, I discovered that the best way to experience the locks was on a Soo Locks Boat Tour. I always enjoy these kinds of tours because they give you interesting facts and history of a location. This tour had so many facts, I barely remember any of them, but getting to go up and down in the locks was an experience I will never forget. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Soo Locks were built to bypass a 21ft waterfall on the St. Mary’s River that runs from Lake Superior to Lake Huron. Unless you have your own boat, the Soo Locks Boat Tour is the only way to ride through the locks. I highly recommend it!

The nearest state park to Sault Ste. Marie is in Brimley which is a 20 minute drive to town. So, I started exploring the private options. There are several private campgrounds in Sault Ste Marie, but only Aune Osborne allows you to reserve your spot in advance (although you have to call, they don’t take online reservations) and as I mentioned in a previous post, that is very important to me. I am not wasting vacation time driving around trying to find a place to sleep. The biggest thing this campground has going for it is the location. It is right on the river, the Soo Locks Boat Tour dock was two doors down. Waterfront sites are available (although not to tents because of “liability reasons”. I’ve posted the pictures from Straits right? This seems nuts to me) so you can watch the freighters go by while you sit around the campfire. That is pretty unique. Also, the bathrooms were the cleanest and fanciest of the trip, although they are locked which caused me a little headache trying to remember the code to get in. The downside and the reason why I usually stick to public campgrounds, we were one of three sites with a tent. I could get over this if it wasn’t for the fact that the other campers looked at us like we’d slept in an igloo or something. It was an interesting experience. I asked myself if I would stay here again and that’s really hard for me to answer. If could get a waterfront spot, I would be back in a heartbeat.

About the Photo:
This was a single RAW exposure taken on the Soo Locks Boat Tour and with basic edits done in the Lightroom. I was trying to highlight the architecture of the building along with the engineering marvel that is the locks.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
July 1, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For more information about The Soo Locks Boat Tour and Aune Osborne Campground, visit SaultSteMarie.com.

What to look for in a camera

Photographing the Photographer

Chris photographing the Livingstone Lighthouse on Belle Isle.
I’m sure if you did a search for most commonly used phrases on this blog, the phrase, “you don’t need an expensive camera to take good pictures” would probably come out on top. This is something I mention a lot because I know the price of camera gear can hold photographers back from pursuing their hobby or make them think they can’t make good images on cheap gear and that is just not true. Yes, an interchangeable lens camera system (either DSLR or mirrorless) will make it easier to get quality shots, but the camera does not make the photographer. I figured its time to start a series of photo tips on the blog and I wanted to start at the beginning – choosing a camera. I won’t get into the Nikon vs. Canon debate (although I’m a Nikon shooter, only because it was cheaper that day) or DSLR vs. Mirrorless  (there’s a lot out there on this topic right now) but just simply what specs to look for when purchasing your first serious camera. Let’s get to it!

In my opinion, one of the biggest things you want to look for is that the camera has the capability to shoot in RAW. I didn’t understand what RAW was when I first got my DSLR so  up until recently I did all my shooting in JPEG. When I go back and look at those older images I’m frustrated because I’m unable to do as much to them as I am to RAW files. My friend Steve at Burnsland.com recently posted a great article about the power of RAW files that is a must read for anyone who is scared to switch from JPEG!

Another thing to look for when camera shopping, is manual controls – the ability to control your aperture and shutter speed and do it easily (a lot of cameras have the setting buried in menus and that’s no fun for anyone). To be able to get full control of your images, you’ll want to be able to control your depth of field and the motion in your shot and you just cannot do this in camera that will only shoot in fully programmed mode.

And then there’s the sensor size question but honestly, any camera on the market today has a big enough resolution for most of the things you’ll be doing and, if you ask me, some of these new giant megapixel cameras are kind of a gimmick. Go out on one shoot and your hard drive is full! It is important to note that with smaller image sizes it is harder to do any significant cropping to the image without taking a hit in quality. But, for the average photographer doing basic printing and online sharing, you’ll be fine with most any camera in today’s market.

Interchangable lenses like mirrorless and DSLR camera systems have are obviously a better but more expensive choice than a fixed lens camera. But, if your budget doesn’t allow for that, definitely consider something with a optical zoom (the lens comes out of the camera) over the strictly digital zoom (like an iphone camera). My first digital camera was strictly digital zoom and I hated it because the zoom was basically worthless; it made everything very noisy. But, if that’s all you can afford, you always have the old-fashioned zoom, your feet!

So, to recap, when looking for a camera look for the ability to shoot in RAW, manual controls, and optical zoom. If you’re looking for an entry-level DSLR, I highly recommend the Nikon D3x00 series (I have the D3100 but the D3300 has newer features). You can also get older cameras used for a good deal (although, this is where you’d have to watch out for megapixel count)!

Thanks for stopping by! Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on  Flickr! This month I am taking part of an Instagram Travel Challenge, posting a travel photo a day on Instagram and I’d love for you to follow along!