Happy Halloween! I had an amazing experience last evening. One that unfortunately not even with images and video can you begin to feel what the experience was like. I’ll do my best to describe it but I suspect that words will not do it justice either. Let me start by saying that I worked late yesterday and it was almost 7:00 p.m. by the time I left Maquoketa. I’m just trying to keep my head above water.
I called Jeanne and we decided to meet at Culver’s to grab a quick sandwich as she had just gotten home from choir practice. As we were getting ready to leave the restaurant Jeanne asked me if I minded if she ran out by the Meadows Golf Course to look at a Halloween House, she had heard about. I was tired and still had work to do so I said (instead of saying I’ll join you) no I didn’t mind and that I would see her at home.
Well in the short space from Culver’s to where I would normally turn to go home I decided it was worth the five-minute drive to the Meadows for a look. WOW!!!! How glad I am that I did go. It was hard to find but as I cruised the neighborhood (major beautiful homes by the way) I saw some flashing strobe lights and headed that way. I was unprepared for what I encountered.
Watch the video below and it will be easier for me to explain.
First I was amazed at the traffic jam around the house, with all the people parking their cars on a fairly narrow street and the large crowd that had gathered in front of the house. So then there is the house itself. What I would call a major house that is two stories high and wide enough that I could hide out for a week if I wanted to. Now add fog shrouding the house from various smoke machines embedded in the ground, strobes everywhere and giant monsters popping up complete with sound effects and animation. There were horrifying scenes of carnage in every window of the house and they would play like a carnival sideshow and then darken for awhile so that you attention was drawn to the next scene. There were also scenes out in the lawn that were dark until it was there turn to preform.
I shot the top image at an unbelievable 10,000 ISO and noise was amazingly low. I only got 1/13 of s second shutter speed @ f5.0. The D4 is truly an amazing camera. In retrospect I should have switched to my f1.4 lens and bumped the ISO higher and used a mono pod. But honestly photography was the last thing on my mind at the time. The scene you are presented with overwhelms the senses and you just stand there trying to take it all in.
To top it all off the woman who owns the house was very warm and friendly and was graciously handing our bags of candy. She just kept saying that she had an industrious husband and three sons and this is what they do with their spare time. Apparently a lot of this equipment came from California. He found a movie studio that was selling off some of its special effects and he was able to acquire different pieces over time. Then I met him (I didn’t ask their name) and he said it took about 60 hours of work to set everything up. The whole thing runs on 6 air compressors, and a computer program that coordinates the lights, sounds and action of the displays.
So if you want to see it and you live anywhere around the Dubuque area I would highly encourage you to make the trek. From the NW Arterial go North until Asbury Road. Follow that until you come to Wedgewood Estates (just before the Meadows Golf Course.) Turn left into the subdivision and drive to the last street on your left. Turn left and look for the flashing strobes. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable Halloween. Be careful.
I know, two days in a row images of the Cygnets. Well normally I only give you weekly updates but this evening on the way home past the duck pond not only were the Cygnets right up next to the roadway where I could capture them with my 300 mm lens but there were more swans there then had been the day before.
So there were three new swans at the pond and not only that they all seemed to be getting along. I have noticed on more than one occasion when another pair of swans enter the area of the duck pond the current residents become a bit inhospitable and generally end up chasing the intruders away. Not the case this evening as it was just one big happy family. They tolerated me pretty well for awhile and then started giving me nothing but their south ends so I ended my photo experience. But I was really surprised and delighted at the same time to see the new arrivals.
And now (as Monty Python used to say) for something completely different. I’ve talked about how I purchased my first digital camera in 2000, a small 1.3 megapixel Olympus point and shoot camera. Well I sold that camera to a friend and purchased another Olympus, this one a little more advanced and a whopping 2.1 mega pixels. That was huge. I purchased it in the latter part of 2001. I shot hundreds of images with that camera. It could shoot JPEG, and TIFF and its largest file size was 1600 X 1200 pixels. Then in 2003 I purchased a Sony Cyber-shot 6 megapixel camera (see I had a problem even then.) I sold the Olympus to one of our banks (as they were wanting to buy a digital camera to record various activities sponsored by the bank.)
Now fast forward 10 years (and I had completely forgotten about that camera.) I was in that bank Monday and visiting with one of the loan officers and on his back credenza sat this camera. I recognized it immediately and wondered if it still worked. He said they had not used it in the last five years and just didn’t want to throw it away. Plus no one knew how to use it. I offered them $10 for it and brought it home. I cleaned it up and put fresh batteries in it and it still works.
Not a good test of it but I took a picture of my computer screen in a dark office. Still it’s nice to know the old kid is still capable of making images. It will now go on my self along with some of my other camera collection.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your day and be careful.
A potpourri for you today image wise. I had to check on the cygnets yesterday when I got into town around noon. I had a meeting at one of our other banks and so it was about 12:30 p.m. when I drove by the duck pond. The children were out swimming (although it’s more like walking because of the low water level) while the parents were on the beach. Interesting observation, the Mother was ever vigilant of her offspring and had her neck extended to its limits to watch both the children and me. The Father on the other hand had his back to the group and was grooming himself. 🙂
Another harvest image from my shoot on Saturday. I like the action in this shot with all the junk coming out of the discharge shoot. The harvest images are about to come to an end for another year. I didn’t leave the office until 5:30 p.m. last evening and it was already dark enough that it would have been difficult to capture an image. I hope to get a few more images before the harvest is complete.
Finally I’ll leave you with this uninspiring image to support my statement of yesterday that it doesn’t matter what you put in front of the lens as long as it is lit by the soft golden light. Well maybe that is a bit of a stretch with this image. I can’t imagine (this morning) why I took this image. I must have thought at the time it looked good in the view finder. 🙂
That’s it for today. Fresh out of images and profound thoughts. Well that’s not exactly true. I have plenty of thoughts but most of them would get me in trouble if I shared them with you. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your day and be careful.
Happy Monday! Nice weekend weather wise. Jeanne was at her Mom’s home over the weekend so I batched it. I spent most of Saturday cleaning up some of my junk and finishing up a photography project. Then in the afternoon I decided I would go out and find some harvest images to shoot in the golden hour. I don’t normally go out highway 20 looking for subject matter but decided to give it a go Saturday.
I am beginning to believe it doesn’t really matter all that much what you put in front of your lens (as far as landscapes goes) if you have the wonderful soft golden light, lighting it. That was pretty much the case on Saturday. It is amazing how much better anything looks in the right light. In essence that is what photography is about, capturing the light. One of the lessons I took sometime ago said that light reveals and shadows define. It is so true. How the light reveals makes or can break an otherwise good image.
So I found this nice flat harvested corn field with a couple of farms in the foreground and almost directly lined up with the rapidly setting sun. So I got my tripod out and set the camera up. I had not intended on taking a timed exposure or any HDR images so I didn’t bring my cable release or remote shutter button. Therefore, I had to set the camera to self timer mode and that worked very well. I shot a bunch of HDR shots, which I may show some of them but the one above is the last image I took after the sun had completely gone down. I show it because it is intended to show why the need to take HDR images. This image (perhaps a bit over enhanced) shows essentially what my eyes could see. I could see all the detail from the highlights, shadows, and mid-tones.
See what I mean when I say that it really doesn’t matter too much what you put in front of your lens as long as the light is soft and golden. I was standing around waiting for the sun to set and I had already taken a bunch of HDR images so I decided to take a picture of the camera sitting on the tripod waiting for the final shot.
It was a little breezy and it was cold. It was about 52 degrees when I arrived at this location and by the time I left it was down to 45. I was glad I had heated seats. 🙂
So this is what the camera could capture with only one image. Exposing for the highlights all the shadows and mid-tones have gone to pure black. Well okay not pure black until I did a levels adjustment. But they were dark enough that you couldn’t see any detail in the image. I know with some photographers that HDR is a dirty word but I think it has its place and certainly if you don’t go overboard I see no problem with it. In fact I guess if you want to go overboard with it, why not. It’s your image and your vision you’re trying to share. 🙂
No matter what you do some will love it, some will like it, and some will hate it. Such is life. If the image pleases me than that is really all I can hope for because I am my own biggest critic. If others like it than I’m truly thrilled and humbled.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your Monday and be careful.
Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, oh my… Have you ever seen a more adorable lion? 🙂 Okay, well a little Grandpa pride never hurt anything. Last night was the Asbury annual Halloween parade. It wasn’t the best one they have put on but it was still fun to go and see all the kids and adults dressed up. We walked the 6 or 8 blocks from our house to the parade route and who thought it was that cold out? By the time we got there and had stood around for a while waiting on the parade we rethought our decision to walk. Also of course there was the trek back to home base after the parade. Ah but I digress.
Angie, Ben, and the kids came over for a quick dinner as the parade started at 7:00 p.m. I didn’t get home until about 6:10 p.m. and had dealt with an upset stomach all day so I passed on dinner and got to hold Gabby while everyone ate. Joshua was very excited to get into his Lion suit and as soon as he did he got down on all fours and started roaring. He was ferocious and very scary 🙂
Typical with any parade there are a lot of shiny emergency vehicles with blue and red lights and the ever-present siren. They scared Gabby and every time she would get settled in and trying to enjoy the bright flashing lights they would set off the ear-piercing sirens and she would try to match the volume of their wail.
Josh has the parade drill down pretty good. Stand out so the parade walkers can see you. Look as adorable as possible and send them mind signals… “Give me candy.” He mostly doesn’t get to eat the candy he collects, but he loves to collect it. Because of his peanut allergy there isn’t a lot of commercial candies he can eat. He does okay though and it does not deter him from getting all the candy he can. Grandpa can enjoy what he doesn’t want. 🙂
Always a good time with the kids and we enjoyed the parade together. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the great weather and your weekend. Be careful there are Lions out there.
Short post today as I have an early morning presentation to give. This is my favorite combine to photograph. I’ve already photographed it a couple of times this month (one of which I posted this week.) I had no intention of photographing it again or at least not this soon, but as I drove past it last evening on my way home it called out to me, “Come take my picture.” 🙂
Most mornings in the Fall, when I leave for work I head East, which means for a few blocks anyway I’m driving into the bright sunlight. One day, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed in my rear view mirror this red bench sitting up next to a tree and the way the morning sun reflected on it suggested that it might make a nice image.
The problem is I’m usually late when I get out of the house so I never have the time to photograph it. Yesterday when (late as usual) when I raised the garage door and saw the sunlight was soft and with a touch of orange mixed in I decided to photograph the bench. So I got my camera ready before backing out of the garage. I drove down to the end of the block to photograph the bench.
Well long story short it made me even later than I normally am. Even though the sun was shinning on it the first couple of images I took my shutter speed was too low so I had camera shake blur. So after I increased the ISO (not enough by the way) I got this image, which is okay but not what I wanted. Lesson learned don’t try to hurry the shot. If I can’t stop and do it justice then just don’t do it.
Enjoy your Friday. It means that tomorrow is a sleep in day!! Thanks for stopping by the blog. Be careful.
Happy Thursday! I had no lunch meetings or engagements yesterday and that means I’m going to lunch with my camera. So a quick stop and Subway and then out to look for some harvest images. I was very lucky yesterday as I headed West out-of-town I saw some dust clouds and when I went down the road to see where it was coming from I found two different farmers harvesting their corn crop.
These are twin combines and they apparently had stopped for either repairs or for lunch break because they were just sitting there with no activity. I imagine they were getting a bite to eat.
Across the road and down a little bit was this single combine working on the corn. He had just finished unloading his hopper and as soon as he was empty he was back at it. As I drove some of the back roads around Maquoketa I was impressed with just how much crop is still in the field. It looks like a lot of the bean crop has been harvested but there is still a fair amount of the corn still standing.
I’m sure some of these farmers wonder who the guy in the suit is taking pictures of them working in the field. Is he some government spy or some large corporate buyer looking over the land. I just smile a lot and wave. Occasionally a farmer will come over and ask me what I’m doing. Once I explain to them about my passion for photography they are happy to let me shoot away.
I have made many images of this barn. I have been tempted several times this Summer to shoot it again because it got a fresh coat of paint. Yesterday coming back into town the brilliant red mixed with the gray clouds, green grass, and golden corn stalks was just too good to pass up. I hope you like it as much as I do.
That’s it for today. I may not have a blog for Friday as I’m teaching a class early Friday morning. I’ll see if I can find something worthy of your attention tomorrow.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your day. Please be careful.
When did Winter arrive? I guess yesterday. Anyway last night I drove by the duck pond and the swans were close to the road and didn’t seem to mind me being there. The light wasn’t very good so I had to push the ISO up to 800. I could still only get 1/200 of a second on my shutter speed at f8.0 but that seemed to work well enough to capture a couple of images of the youngsters.
Not a particularly great shot but I wanted to capture the entire family just to show that they all seem to be doing well. The temperature was about 37 degrees according to the car thermometer. I suspect that was right as I could see my breath. I saw no machinery in the fields on my way home last night and I’m not sure I could have made an image of them anyway as it was very cloudy and that made it too dark.
Finally I’ll leave you with one of the last shots I took Monday evening of the sunset. You remember I told you I hung around for about 15 minutes and the sunset just kept getting better with every passing minute. It’s hard for me to pick my favorite, as they are really so different. I have a couple more that I may show you one of these days when the memories of the last two images have faded away.
Thanks for checking in. Enjoy your mid-week hump day and be careful.
The usable sunlight on my commute home is getting to be less each night. That means in a couple of short weeks it will be dark on the drive home for several months and no more after work scenery shots. I’ll just have to find other things to amuse me. 🙂
I went to Anamosa yesterday for a meeting and on the way back found some interesting harvest scenes. I love shooting combines in the field. I do not like to follow them on narrow two lane roads. I had to follow one on the way home last night for about five miles. They move kind of slow compared to my normal speed so it took a little longer to make the commute.
I really enjoy watching the entire harvest process. Every time I see a combine I think about a trip I had with my Dad when I was very young. I believe I have told you that one of the things he did to try to make a living was selling farm equipment. Apparently he sold a combine to a local farmer and he had to get it from another dealer that was in a town some distance away. I wasn’t really old enough to be all that aware of the details other than of course if my Dad was going somewhere I wanted to go with him.
We drove the old blue station wagon to the other implement dealer and picked up the combine. Jimmy Triplet, a retired friend of my Dad, went along to drive the station wagon back and Dad drove the combine. I suppose as I think about it now, if he had the combine shipped in he would have probably lost money on the deal. Anyway it was a very long trip (as you can imagine) and if memory serves we were late into the evening when we finally arrived back in Ridgeway.
Dad raised the intake head so that it was level. Mom had given me a blanket and my ever-present little cars and apparently I amused myself for hours and hours playing with my toys on the blanket on the combine. Amazing how some memories stick with you for ever. 🙂
I’ll leave you with this wonderful sunset I encountered on my homeward commute. I pulled off the road and shot for about 15 minutes so I have some other perspectives of the sunset I’ll show you at another time.
That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a productive, safe and enjoyable day. Be careful.
Happy Monday! Back at it today. Even further behind then I was last week. I thought I would show some images from our visit to the river a couple of weeks ago. The weather and other commitments prevented a photo outing this weekend.
This first image is of the American Lady. If you live in the area and have not taken a cruise, it is well worth the time. I’m not a big fan of the dinner cruise, however they offer a 2 hour cruise up and down the Mississippi and there are refreshments and adult beverages on board so it is a nice way to see the river for a couple of hours without a huge investment.
I can’t go to the river without capturing a few images of the ubiquitous ducks. They are always there, floating close to the shore looking for a hand out. If you are just into people watching (which is a great past time by the way) the river walk is an excellent venue. Lot’s of people make their way to this attraction (a lot of whom are staying at the Grand Harbor Hotel) but lots of local folks as well.
We watched this barge go through the laborious and painfully slow process of locking through the dam. This image is about a half hour after we saw the barge at the locks. I have never piloted a water craft on the Mississippi but I would imagine it is something that requires a fair amount of attention to detail. Piloting one of these monsters has to be a real challenge.
That’s it for today. I have nothing of substance to contribute to your day and it is obvious that I am in a rambling mode this morning so I will thank you for stopping by the blog and hope that you enjoy your day. Be careful.