Saturday, July 18, 2009

Silver Star

Christina and I had the chance to Hike Silver Star Mt. this past Tuesday with some friends, and all I can say is that it was beautiful.  The clouds hadn't burned off yet when we started out, but that's actually the best conditions for photographing flowers and stuff.  By the time we reached the summit, it was sunny--good for getting a really good view.     
There were so many wildflowers!  The meadows were covered in yellow, orange, red, white and blue.
Cute bumblebee.  There were lots of bees, butterflies, and normal old annoying flies. 
A cool creepy-crawly.   Also known as a centipede--wait, or is it a millipede?
The butterfly that I "saved." Caitlin was going to keep it, but I took pity on it, and she let it go.

Tiger Lilly
I should mention that one of the main goals of the trip was for our two "butterfly people," Caitlin and Braden, to catch lots of butterflies.  It was a perfect place; there were butterflies everywhere.  
The view from the summit is amazing--you can see four, maybe five, white-capped peaks.  It was a little hazy and the clouds kept covering up the peaks, so they're kind of hard to see in these pictures.
They're hard to see, but on the horizon are, l. to r. Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams 
Mt. Hood
Mt. Adams
The whole group together

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Moon and Fireworks Pics

Saturday was a pretty uneventful 4th of July for us, but I decided to play with taking fireworks pictures.  I took tons of pictures, and some of them were pretty neat.  A lot were not that great.  Here's some of the most interesting ones.
Actually, first I tried taking some pictures of the moon that was nice and full.  If you've ever tried taking pictures of the moon, you know that normally it just ends up looking like a bright white blob; none of the detail that our eyes can see.  I think I've figured out why, and how to compensate for it.  Cameras automatically assess the lighting in any particular scene, and decide what aperture and shutter speed would be appropriate.  With moon pictures, your camera "sees" all the dark area around the moon, and thinks, "This seen is so dark, I need to let as much light in as possible!"  The aperture is wide, the shutter speed is long, and the moon ends up being totally washed out.  To get good moon pictures, you have to override that and use the manual setting, make the aperture smaller, select a faster shutter speed , and then you'll have more detail.  Afterwards, I did a little photo-shopping to bring up the brightness and contrast, and sharpened it all a bit. Sorry for getting technical.  That may have been a really boring paragraph. 
Fireworks from our back porch.  For fireworks, I found that a wide open aperture and a shutter speed of over a second worked well.  I definitely needed a tripod.  The lights on the horizon are mostly some parking lot lights, but also some farther away fireworks.