Thursday, November 18, 2010


On a cold desert hilltop:

I am still working on my night stuff and am making some progress. The first image shows a couple of engines pumping to a hose-lay. The reason it is so grainy is that i had to bump the ISO (equivalent to the film speed from back in the day) way up. I tried to process it out with minimal success.

I realized that I would have to settle for silhouette shots on the next two, I am glad that I did. 
I am going to keep working on the night shots, maybe in about 20 years or so I'll  get it.

Thanks for reading and suffering through my learning experience,



  1. Actually no. The DC usually doesn't mind me taking pictures as long as It doesn't interfere with the task at hand, but setting up a tripod is a bit much. Besides, a tripod would take up that much more space in the already crowded cab, pissing my engineer off.

    A bumped-up ISO and controlled breathing steadied the camera enough for the shots.

    Shooting at a slow shutter speed is a lot like shooting a high power rifle for accuracy.

    Breathing control - a couple of deep breathes, then holding at the exhale and taking the shot.

    Using a bladed, natural stance, holding the camera so that it is supported by bone more than muscle.

    Gently squeezing the shutter, not jerking it.

    A tripod would have been nice though, especially for the first one.

    Thanks for the comment.

  2. I've noticed the same thing: Everything I learned in riflery seems to apply to camera-ry. Except that cameras are way, way cheaper to shoot, and nobody seems to care if I walk around with one in the city limits.

    Our camera (I think we've got the same, or nearly the same camera body) has a mode for action shooting where you hold the shutter button down and it snaps away; if you "snap" that shutter in that mode you'll take just one shot, but I can't get myself to snap the shutter. The idea of "follow through" is pretty much wired into my hind brain now, so the finger goes down and stays down long enough that I take several shots even if I only wanted one. Well trained for one task can adversely affect another.

  3. I've had the same issue. My model has a mode which shoots 8 frames a second and one that shoots 4. When I have it in 8 fps, I do jerk the shutter trying to get just one shot, so I generally leave it in 4 fps when shooting in manual mode as there is a significant pause between the first and second frame.

    I must say however, that under the right conditions, 8 fps works pretty durn nice.

  4. Cracking photos - keep up the good work!!

    John B

  5. Thanks Jax and John, progress is being made!

  6. If a tripod is too bulky have you considered a monopod?

    Cabelas has a nice hiking/shooting stick for forty bucks. It collapses down to eighteen inches or so, has a carbide point with removable guard and snow basket. The top know unscrews to mount a camera or an included V support for a rifle. The stick even has a "hidden" compartment that's perfectly sized for a couple of spare batteries (CR123A sized).

    Just a thought.

    Great shooting and thanks for sharing Cap.


  7. I do have a monopod, though not as nice as Cabellas. the collapsible unit would strap on to the kit bag, maybe I'll look into it.

    Thanks for the suggestion BGM

  8. If that is suffering through your learning, I'm never leaving ur blog. Those pics are awesome!! Thanks for posting those. :)


  9. You might try building your own tripod so as to collapse it into an adequate size for portability. The real trouble is that if the tripod is heavy enough to provide adequate stability, it is generally too heavy and bulky to carry easily - and the tripod must be heavy, least the wind blow it over and cause a heart attack.

    The mono-pod is a second choice, but not nearly as good as the tripod. Still, it's better than nothing.

    I didn't think your first shot was too grainy, although it's headed in that direction - no surprise there, right? The third shot is the best of the three and shows some real talent at work.

  10. 911R - Thanks - I've got nowhere to go but up!

    MJ - My tripod folds pretty compact, it's just that we don't have a lot of extra room on the rig. My goody bag is pretty big and sometimes i carry my small camera too. I am right at the outer limits on impacting the rest of my crew.

    The reality is that I am getting paid to be a fire captain and that must have priority over taking pictures. I walk a fine line, and I must make sure my activities don't impact anybody else.

    I was amazed how much movement my tripod has. I am looking to modify a transit level tripod to use on nightscape shots when I can drive to the spot. That thing is made of bricks and moves very little. We'll see how it goes.

    Thanks for the kind words and the comments.