Just For Fun: Time Lapse Video, Clouds And More

Love Those Clouds

I love watching clouds. For me, there is something relaxing about watching clouds of all types. Now that I am back in Illinois with its flat land, watching clouds is easy. Just go to the edge of town and look across the farmland or prairie. In Illinois, my favorite types of clouds to watch when the weather is nice are Cumulus clouds and Stratocumulus, and finally, Orographic clouds.

Orographic clouds, Central Illinois CLG
Orographic clouds, Central Illinois CLG

When I lived in Colorado and Wyoming, I never tired of photographing Lenticular clouds and Mammatus clouds. I am not a meteorologist, so I do not know why these types of clouds seem to be much more prevalent in the western states compared to the midwestern states.

Title: “Cloud Eater” Location: Interstate 25, Wyoming CLG
Title: “Cloud Eater” Location: Interstate 25, Wyoming CLG

With this love of clouds, I now find myself taking little ten second time lapse videos of clouds for my personal enjoyment. Doing so is relaxing for me. I never tire of looking at my little time lapse cloud videos. Here is my latest time lapse video. The location is Evergreen Lake, just north of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. Three hundred photos post processed in Lightroom. I created the time lapse video in Photoshop at thirty frames per second.. The camera was the Nikon Z7ii. Camera settings were: Shutter Speed; 1/60 sec, F-stop; F/11, ISO; 64. The lens used was Nikon’s Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S and its focal length was 38mm. When uploading video it was degraded. It became darker. Sorry about that. It is actually a 4K video before uploading.

Regardless if you are a pro or an amateur, if you have the best photo equipment that you can buy or you are using a phone camera, photography should be fun. Enjoy shooting for yourself and don’t worry about what others think. When doing that, there is no such thing as a poor photo or video. If you enjoy the photo or video, then it is special.

Some random, selected photos featuring clouds.

Casper, Wyoming CLG
Casper, Wyoming CLG
Mammatus clouds, View From Timnath, Colorado CLG
Mammatus clouds, View From Timnath, Colorado CLG
Storm Cloud Over Colorado CLG
Storm Cloud Over Colorado CLG
Fog Rocky Mountain National Park CLG
Fog Rocky Mountain National Park CLG
Clouds Below, RMNP CLG
Clouds Below, RMNP CLG
Do you see the dog? Loveland Colorado CLG
Do you see the dog? Loveland Colorado CLG
Colorado, Clouds Below the Moon CLG
Colorado, Clouds Below the Moon CLG
RMNP, Clouds at Night CLG
RMNP, Clouds at Night CLG

Yes I love photographing clouds. Clouds for a landscape photographer are a must.

Enjoy the world around you. – CLG

A Photographer’s Rabbit Hole

When I first started writing, this blog post was going to be about new beginnings. I was going to explain how, over these last few years, I like so many people, had accepted complacency in my life. I stopped writing my blog, my photo business was in semi-retirement, I rarely saw friends, and after moving because of supply chain issues it was difficult to improve our new dwelling. Trying to purchase simple items such as a refrigerator and stove took months. Boy, trying to get the proper materials for needed home repairs was at time impossible.

I realized finally those days are behind us now. April’s and my life have now finally turned a new page. We got a new website, we actually have subjects to blog about that just might be interesting to others. We have traveled again, meeting up with old friends, and those house projects are actually getting completed. It is wonderful to feel alive.

On the day I wrote this, I was walking around in our yard and noticed that the tulips and daffodils we planted last fall were emerging from the ground. When I walked back into the house, I noticed the African violet that was placed in front of a window in our living room had bloomed.

Wow, pictures of the African violet blooming and flowers popping up in our front yard would be the perfect photo analogy to my post about new beginnings. And that is when I started going down the photographer’s rabbit hole of making something much more complicated than it need be.

All I really need to do was take a couple of pics of the African Violet and flowers coming out of the ground and it would have been perfect for the post. But of course, being a photographer, that would not happen.

First, I took the photos with my Nikon Z6 camera instead of a quick snapshots with my phone. Then viewing the African violet through the viewfinder, I knew it should be a close-up macro shot. So I changed out the lens for the Nikkor Z 105 macro lens. Okay, now I have to use a tripod. Well, that is nice, but the photo could be better. Change the depth of field to f11. That is looking good, but it still could be better.

So hey Craig, focus stacking would be perfect. So I did the focus stacking in camera. Went to my office and once seventy raw files were downloaded into Lightroom, I realized I had not gotten the whole flowers in focus. Delete all those photos and do photo stacking again. This time from two different angles. Back to the office. Upload files to Lightroom. Yeah, everything is in focus and I only need forty-eight photos.

Then a couple of quick edits. Again success. Once merged in Photoshop, I thought this will look like a nice snapshot.

Finally, I uploaded the files from Lightroom to Photoshop and waited and waited and waited. Finally, I can align all the photos. Again, wait and wait and wait. Will those little processing dots ever end? Photos are all aligned. Now I had to merge them. More processing dots. Ten minutes later, the photo is complete and yes, it looks like a nice snapshot. Merge all the files and finally my little photo is completed. Actually, there were two photos I created this way.

And here they are:African Violet, Focus Shifting, Photographer: C. L. GetchiusAfrican Violet, focus stacking, Craig Getchius

So, it took me over two hours to create two photos that two snapshots from my phone would have sufficed.

I am not complaining about all this wasted time. Doing this proves it is a new beginning. Tomorrow, April and I are venturing into the woods hoping to photograph an eagle or two. CLG

P.S. Our new website now has some galleries. The link is at the top of page.

Photographing An Elk And More

Hmmm, about twelve years ago when we moved from Illinois to the west I was excited to be so close to some of the greatest national parks in the world. I figured all I had to do is show up early in the morning in Yellowstone, Grand Teton or Rocky Mountain National Park and I would experience a smorgasbord of animals doing all sorts of wonderful things. Heck, there would be bison running, herds of bison forging rivers. Bears would snarl, wolves would howl and run. Moose would be drinking from a river, and elk prancing about. Eagles would be soaring high and of course antelope would roam. I could not wait to witness animals chasing each other. So on and so on.

Well, on very rare occasions I did experience some fantastic action scenes. But mostly, no matter what time of the day it was, I watched elk slumber or eat grass. Most of the time when watching a herd of elk they seemed to want to show their butts to me. Or they just laid down and did nothing. When it came to bears on occasion I got some pretty good closeups which were nice photographs but, to be completely honest, nothing that one would say “hey that is an outstanding nature photo.”

Probably my best bear action photo was a brown bear sitting on a huckleberry shrub eating the fruit. How that bear maintained its balance on those flimsy branches is beyond me.

Over the course of time I have gotten some nice pics of antelope roaming or running. Note to readers: If your thing is to take photos of pronghorns (antelope) Wyoming is the place you want to be. In Wyoming the antelope are everywhere.

When it comes to elk photos one of my favorites is this photo of a herd of elk crossing the road.

I kind of consider the “elk crossing the road” photo to be a documentary photo of life near a national park in the west.

Of course I have a lot of photos of elk standing and posing for me.

At this time I think you should understand that when I moved west I wanted to dedicate myself to being one of the best wildlife photographers in the west. Then reality set in. To accomplish that goal I would have to spend days at a time away from home and family. I would have to go into the back country maybe for weeks at a time. I would have to return over and over to the same location realizing it might take months, if not years, to get those special photographs that would awe the photographic world.

To become a successful wildlife photographer I would have to shirk my family responsibilities. I neither had the desire or lack of conscience to do that. So my photography slowly started to evolve into landscape photography.

Still, I never lost my desire to be a wildlife photographer. I understood that it would take tremendous luck to get those wonderful capture that we all visualize when we think of wildlife photography. I could not rely on luck. Instead, I had to figure out how do I take an ordinary wildlife scene and make it different? Yep, make the ordinary in nature seem interesting.

To accomplish this I started using what I had learned from other photographic disciplines and applying them to wildlife photography.

In street photography and portrait photography shooting your subject in black and white brings out its emotion.

Again street photography: Look for a normal scene in an odd situation.

Another rule of street photography: Hey stupid it does not matter what the camera is, be ready to be a photographer at all times.

The previous two photos were taken from my car parked on the side of the road with a small old Nikon V1. If I had to get out my bigger camera and lens most likely I would have missed the shot.

In portrait photography start close and work outward. Well, this is a crop of the other photo. With thirty-six megapixels you can do that.

These next two photos I ignored the standard elk photo and concentrated on the face. While taking closeups of the elks face I moved around so I would get different perspectives of the elk.

Portrait and street photography: It is the expression in the face that makes the image.

Sports photography: Remember the horse bet. When photography was in its infancy two men made a bet on when a horse ran if all four legs left the ground at the same time.

Streetscapes and landscape photography: Lines.

Ok, I am never going to be a famous wildlife photographer. Nevertheless, I am still learning and most important of all I am enjoying what is around me and not fretting over what I wish I could photograph.

Hope you enjoyed my little growths in photographing the normal wildlife in our national parks. It is a work in progress. All photos, with the exception of the antelope photo, were captured in either Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park or Rocky Mountain National Park.

The antelope photo was taken about twenty miles southeast of Yellowstone National Park. Like I said, antelope are everywhere in Wyoming. – CLG

Iowa Wind Turbine Time Lapse

Going through some old video files and came across these two video files. They were created a few years back while I was enjoying the back roads of Iowa. It was such a relaxing time.

Video was created with the Nikon D500 on a tripod. Hope this uploads correctly and hope you enjoy. ✌️Peace, Love and Victory – CLG

Iowa, Wind Turbine Time Lapse CLG

Stuck At Home, Keeping Your Photography Skills Sharp

On Instagram the photographer Joe McNally, posted a wonderful idea of how to keep your photographic skills sharp while waiting out the Corona Virus. Here is the the link: https://www.instagram.com/tv/B-w8pN7AJSt/?igshid=1gt4aes1pu3xn Joe McNally is famous for his flash photography. If you want to check out his images go here: https://portfolio.joemcnally.com/index

I have a pretty good collection of tabletop photo books. On this Easter Sunday I am enjoying and studying the book “Bill Brandt Shadow & Light.” As I turn the pages and admire Brandt’s wonderful black and white images I am getting the overwhelming urge to get out and capture the world through my viewfinder. Also, photo project ideas are starting to race around in my head. In my To Do app I have started a brainstorm category and am listing all my photo project ideas and types of creative photography and videos I would like to do. I can’t wait to start getting back out into this wonderful world of ours. I bet that will happen sooner than I imagine.

One of my brainstorms was trying to do a little ink and water videos. It was fun yet very amateurish. Here is a link to the result: https://adobe.ly/2Vl86Gk Now I figure if I am going to showcase something that I still need more practice I might as well go all the way. If you turn the volume up really loud you can here me trying to pound out the song “Bottle of Wine” written by Tom Paxton. Hey, A few months ago, because of my neurological problems I couldn’t even finger a cord. Everything is getting so much better. Camera used for this project was the Nikon D850 and a 60mm Macro Lens. Peace, Love and Victory.

Oops, it doesn’t seem the sound for the video uploaded. That is probably a good thing. Nevertheless,I will see if I can fix that.

Happy Easter. CLG

A Quick Pullover

I learned my photography with the help of Kodak Film. Black and white photos came to life in my basement using Kodak chemicals. When shooting color I would use Kodachrome 25 or 64. I have fond memories of those days. I was discovering and  learning. And darn it taking a pic with film, developing the film, then creating a contact strip and finally an enlargement, fills one with great satisfaction and accomplishment. Doing that work is tedious, yet awarding.

In the days of film there was no instant gratification and boy, you really had to know the craft of photography. Mistakes were permanent and rarely did you have the opportunity to go back and retake the moment. I had to nail the photo and when it was all finished and I had created what what I had visualized the print to be, I would experience a creative high that would last for days. Today in the digital world I don’t experience that euphoria. It is all instant gratification and the feeling of happiness of nailing the photo is short lived.

Yesterday, I was thinking about all that while driving out of Rocky Mountain National Park. Photographically the day had been a waste. I had taken about a hundred pics that I knew were totally worthless.

I had already download the pics on my iPad and one after the other ended with delete. There was a few I kept hoping that with a second look I would discover something worthwhile in them that I had previously overlooked. Basically I just didn’t want to admit that on this day I had failed as a photographer.

As I got closer to the exit of the park I noticed in the distant four wild turkeys. What the heck, I pulled the car off the side of the road, grabbed my Nikon D500 which had attached to it a Nikkor 200 to 500mm zoom lens.

I jumped out of the car and looked for a clear view of the turkeys. They were about thirty yards away. There was no time to set up a tripod. I would have to steady the heavy lens and camera all on my own. Vibration Reduction was on. I quickly changed the focusing to 3D put the camera up to my eye and started shooting. I took about fifteen close up photos of the turkeys before they were out of view. About forty percent of the photos were okay sharp and about sixty percent of the photos were razor sharp. Amazing, I could never have accomplished this during my film days. Camera would have had to been on a tripod. I would have been more selective with the shutter release because each snap cost money. Plus the turkeys were moving quickly and sporadically so it is doubtfull that my manual focus would have kept up with them. I would of had maybe one or two photos in focus.

Note: the close up  of the Turkey’s profile is what I consider barely sharp.

Then I noticed some wildflowers to the left of where the turkeys had previous been. So for the fun of it I took a couple of snapshots of them. A couple of snaps ended up being about fifteen pics. Again even with a gentle wind swaying the flowers most of my pics were sharp. If I had been shooting film it is doubtful that I would have taken more than one photo of the flowers. As it ends up the flower photos were my favorite photos of the day and I consider them keepers.

Yep, once I got back to the car I quickly download the captures onto my iPad. I edited one flower pic and uploaded it to Instagram. On the iPad the pics I figure were good I copied into Lightroom. When I got home those same pictures were already downloaded into Lightroom on my computer. Now I can study them even more and possibly create something special.

Yes, instant gratification can be rewarding.

Fireworks And Being Creative

Talk about bad timing, I am about to write how to spice up your fireworks photography and it is about two weeks after the Fourth of July. Oh well, I am not in the practice of photographing fireworks so I didn’t have the photos to complement this article. This 4th of July a did a little photography during the fireworks show at Timnath, Colorado.  Now I have photos to share. So lets see if I can give you some ideas for next years fireworks photos.

If you have been serious about photography for more than a month most likely you know the tried and true method to get pics like this one:

It is a pretty and standard fireworks photo. Here are the specs: ISO 100, F-Stop 9.0, Exposure 6.2 seconds, lens a 16 to 80mm at 22mm. Camera on a sturdy tripod with a cable release. Of course all these setting were set in manual mode and the focus was also set manually to infinity.

Nice pretty picture. Throw a bunch of them in Photoshop and you end up with a fantastic photo that you can make a poster of a fun remembrance. Like this:

That is all find and dandy. In fact such fireworks photos make fantastic images and prints. Still at the time of the shooting there is more that you can do that can create some visually stunning and different images; Like this one:

Or this one:

To get these effects I zoom the lens in on the first one and out on the second one. Also on the second one I continued the exposure after the zoom.

You can also wiggle the lens for an interesting effect or wiggle and zoom. Here are a few more examples of the zoom effect:

I think now you get the idea just how easy it is to be creative with your camera when photographing fireworks. Back in the day of film we would do this sort of things and then have to wait a few days for the film to be processed to see if we were successful. Sometimes we were really disappointed. With digital cameras you have instant review so you know right away if what you are doing is successful or not. So next time when at a fireworks show be creative with a couple of shutter releases. It could be very rewarding.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Photographer: C. L. Getchius For more info on camera setting click here.