A Short Weekend in Review

So here’s the deal, it wasn’t really a short weekend, at least for me.  I had Friday off from work to begin the Independence Day holiday weekend but things didn’t get off to the best of starts when I heard the scream come from the neighbors yard where my two boys were playing.  It was the scream that every parent knows.  Yes, it was the “let’s pack our stuff and head for the emergency room for the day” kind of scream.  Sure enough, my youngest had taken a fall from a trampoline and broke his wrist.  I didn’t even need to wait for the x-rays to make that call, but I did have to wait for the doctor to put him back together.  The poor little dude is doing much better now and is even learning the joys of scratching with a butter knife.  But I did get a little side tracked with all of this unplanned activity so I didn’t get to do everything that I had hoped to this weekend.

One thing I did accomplish were the edits for my latest book, Nikon D5000: From Snapshots to Great Shots.  Things are moving along smoothly but I did need to add some new material to the already submitted chapters, which will definitely drive my editor, the layout team, and everyone else involved in the publishing process crazy, but in the end it will make the book better and that’s what counts.

The other thing that was on my list for the weekend was to shoot some fireworks.  I had to admit that I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to get out because of my son’s arm.  I was hoping to go down to Arlington Cemetery and shoot across the river but I knew that wasn’t going to work out so I opted for a local display in Old Town Manassas, VA.  My oldest son and I carried our dinner, lawn chairs, cameras, and tripods out from the car and right near the official launching spot for the fireworks.  We were only about 100 yards from the site where they were all set up and I was sure that someone would chase us off but, as luck would have it, we were never told to move and we had the best seats in the house.  I had the camera set up with a 24mm lens since we were so close and set the exposure to 2.5 seconds at f/16 with an ISO rating of 400.  Don’t ask me why I picked those settings, they just seemed about right.  I would have used the bulb setting for the shutter but I forgot my release at home so I figured I would just go with a time exposure and hope for the best.  The other setting I made sure I used was the Long Exposure Noise Reduction.  The thing to remember about using that function is that it will require about as much time to apply the noise reduction as it did to take the exposure.  So I was getting about 2.5 seconds of NR every time I took a shot.  It was a little frustrating at times but my images are extremely clean of noise and so I can’t complain.




The one thing that I didn’t get a chance to do but will hopefully get around to very soon was to go down to DC and check out my route for the photowalk.  As I mentioned last week, there is a little renovating going on near the starting location and I have yet to nail down a couple of other details so I really need to get my butt down there and make it happen.  Tick, tock, tick, tock, time is running out so I will have to get that done ASAP.

To wrap things up this Monday, I would like to thank everyone that voted in my inaugural poll last week.  I have to say that I was a little surprised at the results.  For those that didn’t get a chance to check it out, I simply asked what your favorite shooting mode is.  As I suspected, Aperture Priority was the number 1 answer grabbing a whopping 75%.  That didn’t surprise me at all since it is my favorite shooting mode as well.  What did catch me off guard was the 18% of the vote that Manual received, which placed it in 2nd over Program with 5% and Shutter Priority with 3% (I know, that’s like 101% but I can only go by what the poll results say).  If I had to guess ahead of time, I would have picked Shutter Priority to come ahead of Program and Manual.  Here’s to all you hardcore camera hounds out there making it happen with the Manual mode. WooHoo!  Oh, and the Auto modes didn’t score a single percentage point so no one copped to using Auto as a guilty little pleasure. 🙂

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  1. Holler my way if you want some company on your DC photowalk dry run. I won’t be able to walk the real thing since I’m leading the Alexandria walk at the same time as yours. It might be a good chance to get some leader advice from you.

  2. Jeff – where (specifically) in Arlington Cemetary would you have gone for the fireworks?

    • Michael, I had hoped to actually shoot from the Iwo Jima memorial, which is a little bit of a hike from the Arlington Cemetery metro stop but offers one of the best views of DC, with the Lincoln, Washington, and Capital all in a row. Check out these shots on Flickr.

  3. Thanks! Have you looked at the Netherlands Carillon as a location? A short walk south of the Iwo Jima. Once upon a time the Park Service would let people up in to the tower but its apparently fallen into disrepair and is not safe now.

  4. Mark Laussade says:

    I ran into the same frustration with long exposure noise reduction, but found out that I could keep shooting while my 5D Mark II was processing the previous pictures.

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