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A Visit to the California Living Museum

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We saw the big horn sheep climb the hill and walk along the ridge, pausing along the way for a photo op.  Next to the big horn sheep were 5 bobcats looking for food and playing around.  The mountain lion was adjacent to the bobcats and was prowling around and staring right at us.  Was this an exotic location for a dream photo shoot?  No, it was the California Living Museum (CALM) in Bakersfield.   The CALM features native animals that can’t be released to the wild for one reason or the other.  The big horn sheep are part of a captive breeding program.

The CALM has a variety of birds such as owls, eagles, hawks, woodpeckers, jays and waterfowl.  There are also mammals such as foxes, bears, badgers and skunks.  It is the place to see native animals and reptiles in one setting.

Docents sometimes are on the grounds with birds of prey.  A docent had a screech owl on her hand the day we were there.  The owl had only one eye so it would not survive in the wild.  It was a very photogenic owl.

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Action Sequence Photography

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Shooting an action sequence can be exciting but putting several images into one image can be very interesting. I took these images at a recent race at the AV Motoplex in Lancaster on Sunday Oct. 13th. The energy level at the track is incredible even if you’re not racing.

To get the shot (s), you need to shoot on a continuous setting with a high shutterspeed (1000) and a reasonably small aperature (11- 22). A wide angle lens setting is important as well.
The applications are many. For you wild life photographers, image seeing the flight pattern of a bird or an animal running…. or maybe a kid chasing a soccer ball.

Once the images are shot, you’ll need to do a few steps in Photoshop to finalize the effect. I’ll refer you to a YouTube video from Adorama (Gavin Hoey). It’s episode #130 (11:32 min.). He’ll walk you through the layers, masking, etc. If you have questions or suggestions, email me at rocksprints@gmail.com.
Rock Myers

Tips for Making a Star Trail Shot

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There are some things that are absolutely essential for making a star trail shot.  You must have a tripod to hold your camera steady during the shot.  You must have a method of holding the shutter open for longer than 30 seconds.  Your battery must be able to keep the camera going for at least one hour, preferably 2 hours.

A good star trail shot needs a one-hour or longer exposure to make a good trail.  That means the camera can’t move during this time.  Your tripod must be sturdy and in a stable position.  An external weight, such as a bag of rocks, can be hung on tripod to give it more stability.  The exposure mode must be set to manual and the shutter speed to bulb.  In the bulb setting the shutter stays open as long as the button is pressed.  The shutter can be kept open with a cable release that can be locked with the button depressed or a cable release with an interval timer can be used.  Nikons that used the infrared remote will time out after 30 minutes.  For an exposure longer than 30 minutes you must use a cable release.  If your battery dies during the shot, you will get nothing.  You must be confident your battery can make it during the entire exposure.  Testing is one way to gain that confidence.  Set the camera up as if you are doing a star trail shot, but leave the lens cap on.  Do a one-hour exposure and see if the battery lasts and then do a two-hour exposure.  Past experience says that no-name batteries will not make it.  Mark your batteries that are capable of 1-hour continuous use and put a fully charged, good battery in the camera just before the shot starts.

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Future of Photography, Additional Notes

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My article, "The Future of Photography," was published in the LPA's June 2012 edition of "Desert Exposure." Unfortunately newsletter articles must, by necessity, be brief and I had so much more detail to offer. This is my workaround. For completeness and to make it easier for those readers who haven't read the original article I'm including the text of that article here with my additional notes.

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Install Topaz in Photoshop Elements 10

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The presentation by Greg Rostami of the Topaz filters at the Southern California Photography Conference was interesting, and prompted a number of us, myself included, to crack open the wallet and buy these things. He said they would work with Photoshop Elements. And they do.

Once you get them correctly installed!

I’m sure the install process works fine for Macs or Photoshop users, but if you have Photoshop Elements, you may face the same issues I faced.

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San Juan Batista and Fremont Peak

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Hallway and Father

Chris and I decided to visit San Juan Batista and Fremont Peak this spring.  It has been years since we visited either place and we thought there might be some photo opportunities plus it was a chance to get away.  San Juan Batista is famous for the mission there as well as being featured in the Hitchcock film Vertigo.  There is also a state park around the mission to preserve the historic buildings.  San Juan Batista is such a small town that they do not even have a single Starbucks.

Acorn Woodpeckers

Photography with tripods is allowed in the mission so we got some good shots.  The mission at San Juan Batista is famous for having three aisles and for being in continuous service for 200 years.  At sundown the arches over the bells had a golden glow that made for a nice shot.  Long hallways and arches made for interesting compositions as well.  I liked the shadows cast on the walls of some of the historic buildings.


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Workflow for Shooting With Strobes

Member Articles
  • Make sure lights are in position, chairs/props are 5-6’ away from backdrop
    • ISO- 200
    • TV (shutter priority) 1/200 (my Alien Bees work real well with syncing at 1/200, other lights work well between 1/125-1/250) Take a picture and see how it looks.
    • Set F-Stop to ____ (we will tell you when we meter)
    • Shoot in Single shot mode –not good to have in continuous mode as lights can’t keep up

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