Photographing fireworks on July 3

On July 3 we will meet by the fountains at Ithaca College to photograph the fireworks display at dusk.  Here’s a map; the fountains are between Job Hall and the Dillingham Center.  We will set up to the south of the fountains, between the fountains and the Center for Health Sciences.  To get there, go in the main entrance off of 96 and take the first right up the hill. There is a parking lot on the first left that serves the theater.  Walk along the path and you will find the fountains. There is more parking by turning left from the entrance road with a longer walk to the fountains.

A good starting point for camera settings is ISO 100, f/8 –  f/11, 5 sec. You will need to have your camera in manual mode to have control over ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.  Be sure to stop down for the grand finale or the additional brightness will blow out the colors and everything will look white.  I often stop down to at least f/14 and sometimes more.
A good focal length from behind the fountains is around 100-150mm; I usually use a 70-200mm lens when shooting from there.
I also use manual focus.  Start by setting focus on infinity while there is enough light to autofocus on a distant object, then set focus to manual and don’t touch the focus ring.  I usually tape down the focus ring so I don’t bump it accidentally.
Plan on using a tripod to stabilize your camera during the long exposures.
Most images of fireworks are composites, with several fireworks stacked up on one background shot.  If you don’t want to do post-processing to create a composite, you can try holding the shutter open for a longer duration and holding a black card over the front of the lens to act as a manual shutter, letting light in for multiple fireworks that, over time, become superimposed on a single long exposure.
Since you will be changing camera settings in the dark, you should be able to do it by feel (check your settings in the viewfinder or top display) or bring a small flashlight (with paper or tissue taped over it to make the light dimmer so you don’t affect other people’s exposures).
See this article for more tips for photographing fireworks.

January 3 meeting info

For our first meeting of 2019, please bring your best three images of 2018 to share.  Selecting our best also encourages each of us to look critically at our work. Going back through an entire year seems to build our skills based on what images had lasting appeal. Furthermore, we get ideas from other’s best three.   The images shared last year were inspiring and demonstrated how our sharing process on a monthly basis brings us all forward in our skills both technical and artistic.

Nov. 1 meeting info

The photo sharing theme for our November meeting will be “hard light”.  We will also discuss our favorite lenses and the pros and cons of prime versus zoom lenses.

Paul Schmitt will share highlights of his recent Alaska trip concentrating on bubble feeding Humpback Whales and Brown Bears fishing the salmon run.

Our successful exhibit at Kendal will be removed on October 31 (or  earlier if necessary).  It is worth seeing if you haven’t yet been there.

October 4 meeting info

The assignment for our next meeting will be three images on a personal project you have been working on this summer (but not the theme for the Kendal show). It could be a particular camera technique, improving your skill with Lightroom, working with a new piece of software, a trip, or anything else.

We are working on a separate field trip in the local area, probably a Saturday or Sunday in mid-October to catch some fall color. More info soon!

September 6 meeting and Kendal photo show

Our September meeting will be next Thursday, Sept 6, at 7:30 at Kendal, Conference Room A.

A large number of CNP members worked to hang images for a really great display of our art. We and Kendal residents were impressed with the quality of the display. We will devote our Thursday meeting  to a critique of the printed images and discussion of issues related to printing, mounting, and displaying images. Most of our time will be spent in the gallery space.

We will assemble in Conference Room A and proceed to the gallery to talk about the images displayed.

July 12 meeting and Kendal photo show info

The theme for our July 12 meeting is “water”.

Please let Brian know if you would like to participate in the fall CNP show at Kendal. Kendal has offered their first-rate exhibit space for September and October. At our meeting last week we decided to have an overall theme of “New York,” meaning images taken in NY.

Each exhibitor should then have a theme that links their images. The exhibitor individual theme can be your choice.

The gallery space can accommodate quite a few images. We may be able to display as many as five images per exhibitor.

Please let Brian know if you plan to participate or if it is a “maybe” right now. If you know what your theme will be, please let him know that too.

May 3 meeting info

The meeting theme will be “Getting Closer.”  At the request of several members, Mark Malkin (pictured here) will be leading off with a presentation on macrophotography. This will include some of the specialized equipment Mark uses in his work. Following this discussion, we will share up to three images on the theme of Getting Closer.

Backup strategies and recovering from hard drive failure

It’s not if, but when your C: drive will fail   by Paul Schmitt

The day before I left for Death Valley for a Canon Live Learning program, I awakened my desktop computer to be greeted by the message “Boot menu unavailable” and “repair failed”.    A quick call to my computer tech confirmed the obvious; my two year old solid state C: drive had failed in arguably the most critical sectors.   The idea of returning home with five days worth of new images to process and no high-end computer to begin processing with was, well, a source of discomfort.  The trip went smoothly and flights were all on time, so early the day after my return I packed up the computer and headed to PC Solutions in Elmira.  Jason quickly confirmed the situation and ordered a new 500 GB SSD from a supplier who usually gets packages to him the next day.  He confirmed the next morning that he had the SSD and hoped to have the PC to me that day.  At 5 pm, I picked up the PC.  The rescue drive worked and only my BackBlaze backup had to be reinstalled.  Sweet, mostly.

Rule 1: Make a rescue disk

Looking over my documents and photo files, I could see that some recent files were missing.  After reinstalling the link to BackBlaze (off-site backup), I went into their controls and learned how to “inherit” the backups I had created beginning in October 2017.  I located most of my missing files there.   The number of files was not very large, so I had BackBlaze create a ZIP repair file which arrived by email in less than an hour.  I only had to drag the restored files into their correct locations.  Still, a few items were missing, like the last three CNP newsletters.   I also run SyncToy (a PC-only utility) weekly  to make copies of all my documents and, separately, of photo files.  They are in a large 4TB internal drive.  I searched and found the newsletters there.

Rule 2: Have 3 copies, 2 at home, 1 off-site

Lightroom was a little different.   I had all the images, but the catalog had lost track of most beginning around November 3, 2017.  I found them in File Explorer. They were  sitting in the correct folder, but the catalog has lost the location.  How to get them displaying in Lightroom?  My approach may not have been elegant, but it has worked.  I started in LR Library and did an IMPORT action.  The dialog comes up with a complete directory of the computer, and I went to the folder name I had located in File Explorer, selected the folder and set the import location to the correct location in the right hand menu.  This restored the catalog integrity.  The only hitch in the process is that I have not yet recovered the virtual images and associated editing steps used.  Since all of those edited images have been exported to my catalogs portion containing edited images, it is not at this point a critical issue. I have the original plus a finished copy exported  at maximum resolution.  I will troll Adobe FAQs for ideas to revive the virtual images.

Rule 3: Next make a new backups

BackBlaze has already updated my off-site backup. I am presently running a new set in SyncToy now.  Now I can begin to write my blog on the Death Valley trip.  Canon put on the best workshop I have ever had.  I got home safely, and Jason came through admirably.   I am feeling good.

Are you ready for the “when”?