Winter by the Lake

We’ve had what I would consider pretty cold weather in the last few weeks, with high’s below freezing.  Luckily we got a bit of snow with it on New Year’s Eve.  No point in having cold weather if there isn’t any snow.  Well until the snow gets slushy and dirty anyway.

For this year, one of my personal photography projects is that every month, I will visit some place in Kansas, photograph it, and at the end of the year I will put together a calendar for 2014 using these photos.  So on the first day of the year, with snow on the ground and the clear winter air, I went out and drove to Lake Shawnee and took some photos.

Before going out on any kind of shoot, it does help to plan a little.  Part of my planning for this shoot was to check the sunset time for January 1, and I think it was around 5:09 pm, and I wanted to be there right around 45 min to an hour before sunset so I would have time to scout around and get setup.  I also looked up Lake Shawnee on google maps so I would have an idea of which side of the lake would probably be the most interesting, not to mention accessible.

When you go out to some nice place to shoot and you have your  tripod with you, you might be tempted to set up at the first spot with a nice view.  Don’t.  Force yourself to look around and to scout out the place. That’s one of the reasons for planning ahead and giving yourself plenty of time.  Doing so will definitely increase your chances of getting a very nice and maybe, a unique photo.  Hey, if you don’t find any other nice spots to shoot from, just go back to the one you found first.

So when I arrived at the lake and had my gear out and my tripod over my shoulder, I took a walk.  Since I had time I would take a series of photos from different spots and try different angles.  As I was doing this, I noticed this bird (I’m not sure what kind) in the water and near the shore.  It was a pretty big bird, and it was alone, and it was in a perfect spot for a photo.  So I got the 70-200 out and tried to get closer, but even before I got close, I somehow spooked the bird and it decided to fly over to the other side of the bend in the lake.  So I walked around over to the other side, it was maybe 200 feet, and even before I got there, the bird flew off again. Bummer.  But, it turned out to be good, because on that side, there was a spot where the bank of the lake was pretty low and flat and the edge of the water was right up against the snow on the bank.  Perfect!  So right as the sun was about to disappear behind the line of trees, I took this photo.

Winter by the Lake

Some details about this photo:
Camera: Pentax K-5
Lens: DA* 16-50
ISO: 200
Focal Length: 19mm
Aperture: f/16
HDR Composite using 6 photos from -5 EV to +4 EV
Merged using the Photomatix Plug-in for Aperture 3


Little Green Frog

There used to be a little “pond” at the Makiling Botanical Gardens at UPLB, that was just full of these little frogs.  I literally took hundreds of photos of these little guys over the course of several visits.  I was just going through my library and came across a few photos of these frogs, most of them I haven’t even imported into Aperture – I am way behind with photo management.  What’s sad though is the last time I was back at the gardens, after they were closed for like half a year for renovations, the little pond was gone and so were the frogs :(.  I’m glad I took a lot of photos when I had the chance.  Creation is beautiful, and I love photographing it!

For the photo below I used the pentax k-x, this was before the k-r came out, with the DA-L 55-300 lens.  I think I used a monopod as well, but I wish I’d had a tripod at the time.  If you have a tripod, use it.  I exported this photo to 1280 by 800, so if that’s your display resolution, feel free to use this for your wallpaper or desktop background.

Green Striped Frog1/125    f/7.1    ISO 800    170mm