a teatray in the sky

counterpoint premiere

Posted in 5D Mark II, Music, Photography, Washington, DC by firthefirst on October 29, 2010

had the amazing opportunity to shoot the premiere performance of CounterPoint, a new ensemble that was co-founded by tina’s old friend jory herman.  you run into people in the craziest places, and sometimes that place is onstage at the kennedy center.  jory invited me to take some photos during a benefit concert at the Embassy of Pakistan which would raise money for the flood victims in pakistan.  great cause, great music, what’s not to like? (more…)

some like it hot, first take

Posted in 5D Mark II, Houston, Photography, Texas by firthefirst on October 27, 2010

and for those who do, there will always be a place called houston, texas.  went down primarily for celestina (aka tina #2) and nick’s wedding (as a guest, not a photographer, obviously) and secondarily for tacos and tex-mex.  mission accomplished on both fronts: had a blast at the wedding and then had a blast chowing down breakfast tacos at taco cabana afterwards.  so good. (more…)

a long october

Posted in 30D, Defrag, Photography by firthefirst on October 27, 2010

and the days go by so fast.  no time to really work on photos lately despite the fact that there’s lots of stuff I want to post and lots of stuff coming down the chute that merits posting.  it’s grim and grey and soggy outside in Maryland today so I figured I’d drop in a photo from an old post on macro photography that I scrapped, taken back when I was shooting on the 30D still, which showcases water in a more attractive fashion.

like shooting birds in a barrel

Posted in 5D Mark II, Animals, Baltimore, Birds, Maryland, Photography, Technique and Development by firthefirst on October 20, 2010

bird photography is always a challenge.  they’re small, fast, and easily spooked.  so you’d think it’d be easier to get great shots in a zoo, where the birds are used to humans and confined to enclosed spaces.  not so fast there, mate.  zoos and aviaries often have walk-in aviaries where you are surrounded by netting that prevents birds from flying off into the wild blue yonder.  what the netting also does is it prevents photographers from getting a smooth background blur.  this totally can break an otherwise great photo, and the effect of choppy background bokeh shouldn’t be taken lightly. (more…)

chasing giraffes

Posted in 5D Mark II, Animals, Baltimore, Maryland, Photography by firthefirst on October 19, 2010

the last time tina and I went to the national zoo in dc, she asked if there were giraffes.  of course there are giraffes at the national zoo… except there aren’t any.  the last visiting giraffe had either passed on or passed away some time ago, and dc is officially giraffe-less.

but we couldn’t give up there, and so as the fall rolled around I decided to search for the nearest zoo which housed giraffes.  to my surprise, that was the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.  maryland has a zoo of its own?  25 years spent in maryland and I had absolutely no idea this existed. (more…)

skyland restaurant

Posted in 5D Mark II, Food, National Parks, Photography, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia by firthefirst on October 18, 2010

since I’m really not old enough to remember the good old/bad old days, I have no idea what national park food used to be like.  what I do know is, the in-park dining options these days may lack diversity but certainly don’t lack in quality.  the service can be hit-or-miss (in yellowstone it’s all miss, in shenandoah it’s usually decent) but you can be fairly confident your taste buds will be rewarded once the food hits the table. (more…)

when the sun goes down

Posted in 5D Mark II, National Parks, Photography, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia by firthefirst on October 12, 2010

the week at work is shaping up to be half looney bin half zoo so there won’t be much substance with today’s post.  going to keep it short and let you enjoy / be amused by my continued attempts at night sky photography, this time from shenandoah. (more…)

you say goodbye, I say hello

Posted in 5D Mark II, National Parks, Photography, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia by firthefirst on October 11, 2010

I’ve been in a bit of a panorama mood ever since I got back from yellowstone (see?) and I wanted to keep that streak going.  my tripod handling speed is still not quite where it should be at, and as we all know, practice makes … better.

so, a few fridays ago, tina and I took off after work on friday and managed to reach the north gate of shenandoah national park just before sunset.  the place was practically devoid of people, everyone else long since gone home or gone to dinner.  perfect.  no traffic, empty overlooks, enchanting silence. (more…)

friday awesomeness

Posted in Defrag, Film by firthefirst on October 8, 2010

found this sweet video on f-stoppers the other day and I wanted to share it; the coolest part isn’t even the animation itself, it’s the background behind why and how it was made (second video below). (more…)

up the wrong tree

Posted in 5D Mark II, Animals, Birds, Grand Teton National Park, National Parks, Photography by firthefirst on October 7, 2010

people always tell you it’s not about the gear, it’s about the photographer.  which is true … up to a point.  I mean, try taking a wedding portrait with an 8mm fisheye.  you’ll find very quickly you’re barking up the wrong tree.  birding is one of the more specialized forms of photography, involving lenses that cost as much as a major surgery, crawling on your stomach through marsh grass and cold mud, and strange tripod attachments that look like they were meant for cruel and unusual punishment.

but that’s because birds are tiny and fickle, it just can’t be done any other way.  right?  right? (more…)