Photographing Fireworks Tutorial

Well, it’s almost that time of the year again – too much food, sunburn, mosquitoes, flies and photographing fireworks!

And then, go to work the next day!

(Yay!)

Follow the photographing fireworks tutorial to make images like this!

Follow the photographing fireworks tutorial to make images like this!

So, for those of you who will be out photographing fireworks this year – either intentionally or as an escape from the madness of the day, I’m recycling some posts that can help you process your images and impress friends and family with your work.

At the very least, this will give you some great images to display on your wall, smartphone or tablet.

Click on “Continue reading” in the snippet below and enjoy!

Photographing Fireworks

This tutorial is easy to follow and uses free software – it can’t get much better than that.

If you’re not inclined to make your own images, or not willing to fight the crowds, we’ve got some images for you to look at here on Laughing Frog Images.

Enjoy friends and family, and be safe.

 

Back and better!

Well, I can’t promise that there won’t be any more breaks due to life and work, but we’re back and better!

During this latest period of life’s business, the Frog and Michael McNew of Visceral Concepts redesigned the Laughing Frog Images website.  It’s cleaner, crisper, and more contemporary.  Oh, and it’s easier to see the images and make purchases.  The story of how I came upon the name is still there, but it’s in the “About” section and not on the home page.  It’s about the images, and now, so is the home page.

Here’s the new home page:

Laughing Frog Images new home page - back and better!

Laughing Frog Images new home page – back and better!

I’m not ready to bite the bullet and put conventional names on my galleries – one has to have some fun!  However, the Galleries page is now much cleaner, and it’s more apparent than before what’s in there when you click.  The galleries themselves are “crisp” and clean, and the images are able to stand on their own.  It’s actually difficult to find the right words – you simply have to check them out for yourself and see what I mean.

The products have been cleaned up as well.  When I started the store, I had the vision that Laughing Frog Images could be everything to everyone in that we’d have such a wide variety of products available that everyone could find what they wanted.  Well, in reality, it ended up being more than a little confusing to folks.  So, there was a period (actually, several periods) of reflection as to what this site and store is really about.  I came to the conclusion that it’s all about the images – and that there should be a focus on the images.  The focus should be simple and concise and reflect what the vast majority of people do with an image – and that’s hang it on a wall.  So, that’s what we’re doing.

All of this had a small price… in the reconfiguration of the site, it looks like we’ve lost the magic codes and text that linked the images to the blog posts on Facebook and Google+.  They’re still in there on the Blog via the Laughing Frog Images home page though!  If that’s all that happened, well, I can live with it.  Not saying I’m happy, but as I understand things as a non-techie, there’s a reason for what happened, and the fix is not practical.

So, I welcome you to check out the new Laughing Frog Images now that we’re back and better!

Laughing Frog Images' logo, www.laughingfrogimages.com

 

Happy Birthday Michael!

This is a happy birthday shout-out to Michael McNew of Visceral Concepts.

He’s the behind the scenes guy who makes Laughing Frog Images work on the web – which makes me look professional and put together.

Check out Visceral Concepts if you need branding, marketing, web services, IT support, and whatever else it is that he does that I don’t know or understand…!

Happy Birthday Michael!

More than one Evinrude? Who knew?

Mrs. Frog and I came across this restored Evinrude sign in Florence, OR.

Evinrude Outboard Motors neon sign.  Florence, OR.

Evinrude Outboard Motors neon sign. Florence, OR.  Click to see this image and other signs in the Gallery.

From a plaque on the building, this sign dates back about 60 years, and was hanging on Bill Karnowsky’s Auto and Evinrude Outboard Motors Garage on Bay Street for decades.  It was restored by Ken Sierra, and is displayed on loan from him.

So what’s the story?

When I saw the sign, I was immediately taken back to watching my maternal Grandfather working on a little green 3 horsepower outboard motor time and again, never giving up on the little thing. I don’t know how old I was, but I do remember the motor being an ongoing project – working when it wanted to, and being worked on when it didn’t.

My first thought was that the motor was an Evinrude, so I went searching for validation.  My friend Google Image Search has just told me that it was actually a Johnson Sea-Horse motor – so technically, my memory wasn’t right.

And you know what?

It doesn’t matter that my memory was wrong.

It’s the memory that matters.

The image that flashed through my mind of him working on that motor in his basement, cigar clenched in his cheek, quiet perseverance and determination permeating the air is what matters.  The faint smell of gasoline and occasional incomplete combustion was also there – isn’t it funny that you can also smell a memory?

I told Mrs. Frog of my memory.

Her most prominent memory of Evinrude was the character in the animated movie “The Rescuers” – Evinrude was a dragonfly that performed double-duty as an outboard motor in that movie.  I have to admit that I’ve been accused of skipping childhood before – I’d never seen the movie, let alone heard of it or the character.

I learned something that night.

I memorialized a neon sign for posterity.

I also captured an image that brought back warm memories.

And, it’s nice when an image can do that…

Technical information: Nikon D7100, ISO 1600, 1/25 second at f5.6.  Tamron 18-270mm zoom with image stabilization at 70mm.  Hand held, as I didn’t have my tripod.

 

For the aircraft folks

Aircraft folks, I haven’t forgotten about you!

There’s been trains, and beaches, and water, and scenic shots, and even an aircraft boneyard – but no “live” aircraft for a while.

I took a bit of a break from what I’ve been working on for the site and finished cropping and cleaning of new images from HNL and YVR.  These images were taken with either the D7100 and 18-270 or with my Icon during taxi and takeoff.

This batch includes a couple of new airlines and schemes.

I’ve also completed the rest of Hawaiian Airlines’ fleet – the A330 and B767 have been added to round things out.  The only other type of aircraft they fly is the B717.

The snow-covered mountains in the background at YVR (Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) add something to aircraft photography.  I need to build in a little more time when I am there next if Mrs. Frog will let me.  HNL (Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii) is also quite an interesting place, with many Asian airlines and aircraft not readily seen in the US mainland – it’s just not all that easy to shoot there.

Air Canada E-190 at YVR.

Air Canada E-190 at YVR. Click the image to go to the commercial airplane gallery.

There’s more aircraft to add from these two airports, and they’ll get processed and added at some point in time – or when I need a diversion – whichever comes first!.  More new types of aircraft, and more new airlines.  There’s even a Boeing 727 freighter in the bunch – I didn’t know that there were still 727s in the air!  There are probably some airlines you’ve never heard of in the next batch, and since this is a “fun” gallery, there  may be some less than technically perfect images in there for the sake of sharing a plane type or an obscure airline.

Mentally, it was a good diversion for me to take – and I hope y’all enjoy a little diversion courtesy of the world’s airlines.

 

Moloaa Beach

Moloaa Beach was another new discovery for me on my photo hiking tour of the east and north sides of the island of Kauai, HI with Kauai Photo Tours.

I shot quite a few images here with my Nikon D-7100 and Tamron 10-24 and 18-270mm lenses, but it’s this image from my Lumia Icon smartphone that I like the best.

Why?

Possibly because it’s native aspect ratio lends itself to landscapes such as this.  We were getting ready to leave, and I pulled my phone out and made this image using the automatic setting as I wanted to send one of “those” emails. You know what I mean.  One of “those” emails or messages we tend to do from time to time when we want to share something… and perhaps make someone a little jealous…  It’s a sign of the times – vanity made easier by technology!  In this case though, I wanted to share it with Mrs Frog who was enjoying her time at a different beach.

My next favorite images from this location were made with the 10-24mm zoom.  It’s just time and well, time that are keeping them from being posted at the moment.  I’ve never done scenics on a beach with a 10-24 before, and I have to admit that I really enjoyed it.

I am not getting paid for this – but I do have to say that I love my Tamron 10-24mm lens.  It’s not a Nik**, and no ultrawide zoom is perfect, and for what the Tamron costs compared to the Nik**, you can either save a lot of money or use that money to put more toys in your camera bag.  But I digress…  You’ll have to wait to seem more of that lens’ work.

Back to Moloaa Beach…

Technical details:  This jpg is from a dng file.  The original was at 0.00035 seconds, f2.4 at ISO 64.  The camera is also capable of full manual settings, shutter priority and aperture priority, any one of which could have improved upon the original just a bit – but not bad from a phone camera at all!  I tweaked the image just a bit in Perfect Photo Suite 9 – adding a slight skylight filter effect as well as a slight color enhancement.

Moloaa Beach on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.

Moloaa Beach on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.

This image of Moloaa Beach is in the Coastal and Beach Scenes Gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

 

San Dimas Rodeo 2010

San Dimas Rodeo 2010 is just what it says – a gallery from the 2010 San Dimas, CA Rodeo.

I’m not going to rehash everything I said about the 2015 event in a past post – just click here if you want to read about the rodeo and here if you want to go straight to the San Dimas Rodeo2015 gallery.

All I’m going to do is invite you to check out the San Dimas Rodeo 2010 Gallery if you’d like to check it out.  It’s a fun little diversion from whatever you might be doing…

Like the 2015 gallery, it’s all view only so I don’t run into any issues with releases, licensing, etc.  As such, all of the images are straight from the camera.

It’s here for your enjoyment – and hopefully, you’ll check out some other galleries on Laughing Frog Images and perhaps buy a print or two to make you smile when you look at it (or cover up a hole in the wall!).

Think this might leave a mark?

San Dimas Rodeo 2010. San Dimas, CA.

San Dimas Rodeo 2010. San Dimas, CA.

I’d love to say that I got this image because I’m such a fantastic and skilled photographer (well, I might be something close to that, or so some might say).

The reality is that to get an image like this, several things have to come together.  The right lens helps.  So does the right angle – as you can never predict which way a bull is going to go, the right angle is really a bit of luck.  The right lighting helps – I sat where I sat for optimal lighting, at least as long as the bull tossed the rider in the right direction, so perhaps the right lighting is a little bit of luck.  Timing – well, one can argue that’s either skill or luck.  Then, beyond the lens, and the lighting, and the timing, you need the event itself.  That moment in time where it all comes together.

That day in October 2010, it all came together for this perhaps once in a lifetime image.

Enjoy!

It’s partly cloudy in Terra Alta

It’s partly cloudy in Terra Alta, WV. 

About a month ago, we saw Chessie System GP40-2 4162 in bright sunshine at Salt Lick Curve.

That was two miles west – and down the hill.  The weather can change dramatically between Rowlesburg and Terra Alta, let alone from any point in between.  It’s partly cloudy in Terra Alta, WV on February 21, 1988.

We’re at the Main Street crossing in Terra Alta looking west.  We’re on the north side of the tracks, which puts this side of the train in a bit of a shadow.  However, this view allows you to see where the world ends about 17 cars back.  Well, the world doesn’t really end there – it just looks like it does.  That the train disappears from view in such a short distance gives you an idea of what the grades are like on this line.

It's partly cloudy in Terra Alta as Chessie System GP40-2 4162 leads an eastbound coal drag on 2/21/1988.

It’s partly cloudy in Terra Alta as Chessie System GP40-2 4162 leads an eastbound coal drag on 2/21/1988.

Eastbound coal drags have a hellacious climb out of the Cheat River valley that ends here – the 4162 and sisters won’t notch back until the train has rejoined us at the top of the world.

I haven’t watched a train pop up and enter Terra Alta in about 20 years.  Time flies, but I digress.  Way back then, it was quite a spectacle as you heard the train long before you saw it.  The rumble of the prime movers and the whine of the turbochargers and fans (yes – a rumble and a whine at the same time) would get louder, and then you’d see the lead locomotive appear from top to bottom as it climbed over the edge.  Within a couple of hundred feet of appearing, the whistle would blow for the Main Street crossing – exactly where would depending on how fast the train was going when it crested the grade.

Fast is a misnomer, as that was typically somewhere around 13 mph.  Mountain railroading isn’t fast railroading…  If it gets to be fast railroading, then there’s probably going to be a problem…  And yes, that’s unfortunately happened on the West End, and it’s cost some lives over the years.

Things have changed on the West End.  Yes, coal still moves east, but not as much due to factors and reasons far beyond the hills of West Virginia.  Gone are the EMD GP40-2 and SD50 locomotives that dominated my time there.  Quieter, more powerful General Electric locomotives predominate.  I’ve heard that the informal road that used to be the third track that was a key element in making the images in the Chessie & CSX: The West End Gallery is now blocked by locked gates.

The spectacle of man and machine versus nature still happens a couple of times a day.  For how long remains to be seen.  It’s possible to bypass the West End by running northwest to the Monongahela River valley, then north to the Pittsburgh area, and then east – but it may not be practical.  Yet.

It’s hard to imagine the West End gone, but it’s not safe by any means.

I don’t know if or when I’ll get back there.  If nothing else, I’ve got the Kodachromes…

 

Does anyone need a used 747?

Does anyone need a used 747?

Does anyone even know what a used 747 costs?  I found some posts that say you can get one for a “couple of million” dollars.  And then you need to fill the tanks with fuel…  But if you can buy the plane, that shouldn’t be a problem, now should it?

I came upon a dozen or so used 747 cargo planes in an aircraft boneyard of sorts at the Mojave (CA) Air & Space Port.

There’s some interesting history and things that I didn’t even know about the Air & Space Port that you can read about on their website by clicking here.

Some of these aircraft will be parted out and ultimately scrapped in place.  Some are in flying condition, and may find a second / third / fourth life.

I don’t know what the history holds for these beasts caught in the shimmering heat waves of Mojave.

Used 747 cargo aircraft in the boneyard at the Mojave (CA) Air & Space Port.

Used 747 cargo aircraft in the boneyard at the Mojave (CA) Air & Space Port.

These images are interesting to look at.  However, unless you’re into pictures that show the distortion caused by the heat waves, they may never make it onto a wall anywhere.  On the other hand, some like the effect.  You can decide for yourself!

From looking at the number of cargo 747s – either the air cargo business isn’t what it used to be, or these winged giants are being replaced by new or newer aircraft with a lower operating cost per pound of cargo.  Size isn’t everything in aircraft – it’s important for sure, but for smaller cargo that doesn’t require a specialty plane, it’s all about operating costs.  That’s part of why we human cargo pieces keep getting squeezed into smaller seats with less leg room – and we seem to be paying more for it, but that’s another story.

Believe it or not, the first flight of a 747 was way back in 1969!  I’ve flown on the 747 three times – once in the cavernous coach section, and twice in Business Class on a business trip to Australia.  By the way – it’s didn’t seem much better in Business Class for 14 and 16 hour flights – that’s just too long on an aircraft, period.

I found three websites about the 747 that you might find interesting – Boeing 747 on Wikipedia, the official Boeing 747 site, and Boeing-747.com.

Here’s a link to the planes gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

Thanks for looking!

 

Sunshine and Snow at Salt Lick Curve

Just over 28 years ago – 2/21/1988 to be exact, there was sunshine and snow at Salt Lick Curve.  Oh yeah, there was a train there too!

Sunshine, snow, and Chessie 4162 at Salt Lick Curve west of Terra Alta, West Virginia.

Sunshine, snow, and Chessie 4162 at Salt Lick Curve west of Terra Alta, West Virginia.  Click on the image to be taken to the Trains Gallery.

Chessie System (B&O) GP40-2 4162 leads a train of coal cars east from the bituminous of West Virginia.  She’s been climbing Cranberry Grade out of the Cheat River Valley in Rowlesburg towards the summit at Terra Alta at speeds in the high teens. Cranberry Grade is part of the storied West End of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (now part of CSX).

It’s a battle of machine versus nature on this beautiful February day.

Sunshine and snow at Salt Lick Curve happened more often than sunshine, snow and a train came together at Salt Lick Curve, so I’m glad I was able to capture this.

Even more amazing is that the 4162 is reasonably clean, allowing her dress of Enchantment Blue, Vermillion Red and Federal Yellow to pop out from the snow and bare trees (Mrs. Frog would call them “naked” trees, but I digress.)

There are three SD-50 locomotives with their collective 10,500 horsepower pushing on the rear of the train.  Hard to believe that the 13,500 horsepower on the front of the train needed assistance, but that’s the West End for you.

This area of West Virginia and neighboring western Maryland can have absolutely brutal weather in winter.  If you’ve ever heard Oakland, MD mentioned during a weather report, this train is on its’ way there.  It was gray and cloudy at the bottom of the hill in Rowlesburg.  The weather at Terra Alta was like it was at the bottom, just maybe a little brighter.  I don’t have any notes as to the temperature that day, but I do have pictures of the MK Helpers (the SD50s) east of Amblersburg and the train cresting the hill at Terra Alta that might make it here to complete the story.

I do seem to remember getting a flat tire on the wooded bridge over the yard as I was leaving Rowlesburg.  I think it was this day.  Whatever day it was, driving home with my summer spare on the right rear was no fun…

Fortunately, the trains don’t move all that fast uphill, and I didn’t miss the chase.

This image is not yet on Laughing Frog Images.  It will make it to what will probably be a gallery devoted to the West End.

It’s 80-something degrees as I write this, and when I came across the image and saw the date, well, it just called to me to be shared.

Scanned from a Kodachrome 64 slide using a HP S-20i scanner at 2400 dpi.