Oceangoing Ships

A by-product of a whale watching cruise out of Long Beach, CA is that you get to see a lot of ships.

That’s great if you like ships.  Most of the people on the boat went back to their smartphones and beer once we left the whales.

Fortunately, I like ships.

Besides the boyish wonder that ships hold, this day was provocative in many ways.  Questions that ran around in my head included:

  • Just what is in all of those container ships?
  • Why don’t we hear about container ships capsizing?  I’m sure that there’s solid engineering behind their design and loading.  But, they sure do look top-heavy.
  • I just have to wonder how often does a container simply fall off?
  • Just what was that shooting out of several vessels?  Bilge water? Ballast water?  Better off not knowing water?
  • Do we still make anything here?
  • How often do they break down?
  • What’s Plan B if there is a breakdown in the middle of the ocean?

I made the most of the day and created a lot of images.

There was a haze-smog that actually made a lot of them digital trash.  Makes me understand the push to use cleaner fuels and minimize idling in the ports. It’s one thing to hear about it and not give it much thought.  It’s another thing to actually see it as you can in the image below.  Now I get it. Now I understand the concerns.  Air is not brown by nature…

DSC_9442 United Banner 480

Anyways… back to ships.

There has been a new Gallery created within “things on or by the water” – simply titled oceangoing ships.  Somewhere in the files, there are more ship shots from here and there, and more images will be added to the gallery over time.

I invite you to sit back, check out some ships, and see what questions come to your mind.


Collage Gallery added!

Collages provide a means to show and enjoy a collection of pictures.

Some carry a theme, some carry a theme better than others, and some are just a random assemblage of what one likes.

Some folks like collages, some don’t.

For those of you that do – we’ll be creating collages from time to time and adding them to a new Gallery called Collages on Laughing Frog Images.  (What did you think we were going to call it?)

Our first collages are of the Gray Whales of Long Beach.

Long Beach Gray Whales 2015-03, photo background 480w

These particular collages are set up in a 2×3 proportion so they will print 12×18, 20×30, etc., and fit in readily available frames.  They’re a unique way to decorate a wall or room.  There are two versions of the Gray Whales of Long Beach collage – one with a solid black background, and the other uses am image from the collage as the background.  As always – the Frog strives to provide something for everyone.

If there’s a collage you’d like to see from our available images, just let us know.

Thanks for looking.


“Sunset” added to the Galleries

Based on comments and feedback, I took the .dng (RAW) file of “Sunset from an Airplane” and created a high-quality .jpg file.  Interestingly enough, the .jpg is almost identical to the .dng file – so what you see is what the camera’s sensor saw.

WP_20150514_19_16_17_Raw 480 wm

You can find the image here in the “sundowns, sun ups and things in the sky” gallery on Laughing Frog Images.


Sunset from the back of a plane

When I fly, I tend to get a an aisle seat.  I’m not always sure why, because my head and arms are regularly hit with nary a tinge of guilt on the part of those striking me.

However, I might want to start rethinking that.

When I replaced my old cell phone from the Dark Ages (it was a flip phone with no keyboard…) with a new smartphone, I chose the camera first, and then the phone.  I wanted a Windows phone so I could manage this site in Internet Explorer, so that somewhat narrowed my choices, but they weren’t bad choices.  I ended up with the Lumia Icon, which has a 20mp camera, and also produces a RAW image in .dng format.  It takes phone photography to a new level that I won’t get into here, because this isn’t about a phone or a camera – it’s about a snapshot in time memorialized in bytes.

More importantly, the Icon gives me the opportunity to capture some fantastic images without having to carry a camera with me all of the time.

Here’s a shot from a window seat in the back of a Southwest Boeing 737.  We’re heading east over Huntington Beach at sunset. As we turned east, I noticed the sunset and thought “there might be a picture here…”

WP_20150514_19_16_17_Raw 480 wm

You can see ships waiting to get in to Long Beach Harbor in silhouette from the setting sun, you can see the waves headed towards the beach, the blue sky and darkness separated by the rain clouds.  There’s a lot going on here.

This is the jpeg file straight from the camera.  I haven’t played around with the dng file to what I might be able to do with it.  I didn’t have time to go to manual and select the settings as I would try to do for a sunset – so I metered off of the clouds above the sun and hoped for the best. ISO 64, f2.8, 1/1250 second – all set by the Icon’s camera.

I ended up with a quality image of something fresh and different, and that’s what makes time behind the camera meaningful.

Shoot often and shoot well!

The Gray Whales of Long Beach

People have a lot of different perceptions of California, some are nice, some aren’t – and we’re not going to discuss or debate them here.

Among the many perceptions, one thing that usually isn’t in the mix is that it is a place where you can watch whales, and do so pretty easily at that.

Mr. and Mrs. Frog and some friends took an afternoon whale watch cruise from Long Beach Harbor on Harbor Breeze Cruises, and had a great time.

We followed (from a safe distance) a pair of Gray Whales on their journey back north, and came away with some images that can be shared on Laughing Frog Images.

I shot well over 150 images, and between the rolling of the boat, the waves, and the whales (who apparently aren’t worried about telepathic directions and request from photographers), probably a third of them were deemed worth showing.  Of that group, 19 are posted in the Whales Gallery.

Gray Whales, Long Beach CA

The images were taken with a Tamron 18-270mm VR lens on my Nikon D-90 at ISO 400, shutter speeds were generally 1/1000 second or higher.

So, you want to go photograph whales?

Here’s my two cents:

  • be patient, and remember that the whales are moving along at their own pace and on their own schedule – you might have a great day, and you might not…
  • make sure you have a lot of room on your memory card,
  • take the longest lens you have,
  • shoot with a medium ISO (200-400 or so), and,
  • if you can, set your shutter speed manually so that it is ideally 1/1000 or higher to compensate for all of the movement and things that you can’t control
  • if your schedule permits, avoid mid-day cruises – that’s when the lighting is direct and harsh, and much of the water detail will merely be shades of gray.  Go for early morning or late afternoon.
  • shoot a lot – because you’re not going to have a 100% success rate
  • don’t rely on the monitor on your camera to determine what’s a good shot and what’s a bad shot – wait until you can see the images on your computer before you make those decisions.


Yes, the Frog has been quiet lately…

The Frog has been quiet lately for no other reasons than there’s been a lot going on with the day job that pays the bills and family “stuff”.  Things are settling down a bit, and should get back to some semblance of normal with a couple of posts a week and working on the galleries.

One emphasis for this year’s holiday shopping season will be to add to the steam engine galleries because, well, who doesn’t like steam engines!

Thanks for checking in on the Frog.

And, as always, we appreciate “shares” and “likes” on social media, as well as word of mouth.  The advertising budget around here is low…, very low, which helps keep the prices low so that virtually anyone can afford something from Laughing Frog Images.

Be well!