My wife is here in Nebraska with me now and I have been busy finding a house to purchase while finishing up my job training and thus kicking photography to the curb for the time being. For some reason I didn’t want my archives on this site to skip the month of February, so I will quick upload a shot I worked on a while back that I thought was only so so before I jump into bed for my midnight shift. This shot is looking off into the Cappadocia horizon with little rock churches strewn about with Mt. Erciyes looming in the background. I believe this stitch is from about three or four shots as well.
The city you see on the other side is Turkey’s fifth most populated city, Adana. There is an American Air Base minutes away from this city. It is kind of arid, dusty, and dingy compared to what most Americans are used to, so most of them think Adana is a terrible place. I, however, love it. Where else can you get some of the best food in the world for cheap while watching people drag 100ft long bundles of rebar down the street in the middle of traffic while an old man squats in the median to relieve himself? It feels like a different planet, but there are hidden gems all over the place.
It is hard not to miss all of the exploring of ancient relics in Turkey such as Anavarza Kalesi. Me and a friend hit this one early in the morning and quickly climbed to the top to witness a vividly golden sunrise without a soul in sight. I am always fascinated at the thought of ancient times and how this place must have looked. It is hard to find information about reliable dating for this site because it is just so damn ancient and the area has changed hands so many times that it is difficult to ascertain the age. The amazing thing is that this castle has a sprawling city remains below that has yet to ever be excavated even to this day!
So I grew tired of paying WordPress an annual fee to edit my theme CSS, so I finally reverted to a free theme that allowed me to change the background and header. I have quickly put together my own haphazard header and background, but I think I am partial to a lighter background for viewing photos, so I will probably change that in the future. The only problem is that I cannot change the color of the text, so the background might have to remain dark so the text remains readable. I also do not understand why every theme they have leaves a huge amount of unused space on the edge of each column??? I want to display and view pictures as large as possible!
Tonight is kind of sad since it may be the last time that I ever make it into the city of Adana before I leave for Japan. A lot of good times were had the first time I lived here since it is where I met, dated, and married my wife. Adana feels like such a foreign land compared to any other place I have ever been and I really love it. The crazy shit you see people do here is always entertaining as well! Anyways, me and my buddy found this bridge underpass and used my SB-600 light to create the shadow of me and then painted the scene with green and blue LED key chain lights.
I was able to play around with a Nikon 105/2.8 VR macro lens today. I thought the AF was terrible for normal shots, but the macro performance was really amazing and it also produces some of the nicest bokeh I have seen from a lens. This first shot was shot using the lens and 36mm Kenko macro tube stacked onto it. We set up a flash just to the left of the lens in Commander Mode. It is incredibly difficult to get the iris in focus, you will need many tries! I also recommend shining an LED light into your subjects eye to help aid you when you manually focus the lens, which is a must. It also helps to bring out the iris by using a gel on your flash that is the same color as the iris you are shooting.
PS- If you don’t want your blood vessels to grow out towards the outside of your eye, don’t wear your daily wear contacts for 3 weeks straight before taking them out. Stupid kids!
Here is some of that creamy-dreamy bokeh I was talking about. This shot was without the macro tube.
Got away from the lair full of evil homework for a little while on Sunday. Turned out to be very rainy and foggy at the castle we had visited. Wasn’t very conducive for taking good landscape or architectural shots, so I put on 32mm of Kenko macro tubes and took a couple of shots.. I was mostly just happy to get out of the house and away from schoolwork for a while!
Every time I jump on any highway in Turkey and get a little ways out from where I live, I am constantly seeing things on the side of the road that are truly interesting from a photographic standpoint. Things like old abandoned buildings, odd animals all alone in the middle of nowhere, vast expanses of crops planted in a perfectly straight row leading towards the horizon, you name it. Usually we are in such a hurry that we just blast on by. We did make one stop for this interesting tree all alone out in a vibrant field with the Taurus mountain range lining the background. This spot is about an hours drive from Cappadocia.
Mt. Erciyes is a bit of a weird resort compared to what I am use to in the States. Each group of chairlifts and rope tows are owned by different people, so even though you can see 5 or 6 lifts nearby, you have to choose which one or two that you would like to ride and pay for a pass that is only good for a specific lift or two. Doppelmayr! How I have missed you!
I was having a lot of fun skiing for the 2nd time in 7 years. Last year I felt like a disaster, but this year was different for some reason. I think it might be the kebabs and sahlep? Anyways, I didn’t care to get my camera equipment until near the end of the day, so it was getting pretty dark by the time I started to shoot. You can also kind of see the runs that were pretty much 50/50 rock snow, not the pure snow like found on the K-12, but.. If something gets in your way, turn.
For the last run I locked my 50mm on and loaded my SB-600 and tried to get some shots of my friends as they were trying to breakout of beaterdom. It would have been nice to have my 70-200 to get in a bit closer, but I was a little weary of breaking my leg on a rock, smashing my head into the dirt, and having 50 pounds of camera reconstruct my face. Here is Dean showing me the dangers I speak of.
I can’t even see his upper body in this shot!
Took a little New Years break ski trip up north to Mt. Erciyes, a big 3,916 metre stratovolcano that can be seen from Cappadocia. When we arrived at night, it was extremely bright out due to the full moon, which I hear was a blue moon. Me and one of my friends eschewed the New Years festivities at the deluxe hotel that we had booked and decided to enjoy the blisteringly cold night air with our cameras.
I pulled out my handy LED key chain light to graffiti the mountain with a New Years declaration about some girl I know named Amber who should have been there to partake in the lovely wind chill with her husband!
These long exposures were really fun to play around with my flash as well. Me and my friend would hold my SB-600 flash and fire off the test flash a couple of times at each other while strategically hiding the flash unit from view of the camera to create some neat effects. Too bad my retarded ass kept moving around between flashes so that I look like a fragmented apparition!
Combined, neither me or my friend had enough common sense to at least dress up warm enough to stay out in the cold for very long, a damn shame because the views were simply amazing. After about an hour and a half, our tennis shoes became the weakest link and we had to quick pack everything up and head back to a warm car to try and regain feeling in our feet. While packing up we noticed our gear was extremely frosted over.
Modern gear is pretty damn awesome though; it all kept working so well, we had no idea it was all coated with frost until I happened to shine my LED on it. I think we were too preoccupied running in place and hopping around in circles like Indians for warmth! We headed out again the following night since this night was so amazing, but the 2nd time was so windy that we could not steady our tripods enough to take any sharp shots with such long exposures. I guess I’ll just have to go back again!
Messing around with my Kenko extension tubes I bought last month. This is the 20mm and 12mm tubes stacked onto my 50/1.8. I have played with these once before in Thailand and realized quickly that you really need to have an external or ring flash. So I setup a cheap tripod with my SB-600 firing down almost straight down on top of the Baklava.
Another macro shot, this time of the rear sprocket of my very neglected mtn. bike. Again, 32mm tubes and the 50/1.8 were used with the off camera flash firing directly above. Gotta love the Manfrotto tripod with articulating arm to get into your subject and still remain steady. Now I just need to go find one of those gigantor centipedes that were setting up shop inside my house over the summer; would be an interesting subject.
I think I need to purchase about 200 of these psychedelic glass-mosaic cups and strategically arrange them out of the depth of field of any photo I take to make for some interesting bokeh arrangements.. What else could I possibly do with 200 cups when not using them for photography purposes? I only have so much change after the hobby of photography robbed me of everything that I am worth!
I was never quite sure how nature photographers were able to catch fast moving animals with their zoom lenses. I still have yet to look that up, but I am guess the answer is something like single servo focus and Nikon’s 3D tracking which is pretty much the mode that chooses the focus point for you. I always shot in single servo, single point focus where I choose the focus point since letting the camera pick out a point sounds kind of sketchy at best. When I was on top of the Galata Tower in Istanbul there were a lot of Seagulls flying around and I thought it would be fun to try and get a shot.
I just could not get a sharp shot using my old single point method and was missing a lot of shots just trying to get the focus point onto a fast moving gull. I decided to give 3D tracking a try with continuous servo… I was actually amazed, but it was quickly locking onto the gulls and getting a lot of sharp shots. I just wished I had a bit more reach, but I did get a shot that I ended up liking. It wasn’t one of the typical shots, but one that I thought would be terrible as I was shooting since the sun was right behind the bird, alas, here it is.
ps- stupid wingtip! Why oh why did I cut you off???
I decided to leave Demonicus–my trusty tripod–at home for my recent trip to Istanbul. I wanted to give my D700 a good high ISO workout since I know I will be going back to Istanbul many more times in the future. There was one site we visited that I had never visited before and I was very, very impressed with it. I really had to fight to get some usable shots though since it was the underground Basilica Cistern, which is very dark inside. It had a decent wooden rail to place the camera on, but even at ISO 4,000, I still had to take some long exposures and the wooden railing wasn’t quite cutting it since I had to actually press down on the camera to keep it balanced.
I decided to give this the HDR treatment as well, I like the way they look coming out of this camera and the cistern had so many neat textures and and cool reflections that are really brought out with HDR.