Amami Superman Photography

A Place to Share My Photos

Jun 27, 2011

More Roadside Flowers

Posted by Amami Superman


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/80 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Nice Light Purple

Holy jeeze! As I started to make this post, I was wondering if I hadn't taken photos of these kinds of flowers before and went back to check older posts. As I got into searching, I went back and started looking at all my older posts as I sometimes do. I realized that I've been taking photos for over 2 1/2 years now. That's not the holy jeeze part I'm talking about. The holy jeeze part is I've really fallen off my game in the last 8 months. I'll admit that work has been busy and I haven't made posts as much as I would like to, but I looked at some of the photos I haven't posted and they really aren't that great. And the photos I have posted don't really compare to the photos I took a year ago. I feel I don't have a strong talent for taking photos, but for what I do have, how does the saying go? "Use it or lose it" I need to get out there more! So I guess you could say that I'm a bit ashamed of myself personally as I know I can take better photos.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Out Stretched

Anyway! I'll stop the rant there. Although I haven't been taking photos as much as I used to, I still learn a bunch from the photos I do take, like fluorescent light and sports shots. But, with summer setting in, I know I'll have plenty of opportunities to get out there and start honing my skills again.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 -- EXIF
I Like This One

It was a cloudy day and the sun breaks were frequent. I upped my ISO after it got cloudier and was able to take this photo. The colors seem pretty close to what I saw and that's what I like about it. I think it turned out pretty nice.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Reaching Out



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 -- EXIF
A Buzz in the Air

As I was taking these photos, I could hear the buzz of a bee flying around me. I found it and decided to take some photos of it as it lit from one flower to the next and try to catch it in flight. At first, I couldn't get any decent photos. I would auto-focus on it, but as it flew away, it would be out of focus when I snapped the shot. So I switched to manual focus and tried my luck. I took around 15 photos like this one, but this was the closest I came to a nice shot. This photo was cropped almost to a 1:1 ratio.

So there are some pretty pink flowers. I don't have a clue what they are and I'm hoping that a botanist viewer, Peter from Whales, will be kind enough to enlighten me if he knows what they are. Cheers
Jun 23, 2011

Hydrangea!

Posted by Amami Superman


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 34mm, 1/500 sec, f/5.0, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Astonishingly Vibrant

Believe it or not, I didn't do anything to change the vibrancy nor saturation in the above photo. I was surprised when I first saw it. Usually the photos I shoot don't look as colorful and vibrant as I see when I shoot. I did, however, up the contrast a bit and lowered the clarity to max for this photo.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5,6 @ 55mm, 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Can I Have My Photo Taken Too?

For this photo I upped the exposure a bunch, not sure how much, +1.65 in Lightroom. I added some recovery and blacks, gave it some clarity and also upped the vibrancy a bit and lowered the saturation a tad.

These two photos look pretty different and I notice that when they are on the same page, the second photo makes the first one look weird. But when I'm looking at them separately, the first one looks really nice to me. Especially when I leave my computer for a while and come back and it's the first photo I see. I like it. But something about the second photo makes it look weird when they're on the same page.

I posted some photos of hydrangea a few posts early and I didn't know what they were. Peter from Whales was kind enough to leave a comment and tell me what they were. So, thanks Peter. :)

And at least this time I remembered to give this post a title...
Jun 22, 2011

Oops!

Posted by Amami Superman


Panoramic View of Somewhere in Uken
EXIF

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**WARNING**
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I went out to teach in Uken at a nursery school today. My wife likes kids just as much as I do and she tagged along with me. On the way home we stopped at several different spots to pick flowers and take photos. This isn't the first stop, but I thought I would start off with these photos to give you an idea of the kind of day it was.

As you can see in the above panoramic photo that it was a pretty cloudy day but it did have its breaks and the sun shown through bright during our many stops.

The above photo was created in Photoshop using the Merge to Panorama option from 3 photos. This is about the angle of view you would have, with a little more vertical width, looking from the side of the road where I was shooting from. It was a very contrasting shot. The sun was shining down on us, but wasn't shining anywhere else besides the foreground. I did a bit of post editing to this panorama because it didn't have the same contrasty feel that I saw when I was shooting it. I feel this is pretty close to what I saw.

Also, the name of the photo is "Somewhere", because I forgot to recharge the batteries for my hand-held GPS and couldn't get the exact coordinates. I tried to look it up on Google Earth, but just couldn't find the spot. I try to geo-encode my photos for the ones that are points-of-interest if you're ever inclined to come to my island. :)

Photoshop did a great job merging these photos. After merging these photos, I upped the Recovery along with the Fill Light a bit and maxed out the Clarity in Lightroom. I also upped the Vibrancy a bit and lowered the Saturation a smigde. After doing this, I felt the clouds didn't have the clarity I saw so I used the Graduated Filter tool and upped the Clarity of the clouds a bit more. This is what I turned out with and I thought it was pretty close to what I saw.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/200 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100 -- EXIF
She Just Wants to Pick Flowers

As I was all enthralled at the view at hand, my wife was more interested in the flowers at the side of the road.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/400 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100 -- EXIF
OK, Let's See Your Flowers...

I don't know what these flowers are called, but as it turns out, I hear they are poisonous. She didn't know this at the time, but when we got home, my wife's mother told her that they were and that people try to get rid of these flowers as much as possible. I don't think they are poisonous to the touch, as my wife didn't have any reaction to picking them. I imagine, if they are poisonous, that they need to be digested to have any affect.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Untouched

This photo is straight out of the camera and I haven't done any post editing to it. It's not a good photo but I thought I would throw it in to give you an idea of what I was shooting. This tree's blossoms were kind of high up and my 18-55mm lens just didn't get close enough so I used my 55-200mm lens to get these next shots.

I don't know what kind of tree this is, but it's in full bloom right now. If you look at the panoramic photo I took, you can see some of these blossoms in the lower left hand corner. I mentioned this before in previous posts, but until I started taking photos, I never noticed the different flowers and blossoms that bloomed around the island during different times of the year until I started to take photos. It seems that where ever I go, I'm always noticing new things that I never would have if I had never taken up photography.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 102mm, 1/250 sec, f/4.8, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Hard Contrast, Soft Glow

As the name of the photo says, I maxed the Contrast to give it this contrasty feel and tabbed down the Clarity to give it a softer feel. It's not a great photo, but I feel it turned out nice. Whether or not you like this kind of photo, I have been more inclined to make photos with more contrast, and it appeals to me. This next photo was posted edited with similar settings.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/80 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF

So those are some of the photos I took on my way home from teaching today. I have a bunch of more photos to share and I'll make posts for those soon.

It's now 11:30pm as I write this and it's a bit late for me. I have to wake up early for work and this usually is the problem I face. I take photos quite regularly, but I just can't find the time to go though them, pick out the photos I like, and make a blog post for them. It's kind of time consuming and I just can't seem to find the time to do it. It's something that I love to do, but the demands on life are a bit difficult. On the other hand, how does that that saying go...

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Post Edit: LOL, I was so tired last night, that I forgot to give this post a title before posing it. That's why the title is "Oops!"
Jun 21, 2011

So That's Why I Suck?

Posted by Amami Superman


Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Jade's First Basketball Game of the School Year

Our daughter, Jade, started basketball last year and has been having a blast. I've going to see most of all her games and I've taken plenty of photos, but I've only posted a handful. The reason for this is, they all sucked. I don't get too angry with myself if I take a bad photo that's not framed well, lacks contrast or is just plain bland photo. I do get angry with myself, however, when I screw up the camera settings when I know better. Every single time I've gone to take photos of Jade playing basketball, the exposure always turned out inconsistent. I couldn't figure it out for the life of me. I'd use manual exposure settings and even turn of auto white balance, take several photos from one spot only to have them all come out like I took each photo with different settings. I was pretty discouraged after looking at these photos I took from 2 Sundays ago.



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Half Time

Well, I won't go into details, but they got their butts kicked. They have 2 teams at Jade's school, an A team and a B team. The A team is for the 5th and 6th graders and the B team is for the younger classes, kind of like varsity and junior varsity. Although Jade is only in 4th grade, she is on the A team. This is because they don't have enough players in the 5th and 6th grades this year. So this year the A team has a lot of inexperienced players as well as a lack of height.



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Second Half Pointers

In these next photos, most of them were taken from the same spot facing the same direction all with the same exact exposure settings. I couldn't figure out why they all seemed to have different lighting. The lights weren't being turned on and off, or were they?



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Rebound



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Going for the Shot!



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
And Fouled!



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Shooting Two



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
1 for 2 at the Line



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
And a Field Goal for 2!

Jade made several shots in this game. I believe she made 50% of the points made for her team. Not that she's a ball hog or anything, lol, she was just in the right spot.

As you can see, the lighting is very inconsistent despite using the same exposure settings for each photo. Some of these photos were even taken using continuous shooting and are less than a second apart. Looking at these photos I noticed this and wondered how one part of the floor is lighter than another when the photos were taken within a second of each other. It then dawned on me that the lights were fluorescent and probably had something to do with cycles.

I then went and searched the interwebz for shooting photos in gyms and found a few articles about this. I found that fluorescent lights change color and even flicker when shooting at faster speeds like the photos I took causing these kinds of inconsistencies. So when I read that, I was all, "OH! So that's why I suck!"
Jun 16, 2011

Only a Mother Could Love...

Posted by Amami Superman


Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Zoomed In

Where to start? Last week our daughter, Jade, was selected to do a type of home-stay program with another school on the island. For one week she got to stay at a student's house and attender their school and classes. It just so happen that one of my wife's schoolmates lived right next to the school our daughter attended. My wife's friend also lived right next door to her uncle.

When my wife went to drop off our daughter at the school, she decided to go visit her friend. As she was walking to her house and passed in front of her friend's uncle's house she noticed a rope hanging down in front of the car port. It made her think, "Why would they have a rope hanging there?" Then she looked down at the end of the rope and saw it resting in muddy area on the ground. My wife gasped as she realized that the rope was tied to an animal laying in the mud. She walked closer and she found that the animal was a small dog. It's hair was matted with mud and who-knows-what so that it looked exactly like the mud it was laying in. It was one pitiful looking animal and her heart went out to it. How could anyone let this little dog reach such a sorry state.

My wife came home and told me the whole story about this little dog and she said she wanted to "save" it. I told her that we already had a dog, but it turned out that she already talked to her friend who in turn was talking to her uncle about the matter. It turned out that they actually kept the dog in the house for the first year or so, but then became tired of the dog and just tied it up outside.

We didn't know what kind of dog it was at first and found out that it was a Shih Tzu. I don't know much about dogs so I didn't know what a Shih Tzu looked like, but I've heard of the name before. We went to pick up our daughter on Friday and I decided to have a look at this dog. It turned out to be just as my wife had told me and how I explained it before. I couldn't believe my eyes.

We went home and the next day I talked it over with my wife and decided to go pick up the dog on Sunday after our daughter's basketball game. I brought a cage with me as I knew how dirty it was and didn't want it sitting on our car seats.



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/160 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Holding My Breath

When I got to their house, I found that they tried to give the dog a bath and clean it up a bit. They also tried to give it a haircut and cut away the matted clumps of hair, but couldn't get the scissors to cut them out because the clumps were so thick.

As I walked up close to the dog, I was about 5 or 6 feet away, this dog's smell filled my nostrils and I instantly wanted to vomit. I have a pretty sensitive nose and strong odors don't sit well with me, but I'll tell you this and I'm not exaggerating, it smelled like crap! Even after they gave it a bath. If it's one thing that I just can't stand, it's the smell of crap. I couldn't even change my daughter's diapers when she was a baby.

At first I thought it was just me and my sensitive nose, but my wife's friend came over with some rubber gloves for me to borrow and told me how she thought the dog smelled like crap too despite having a bath. She also told me that they never walked the dog and it basically crapped right were it slept. The matted clumps of hair weren't only caked with mud, but crap as well. This is what made the clumps so hard to cut out because they were so hard. I used the rubber gloves and got the dog into the basket, gagging the whole time. As I moved away from the cage to get some fresh air, I thought to myself, "How am I going to drive home with this in my car?" Have you ever seen the movie Ace Ventura? There's that part in the movie when he's driving his car with a busted windshield and he's got his head stuck out the door window to see, that was me as I drove home.

I got the dog home and now came the nasty of all nasty. I had to clean the dog. There was no way to clean the dog's hair and I decided it best to just shave off all the dog's hair to the skin. It's been a while since I've had to do something so gross. I got out the clippers with an extension cord and a folding table and chair and commenced to try and shave the dog. It was so nauseating and I gagged with each breath. I started at the tail and soon realized that I had to cut most of the matted hair out in order to shave it. The tail and legs were completely encased in mud and crap clumps of matted hair. Jeeze, I'm gagging just trying to write this! Scissors were useless and I got an idea. I went to my toolbox and got out my wire cutters, or nippers if you will, and started nipping away the clumps. It worked like a charm.

It took me 3 hours of gagging but I finally got the job done and it was time to give the dog a bath. This is what came out of that.



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
All Clean!

I was glad to finally be finished cleaning this dog up. That night, although the dog didn't stink anymore, I still could smell that stench in my nose like my nostrils were saturated with it.

We spent the next couple of days trying to think up a name for the dog. We decided we didn't want to know what the dog's name actually was because to us, we were giving the dog a new life so it deserved a new name. This dog is always happy to see me and one morning when I woke up and was rolling out of bed, it was sitting there waiting for me to get up. As I sat on the side of the bed it started to lick my leg. It was then I decided on a name. "We will call you, Smoochie."

So Smoochie is the newest member in our family. She seems like a good dog. She's very friendly and seems to get along well with our other dog Missy. Obviously Shih Tzu are supposed to have longer hair, but I thought she is still pretty cute none-the-less. I was expecting something much uglier. lol
Jun 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Jade

Posted by Amami Superman


Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400 -- EXIF
A Birthday Cheese Cake

My wife's cousin is a talented baker and makes a delicious cheese cake. Jade decided she wanted a cheese cake for a birthday cake this year. It was pretty good.



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/50 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Blowin' Out the Candles


Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 800 -- EXIF
iPod Shuffle

She has been asking for months now for a portable music player. Since I'm a Mac user, I decided to go with the iPod Shuffle. I was surprised to find that it was under five thousand yen. I have a clunky first generation iPod doorstop that cost tens of thousands back in the day. I also have a third generation iPod that's not much better. Look how tiny this thing is! It's just a bit larger than my thumb. One of the major turn-offs of the earlier iPods was their weight. Unless you had it in a case velcroed to your body somewhere, you really couldn't take them for a run or even shoot hoops without it pulling down your trunks or sweat pants. Anyway, now I see how small and light weight they become, maybe I'll get one for myself one of these days. A Nano seems pretty nice also.

So she was pretty excited to get an iPod shuffle for her birthday, but that excitement was almost lost as she opened her next present from my wife's older brother. It was a Justin Beaver autobiography. I guess Justin Beaner is every girl's dream.



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/40 sec, f/2.5, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Justin Beeper Autobiography

It all started when she got a Justin Butthead CD for Christmas. She instantly fell in love with him. And then I made the fatal mistake of bringing her to a movie of Crustin Bieber, Never Say Never in 3D, when we went to America back in March. Imagine Justin Beaker's hair in 3D... I shuddered through the whole movie. I guess it wasn't that bad. The story was actually kind of intriguing considering he started out by just posting some videos of himself on YouTube. So with that, Justin Booger, I salute you...



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/80 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Personalized



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Birthday Card From Mommy and Daddy

We wrote a nice birthday card for Jade too, but as you can see, it was left on the floor as she hungrily devoured each page of her new book.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 32mm, 1/15 sec, f/5.0, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Just Won't Leave Me Alone

Here is another photo of our cat, Sneeze. Now, I like Sneeze just fine and all, but Sneeze and I don't get along that well. She stays out of my way for the most part. But that night, she just wouldn't leave me alone. Everywhere I went she would follow me around and stop right in front of my camera. Either I smelled like fish, or she's starting to lose it and can't remember who I am and that we're mortal enemies, maybe both. But, her she is sitting on the armrest of the chair I'm sitting on.

So I finally got around to backing up my photos. I let them pile up too much this time. Before when I would back up my photos, I would just go through and divide the different files up by hand and burn them to DVD. This time I had way too many to do by hand. So instead, I bought Titanium Toast 11 and let it do it for me. I tell you, it worked like magic. Made my life much easier. The only downside I found is, you can't use low quality DVDs or sometimes they won't burn correctly and you'll get failed burns. I had some low quality DVDs so some of the burns failed, but I was still able to get everything backed up.
Jun 1, 2011

Had to Stop

Posted by Amami Superman


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/1000 sec, f/3.5, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Roadside Beauty



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 40mm, 1/200 sec, f/5.3, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Relaxing in the Shade



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Bit of a Different Angle



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/50 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100 -- EXIF
"Oh what a pretty flowOHMYGOSHSPIDER!!!!!"

As I was shooting the previous two photos, I had crawled just a bit into the bushes to get them. I failed to see this on the way in, but fortunately saw it on the way out, just barely.

In my previous post I mention that I finally got my camera working again. We had a typhoon come through last weekend but we've had fabulous weather after that. Since I got my camera out and functional again, I decided to take it to work with me and see if I couldn't find something to shoot. On the way home I came across some flowers on the side of the road and decided to stop. I'm terrible with names of flowers so I couldn't tell you what these are. Anyway, I'm happy to have my camera back functioning again, which reminds me, I need to buy a new PL filter since I lost my old one last year.