Sunrise at White Rock Lake

The North Texas Photography Explorers MeetUp Group met up at the White Rock dog park for some sunrise shooting and general photowalking last Saturday. It was cold, and I lost my mojo by about 7:30, and I tried a sort of experiment that largely failed, but I had a good time and ended up with 2 or 3 pretty good shots (and 3 or 4 other decent-enough-to-share-but-not-in-any-way-portfolio-worthy ones: see below).

The experiment: stacked .6 and .9 ND filters, mostly handheld, in the early morning hours. Guess what? The D7000/Sigma 30mm f/1.4 don’t particularly care to focus on anything (save infinity) with this set-up, though they’ll flash the green dot at whatever you decide to point at, and make you think the intended subject is in focus, when in fact the only in focus bit is the distant shoreline or featureless sky, ie the very things you don’t much care about being in focus or not.

Oh well. It’s a good-enough lesson to learn, I guess, though I would’ve been much happier if 4 or 5 of the other 358 shots I took had been even remotely in focus…

Oh well. It was a good time, anyway, as it always is with the MeetUp groups of which I’m a part. I met a couple of new people, and got to try out the Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8 (thanks, Brian Eppink!), which is far superior to the 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 DX lens that I use—to great effect, generally—for Real Estate shooting. Alas, I had to give it back, but if I had $2000 beyond what I needed for the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro, and the walkaround zoom I want to find, and the full-frame 12-16 megapixel camera I’d love Nikon to build, I’d probably jump on it…

Alas, none of the dozen or so shots I took with it amounted to anything.

So it was just the D7000 and Sigma 30mm f/1.4 combo, mostly at 1.4 (except for the #hdrfornogoodreason shot, at f/11), all at ISO100, various shutter speeds, and EV values of -3 to -1 (save the HDR, which was effectively -4, -2, 0). It took about 2 hours to whittle the 350 shots down to 50 that I wanted to take a closer look at, and another hour to realize why nothing was in focus, and another maybe 5 minutes to spot the 2 or 3 winners, and another maybe 2 hours to find 3 or 4 others to share, and then only about 20 minutes total to get the six processed to something I can live with.

A couple of these (read: the good ones) look like pictures someone else would make, and I think would make decent postcards or calendar shots, perhaps.

Note: as part of my new posting strategy, Photowalk write-ups will appear on Monday mornings. Photos will be posted to the MeetUp site earlier, and maybe to G+ too, depending on how lazy I feel. It’s probably silly to put stuff anywhere before I put it here, so maybe I’ll wait… I dunno. 

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