This is actually a commercial that Sony created for the Thailand market.  It is really funny. It is a parody pointed at the extremely large DSLRs on the market and how there tends to be a tendency to not put slick and easy features in them, because it is not ‘Pro’.  I hope you enjoy it.

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A cameraman, literally. – YouTube

So please enjoy.  Don’t make the geek in me have to explain any more.

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I know that I said in one of my earlier posts, that part of the reason that I wanted to blog was to help myself grow in my photographic ability, and also as a person.

Well, today is the first test of that.  I was happy with the way Ruby’s photo shoot went, but well, it wasn’t perfect.  So, here is my full honest report.

We took these on one of those days when it was cloudy most of the day, and then turned very sunny in the late afternoon.  Cloudy days can actually be great days for pictures, it is easier to saturate the colors and very seldom do we have nasty shadows to deal with.  So, I had full sun to work with and the show must go on.  But, there are ways to deal with it.

The two images above aren’t sized the same, but you can see the difference between using a flash and not using a flash.  The image on the left isn’t using a flash and the one on the right is.  the flash was off camera above the subject and about 45° from the shooting angle. The flesh tones are more even and you can see Ruby’s eyes better.  But, we still have nice highlights on her hair.  On a larger image you can see the reflection of the flash in her eyes, which adds interest as well.  After taking the pictures too, I like the green grass and purple creeping charlie because it adds color to the photo.  The trees are too close to her hair color… although the sun highlights save it.

But the problem was, since I wanted to shoot wide open… which on this lens is f2.8, I had too shoot 1/500th of a second shutter speed.  This forced the flash to go into HSS mode.  It works, but with a flash that is marginally strong enough to do this… it overheated eventually.RubyAlmostFinal-06847

This picture is nice, but shows some minor effects of the flash.  You can see Ruby’s chin shadow on her neck and the dolls hair shadow is visible as well.  But, you can still see contours on Ruby’s face and clothing, so it isn’t bad.  I switched to a wider angle lens to get some of the purple flowers in front of the subject, which I think worked pretty well.  I probably should have put the beauty dish on the flash to soften the light some which would have been better.  Next time in these conditions I will do that.

The other point, which I was well aware of, is that a major challenge is to get the child or photographic model to relax.  We tried multiple times to get her to relax, but not always as successful as I would have liked.  But, while walking back to the car, I was messing with the camera, trying to figure out if I did something wrong with the flash to cause it to stop working.  But, we told Ruby that we were done.  When we did that she started to act like a child and picked some small white flowers and tried to give them to me.  At this time, I got three of my favorite pictures.  What I find interesting is that I can still see her left eye through the flowers, which to me means that she was interacting with the camera or me… kind of special.

Tequilla Art

About two years ago, we took a very memorable DreamTrip to Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.  One of the highlights, was a guided tour into the mountains to see

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Don Lalin

the real Mexico.  In particular, San Sebastián, Jalisco, Mexico.  Just outside of San Sebastián there was a lovely Tequila Hacienda.

It was operated by a man of spanish decent.  It was a joy to see a small operation operated by a delightful man with a strong passion for what he is doing.

We learned that the only real Tequila is made in the Mexican state of Jalisco.  The worm that is often thought of as residing in the bottom of the bottle, is only an imitation to confuse us ignorant americans (I plead guilty).

I have never brewed beer or wine at home, but I did do a research project while in college on the feasibility of farm scale ethanol plants.  The process is basically the same, but with more care in choosing the materials, recipe, and love of the process.

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Blue Agave Plant

The first step is the harvest of the Blue Agave plant.  They are interested in the bottom part which looks a little like a pineapple.  There are fields of these plants in this area, almost like we see corn in central Iowa.  The ‘pineapple is diced into small sections for better cooking and later for the fermentation process.

Next it has to be cooked.  The cooker is the half dome furnace.  It almost looks like an igloo, but obviously for cooking.  You can see some of the smoke or moisture seeping out through the seams of the block (visible near the top left hand corner).  These joints need to be sealed for the best results.  You can see where he has filled the seams with the darker mud in the picture below.  He was filling the cracks as our tour bus arrived.

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Sealing the furnace/cooker
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Telling us about distillation and recipes

After it cooks for about 2 days (if my memory is correct), it is put into barrels along with water and yeast to ferment.  When it is done fermenting the solids are removed and the distillation process begins.  The distillation occurs in the piping and furnace behind the operator.  The final product is in the barrel on the right side of the picture above.

At this point we were all waiting for the sampling to begin.  And yes, it was very good and we did bring home some.  Everybody on the tour had a good time and Don Lalin sold significant Tequilla.  Some of the people on the tour also toured the ‘more commercial’ plant in Puerto Vallarta, they said this tour was much more fun and had the craft appeal which is so important today.

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Our picture with Don Lalin

About ShutterSmith

Hi, my name is David Smith.  While many photographers go by their name (you know Bill Jones photography).  David Smith photography is just too plain for me.  I am a 60+ embarking on second, maybe third career, but it is unbelievably fun.

It is my goal to provide quality professional photos for my clients, but along the way, provide education to my clients and to whoever else wishes to read my blog and become a better photographer.

One thing about photography, it is a journey, even the best photographers can become better.  So, I am not going to present myself as somebody who always gets the best picture, but it is my goal to continually get better and provide interesting photographs that can be enjoyed for generations.

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My First camera, A Hawkeye Instamatic

My journey began as a young boy.  My father had dark room equipment and I couldn’t wait for the days when we would put the newspaper over the basement windows to create our basement darkroom.  Watching a picture appear in the developer solution was magic in my mind.  Photography has had a grip on me ever since then.

Eventually, while in College, I finally got an SLR camera.  It was fun to finally to be able to better compose photographs and use focus for my creative nature.  My major was agricultural engineering and we were required to take a limited number of S&H electives.  I decided it would be fun to take a photo journalism course.  I did it just to have fun.  At the end of the course, my instructor suggested that I should consider a career in photo journalism.  I decided at the time that engineering would provide a better future.  But, it is time to pursue that dream.

I went to graduate school and was able to pursue a number of photo opportunities with my spare time.  I was able to get a Canon AE1 which is a legendary classic along with an AT1 (manual exposure) and a small assortment of lenses.  I did a number of informal portraits, a couple weddings, sports photography, and many news photo shoots.  Shooting ISU basketball and football games on the field was great fun.  While, I didn’t have the fast and long lenses of the Register’s ‘Big Peach’ photographers, I thought I did pretty well.  Learning to anticipate plays and where to position myself was of great value.  The same is true today.  Where do you position yourself with respect to the light?  When do you anticipate a smile or the look on the face that you desire?

I then got married and there were other priorities.  I still had my cameras, but it was more about family pictures and catching simple memories.  I had become increasingly frustrated on how to organize my photos.  Then on a vacation to Colorado, I lost many photos due to user error (ok, I am not perfect).  Digital was starting to happen at this time.  While the quality didn’t compare to good 35mm photography, the ability to Catalog and organize the photos on my computer was very attractive to me.

My first Camera was a Sony DSC-S50.  Then a DSC-F717 followed by an Olympus E500.  These were followed by a Sony NEX 5n and now a Sony A7 II.  Another blog post will describe what I learned from this.

I will go into more detail on these stages in my life later.  But, for now, keep those shutters clicking!