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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

52 weeks: Week 31 wrapup

Skipper Matt
© 2010 Simon Hucko

I have to admit that I pick the weekly theme based on my photography goals/plans for the week. This week I knew that I was headed up to a party at my friend's and that I'd have plenty of chances for people shots. But hey, my blog, I get to make the rules. I'm glad that people aren't feeling constrained by the themes, and from the two responses I got it seems that they're somewhat helpful, so I'll keep throwing them out there every week.

My photo this week was a grab while we were riding around the lake on the boat. I took a ton of shots off the back while people were skiing/wakeboarding/tubing, which was a blast (and a lot harder than I anticipated). I've been on a "shoot wide open" kick lately, so I slapped my polarizer on there to darken the sky, cut some glare off the water, and to knock everything down so I could use the wide aperture. "Wide open" on my zoom is f/4.5, so we're not talking super shallow depth of field, but I like the effect - just enough blur on the background to help your subjects pop while still giving some context to the shot. I may have overdone it a bit with the polarizer and the vignette, but oh well. Black sky is fun sometimes.

My pick this week is "Stars swirl over Beech Hill Pond" by chofler:

Stars swirl over Beech Hill Pond
© chofler

I've been wanting to take a star trail shot like this for a while and never seem to make it happen. I love the placement of the north star in the frame, I think it's very well balanced. Apparently this was a bit of an accident, which is partially why I picked this photo. First, happy accidents are a big part of photography. There is certainly some luck involved with creating images, and it goes both ways (good and bad). The trick is only sharing the good ;) Second, I left a little tip as a comment on the image, but I thought I'd share it here too: go buy a cheap compass and keep it in your camera bag. Not only can this help you locate things like the north star, it's also useful in figuring out where the sun will rise and set and how it will fall on a scene at different parts of the day/year. If you have one of them smart phones it probably has an electronic compass built in, which can do the same thing. If you're lucky enough to have an Android phone, download "Google Sky Map" (link) for an augmented reality view of where the stars are. (It's also really good for showing off your sweet phone, as it has a certain "holy crap how do they do that" factor). Great shot, and thanks for the teachable moment :)

This week's theme is circles. Show me what you got.


[title of blog] on flickr


  1. Nice shot of Mendick, and gorgeous stars. I remember D. Rush used to go out to Schenley to take shots like that.

  2. For all of you "star shooters" out there, tonight is the peak night for the annual Perseid meteor shower, one of the greatest shows in the night sky. As the earth travels through the debris trail of comet 109P Swift/Tuttle, you might see 60 to 75 meteor streaks per hour.

    If you want to witness this magnificent spectacle, go out after midnight and find a dark hilltop. Face the north east (use that compass you keep in your photo bag) and watch the show. If you want to find the peak time to watch in your area, check out the Fluximator, an interactive tool that calculates the number of meteors you could expect to see at your location and when the best viewing will be. Check it out at:

    This year's display will be above average, due to more debris in the sky and the fact that the new moon will set early tonight-leaving the sky dark.

    Go out and check out the show and shoot some star and meteor trails. Of course if it's cloudy, then go to bed.

  3. @ Dan - haha, I'm afraid we might fall into the "...if it's cloudy, then go to bed" category here. Thanks for the tip, though, I'll keep an eye on the weather just in case.