Tag Archives: tractor

Protecting Your Gear in Dusty Conditions

Combine Kicks up Dust by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Combine Kicks up Dust by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

I recently spent the last week shooting wheat harvest in the Palouse area near Colfax, WA. It was a great experience and the scenery was terrific. I quickly became very much aware that I needed to protect my camera gear from the dust that is kicked up by the combines.

The best way to protect your gear in these dusty conditions is with the rain covers you use when you shoot in the rain. They will also protect and keep dust off your gear. I have rarely been in conditions with the extreme dust and chaff that is surrounding you continually. Another word of caution, don’t get directly behind the combine as they are spewing out excessive amounts of dust and chaff whenever they are cutting. In addition to protecting your gear wear something to cover yourself as well because you will be extracting dirt and straw from your person for quite a while if you don’t.

Dust and Chaff in the Air by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Dust and Chaff in the Air by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

In the images that are displayed in this post hopefully you get the idea of the dust and debris that is present. Have a great time shooting the harvest but be prepared so you and your gear can have a more enjoyable time.

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Preparation is a key to a successful image

Ready to Work by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Ready to Work by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

When you are going on a photo shoot be prepared. I will be traveling to the Palouse for a two day trip to shoot a specific barn that I have been scouting. My preparation for this trip includes the photo gear that will be required for the images that I intend to capture.

In addition to the actual gear, I have looked at sunrise and sunset times, moon rise and set times as well as the predicted weather for the next few days.. This information allows me to plan for the images that I will be taking. I have also contacted the barn owner to let them know I am coming and to check to see the growth in the fields and the colors that will be in the area surrounding the barn.

Since I have scouted this barn previously I am able to use the information I have collected and visualize the shot that I want to take. If all elements are in place as I have envisioned, I should get the opportunity for a good photo.

We can’t always control all the elements but planning definitely increases your chances for capturing a worthwhile  and useful image.

Show Your Work

Red Combine at Work by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Red Combine at Work by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

As I have worked over the last few years with my mentor Scott Bourne, he reminds me of three things that will help you to become more successful. They are the following:

1. Show your work

2. Show your work

3. Show your work

He says this to provide emphasis of how important it is to show your work. Getting your work in  front of people is so critical to your success in selling. Remember that no one will probably show up at your front door looking to buy your work.

Find any avenue that you can to show your work. I will be showing my work at Walla Walla University in an exhibition for alumni weekend in a couple of days. I taught at the university for thirty four years so many of my former students and colleagues will come by to see my work. It will  provide a good opportunity to display  my work as well as let people know about the business that I am now involved in.

Below are some of the pieces of artwork that will be displayed during the exhibition. They will all be large gallery wrapped canvases.

Chocolate and Caramel Mounds by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Chocolate and Caramel Mounds by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Fading Light by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Fading Light by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Wheels in the Wheat by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Wheels in the Wheat by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Evening Light in the Palouse by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Evening Light in the Palouse by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Winn Road Barn in Snow by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Winn Road Barn in Snow by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Remember look for any opportunity you can to follow the advice of “Show your work”.

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS Review

ef100-400_45-56lisu_586x2251

EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS

I have owned this lens for over two years and it has been a real workhorse for me because of its versatility. This is not the sharpest, fastest or most convenient lens that I own but when I combine what it gives me shot after shot it is indispensable to me. I will discuss some of the things I don’t like about the lens and then talk about its positives.

The push pull zoom is something I still don’t care for. It takes both hands to manipulate it if it is in a locked position. Fortunately I haven’t had any of the dust problems that some people have talked about because of this design, but I find it to be inconvenient. Also the lens for me seems a bit slow on the auto-focus. This has become very evident to me when I am trying to lock on a bird in flight.

Now to the reasons why it has become my favorite walk-around lens. The tremendous versatility it provides because of its zoom range is valuable to me. I find that I use this lens for shooting landscapes as well as wildlife. I may have the lens mounted on a tripod capturing an image of the patterns and textures of the terrain when I notice a bird come into my vicinity. I can immediately adjust to capture that image without changing my lens. This has even become more of an advantage as I have changed to the 5D Mark II with the full frame sensor. I really enjoy being able to use the 100 mm at its full focal length for the landscapes.

The lens is also fairly light to hand hold and the IS feature works very well. The images are sharp and only start to soften slightly as I use the maximum aperture f5.6 at 400 mm. You will find it is important to remember to turn off the IS when you mount it on a tripod and turn it back on again when you hand hold. I fail to do this once in a while and the image sharpness does suffer.

Below are some images that I have taken with this lens in the Palouse that shows its versatility.

Road to the Clouds by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 200 f/13 1/320 200 mm

Road to the Clouds by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 200 f/13 1/320 200 mm

Ring-necked Pheasant by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 800  f/5.6  1/250  260 mm

Ring-necked Pheasant by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 260 mm

Red Combine by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 200  f/10  1/500  400 mm

Red Combine by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 200 f/10 1/500 400 mm

Red Barn with Fence by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 250  f/11  1/500  120 mm

Red Barn with Fence by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 250 f/11 1/500 120 mm

Mule Deer in Flight by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 1600  f/5.6  1/250  400 mm

Mule Deer in Flight by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 1600 f/5.6 1/250 400 mm

I would highly recommend this lens to anyone wanting a good quality walk-around zoom lens. Thanks to its versatility and portability,  I think you will find it will become one of your favorite tools as well.

Image adjustments with Color Efex Pro 3.0

I have been using the Nik software Color Efex Pro 3.0 plug-in for Aperture for a couple of months. It has become an integral part of my workflow on many images. I will be showing a couple of adjustments to an image that I feel are valuable and very easily applied with this software.

I enjoy shooting large agricultural equipment in the working environment so that is what I will use for the demonstration of this program. My favorite equipment company for images is John Deere because the bright green and yellow colors always stand out so well against the landscape or sky. The first image below is the original image as it was captured.

Combine at Work 1 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Combine at Work 1 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

In the 2nd image I added a polarizing filter that is available in the Nik software. This filter has several adjustments available. They are set to the following defaults:

Rotate – 90%

Strength – 100% (60%) In parentheses it shows the opacity that I set for this image.

These adjustments with this filter give a little more pop to the image and also takes away some of the glare.

Combine at Work 2 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Combine at Work 2 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

In the 3rd image the tonal contrast filter was applied. The adjustments that are available are shown with their defaults and my adjustment in parentheses.

Highlight contrast – 30  (15)

Midtone contrast – 30 (15)

Shadows contrast – 30 (20)

Combine at Work 3 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Combine at Work 3 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

I feel this filter gives a little more definition to the image. Each of these adjustments was slight but each one helps to enhance the image as I had seen it. I hope these adjustments are clearly demonstrated event though the images are small.

This software program has many other filters which are easy to apply and the opacity can also be adjusted. Another important feature is that you can apply multiple filters as I demonstrated to the same image. I hope you have found this information to be useful and consider adding this useful program to your workflow.

Farm equipment adds to the composition

Patterns of Harvest by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Patterns of Harvest by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

I have found that while photographing the contours, patterns and textures in the Palouse, it can be interesting to include some of the machinery that helps to create the landscape. Just including a tractor or combine during harvest can tell a completely different story.

The picture above shows a combine at work during the wheat harvest. It always amazes me as I watch the very steep terrain these harvesters are capable of negotiating. Notice the dust that is present in the image. Areas where farming takes place are usually dusty so be ready to protect your equipment as you are shooting. Also wear boots as many times you may sink in above your ankles in the dirt as you walk the terrain.

I generally try to talk with the farmer or driver of the combine and ask a few questions to show interest in what they are doing. Many times they will ask me if I would like to look inside or I have even been given rides at times in the cab. This gives a completely different view that most people don’t have the opportunity to see.

To give you an idea many of these combines have a system that allows the cab to remain level no matter what the terrain. In addition the newer ones have electronics on board that give critical information such as the number of bushels per acre that is being harvested. The information can be downloaded later onto a computer. Of course air conditioning and music are available as well. If you get the opportunity to visit the area, interact and you may enjoy a ride as well.

As you travel the Palouse look for opportunities to utilize the farm machinery whether it is new or old, working or just standing idle in a field. These large pieces of equipment can add a new story to your images about the work that takes place in the creation of these artistic vistas of farmland that we enjoy.