Saturday, February 23, 2013

Papago Brewing Company a review

After a day of taking photos some of us club members went to Papago Brewing Company to get something to eat.
First off I'd have to say that it is located in a strip mall so it is a bit difficult to find.  Even the entrance was a bit hidden but not really difficult.  If you didn't know where it is you might drive by it, like we did.
We were there around 2 PM so the place wasn't exactly crowded.  My first impression was that it was a bit different in decor.
We were seated quickly.  The furniture is wood and pretty comfortable.
I'm going to say I had a good time there.  I think a lot of that was because of the company I was with at the time.  We were talking about the photos we took and did a bit of 'chimping' ( viewing photos on the LCD screen ).  We did sit for a while but after ordering the food came quickly.

My big gripe is that this place is a brewery it should know some beer etiquette or at the very least how to pour beer.  I ordered a Pilsner beer to go along with my lunch.  The beer came in a tapered glass and full to the top with beer.  A Pilsner glass is wider at the bottom than at the top the glass I received my beer was the opposite.  The flavor of any beer is in the head.  A correctly drawn Pilsner Beer should take several minutes to draft and the head should be thick enough to float a penny.

The beer wasn't bad but could have been better had it been drafted correctly.  I suppose in our hurry up society the correct method gets lost in favor of speed.

I had a club sandwich which wasn't bad but was missing the third slice of bread.  The potato salad was, in my opinion, excellent.

The bottom line I had a good time but like I said it was probably more in line with the company I was with and not so much the Pub.  One beer and a sandwich set me back $18 with the tip.  I think that is a little steep but then again that is also my opinion.

Would I go back again?  I think I would, just to give it another chance and look around a bit more than the first visit.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Arizona Falls G.R. Herberger Park

I heard about this place a while back and I was out and about and had the opportunity to visit.  You know there aren't many opportunities to see water falls in Phoenix.  Most of the water falls you see in Phoenix and the surrounding areas are typically man made.  This water fall is also man made but gives kind of a unique opportunity to visit and walk behind and sort of around them.  I thought it would be really cool to do some of those long exposure milky types of shots using ND filters and a tripod, but I had traveled only with my basic camera not really intending to end up at the Arizona Falls.

This is part of a park system.  There are running paths and areas to view the falls.  There are three of them grouped pretty much together.  There is one place where you have a view of two falls on either side of you and one behind you.  So if you visit make sure to protect your camera gear from the misting water.  There was a slight breeze when we were there so at times there was a need to keep my camera dry.

The day was sort of unusual for Phoenix in that we had rain the night before.  Yeah, I know rain in Phoenix!  But it provided us with some very nice storm clouds and for once it was possible to get photos of the sky that weren't typically blown out.

So the first time there was rather nice.  I’m sure I’ll go back on different occasions as the park is open 24 hours although the parking lot is open from around 5:30 AM to 10:00 PM.  One of the reasons to go back would be to be better prepared with ND filters and check out the falls at night as they are lit up with coloured lights.

For my first time there realizing I wasn't going to get the long exposure shots I intended I bumped up my ISO a bit and cranked up my shutter speed to 1/1000th of a second.  I went to the other extreme and caught the water in different patterns as it fell.  I used the live view function on the camera for some of the shots simply because my eyes are kind of bad and I like to magnify the view so that I know I’m getting a nice focused shot.  At 1/1000th of a second I knew I was getting about f-8 or so aperture which gave me a nice depth of field.

It was a fun visit.  I was happy with the photos that I got.  I think with some radical PS changes I can make some very interesting backgrounds or photo overlays.

 I would suggest taking a tripod, ND filters, Gradated filter, Polarizing Filter and something to protect your camera from water, like a plastic bag or a rain sleeve. 

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Rosson House Photo Tour

 I had the opportunity to go on a Photo tour of Rosson House in downtown Phoenix.

Michelle Reid our host and tour guide for the event provided us with camera and lens recommendations to use inside the house before the tour began.  Michelle also suggested some photo gear etiquette to follow during the shoot.  Having gotten that information before hand really helped me to plan on what to bring on the tour.

Rosson House is a Victorian house and it is typically dark inside even with the window shades open so you need a camera capable of high ISO and a very fast lens.  Flash photography is not allowed.  We were allowed to use tripods or mono pods during the tour with the admonition to not lean them against the walls.
Rosson House is very impressive both inside and out.  The most interesting fact provided by Michelle was that much of the building materials used to build the house were purchased from the Sears Roebuck catalogue.

Following Michelle’s advice I decided to bring a 50mm f-1.8 lens along with a 100mm f-2.8 macro and a 17-40 f-4L lens with me.  My lens choices were based on knowing that typically Victorian houses had small rooms and a telephoto lens would have been useless.  I thought the macro lens would be great for some of the unusual patterns and small knick knacks that might be found inside.  And against all reason I left my tripod in the trunk of my car!

The house interior presents many lighting challenges because of the light coming through the outside windows created hot spots in an otherwise dark room. Yes the house had electricity and there were lights.  One has to think in terms of “illuminated darkness” a term I heard in a movie once.  The ceiling lights were maybe 60 or 100 watt bulbs in a ten by ten room.  Also the house has transoms which are different colours so you get different colour streaks through your photos in some areas.
There were so many photo choices inside the house that it was difficult to decide on what to shoot first.  I thought of this first visit as a scouting mission.  So taking your time is a must.  Even with the small number of people that were on the tour there were certain areas where we seemed to be on top of each other.  This is unavoidable because some places are much more interesting than others.  It would be best to go to another room and wait for the chance to go back when the opportunity arises.  Some of the rooms cannot accommodate two photographers with their tripods.

What I learned on this photo tour:
1. Bring your tripod so you can use lower ISO’s.
2. The nifty fifty is a good choice, but a wide lens (17-40 or around that length) would also work well.  If you are using a Tripod then ISO and f-stop shouldn't be an issue.  Two second delay will act like a cable release.
3. Take portrait and landscape photos of the same scene.  I’d say HDR might work but the windows will still be a ‘hot’ spot so that’s why I recommend using merge instead.
4. In the north facing rooms use spot metering to expose for the windows and follow that with a second exposure of the room with average metering.  You can merge the two in PS found under File>automate>photo merge.  Then using a layer mask and a large soft paint brush paint the two images so the exposure is equal.
5. We were in the house for quite a while so the lighting changes as the sun moves.  The afternoon tour means that it gets darker as time goes by.

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