Pat Hatch's PhotoJournal A blog about photography & other musings…

19Dec/091

Chloe’s Horse Show

Getting Ready

Getting Ready - Nervous Anticipation?

Riding the Test with Shela Lark

Riding the Test with Shela Lark

First Place!

First Place!

Shela Lark and Proud Owner

Shela Lark and Proud Owner

Today was Chloe's horse show day. Chloe is riding dressage and working her way through the levels necessary to get to the bigs--something called Grand Prix.  She has a long way to go.  If you have ever seen a dressage video at the championship level, you know what I'm talking about. It is truly amazing what rider and horse can accomplish at that level. Just Google Anky van Grunsven and watch one of her videos to see for yourself. Anky shares a last name with another great Dutchman, Richard VanGrunsven, aeronautical engineer extraordinaire and founder and owner of Van's Aircraft, the greatest experimental kit manufacturer on the planet. I have built three of his kits. And Anky is arguably the greatest dressage rider ever.

But I digress. Chloe had a great day. She won two first place ribbons and got the highest test score she's ever received. This is a lot of hard work and she was rewarded today for her efforts. She literally spends every free moment out at the barn when not involved with her school work. By the way, she's also a straight A student. Can you tell we're very proud of her?

I want to take this opportunity to thank our good friend Karen McKean who put Chloe on Tony the Pony at the young age of 4 and Chloe never looked back.  Karen has been Chloe's mentor and adviser all of these years, and we really appreciate her inspiration and her guidance!  Karen is an accomplished dressage rider who has definitely reached the bigs.

Thank you, Karen!

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15Dec/090

Into the Christmas Spirit

Christmas Hobby Horse

Christmas Hobby Horse

OK, here's the photo for the day.

This was taken with a Nikon D40 body, 18-55mm kit lens, f/5.6, 1/60 sec., ISO-200, SB-400 flash, @ 55mm. I just bounced the flash off the ceiling and used a piece of poster board under and behind the Christmas decoration.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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13Dec/091

Can You Find the Owl?

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

The camouflage is amazing. If it wasn't for its distinguishing and penetrating eye, you might miss the owl altogether.

I have been anxiously awaiting the coming of the owls. This is the 9th year in a row that we have had owls come back to the hollow in this tree to procreate. I first noticed mama, here, sitting on her eggs on the 3rd of December, about a week ago. Prior to that, the distinctive calls, "who, who," had been heard early in the mornings, with an occasional sighting of the male or female alighting in the trees nearby. Now that mama is sitting on her eggs, the male has been seen only occasionally, usually in late afternoons, standing near the female. Presumably, the male either brings food to the female or is taking his turn sitting on the eggs while the female forages for food.

I have been very careful not to disturb them. Today was the first time I have ventured close to take a picture, albeit only close enough to fill the frame with a 200mm lens. Of course, the owl's eyesight is probably the best on the planet, so one might ask what difference does it make, they are going to see you anyway. They must be used to me.

From now until next March, I hope to bring you the unfolding saga of the birth and development of the chicks that I hope will hatch sometime in January. I think you will enjoy the journey. Obviously, in the interest of protecting these magnificent birds, I am hesitant to disclose their exact location. I hope you understand.

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7Dec/091

Playing Around with HDR

HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography is relatively new.  I have been an amateur photographer all of my life, mostly into 35mm film, but recently I made the switch from digital point-and-shoot to dSLR (digital single lens reflex).  Since photo sensors have grown into the mega-pixel range, digital has caught up with, and now, I think, surpassed film quality.  It is funny, in a way, to listen to some of the old pro's say that digital is for crazies--film is the true art.  Kind of like when color film came on the scene, black and white was the true art form.  This is crazy.  You can make art in any medium and it's just elitist to say my medium is better than your medium.  So too now with HDR.  HDR is just for hallucinogenic, drug crazed, newbies.  It's never going to be accepted by the in crowd.  Again, this is just crazy.  HDR was "invented" about 2005, so it's not been around that long.  Photographers are just beginning to fully understand its many uses and its future potential, I believe.

Vans Aircraft RV-6 at Sunset

Vans Aircraft RV-6 at Sunset

RV-6 Panel at Sunset

RV-6 Panel at Sunset

On the Compass Rose

On the Compass Rose

The real pro's made the transition to digital years ago, and now I believe they will embrace HDR as well. It's just that purist, egocentric crowd that's resisting the change. Too bad.

I will agree that you can abuse HDR. I have seen some pretty psychedelic photos that are way overdone for my taste, but I'm sure they are very appealing to some. To each their own. I realize that you have to restrain yourself sometimes, because the temptation is to overdo HDR, to the point where the photograph begins to look more like an illustration. So onward with HDR--in moderation.

Basically, HDR increases the dynamic range of exposure. The human eye is 10 times more dynamic than a digital camera. I think the greatest advantage of HDR is that it approximates what the eye sees in high contrast lighting. Have you ever taken a picture that you thought was going to be great and then be disappointed when, after processing, the shadows are too dark compared to how you "saw" the scene? We all have. HDR to the rescue.

I've read criticism that HDR is just a shortcut for proper lighting of your scene. How are you going to "light" a mountain in a landscape shot? Of course, you can't. There's way too much more you can accomplish with HDR to just dismiss it as junk photography. More on HDR later.

This, by the way, is my airplane. I built it. It is my art form. I look at it like an artist envisions his sculpture--mine just happens to be made of aluminum and rivets.

2Dec/093

#1 Son, #1 Daughter-in-Law, #1 Grandson

Jon, Kitty & Fitzer

Jon, Kitty & Fitzer

Fitzgerald Matthew Hatch

Fitzgerald Matthew Hatch

Fitzer @ 10 months

Fitzer @ 10 months

Yes, we drove to Charlotte, NC, to visit Jon, Kitty and Fitzer for Thanksgiving.  We all had a great time.

Well, perhaps Max didn't.  I don't think Max, the miniature schnauzer, likes to travel.  As a matter of fact, he's definitely a home dog.  He doesn't like to ride in a car, he doesn't like his cousin dogs, he doesn't like sleeping in hotel beds.  The only thing he liked was the cold weather.

We had our Thanksgiving at the Mimosa Grill in downtown  Charlotte, which was a great move.  Fantastic buffet, no fuss, no mess.

The first photo was taken in the lobby of the building hosting the restaurant.  I really like the Moravian star Christmas decoration (upper right).  They are found throughout the Piedmont, and attributed to the Moravians that settled in the area.

The second and third photos are Fitzer in his primary mode of transportation.

Fitzer had made good progress since our last visit earlier this year.  He is crawling like crazy.  He has not tired enough of crawling to be inspired to try walking yet, but that's right around the corner.  And he's getting pretty verbal, uttering mono syllables constantly.  Mom & dad are doing a very good job, got to hand it to them, don't know where they get the energy!

So on Sunday, we packed up the Acadia with 4 people, luggage, and Max, and headed for home.  Traffic was pretty heavy and there were many accidents, so we were delayed a couple of hours, but we rolled into our garage about 7 p.m.  We were pretty tired, but it was a great trip.

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