Going to the Light
A 365-day Photo Journal

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A new site

Greetings to my followers. I've decided to host my own blog so that I can use a template that is more appropriate for a photo blog. You can now find me at: http://potd.lightsmithphoto.com/

I have an RSS feed that you can follow. It is: http://www.lightsmithphoto.com/pixelpost/index.php?x=rss

Just a note...if you are accustomed to reading the text to go with my photos, it is now found under the menu link "details". There is also a menu link to leave comments.

Day 106: The Palms

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A newer establishment near NW Highway and N Council.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 85mm. 1/160 sec at f/3.2. ISO 400.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 105: Artifacts

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Pronunciation: \ˈär-ti-ˌfakt\
Function: noun
something created by humans usually for a practical purpose; especially : an object remaining from a particular period

camera info: 90mm macro lens. 1/200 sec at f/2.8. ISO 800. Ring flash fired.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 104: Families are Fun

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I've had so much fun in the last week shooting 4 different families. What's made it all the more enjoyable is that they are all friends of ours. Today I present the Flemmons family, Frank, Beth, Maddie & Gibson. This is a family that for many years I said hi to when passing in the halls of our church or when our daughters went to each others birthday parties. But this last year we got to know them better and again I'm am so thankful for a new friendship that has developed.

Frank & Beth are two of the most down-to-earth people I've ever met. And in the short time I've known them I've been amazed at how they've handled a variety of ups and downs. They are a model of grace and I hope that I have learned from them.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 115mm. 1/60 sec at f/4.0. ISO 400.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 103: November

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I've always loved this pecan orchard on the north side of Lake Overholser. It reminds me of a trip I once took with my dad to a plot of land his father had given him. As a teenager, he had planted pine trees on it with the intent of selling them as Christmas trees. He soon joined the Air Force and never returned to harvest those trees. Instead he took me there near the end of his life and we walked among these perfect rows of towering trees. Today on the way to work as I was driving thru the fog I thought of him and I thought about this orchard.

Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 25mm. 1/40 sec at f/8.0. ISO 100.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 102: Lessons learned

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Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop. – Ansel Adams

After 100 days I decided to make a few notes of what I've learned in this project thus far:

1. Accountability can foster creativity. The fact that I committed to this project and I know that at least a few people are going to show up each day has forced me to keep going. As a result, I've found that I have this stressful edge that keeps pushing me to try new things.

2. Great photos are much more rare than I thought. The Ansel Adams quote above is very true. Before this project I would look at galleries of photos and think that the photographer only took great photos...every time. I've learned that the less than great photos are like steps along a path that you can't avoid to get to those rare photos that you love.

3. Technically perfect photos can be really boring. Mastering the settings on your camera is important, but just because a shot was perfectly exposed and composited doesn't mean that anyone wants to see it.

4. I'm lazy. While this exercise has forced me to do and to go, I have found that I often opt for the easiest way of obtaining something over the best way of obtaining it. There are a few examples where I have transcended this condition, but for the most part I know that I should be working harder.

Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 70mm. 1/2500 sec at f/3.2. ISO 100.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 101: Tried and True

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Well this has been a great week for taking photos outdoors and today I got to take some family photos for Rick & Susan Martin, some of my favorite people in the world. Yesterday I posted on Facebook that I was thankful for new friends and today I posted I was thankful for old friends. Tomorrow, I'll be posting that I'm thankful for tried and true friends. At the top of that list are Rick & Susan.

Tried and true friends are those who you can be most like yourself around. They are friends who know you at your best and your worst and yet love you anyway. These are friends who are never too tired or too busy to help you when you need it most and who are the first ones there to comfort you in bad times or celebrate with you in the good. For over thirty years now this is what the Martins have been to me.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 80mm. 1/40 sec at f/4.0. ISO 100. A tricky part about this shoot was the fact that the subjects were wearing mostly black clothing. The camera's metering sees a dark scene because of the black and will tend to overexpose the image. The whole time I was shooting I was adjusting the Exposure Compensation and for this shot I dialed it down a full stop.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 100: I am thankful for...

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On day 100 of my 365 day project, I'm pleased to present the Spear family. We became acquainted with this family when they moved to Oklahoma and their daughter Savanna and our daughter Jenna were in the first grade together. Since then our daughters have become very close and in the last year that friendship has expanded to include the whole families.

I have tremendous admiration for this family. While I know many families of great faith, Jay & Alisa's faith is embodied in everything they do. I don't think I've ever been around another family who enjoy such simple pleasures and the company of one another as much as they do. I can honestly say that being around them has inspired me to try and be a better husband and father.

If you are a friend of mine on Facebook you have probably noticed my challenge to post something you are thankful for in your status line every day leading up to Thanksgiving. I must confess here that I stole this idea from Alisa and her blog. Starting November 1st, Alisa has been posting a blessing of the day. I love this idea and I think it's a great discipline that when practiced has to improve your outlook on the world. Today I posted that I am thankful for NEW FRIENDS...and that means I am thankful for the Spears.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 160mm. 1/250 sec at f/4.5. ISO 100.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 99: Jonathan & friends

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When you come to the edge of all the light you have known,
and are about to step out into darkness, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen -- there will be something to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.

--from Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Camera info: Taken at Lake Overholser. 70-200mm lens at 155mm. 1/2500 sec at f/3.2. ISO 100.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day 98: Funeral home calendars

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The church my family went to when we lived in Pennsylvania was also attended by Burt Vondell, the city's funeral home owner. I remember that each Christmas he would hand out calendars as an advertisement for the funeral home. It was a nice gesture although in a town with only one funeral home it was entirely unnecessary. Anyway, it was inevitable that when turning to the September page on the calendar there would be a photo of a New England church steeple framed by trees boasting firey reds, oranges and yellows. Today's photo is in homage to those great calendars.

I came upon this scene when checking out a future photo op. A friend recommended going to Westminster Presyterian Church at night to take a photo of this bell tower lit up and jutting into the night sky. I will undoubtedly return for that photo, but with the beautiful fall colors we are experiencing in Oklahoma this year I couldn't pass up a daytime shot as well.

Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 70mm. 1/250 sec at f/9.0. ISO 100.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 97: 3rd time's a charm

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After 2 previous attempts to get together for family photos, the 3rd time all the elements came together and I had the privilege of photographing the Escoe family. In the spirit of the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving, I consider it one of the greatest blessings of this year for our family to have become better friends with the Escoes.

If you visit Kristie's Blog you discover the story of a family that has endured much but has persevered and thrived in the midst of adverse circumstances. I really like what was captured in today's photo because to me it tells a bit of the story of this remarkable family. They've traveled a road with an uncertain destination but through faith, love and humor their bond has remained strong.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 120mm. 1/30 sec at f/4.0. ISO 100.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 96: A Terrrrrrrrrrific Day!

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Ever since my daughter was about 2, we have enjoyed many trips to the wonderful Oklahoma City Zoo. My favorite animal has always been the tiger and I always insist that we go to see that exhibit whenever we go to the zoo. Unfortunately our zoo has just one tiger and his favorite daytime activity is sleeping. So in all the times I've been there with my camera, I have only had one other opportunity to photograph this guy actually up and walking around. The other time, I didn't have my camera set up right and I got nothing usable. Yesterday, I went to the zoo on my lunch hour and this time I was ready.

One of the features of our zoo that makes it tough on us photographers is that the enclosures around all the cat exhibits have wire mesh between the public and the animals. Now there are some exceptions where they have glass viewing areas, but the glass is so thick that it too creates distortion in photographs. I most often opt to shoot thru the mesh and to do so you have to use a long lens and you also have to have the areas of the subject that you want to be sharpest peeking thru one of the holes in the mesh.

If you look at today's photo, you'll notice a lighter and less sharp part of the photo across the left shoulder of the tiger. This was caused by the mesh. In many of the photos I took, it was directly across the face. Here's an example. You'll also notice that the mesh gives it blue tint in the areas affected.

Anyway, it was a great day. The weather was perfect. The tiger was up and moving. And I was by myself so I could be patient and wait for the tiger to strike a good pose.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 180mm. 1/80 sec at f/3.2. ISO 100.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 95: Fall Faces

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I suspect that there are many more scarecrows in the U.S. created for decorative purposes than there are ones fashioned to actually scare away crows. If you are really, really, really bored, here's a link where you can read about the efficacy of scarecrows. If you happen to be one of my students, you can earn 10 extra credit points by turning in a one-page critique of the study's data analysis. If your not one of my students, you can earn a place in the dweeb hall of fame by doing the same.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 150mm. 1/200 sec at f/3.2. ISO 100.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 94: Where'd my light go?

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After several days of the weather not cooperating, we finally got a beautiful day to take photos of our friends the Escoe family. Sunday at 5:30 was going to be the perfect time with the perfect weather. Unfortunately, we forgot about the end of daylight savings time and the fact that the perfect light would be gone by 5:30. Anyway, with the few minutes of good light I had left I snapped a few of their oldest, Brayden. Let's hope for good weather Wednesday and perhaps we'll see the whole family on here.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 150mm. 1/200 sec at f/3.2. ISO 400.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day 93: What the alien sees

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I'm very fond of infrared photography. And while I lack the equipment to do infrared, similar effects can be generated in the digital darkroom. Today's photo was taken on the campus of SNU. I used some black and white and then color tinting treatments in Lightroom.

Camera info: 17-35mm lens at 17mm. 1/250 sec at f/6.3. ISO 100.