Speed of my Shutter Photography: Blog https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog en-us (C) Speed of my Shutter Photography matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:41:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:41:00 GMT https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/img/s/v-12/u163452171-o543390761-50.jpg Speed of my Shutter Photography: Blog https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog 120 120 Tyler, Volume II https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/10/tyler-volume-ii I got a second chance to shoot the ever adorable Tyler (see part 1 here) and the results this time are much better, not least because he's no longer boneless:

Baby TylerOh! Hi!

Baby Tyler rocking the UCF shirtGo Knights!

Baby TylerI'm thinking, I'm thinking!

Dad even got in this time:

Baby Tyler and Dad TysonTyler and Tyson

And of course, a photobombing dog is still a good idea:

Baby Tyler and dog ZoeyTyler and Zoey

Maybe there's hope for me yet.

matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) FL Orlando Photography baby child infant newborn https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/10/tyler-volume-ii Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:43:55 GMT
The First Ever Route 192 Gift Shop Beauty Pageant https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/10/the-first-ever-route-192-gift-shop-beauty-pageant My daily commute takes me through the tourist corridor on Route 192 in Kissimmee. One of the first things I noticed is there are several gift shops that seem to be trying to outdo each other in their ostentatiousness, so I thought it would be fun to see how they stack up against each other. Therefore, I bring you the first ever Route 192 gift shop beauty pageant!


8th Place:

Route 192 gift shop Kissimmee, Orlando, Disney WorldDisney Gifts Outlet

BOOORING! Moving on:


7th Place:

Route 192 gift shop Kissimmee, Orlando, Disney WorldBlue Dolphin I'm not sure this place has an actual name, I'm calling it the Blue Dolphin. The dolphin is a nice try to attach something of a Florida theme, but still falls short. I had to do the oversaturated HDR treatment on this to make it look better.


6th Place:

Route 192 gift shop Kissimmee, Orlando, Disney WorldRoute 192 "You like this!" gift shop I can't help but think that a giant "Like" button would have worked better than this girl who looks like a tattoo gone wrong. The patriotic theme is a nice touch, though, and serves as a gentle reminder to those who may have forgotten they are in America.


5th Place:

Route 192 gift shop Kissimmee, Orlando, Disney WorldRoute 192 Jungle gift shop Now we're starting to get somewhere. Because Florida is crawling with wild tigers and gorillas. The landscape around them, though, is pretty accurate for the less developed areas (and there are still huge swaths of undeveloped Florida left - this state, like FunSpot, is HUGE). I might actually go in this store.


4th Place:

Route 192 gift shop Kissimmee, Orlando, Disney WorldGiant Animal Head Gift Shop Looks a little more like a mini golf course than a gift shop, but I like what's going on here. Giant animal heads leaning over the parking lot are always a good draw for screaming children, and the facade was recently restored after fading in the sun. For those of you unaware, Florida is 50% closer to the sun than the rest of the planet, which means all exposed surfaces fade to white over time.


3rd Place:

Route 192 gift shop Kissimmee, Orlando, Disney WorldRoute 192 AMERICA gift shop AMERICA! AMERICA! AMERICA! Also, $3.99 beach towels. This is one of the first shops on 192 as you head West from Walt Disney World, and the first to grab your attention like a smack across the face. Between the eagles, the flags, the fish and the palm trees I have absolutely no idea what's going on. And I kind of like it that way.


2nd Place:

Route 192 gift shop Kissimmee, Orlando, Disney WorldRoute 192 Magic Castle gift shop Seriously, how could you not stop here, with the Welsh Wizard conjuring the dollars out of your wallet? We're nearing Las Vegas territory here, whether that's a good or bad thing is up to you. I've heard there is actually a magic castle inside the store, but inner beauty is for another pageant. We're all about appearances here.


1st Place:

Route 192 gift shop Kissimmee, Orlando, Disney WorldRoute 192 gift shop Old Florida at its finest, a wonderful reminder of the days of the Weeki Wachee mermaids and when Silver Springs was Hollywood East. I can't tell you how much I like this building. I think it deserves another trip to get a better picture. Now if only the owners would pressure wash the lady's hair...

Thanks for visiting, and don't forget to slow down and enjoy roadside America wherever you find it.

matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) FL Kissimmee Orlando Photography Route 192 gift shop roadside America https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/10/the-first-ever-route-192-gift-shop-beauty-pageant Sat, 04 Oct 2014 10:45:12 GMT
How I shot it: composite edition https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/8/how-i-shot-it-composite-edition I decided to do a composite photo as a creative exercise, partly inspired by SLRLounge's 100 ways to be a more creative photographer article. Since I already knew how to do the standard "flying person" picture, that's where we went with this. Naturally the first question I get about this is "How did you do that?" so here it is...

First, you need to lock your camera down on a tripod. If it moves at all during the shoot your results will be undesirable. If you're shooting outdoors you'll want to weigh the tripod down as well to provide extra stability.

Second, shoot in full manual mode. It's vital that your exposure doesn't change during the shoot. In addition to locking down your shutter spped, aperture, and ISO, you'll also want to use manual focus to avoid the risk of changing focus from one shot to the next. I did this by auto-focusing on one of my props after the camera was on the tripod, then switching to manual focus.

Now, what about the actual pictures? In mapping this shot out, I knew I wanted a picture of the front half, one of just the dress blowing around, and one of the flying woman's legs. I worked from left to right and ended up with these as a starting point:

faces and armsFaces and arms Billowing dressBillowing dress LegsLegs Top to bottom, we have the faces and arms, the billowing dress, and the suspended legs. You might be thinking that these look terrible, and at the moment you'd be right, but give it a minute.

The last thing I did (you can also do this first if you prefer) is a shot of the background, completely empty. This is actually the base to start with and the reason you need to lock focus first - if there's nothing left to focus on this shot will be drastically different from the others.

BackgroundBackground Now that I have my four shots, I open all of them up in Photoshop as layers and start masking the parts I need from each one. (If you're not familiar with layers and masks there are hundreds of tutorials out there to get you started.) Here's where the tripod becomes vital - the shots won't line up if the camera has moved at all during the shoot. This is a simplified and blown-out version showing roughly the pieces I kept from each image:

Bits and piecesBits and pieces After applying the pieces I need from each image, the last step is masking out the ladder so the empty background shot shows through. The ladder is what I used to set focus before any photos were taken.

Once that was done, I saved a copy of the final image and brought it back into Lightroom for cropping and final adjustments. Boom!

All done!All done! Many thanks to Heather and Ana for helping out with this. Please reach out to me if you would like to participate in one of these.

matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) FL Orlando Photography composite editing photoshop tutorial https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/8/how-i-shot-it-composite-edition Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:22:17 GMT
Babies! https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/6/babies Disclaimer: I am NOT a newborn photographer. Or at least, not a very good one. Keeping that in mind...

A family friend asked me to take some shots of her grandson who, through an unfortunate set of circumstances, is now living with her. Knowing almost nothing about newborn photography, I immediately agreed to do it. Because I like to learn, try new techniques, and also in the back of my mind I knew that as long as I got one good image we could consider the shoot a success. And oh boy, did I learn...

Arriving at the house I saw there was a skylight in the family room that could be used for natural lighting so we set up underneath it. After a few test shots I managed to get this as a starter:

20140518_14181620140518_141816 Not too bad, and I'm thinking this might be easier than I thought. Then the lessons started kicking in.

  1. Babies do not have bones. No matter what position we tried to put this little guy into he would just collapse into a ball. Even putting the camera into burst mode and saying "just pull your hands away as I shoot" with the intent of making a composite later didn't work. I might as well have been posing a water balloon.
  2. Despite not having bones, babies are incredibly mobile. This may be due to waiting until he was eight weeks old to shoot him, but as soon as he collapsed into a ball he would start moving away. Meaning we have now moved from water balloon to jellyfish territory. Minus the stingers.
  3. Babies apparently love spit bubbles. We ended up putting the little guy on his back where at least it would take him a couple of seconds to start squirting away, so his next defense mechanism kicked in: spit bubbles, at the exact second that I finally had the composition I wanted.
  4. Noise. At entirely random times the little man would go from happy little jellyfish to screaming bloody murder for seemingly no reason. Probably because he was out of spit bubbles and was now sitting in the bottom of a bowl so he couldn't squirt away.

So, we'll mark this down as another valuable learning experience. One tip I can give: if it's safe to do so, let the family dog photobomb you.

20140518_14345420140518_143454 20140518_143536_0120140518_143536_01 20140518_143621The spit bubble defense in action.Same to you, kid.

matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) FL Orlando Photography baby child newborn https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/6/babies Mon, 16 Jun 2014 14:27:45 GMT
Taking a stab at event photography https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/5/taking-a-stab-at-event-photography Usually I photograph individuals or small groups, but when my wife and some of her friends signed up for a local charity race I decided to try my hand at unofficial event photography. Really, the whole concept is individuals and small groups, just more of them, right? That and I have to work with nothing but an on camera flash in rapidly changing early morning lighting conditions. The results aren't exactly stellar but it was fun and a good learning experience.

20140510_07170720140510_071707 The start line. You can never go wrong with a giant flag.

I tried to find a unique perspective to get the rush at the start. I ended up sitting on the ground right next to the course, just far enough away that people would start to separate, and fired off a few bursts as everyone went past.

20140510_07224220140510_072242 20140510_07174920140510_071749 20140510_072314_0120140510_072314_01 One great thing about having a large camera with a flash on it during the day is everyone likes to show off, thinking I'll make them famous or something.

20140510_07443020140510_074430 20140510_07473920140510_074739 20140510_07494320140510_074943 20140510_07455720140510_074557

I'm pretty happy with that last one. Also, what's a charity race without mascots?


And humorous shirts?


Having to scout locations on the fly during the race and still get something interesting was a refreshing challenge and a good stretch for me. Also, now I know I need a fast zoom lens for the next one.

matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) FL Orlando Photography UCF event flash operation give back photographer https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/5/taking-a-stab-at-event-photography Sat, 17 May 2014 15:44:21 GMT
How I shot it: full length at ground level https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/4/how-i-shot-it-full-length-at-ground-level Ria Von StrudelRia Von Strudel Since seeing a post by Neil van Niekerk about getting low for better perspective in full length shots, I'd been looking for a chance to try it out, and my recent shoot with Ria Von Strudel presented the perfect opportunity. The brick walkway at Lake Eola is nearly perfect for this, being almost completely flat with great lines already in place for me to use for framing. As a bonus, the end of the walkway near the lake dips down, meaning I could take this shot one step further and make the ground disappear completely if I chose.

The major difference between my shot and Neil's is since I'm shooting on a DX (or APS-C, or crop sensor) camera I only needed to use an 85mm lens to achieve the effect (this is equivalent to 127mm on a full frame camera, so the focal length difference between my shot and his is largely irrelevant).

Here, I was laying on my side partway down the ramp, with the camera just high enough above the ground that the different colored bricks form a nice frame to guide your eyes to Ria. We did get some looks from passersby, but both of us are far past the point of worrying about such things. It also helped that Ria totally got this concept and even in the process of moving through six different poses never moved from the center of that frame.

Next time you're taking a full length shot, give some thought to getting low - just be sure to back up and zoom in for the best effect.

matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) FL Lake Eola Orlando beauty female glamour photography https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/4/how-i-shot-it-full-length-at-ground-level Fri, 25 Apr 2014 14:54:37 GMT
More Lake Eola with Kim https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/4/more-lake-eola-with-kim "Are you free Wednesday?"

"No. Are you free next Thursday?"

"No. I can do Monday but it's going to be cold so find something else."

Kim and I met through Model Mayhem, and for about six weeks this is what our relationship looked like. Fortunately, we did find a warm and clear day where we were both free and spent a pleasant hour walking around and shooting whatever looked good. Rather than bore you with the details, just keep scrolling for the results:

KimKim KimKim KimKim KimKim 20140403_18380820140403_183808 Click any image to see it in the gallery, and feel free to use the Contact Me page to set up a session for yourself.

matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) FL Lake Eola Orlando beauty female glamour photography https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/4/more-lake-eola-with-kim Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:10:05 GMT
Ria goes full pinup https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/4/ria-goes-full-pinup After our first shoot together, Ria and I decided to get together again to do a pinup look, which is her specialty. We met at Lake Eola again to take advantage of more backgrounds we didn't get to the first time.

20140331_18364020140331_183640 This is in front of the Cedars of Lebanon sculpture. As we were leaving this area we heard someone yelling to us:

"Hey! Photographer!"

Turns out the bouncer (so to speak) at the Stardust Lounge was inviting us in to take some pictures. The place had a really nice retro look inside, so I turned Ria loose to do her thing, and once again she was outstanding:

20140331_18393120140331_183931 20140331_18420020140331_184200 20140331_18464120140331_184641 My only regret is I didn't have a light stand with me to give her the full treatment she deserved, but we still got some good, if not amazing, shots.

Moving back outside we finished up walking some more of the perimeter. Just like last time, she seemed to know exactly what I wanted before I could ask. Thank you Ria, and thank you Stardust Lounge for another great shoot.

20140331_19044420140331_190444 See the full set here. Ria is also an accomplished makeup and hair stylist, and provided all her own styling. Reach her here to get the same treatment for yourself.

matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) FL Lake Eola Orlando glamour photography pinup https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/4/ria-goes-full-pinup Fri, 11 Apr 2014 17:27:36 GMT
Meeting Ria https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/4/meeting-ria "This isn't at all what I was expecting."

That was the first thing that went through my head the day I met Ria Von Strudel for our scheduled shoot. After mentioning her love for the retro pinup look I was anticipating someone from the 1950s. Instead, on the spur of the moment she decided to go for a little diversity in her look and gave me this:

20140320_19145520140320_191455 This is...this is straight out of every rock video I grew up watching. And you know what else?

It was great. After taking a minute to get my head around the new look I started running through my poses for her. Or I should say, tried to run through them, because Ria turned out to be a mind reader. Every time I was about to ask her to do something, she did it before I could say anything.


Lower your chin a little and...yeah, exactly that, thanks.


Tilt your...yeah, that, and...yes, that will work.


Turn and...do exactly what you're doing.

Sometimes the unexpected turns out to be the best thing that can happen. See the full set here, and visit Ria's Model Mayhem page to contact her.

matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) FL Lake Eola Orlando photography https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2014/4/meeting-ria Wed, 02 Apr 2014 15:37:36 GMT
How to fake it in high speed photography https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2012/12/how-to-fake-it-in-high-speed-photography I'm a big fan of high speed photography that freezes motion and reveals things that you just can't see in real time. So naturally, I would want to create some of my own. The standard approach is simply cranking up your shutter to the shortest interval possible, in my case 1/4000s. There are a couple of problems with this approach:

  1. You need a lot of light to do this. Think noon on a cloudless day at the beach, and sometimes that isn't enough.
  2. Attempting to recreate the brightness of the sun indoors is prone to undesirable outcomes, such as incineration.

As an example of this approach, here are a couple pictures of news helicopters hovering near my house when there was a nearby brush fire:


The frozen rotors are nice, but as it was a slightly overcast day when I took these, the light is a little boring and both of these images would need considerable work to make them presentable.

So what's the alternative? Fake it with a flash. Even though most cameras cannot use a flash at faster than 1/250s without resorting to some kind of trickery (that usually involves expensive equipment), this is really all you need to freeze action under more controlled conditions that do not involve helicopters. The secret is in the duration of the flash. Most flashes fire a burst of light that only lasts between 1/1000s and 1/30000s. So, if you arrange things such that the flash is the only source of light in your picture, the duration of the flash burst then becomes your effective shutter speed.

To accomplish this you need a camera that works in manual mode (sorry, smartphone users). First, you need to disable any setting that automatically increases your ISO, and set your ISO to the lowest value allowable - in my case this value is 200. Check your camera manual for how to do this on your equipment. Second, set your shutter speed to the highest speed that will still work with a flash - in my case 1/200s. Now, start taking test shots without the flash, and close your aperture (set it to a higher number) until you get a completely black picture. Now you know that the flash is supplying all the light for the picture. You will want to stop at the lowest number that gives you a black picture, as this will allow the flash to work at a lower power setting and provide a shorter burst of light. The flash that I am using has a duration of 1/1000s at full power, but only 1/20000s at minimum power. This can make a big difference depending on how fast your subject is moving.

After that, turn on the flash and start snapping. Taking advantage of light falloff (which I will not be covering today), I was able to turn my kitchen into a black backdrop for this:

1/200, f/9, ISO 200, flash fired remotely from camera left at 1/16 power

Don't be afraid to experiment. Here's another one that I took when I was supposed to be washing the dishes:

1/200, f/7.1, ISO 200, flash on camera in auto (TTL) mode.

I really like that I was able to see that the stream of water from my faucet is actually made up of bubbles, and that the water does not travel in a straight line but looks more like a snake. Both things I couldn't see just by looking.

Have fun with your new technique, and please comment with links to your own creations!

matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) Photography flash high speed https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2012/12/how-to-fake-it-in-high-speed-photography Fri, 07 Dec 2012 15:37:00 GMT
My lens broke. And it made me a better photographer. https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2012/10/my-lens-broke-and-it-made-me-better primeandzoom1-copy I'm still relatively new to the world of "real" photography, having owned a DSLR for less than two years. It's simply amazing how much I've learned in that amount of time, and as is usually the case, the more I learn, the more there is to learn. Take, for example, my recent education about zoom lens dependence.

One of the first upgrades I purchased after owning my camera for a few months was an "all in one" zoom lens to replace the two kit lenses that came with the body. I thought that by having a lens with a range from 18 to 270mm I might never have to change lenses again. And by buying off-brand I was saving almost 50% over the price of a Nikon lens. I was so smart! Just like I expected, for months that lens never came off, except for cleaning.

Fast forward a few months, and after learning that I didn't know as much as I thought I did, I had picked up a wide aperture portrait lens (because my all in one couldn't do shallow depth of field or soft focus) and a macro lens (because my all in one couldn't focus close enough for life size detail). By this time I realized that my all in one was really a most in one, but it was still my primary lens, especially when I was traveling.

Then, while coming home from a family wedding this summer, I turned the zoom ring and something snapped. I could only zoom part of the way out, then I would have to pull the end of the lens out a bit, and continue zooming. I sent the lens in for service, assuming that only fourteen months into a six year warranty this would be a covered repair.

Here's where the story turns a bit ugly. I received a repair estimate of $260 which indicated there was evidence of "shock damage" that voided the warranty. After a little bit of research it seemed that the claim of shock damage was quite common among people sending their lenses in for repair, and seems to be the manufacturer's way of controlling warranty costs. I called and politely asked them to review the file, as I had always transported the lens in a padded bag, and had never dropped it. They refused to even review my claim, so I declined the repair, had the paperweight lens returned to me, and swore never to buy anything but Nikon lenses again.

Since then, I've been using my Nikon 35/1.8, Nikon 85/3.5 macro, and my Nikon 10-24/3.5-4.5. With the 10-24 lens I find that I use it at 10 or at 24, never anything in between, so it's sort of like two prime lenses. What I've found since then is that by essentially having only four focal lengths to choose from, I actually have to spend a few seconds thinking about what I want to photograph. And when I think about what length to use, I have to think about where I need to place myself, which usually leads to the conclusion that my first thought about the picture was wrong. But, I never went through that process with the big zoom lens - I would just put the camera to my eye, crank the zoom ring in and out, and fire away, hoping for the best.

I came to realize that, for me at least, a superzoom lens was a crutch that actually inhibited my growth. Though, I certainly wouldn't complain if someone threw a 70-200/2.8 my way. Maybe I should thank Tamron for refusing to honor their warranty. I'll still never buy another of their products, but they indirectly made me better.

And what's a photo blog without photos? Here's the difference just in the past few months:
Taken with the superzoom. Snap, snap, snap.
Taken with a prime. Think, then shoot.

matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) Nikon off brand prime prime vs zoom Tamron warranty zoom https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2012/10/my-lens-broke-and-it-made-me-better Tue, 09 Oct 2012 16:41:00 GMT
Click it Up a Notch February 2012 entry https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2012/2/click-it-up-notch-february-2012-entry 20120225_102320

Working on off camera flash and high speed sync. How am I doing?

Head over to Click it Up a Notch to see more great photography.

Click It Up A NotchButton-Click-It-Up-A-Notch
matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) candle flash OCF Photography smoke https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2012/2/click-it-up-notch-february-2012-entry Mon, 27 Feb 2012 17:35:00 GMT
Seizing an Opportunity https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2012/1/seizing-opportunity f/8 and be there." Well, at the very least I was there. Today should have started like any other day, but I was awakened around 4:40 by a loudspeaker outside my house. When I looked out to investigate I saw a police cruiser down the street, with a deputy repeating over and over, "This is the Orange County Sheriff's Office. Come out of the residence with your hands raised." But it was just one vehicle, and whoever was in the house was not coming out, so I didn't pay too much attention. This went on for about ninety minutes. I took one shot because that's what I do and went about my morning routine.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office. I know because she told me roughly 173 times.
Around 6:15 a second police vehicle arrived, but with no movement I still didn't pay too much attention. We turned on the radio and heard a report that someone may be barricaded in the house. OK, "may" be barricaded, still no big deal. But just after 7:00 my wife told me there was a man walking through our yard with a gun, and I suddenly became VERY interested in what was going on. He must have been sweeping the area; by the time I looked out he had taken a position next to the first officer and was intently focused on the house.
Things are getting serious.
I realized at this point that I was finally in a "right place, right time" moment, and things were going to start happening fast. I was also going to have to deal with rapidly changing lighting conditions due to sunrise, and since I couldn't be concerned with spinning dials to adjust shutter speed or aperture before shooting, I did a bad thing. I put the camera in P mode to let it make most of the decisions. But my motives were pure, I assure you.

I started patrolling inside my house, looking out all the windows and doors to see what would happen next. Around 7:30 a black van pulled up on a side street and two men in camouflage jumped out. I cracked the front door to get a picture of them as they walked past my neighbor's house, just in time to catch them taking the shortcut:
These walls mean nothing to us.
Right through my yard. By this time we had learned that the adult son of our neighbor had taken his family hostage inside the house, and we weren't getting out to go to work. Like I would have gone even if the road had been open. These guys were carrying some serious firepower:
And they were setting up camp right in front of my dining room windows. I got a little confused when I saw one officer bring two recycling bins into the driveway. I thought maybe they were going to go MacGyver on me and storm the house using orange plastic but the results were a little more mundane.
We're going to be here a while.
Any of you with experience in SWAT/military type actions know the rule that camo never travels alone. And sure enough, just after 8:00 the bus came rolling in.
Fourteen more dudes with automatic weapons and body armor. Now it's a party.
Hot on the heels of the bus came a machine the likes of which I've never personally seen, which seems specifically designed to turn any door or gate into scrap.

I hope this thing has a ferocious nickname.
All the while these men and machines are piling onto my formerly quiet and peaceful street, the negotiators are on their loudspeakers telling the man inside to pick up the phone, it's VERY IMPORTANT that they talk. And there continues to be no response from inside the house.

It's funny that I never feared for my safety during all of this, even while I was standing on a chair in my front bedroom with the camera lens pressed against the window, until I saw the last guys to arrive.
End Of Days, if you're the bad guy.
E. O. D. Explosive. Ordnance. Disposal. OK...the bomb guys are here. This isn't as much fun as it was an hour ago. I see some movement in the line, and as about fifteen officers start to converge on the house, as I start to think I'm watching something that looks like an Xbox commercial and this is going to get VERY NASTY very quickly I hear the loudspeaker utter the words I had been hoping to hear all morning.

"Hands up! Walk to your left! Slowly! SLOWLY!"
It's over, praise God.
A peaceful surrender was in order today. The suspect and the hostages were taken away and the roads re-opened at about 9:00. No shots fired, no injuries.

As a little aside, I didn't see anyone else on the street with a camera, and the media had been cordoned off about a half mile away, so I think I have the only photos in existence of the surrender. Which is really a dream come true for any photographer.

My hat today is off to the Orange County Sheriff's Office and especially the SWAT guys. This could easily have been a total disaster and instead we got the best ending possible.
Thanks guys.
And thank you too.

matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) hostages Photography SWAT https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2012/1/seizing-opportunity Tue, 17 Jan 2012 12:39:00 GMT
Sandpiper Photo Shoot https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2011/9/sandpiper-photo-shoot






















matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) beach bird Cape Cod sandpiper vacation https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2011/9/sandpiper-photo-shoot Sat, 10 Sep 2011 16:36:00 GMT
Flatiron Building Workflow https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2011/7/flatiron-building-workflow
To this:
Photoshop Elements, and a little help from my friends. First, the picture is tilted, and as nearly always happens when photographing something tall, there's a perspective issue. So after loading the image in Elements my first stop is Filter -> Correct Camera Distortion. After playing a bit with the sliders I ended up with this intermediate monstrosity:
This is an improvement?
I was using my Tamron lens, which means the firmware in my camera did not correct or reduce the distortion automatically. That's supposed to be my punishment for not buying a Nikon lens. My final results were +39 on remove distortion, -34 on vertical perspective, 1.5 degrees of rotation, and 108% on edge extension to make it mostly fit back in the box. Incidentally, the Tamron lens only exhibits this degree of trouble when it's zoomed all the way out to 18mm - if I had simply zoomed in to around 25mm and not included so much of the ground I probably could have avoided most of this. But I was in a hurry as we had a lot to do that day, so I just fired a few shots knowing I could do the touchup later.

After clicking OK I cropped the image to remove the curved edges and the buildings on the sides, coming down to this:
Now, the real magic happens. I ran the Mini Fusion action available from MCP Actions. It's a free download to demonstrate what the rest of the product lineup can do, and it's totally amazing. After running the action my layers palette went from nothing to this:
 And the image instantly changed to this:
Now we're talking!
With a little more jiggery-pokery on the layer visibility, opacity settings, and some masking to darken the sky a bit, the final result is the second image above - but in case you forgot:
Click for full size. Click it, I tell you!
Total editing time was around ten minutes, and most of that was spent in the distortion screen. Next time I'll zoom in and have this in five.]]>
matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) editing Photography Photoshop Elements https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2011/7/flatiron-building-workflow Fri, 29 Jul 2011 10:54:00 GMT
Vacation outtakes II https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2011/7/vacation-outtakes-ii here, or try scrolling down.

The remainder of the don't-quite-fit-somewhere-else pictures.

I asked really nicely to go in...denied. There was a guy at the door who looked like he just stepped out of Goodfellas, he was just a little too intimidating for me to take his picture.

Heather poses with some of New York's finest...and their riders. Ba-dum-dum!

This started as a picture of maybe the last working payphone in Manhattan, then I realized I could see myself in the security monitor. Hi!

The view from Filene's Basement in Union Square. Not bad to look at while Heather cleans the place out.

A real live cobblestone street in Boston. I'm claiming this is an original from before the Revolutionary War, I don't care what you tell me.

Also, really good beer.

Catch of the day, plush edition.

Turn right! That's where the good food is!

Outside a little girly shop in Hyannis. The plastic chair almost collapsed when I tried to sit in it, apparently it's just for show.

Never eaten here, but can't resist the name.

More flower baskets in Hyannis. Good thing I'm not allergic.

Shower wall and deck railing at the Dennis house. Welcome aboard!

Click for the full size version of this. Please, I insist...nay, I demand it.

End of the jetty. Next stop, England.
matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2011/7/vacation-outtakes-ii Thu, 28 Jul 2011 16:32:00 GMT
Vacation outtakes I https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2011/7/vacation-outtakes-i
More photos on Facebook here, here, here, and here. As always, click for larger versions.

Flower outside of Mom's condo

Stone wall at Mom's. Sunstar included at no additional charge.

More flowers at Mom's

Heather and Mom sharing a joke. I hope it's not about me.

Gotta love heat shimmer coming off a grill. Usually means good things are coming.


I have no idea how I got both the player and the ball in focus for this. But I'll take it.

Everyone stop play! There's a bunny on the course!
matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) Connecticut golf Mom Photography vacation https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2011/7/vacation-outtakes-i Wed, 27 Jul 2011 10:53:00 GMT
The BIG lens https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2011/6/big-lens DSC_7314 The new toyYou might be asking what's so big about it...behold!

Now THAT's a zoom!
The Tamron 18-270 all in one DSLR zoom lens. I think it's the only 15x zoom available in this market. Which means I don't have to worry about which lens to bring with me, or if I have the wrong one on at any moment (which just happened on my last trip to Universal Studios), since this one covers pretty much every length I would need. It feels heavier than my Nikon 55-200, which doesn't really surprise me. I'll just develop some more upper body strength if needed. The big question is, just how much zoom is this really? Well, take a look:

The neighbor's bird feeder, at 18 and 270mm
The lamp in the loft, 18-270mm
Yeah, that outta do it. Sharpness seems pretty good too.

100% crop of my cat's eye. Scary!
Detail shot of the bird feeder above. This was taken from about 75 feet away.
So far, pretty impressive. But I have a lot more playing to do. Time to get busy with that.]]>
matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2011/6/big-lens Fri, 24 Jun 2011 06:50:00 GMT
The surprise party https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2011/6/surprise-party
Heather and I went to a surprise party for one of her friends last weekend. Turns out this friend used to be in the beauty pageant business, and at one point actually ran the Miss Orlando pageant. So, the organizers did a murder mystery party with a Miss America theme. It was a lot of fun, and the women who REALLY got into character made it really entertaining.

Some of these pictures look kind of bad reduced to blog size; click on each one to see a larger version.

Had a fantastic custom cake. I didn't know you could even get these in Orlando.

The throne and tiara await the guest of honor's arrival.

Chris arrives. Clearly the "surprise" is still intact.
Miss H strikes a pose. An instant classic.
There will be hugs. Oh yes, there will be hugs.
Well, this is interesting.
Miss Texas, who turned out to be the murder victim. Unfortunately I was across the room when she came bounding in wearing a bikini, unilaterally deciding the swimsuit competition had begun.
Miss Alabama workin' it for the camera.
Miss Arizona, who turned out to be the killer. Oh noes!
Not only does Chris get the surprise of having a party, now we make her sing too. She took it like a champ.

matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2011/6/surprise-party Tue, 14 Jun 2011 17:03:00 GMT
Some past favorites https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2011/6/some-past-favorites
 Somewhere in the fjords of Norway, August 2006

 Still in Norway, August 2006

 Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival, May 2008

 Boardwalk, Cape Cod National Seashore, September 2008

 Jetty, West Dennis Beach, December 2008

Cold Storage Beach, December 2008
matt@speedofmyshutter.com (Speed of my Shutter Photography) Photography https://www.speedofmyshutter.com/blog/2011/6/some-past-favorites Tue, 14 Jun 2011 12:16:00 GMT