Friday, January 27, 2012

A Break In the Gloom

In contrast to the flat, featureless light shown Wednesday, both sky and water had texture and variety on Thursday.


This is the Calm Seas, headed for Astoria’s anchorage a few minutes after sunset. ISO 200, 1/200, f/8 @ 85mm.  70-300mm “G” zoom.

The ship’s and my own course were roughly parallel, and as I tracked it to the anchorage, I noted a lifeboat making rapid eastward headway.  I had just enough time to change lenses and catch it as it entered the East Mooring Basin, readying for a crew change.


ISO 800, 1/30, f/2.8 @ 50mm.  16-50mm zoom.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blue Monday

Not in the Vonnegut sort of way… I mean literally.  The “blue hour” was really living up to its hue today.

After days of wind, rain and general gloom, today was mostly calm, sometimes sunny, though never warm.

Leaving the office late today, I was surprised both by the amount of light remaining in the sky and the overall hue… blue was the filter that fell on everything.

Genco Wisdom

The window of calm unleashed a torrent of outbound ships this afternoon.  I had just missed the tanker that I’d hoped to catch when I realized that the Genco Wisdom, outbound for Kobe, was just clearing the Astoria-Megler bridge. 

I had just enough time to scramble (call it “falling without hitting the ground”) to the waterline and set up. 

What struck me about the evening was the stillness that made both water and sky formless.  They were definitely there, but one could barely see them. 

ISO 200, 1/5 second @ f/5.6, tripod mounted.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

First Full Moon of the Year

I’m usually pretty bad at planning shots.  I know a few people who would say that I’m pretty bad at planning anything, but that’s a (slightly) different thing. 

But, when the day started bright (and cold) and stayed that way (well, it warmed up for a while), I got really curious about the timing of the moonrise.  I knew it was full, as I’d caught glimpses of it, but I didn’t know for certain when it would rise.  As I’ve noted before (as  have many others, all of us in danger of copyright violation)… “there’s an app for that”.

Golden Pic let me know that moonrise as at 1637, exactly nine minutes before sunset.  Given that there’s a small heap of mountains between me and the eastern horizon, we’ll call it a draw.


What I didn’t know for certain was where on the horizon the moon was going to show up.  Given the season, I was guessing south-ish, like the sun, but the moon and the sun have different paths, and I probably sounded like a little kid when I saw the first arc appear just above the stack of the Lupinus.  “Oh, COOL!”

I made some fast adjustments to the tripod and started shooting.

There’s really only one place in the whole county where aligning a freighter and the moon was possible tonight, and that was at the Cannery Pier Hotel.  I’m glad they don’t charge me for tripod space.

Guests and other alert observers started filing into the parking lot, whipping out their cell phones, trying to take in the scene.  I heard lots of moans of disappointment.

And then some of the phone-pokers came over to see the previews on the back of the camera… “Oh!  We need THAT!”

A few minutes later:

Fully Risen

The color in the sky was fading fast with the oncoming clouds, but it was still interesting.

The ships were shifting on the current constantly.  It’s amazing how far they drift even when anchored.  I repositioned again after the last of the pink was gone from the sky.


All shots full frame unless straightening was needed.  All with the 70-300mm G, focal lengths between 200 and 300 mm.  All at ISO 200, tripod mounted.  Photographed in RAW, developed in LR3 prior to optimizing for web use.

Monday, January 2, 2012

On the Edge of the Front

Today’s forecast called for rain.  At least a 70% chance of it, which pretty much means that we should prepare to get wet.

But there were still a last few shafts of sun struggling through as the front moved in this morning.

The Lupinus had a few chances to show off her orange glow as the wall of clouds crawled up behind her.

Glowing Lupinus

And the Alimar’s big white house really stood out against the gathering gloom.  That last blast of sun was quite intense.  I had to underexpose the frame by two full stops to keep the white of the superstructure from being blown out.


These were shot just before 0900 this morning.  It’s been raining rather steadily since about a half-hour after that.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year’s Day

It looks as though I started the year with a blunder. 

I hope I’m wrong, but I might have destroyed the master copy of the video clip that I made of the foghorns last night on the Columbia.  Now it might only exist on Facebook.

I’m not a videographer, so the whole process is new to me, and I think I killed it.  The photographer in me always tries to remember to reformat the active card in the camera before beginning a new shoot… and I did that this morning.

Rumor has it that Terry from KMUN recorded it and will have it available at on Tuesday.

Live and learn.  If I find the file and a way to post it here, I’ll add it as an edit to this post.

I had an active afternoon of photography, but no ships were involved.