Category Archives: Photos

How Your Camera Works

While thinking about adventures in the Rockies or Isle Royale and dreaming of exploring the U.S. Virgin Islands for a week during the winter I decided to start the photography experiment.  The first spot on the board is How Your Camera Works. As luck has it, girl scout cookies are now available and since I have two girl scouts I thought this was a great opportunity to use a few thin mints as photo subjects. In addition, is there a better treat during the football game of all games – the Super Bowl?

One of the experiments listed on this post by Peter Carey is to take 10 photos of one object and make each one different in some way. So here ya go:

Cracking Open a Case of Thin Mints

Without the Flash The lighting while taking these was not great so I had   the opportunity to play with the flash a little bit while  watching Super Bowl commercials. The photo on the left is without the flash.



Playing with Perspecitve

Changing Shutter Speeds and Exposure

Looking for different perspectives. The low ambient light combined with light from the television makes for an interesting situation. Shooting in shutter priority seemed to give the best shot. Of course this could have been helped by using a tripod as the shutter was slowed down. Surprisingly this photo came out pretty clear.

Adding Flash

Adding in the flash and manual focus to the shutter priority improved the overall picture. While looking at the information of this one I noticed white balance was manual. Knowing that could bring a little better color. More to play with I guess.

Another Set of Hungry Eyes

Looks like I’m not the only one looking for a snack of thin mints.

Tunnel Vision

Watching the game with tunnel vision.

Another Tunnel

Adding flash to a different tunnel gives a whole different photo.

Changing Focus

Adjusting the focus allows me to highlight different portions of this subject.

A Low Perspective

Shooting from the bottom. Not sure if I like it for this particular photo but it provides for a unique shot. There is one advantage with the camera I’m using, the LCD adjust so I don’t have to stand on my head for a shot like this.

Where Can I Get a Cookie?

Does anyone know where to get girl scout cookies? I think it’s going to take me awhile to eat all of these. When I tell people I have walls of cookies at the house they’re not sure exactly what I mean. This is what I mean. Is this an indication of a girl scout cookie problem? They just keep multiplying.

As a side note, I did not alter these photos if you couldn’t tell. Digital processing comes later. This experiment just focused on learning more about the camera.

Backing Up 2012

CD, DVD, or Blu-Ray


My plan for this week was to start the Photo Monopoly Board. Instead the time has been spent backing up files of 2012 onto hard copies and making room for 2013. I’ve decided this subject could make a good post. I know there are many out there but I do have some personal experience with disasters and how they can affect important documents. For this post I’m going to focus on photographs as those encompass most of the files I work with. However, this information applies to videos and other documents as well.  

USB Flash Drives

First off, before I ever delete the photos off of any storage card from a camera I make sure it is backed up in two different places. For example, on the hard drive of a computer and a USB flash drive or portable hard drive. Once I get home I have a certain computer that holds my photos and videos and an external hard drive that I only turn on when transferring photos to it or retrieving them from it. This way all of my pictures are in one central location so I know where to find any photography taken during a year. Some people will use cloud storage as one of their back-ups. I’m not comfortable with cloud storage so I rely on hard drives at my house.

External Hard Drives

If at any point during the year I find any indication that photos could be lost either to a software upgrade or computer malfunction I immediately back up files to another external hard drive. At the beginning of a year such as now I take and make a hard copy of the previous years photos such as burning them to a cd, dvd, or blu-ray. Once I have hard copies they are placed in a secure firebox. After making hard copies these pictures are then deleted off of the computer. Now the two copies I have are the hard copies and an external hard drive. In addition, once I have enough photographs to fill a dvd or like this year a blu-ray I burn an extra copy of these pictures and give them to a relative in another state to store in a safe place.

Sometimes, like this year, I may come across more than two copies of a photo. This year I had 4 copies of many of my pictures due to computer issues at one time or another. Seems a little over kill doesn’t it? A motto I really like is: “overkill is under rated!” That’s kind of been a family motto for much of my life. Why do I take all of these precautions? First off, I want to do whatever I can to keep from losing important pictures and videos. Secondly, while growing up I experienced flooded basements and house fires both of which destroyed many important photographs. Most likely if a disaster of one type or another hits my house, my backup with a relative living in another state will survive. What are the odds of a natural disaster destroying both locations? It could happen but the odds are pretty low.

Cloud Storage

Fortunately I haven’t had these steps put to the test to see if these precautions are enough but past experience has defined them. It takes a little time and an extra hard drive or two but all in all, what are these photographs worth if they’re gone?!

31+ Days to Better Photography


For 2013 one of my goals is to complete this Monopoly© 2012 Hasbro board to better photography. This idea came from the posts on the Carey Adventures website on ways to improve your photography. Each location on this board refers to one of Peter Carey’s posts. My goal is to take at least 100 photos for each topic and identify what I’ve learned and how it improves my photography. The cost is mostly just time and the results are almost instantaneous to do this as we don’t have to develop film any longer. In some cases I expect that 100 photos will not be enough and in others it may be a challenge to take that many pictures on the journey to completing this board.

I’m not trying nor do I expect to become a professional photographer by completing this. My goal is only to improve the shots I take so I can share them here for others to enjoy and share in the experiences of traveling to different national parks. Thanks to Peter for sharing these tips with others. In this day and age as taking pictures gets more and more affordable and easier to do, the quality can be so much better than even a decade ago. Unfortunately not all of the topics on this board have been written about on Peter’s website. If those topics are not added to during 2013 I will have to either research these topics from other places or choose different topics to work on. During 2012 I have played with some of these settings but look forward to taking more time to experiment and learn in greater detail in 2013.

To check on my progress throughout the year click here to go to the Photography Experiment page.

Some of the Wildlife on Isle Royale

Canadian Geese

Canadian Geese should be expected this close to Canada so not a big surprise.

Caterpillar of a Luna Moth

This is a caterpillar of a Luna Moth. I’ve only seen one other caterpillar like this and still haven’t seen the moth itself.

Painted Lady Butterfly

I believe this is the Painted Lady Butterfly. Fairly common in this part of the country.

A Squirrel Eating

Somehow squirrels made it to the island. They were always eager to help with meals. Unfortunately for this one we didn’t leave anything behind as feeding the animals in a national park is not allowed.

A Proud Seagull

Seagulls are fairly common. I just liked how this one was posing appearing very proud.

A Duck Swimming

There are a multitude of ducks around Isle Royale. I believe this is a Mallard enjoying the morning sun.

A Rabbit Grazing

Another animal that I can’t quite grasp how they got to the island. They must have stowed away on a boat at one time.

A Mother Duck and Her Babies

We enjoyed watching this group of ducks. When we first saw them we could only see the mother swimming. After watching for a few minutes one of the babies popped up from under the surface of the water, then another, and then the other 3 or 4. It was entertaining to watch as they would swim on the surface for a minute or two and then dive into the water staying under until the surface was calm and there was no sign they were there. All of a sudden they would begin reappearing in the blink of an eye.

A Moose and Her Two Calves

Of course one of the more popular animals on Isle Royale are moose. We were fortunate to see this mother with her two calves stroll right in front of our campsite. There was another moose with her calf that met us on one of the trails causing a slight delay because those who know understand that the moose owns the area they are walking on. It is not considered a good idea to confront a moose, especially one with a calf. Some of the other wildlife on this island include foxes and wolves. We did not get to see either one. It is my understanding that the foxes are sneaking creatures finding creative ways to steal campers stuff so it may not be a bad thing that we did not see any.

Playing With the Camera at Night

One of my objectives with a different camera was the ability to take good photos at night. I’ve been playing around with it and here are some of the results.

Moon Rising


Setting the shutter to a slow speed to capture the moon nearing the horizon while a car passed by leaving light trails.

Stars lighting up the Sky

I was amazed at how many stars there were near a big city. More surprising is that they actually appear on the photo.

The Moon Just After Sunset

There was a bright half moon towards the end of the day. I was amazed how much detail shows up.


Later that night the moon shows even brighter. You can see the rough terrain of the moon by the jagged line where the light is reflecting off the moon.

Stars Spread Across the Sky

After taking a lot of pictures trying to find the best settings I got a picture full of stars that are in focus. Keep in mind this is with a lot of light pollution near a big city.

Moon Burst

Playing around with some of the manual settings on the camera provided an interesting moon burst. I think this was changing the aperture as high as it would go.

There is much more for me to experiment with while taking night photos but this was a fun start. I hope you enjoy these as I’m having fun figuring out how to take them.

Images of Fall

A Foggy Fall Morning

As fall is getting closer to the end I thought I would share some nice fall photos for the Thanksgiving Holiday ahead. These were taken while playing around with a new camera we purchased a few months ago. Please enjoy.

A Beautiful Fall Afternoon


Watching the Leaves Blow By


Leaves on the Ground Just Begging to be Raked


Amazing Colors by the Water


Freshly Fallen Leaves


Enjoying the Train as it Slips by the Lake

A Great Look at the season speeding by!