Assisted Tazz with the photography of the wedding of Amy and Ryan. It would be a long day. I was up and at Tazz's house at 8:00am for a quick breakfast. Then we were off to photograph the women getting their hair done. Afterward, I was left with the groom and groomsmen (3 of the couple's boys) for pictures of them getting dressed up. From there, we went to the church were Tazz and I went setup for the ceremony. I photographed guests arriving and wedding decorations before the ceremony began while Tazz did formal shots by the alter using his studio lighting. During the ceremony, I took one side while Tazz covered the other. After the ceremony, more guest pictures as people departed the church. When everyone was outside, there was a butterfly release. The bride and groom set off for a quick ride in the limo, which gave Tazz and I time to again setup the studio lights for group shots. Then, off to a park of more formal shots. When the group shots were complete, we tore down and headed back to Tazz's house for a quick breather. From there, we went to the reception. I concentrated on guests and decorations. There was the cutting of the cake, first dance and bouquet toss to cover. And at long last, the end of the night, around 9:30pm. The 12 hours of shooting yielded some 2,100+ pictures. Tami was with us with their laptop and almost continuously was transferring data off the compact flashes for Tazz and I. Between the two of us, over 16 gigabytes of space had been consumed before the nights end. I wouldn't seem my work until Monday, when I visited Tazz with external hard drive to copy data. This is my first experience shooting as a 2nd photographer. Tazz and I have done many shoots together, but independent of one an other—we normally the same thing. Now, the idea was not to have me take the same shots (with a few exception), but add additional coverage. For the first portion of the shoot, the girls getting their hair done, I worked with my 75-300mm lens. Tazz was shooting with a 24-105mm, covering the wide to medium focal ranges. So I would cover closeups. In the salon, the lighting was a mixture of daylight and florescent. At ISO 400, I got shutter speed from 1/60 to 1/10, which wasn't bad. I could usually kneel and stabilize the camera to pull off the slower shutter speeds. One trick I tried was using long shutter speeds to blue the stylist, so the subject was the point of focus, and I had some success at this. The result is, despite having two people in the picture, you really only see one of them clearly, putting the emphasis on them. While the groom and groomsmen were getting suited up in their tuxes, I used one of Tazz's flashes. Whenever I use a flash, I shoot almost exclusively with late shutter. You loss a good deal of shots due to people moving, but the shots you do pull off are nice and full. Since this was just pictures of people getting prepared and I didn't need that many, the loss would be just fine (assuming I pulled off a couple good shots). Pictures inside the church I had concern about. Our initial survey of the sanctuary was showed it was quite dark. Tazz and I thought it best I use the 50mm f/1.8, with an aperture priority of 1.8 in this setting. At ISO 400, this yielded shutter speed between 1/80 to 1/30, which is just fine. During the ceremony, I had use of a tripod for a couple of events when I would need to use the 75-300mm lens. This allowed me to pull off shots of as slow as 1/13 second shutter during the candle lighting. For the outdoor formal shots, I again used the 75-300, getting picture very close without being close. With the assistance of daylight, these would be some of my best pictures of the day. The reception was extremely dark. Again I used the large aperture 50mm lens, but I'd have to bump the ISO to 800 just to get shutter speeds of 1/25 seconds. During the dance, where most of the lights were removed, I shot at ISO 3200 with shutter speeds between 1/30 down to 1/5 a second. Despite what should be imposable shooting conditions, I did manage to pull of a few good pictures. I found the picture I did with the 75-300mm lens to be the ones I liked the most. The closeups had excellent background bokeh (blur) and stunning detail in the face. In indoor photography was could have benefited from a wide angle, large aperture lens, like Canon's 28mm f/1.8 or 24mm f/1.4L. None the less, our 50mm f/1.8 preformed well and even there were some good ISO 3200 pictures. For the ceremony, a larger aperture zoom lens would be useful, such as one of my favorites, the 70-200 f/2.8L or a top of the line prime like the 300mm f/2.8L. These lens are $1,600 and $4,000 respectively, so I doubt I'll be shooting with either one anytime in the near future ;)
I had to travel to Rockford and visit the bike shop to give them the battery from my headlight. The battery wasn't charging (found that out June 2nd) due to a bad power supply. I took the power supply in a few weeks ago, but they also wanted the battery. I picked up a new seat for my bike while I was there. I find my back-side starts killing me after about an hour and a half of riding, and I want a seat that isn't hard as a brick. Since I was in Rockford, I thought I'd go visit Tyson. He wasn't at his house yet, but said he'd be home in around 45 minutes. His house is close to Rockcut Park, so taking a ride would be a great way to pass the time. I didn't have my water bottles filled, but I figured a state park should have water somewhere. To my dismay, that assumption was inaccurate. All the hand pump had the handles removed and the water fountains were turned off. Luckily, I had my backup water bottle. It's 16 oz., and I went through it pretty quick. The ride was just under and hour and just over 8 miles. The trails were pretty ruff in places and it was a good work out. I would have been able to navigate the trails better had I not had the bags on my bike—they became snared on bushes several times. The new seat defiantly seems more comfortable, but I don't know yet if it will help with extended rides. Pictured is a marshy area at Rock Cut Park in Rockford, Illinois.
Biked a little under 20 miles today. Started with a visit to Happy Hollow park, just south of Janesville. Afterwords, I ended up back along highway 51 heading north. I looped around the airport along Oakhill, Avalon and River road. Didn't really find much of interest, but it was a pleasant ride. Pictured is the Rock River as seen from a the south-west most point of Happy Hollow park.
Started off the morning with a bike ride to Bill Hill's Park, this time as a trio. Kristy, CJ and I finally did a bike ride together. This trip was the same route I did on the 28th. I didn't travel nearly as fast, since Kristy and CJ were not use to biking at all. Our northward average was around 8 MPH, due in part because of a steady headwind. Once we started heading south, however, our speeds picked up to around 15-20 MPH. I tried my high speed hill again, but I'm not sure how fast I was going again, mainly because my eyes dried out. Kristy and CJ did not attempt to match on that hill, which is good since I'm not sure their bikes would have been able to slow down fast enough to make the turn at the bottom. The climb back up from the bottom took a lot of time. Kristy's bike gears are all out of tune, and she couldn't get the bike to stay in low gear for the climb. The bike clearly needs more work. To photograph the fireworks this year, I originally planned on being across the river. However, after scouting for location, I didn't find anything across the river I liked at all. I fount a spot along the lagoon in River Side Park and waited. From my location, I could hear the Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra preforming at the pavilion. They are usually quite good, but they were playing things such as Beach Boy covers and sounded more like a pathetic high school band— it was pretty awful. Then, they started playing the 1812 overture. Despite the piece being for the Russian victory over Napoleon in 1812, it's often played on the 4th of July and kicks off the fireworks. During final climax of the piece, I expected the fireworks to start, as is the custom—but no fireworks began. The symphony finished and the fireworks began about 20 minutes latter. I had to move from my initial location, not counting on a easterly wind to push most of the aerial shells behind a tree and out of frame. At my new location, I had the view I wanted. I didn't catch as much reflection over the water as I would have liked, but I got over 400 shots which is plenty for a good compilation. The shot today is 4 shots overlaid during the fireworks finally.
Turned the ratrap into a PHP project. The ratrap is a malicious bot detection program. Bots are told not to go into what looks like a directory, which is actually the script. The script generates random pages full of nonsense text, phony e-mail addresses and links back to itself. When a bot enters (which it is told not to), it will never get out. Eventually, the script will be updated not just to annoy bots, but to ban them. Although it doesn't really matter, since I'm only feeding bots, the ratrap generates pages that are strict XHTML 1.0 compliant.
This picture was taken last August of last year.
I hadn't noticed, but the SSL certificates for DrQue.net expired back in June. So, I regenerated those. Also decided to update the server software. Installed Apache 2.2.2 and OpenSSL 0.9.8b. County Road J just outside Shopiere, Wisconsin.
I set out on a bike ride originally just up the street. But when I reached my destination (the skating rink, I wanted to see what time they opened), I didn't want to turn around. Both water bottles were full and I thought I'd take the long road home. I ended up in Tiffany, about 6 miles away. There is a wonderful old railroad bridge right along Smith Road in Tiffany, so I thought I go shoot that. After the bridge, I discovered what looked like a rather overgrown trail. So, I jumped on it to see where it went. It looks liked a four-wheel drive vehicle had been on this trail in the past—and if it could do it, so could I. It proved to be quick the haul, but I made it through and ended up on County Road J, which is where I thought I would end up anyway. In all, I did 19 miles. The old railroad bridge crossing Turtle Creek by Smith Road in Tiffany, Wisconsin.