Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pentax K-30 Images, Part 1: Windswept Ranch, Etc.

I took my family to the Windswept Ranch near Mojave, California, to see some of their exotic animals. This was a good opportunity to photograph some animals that might otherwise be difficult to find in this part of the country.
Buffalo Horn - Mojave, California
This was also a good chance to play around with my Pentax K-30 DSLR in preparation for an upcoming review. In order to write about the camera I need to know it pretty well and put it through all sorts of tests.
Zebu - Mojave, California
The zebu above was pretty entertaining. He could move his pen around and knew how to best arrange it in order to get close to ranch visitors (who had carrots to give away). 
Camel - Mojave, California
I used the "cross-process" feature of the camera to get the wild colors on the camel above. With film, you can develop a roll in a chemical process designed for some other film type. The results are sometimes interesting. The K-30 does a good job of replicating this in-camera. 
Unsure Boy Feeding Camel - Mojave, California
My son was a little nervous to be so close to such large animals, and especially nervous to get his hand so close to their mouths. However, after a few tries it was difficult to get him to stop giving carrots away!
Emu Stare
With wildlife photography, a good way to get interesting results is to focus close on one aspect of the animal. The eyes are a good place to start, but anywhere that grabs your attention could make a great photograph. Don't include too much--keep it simple.
Donkey Ears - Mojave, California
The above photograph would have looked better without the contrail in the sky. It appears to be coming from the donkey's ear. If I wasn't lazy I would have clone-stamped it out. If I had paid more attention when I captured the image, I could have changed the angle a little and removed it that way. Oh, well.
Alpaca Eye - Mojave, California
Anytime that color is not an essential element to a photograph, it should be converted to black-and-white. By doing that, you create a more dramatic image that has a fine-art feel.
This Little Piggy - Mojave, California
I also took my family and camera to a Denny's in Bakersfield, California, for dinner. This was a good opportunity to use higher ISOs and take advantage of the camera's excellent image stabilization.
Cup of Joe - Bakersfield, California
There is a short window (pun intended) at dusk after the sun has gone down where the sky turns a deep and dark blue. Most people put their cameras away after the sun dips below the horizon, but for the next roughly 30 minutes there are good photo opportunities if you keep your eyes open. The photograph below was captured about 20 minutes after sunset.
Go Bananas! - Bakersfield, California
The next six images were all post-processed using the camera's built-in software, which is excellent and full of creative options. It's probably still best to edit your photographs on a computer, but if you are away from your computer and need the images cleaned and polished, the camera is a capable tool.
Six Crows - Bakersfield, California
I reversed the colors on the image below to make it look like a negative. You can easily do this with film by shooting slides and print them on "normal" photographic paper. Sometimes a negative is more interesting than a positive.
Negative Energy - Bakersfield, California
The image below was captured from the passenger seat of a moving car. You should always have a camera close by because you never know when a good photo opportunity will appear.
Field - Bakersfield, California
The two photographs below were captured about one second apart. Which is better, the black-and-white or the color image? There is more drama in the black-and-white photograph, but the shadow middle-right is a distraction because of high contrast.
BNSF Intermodel Train #1 - Tehachapi, California
The photograph below has a couple of points of color contrast that draw your eyes away from the light contrast from the large shadow. First you have the blue sky against the yellow hills, and second you have the orange train against the green trees and foliage. Even so, I like the black-and-white image better.
BNSF Intermodel Train #2 - Tehachapi, California
The photograph below is another example of color contrast: the blue sky and the yellow grass. Those two colors together will grab your eyes. It's also about simplicity. Simple images are often more pleasing than complex images because the story is clear. If I wanted the photograph to be even better I would have waited until the sun was low to the horizon (instead of mid-day) to capture it, using the softer and more pleasing light.
Yellow Grass - Tehachapi, California

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