XDrive Photo Lesson 19 – High Speed Photography

This is my submission for XDrive Photo Lesson 19 – High Speed Photography.

The first problem I ran into was that all photos were underexposed. Raj did mention this potential problem, but I thought our kitchen was quite bright on that day, so I was surprised. I did get a couple of “workable” photos, but as soon as I brightened them, the noise became unbearable. (I really don’t like noise!)

I need light, I thought to myself. I tried house flash light first, and it didn’t help too much. Speedlight or on-camera flash worked! Problem solved, I thought. However, when I checked EXIF data, they all said shutter-speed 1/200. Would Raj consider 1/200 high-speed?

I set shutter-speed to 1000 and tried again. As soon as I pressed the shutter release button, it switched back to 200. I knew that was the flash-sync-speed set in the camera, but how do I get over that sync speed?

I changed camera setting here and there, but just couldn’t make it work. I was about to give up, thinking maybe I could submit some outdoor photos. What happened next, I honestly can’t remember. All I can say is that somehow I saw a video called, “Beginners Guide to High Speed Sync Flash Photography”. OMG, there is a way to go above the flash sync speed! Now, I am excited!

The first 3 photos were indoor photos; a speed light was used. I am really cut down my photo size (See Cee’s comment in my previous post if you are interested.) Please let me know if you have any problem with these photos.


(F/2.8 1/2000 Sec., ISO-800, 105 mm) I purposely set it to F2.8 because I wanted to focus on the water drop only.


(F/5, 1/2000 Sec. , ISO-800, 105 mm)


(F/5, 1/2000 Sec. , ISO-800, 105 mm) I swirled the wine glass to keep the small golf ball rolling around, and took the photo. (I guess you have to take my words for this! 😉

The next 3 photos were outdoor photos. The first two were drive-by shooting (in Shutter speed mode) – our car was going 70 miles per hour.


(F/5.6, 1/1000 Sec., ISO-200, 116 mm) I set the speed to 1/1000 Sec., because it was getting dark and I wasn’t sure if any faster speed would work. In fact, I wasn’t sure this speed would work either.


(F/3.5, 1/1000 Sec., ISO-400, 28 mm)


(F/10, 1/2000 Sec., ISO-800, 52 mm)

Thank you, Raj, for another great lesson.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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Photo Experimenting 2: Playing with Water, oil, bubbles

Kelly at “Shutterbug Diary” commented on my Photo Experimenting 1, giving me a link to a different video saying I might find it interesting. She was right. (Thanks, Kelly.)

Video 1: Oil+Water+Soap (Add soap will make it easier, it said at one point.)

(It took me many tries, I have to tell you.)

My experience:

1. When I watched the video, I didn’t realize how small those bubbles were. I was shock when I saw the real thing. 😉

2. The direction of the light is more crucial than I thought. After failing for several times, I finally changed where I placed the flashlight, and that did the trick. For me, anyway.

3. I tried to manually combine several small bubbles into a bigger one, and wasn’t very successful. My guess is that I might add a little too much of the soap.

4. The color was a nice surprise. I had an orange color place-mat under the glass.

5. I did darken the left top corner to erase the company name for the glassware.

Video 2: Oil+water

After watching one video, you will start seeing similar videos popping up. The difference between this one and the previous one is that it doesn’t add soap.

My experience:

1. It’s easier this time since I kind of know where the flash light should be.

2. This, actually, is the result I had expected from previous experience.

3. Again, I used a household flashlight… because I was lazy.

Video 3: Rain-X and water

This is another video that popped up on my pc. Mark Wallace, actually, is the first photographer whose video I subscribed. His teaching style is straight-to-the-point, which I appreciate a lot. In this case, I would recommend to click the photo to see a bigger version of it.

My experience:

1. I had a hard time to get this work. I, actually, went back to watch his video again. F22, he said.

2. After I switched to speed-light, not using my trustful flashlight, I finally made some progress.

3. Rain-x makes it easier to hand shape water droplets.

Video 4: Frozen Bubbles (water, corn syrup, sugar, dish soap)

After having a few extreme cold days, frozen-bubbles videos started popping up. I thought to myself: I can’t change the weather; I may as well take advantage of it. While waiting for a warmer day to go to a store to get corn syrup, I saw Kelly post a photo of a frozen bubble, which I liked a lot.

It should look better, I thought. My heart wanted to keep trying, but my hands wanted to quit. My husband said, “Why don’t you do it in the garage?”

My experience:

1. Straw worked better.

2. Even a tiny wind could break those bubbles. I thought it was a pretty calm day, but, still, I had to move to a corner of the house to block almost-not-there wind.

3. Garage worked (no wind), but since it’s warmer, it took longer.

4. It still can be better; Winter is not over yet 😉

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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XDrive Photo Lesson 18 – Golden Hour (Again)

This is my second submission for XDrive Photo Lesson 18 – Golden Hour.

We had many cloudy days recently, but once in a while we did see a clear sky. It was too cold to go out, so I took these photos from inside of the house. I didn’t make too many changes in post-processing. They were beautiful (the light) as they were. I want to share them with you, because I believe that beautiful things (or light) are meant to be shared.

This maple leaf is probably 10 year old. It has lost all its color, but came alive during the golden hour.

My neighbor’s willow tree looked prettier than other time, too.

This is another tree that I often stare at. I haven’t figured out why I like it as much as I do. Because of the direction of the light, there is no shadow of the tree trunk or all branches. Is that something to watch out for? (Wish I could position the sun…)

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge – Jan. 7, 2018

I am happy to see that Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge is back. (Thank you, Cee.)

Here is my submission.

You probably wonder why I took this photo. Well, I finally figured out when to use iPhone camera to shoot and when DSLR, so I decided to make a photo to celebrate. 😉

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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XDrive Photo Lesson 18 – Golden Hour

This is my submission for XDrive Photo Lesson 18 – Golden Hour.

Do you know there is a Golden-Hour web site (smartphone app, too), which tells you your local Golden-Hour time? Check it out here.

Of course, time is only one element in the equation. Some days we have great golden hour; some days so-so; and cloudy days it’s simply not there. This week (since Raj posted the lesson) started with several very cold days, followed by some cloudy days. Just as I was going to dig out some old photos, it got warmer 😉

Let me start with one of my favorite golden hour photos… just because I found it.

(F7.1, 1/200 Sec., ISO-100, FL 32mm)

Yesterday’s golden-hour was okay.

(F11, 1/160 Sec., ISO-200, FL 34mm. Can you feel the cold air?)

We had a cloudy morning today, but to my surprise the sun came out for a short while. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time driving to any place.

(F11, 1/30 Sec., ISO-200, 34 mm – F11 is probably not a good choice. I didn’t think ;-( Yes, I shouldn’t rush even though the sun was about to move behind clouds…)

When I did a photo session with Molly, it was during the golden hour.

(F/4, 1/20 Sec., ISO 100, FL 38 mm. My camera was set to f/4 most of the time in that day, if not all. This is a good example of why we should check the exposure frequently while shooting in golden hour. With the same setting – f/4 and ISO-100, a few minutes earlier it only took 1/250 sec. I was lucky on this one.)

I love golden hour. It has the magic transforming an ordinary scene to a special one.

(F/11, 1/200 Sec., ISO-200, FL 62 mm)

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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Photo Experimenting 1: Playing with Water

I like watching videos on different subjects of photographing. The other day the video “I Photographed Boiling Water” showed up on my YouTube home page. It is a short one, so I watched it right away.

But, I don’t have a see-through kettle like the one showed in the video, and I don’t want to do a complicated experiment. I remember taking photos of bubbles in a cup that was placed under running water, and decided to give that another try. For these photos I used: a red vase, a blue wine glass, and a small flash light. I placed the vase and wine glass in the sink, under running water.

Slowing down the water flow, I don’t see bubbles, but …

Next, pointing a small flash light at the red vase… (What I saw surprised me, even though I wasn’t crazy with the photo 😉

Blue wine glass with water drops all over…

Finally, if you google “Frozen Bubbles”, you will see many interesting photos. I tried it yesterday, and only managed to produce a tiny bubble. It was too cold to stay outside… probably next time. Since I had the mixture ready (7 oz warm water, 1.2 oz dish soap, 1.2 oz white corn syrup, and 2 table spoons sugar), I thought I would take a couple photos indoor.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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Happy New Year!

What? 2018 is already here? But, I am not ready for it yet!

I wish you all a Healthy and Happy 2018!

Christmas was nice. For those who remember that I was planning to write a letter to my daughter once a week in 2017 – well, I failed terribly. One of the reasons was that it was difficult to write, blog with the same material (which was my original plan), and, at the same time, to maintain a certain degree of privacy. But I did manage to produce around 15 and gave them to my daughter as one of her Christmas gifts.

To be honest, I had given up guessing what young people may think or feel. I honestly had no idea how she would react. I’d prepared for the worst – if she showed any sign of confusion, I would quickly add, “You don’t have to read them now. You can read them later… much later.”

With a slightly choked voice, she said, “Oh, Mom, this is the best Christmas gift!”

My eyes became wet instantly. Those words meant so much to me. It was one of my happiest moments! And you know what? I think those letters brought us even closer. 😉

In spite of how unready I was for 2018, yesterday, the New Year Day, I felt extremely peaceful. Some new goals came to my mind and I like having goals. Let me give you one example – I will do more photographing experiments this year. After watching a tutorial video, I will shoot some photos based on what I see in the video. It may or may not be the same idea as what is on the video, but it will be somewhat related 😉 That will be fun, won’t it?

Thanks for visiting my blog. I have a feeling that we will have a wonderful 2018! I am ready now!

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