Monthly Archives: August 2013

Photography 101: Finding Your Focus

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This is the eighth installment of Photography 101.

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The Daily Post

So far in our Photography 101 series, we’ve asked guest photographers to share their insights and tips on various elements of the craft, from light to composition. Today, meet Matthew George: the blogger at Photo Lord, a site that features and recognizes other photographers, and a passionate high school photography teacher. In this installment, Matthew introduces focus and the concepts of depth of field and aperture. 

Finding your focus — the basics

I provide some general guidelines to my students:

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree, Take Two

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Carefree.

Any guesses where, and what, this is?

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It’s the Greasy Pole in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

From Wikipedia:

The Greasy Pole Contest takes place every year during St. Peter’s Fiesta in Gloucester, Massachusetts. During this time, many young men try their luck at walking down a greased, wooden pole in the middle of Gloucester Harbor. The goal is to be the first person to grab the red flag at the end of the pole.

The Greasy Pole competition originated in Sicily in the 19th century or earlier, and was brought to Gloucester by the Italian immigrant population of fishermen in the early 20th century. The object is to walk across a greased pole protruding from a platform about 200 yards from shore. This platform, depending on the tide, can be anywhere from 10–25 ft above the water. The pole, which hangs over the water, is 45 feet long, and only about as wide as a standard telephone pole. This pole is then heavily greased with biodegradable axle grease mixed with anything from Tabasco sauce to oil, banana peels, and various other slippery objects. A red flag (or sometimes the Italian Flag with a red flag underneath it) is then nailed to the very end of the pole. The idea is to run out on the heavily greased pole and try to grab the flag before slipping and falling into the water. About 40 or 50 men between age 18–60 go out from Pavilion Beach in Gloucester MA during the St. Peter Fiesta, the last weekend of June. They walk the pole one at a time in a pre-determined order. Generally, the men are of Italian descent, although the walkers may include all nationalities. Because of the popularity of the event, there are strict rules as to who is eligible to walk on Sunday. The event is currently held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 4:45PM.

But this was in July. The Greasy Pole was deserted, except for these few kids out to have some fun… or maybe get a leg up on the competition for when they turn eighteen ;-)

The first Carefree post was here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Carefree.

In New York City, carefree is still pretty intense.

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From this years Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

Another Carefree post is here.

Travel Theme: Big

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Big.

I seem to recall that there was already a “Big” photo challenge last year… and my response was the obvious one :-)

So here’s another type of big object that we regularly encounter kayaking in New York Harbor—

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For more on this subject see At the Bottom of the Food Chain.

Thunderstorm over the Gulf at Sunset

By Vladimir Brezina

Seen from St. Pete Beach, Florida, August 2013.

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Paddle to Long Island Sound

By Vladimir Brezina

Last weekend, the currents took us on another of our favorite paddles—from Pier 40 in Manhattan round the Battery, up the East River, through Hell Gate, and round Throgs Neck into Long Island Sound.

Rounding Throgs Neck is like entering another world. The towers of Manhattan are still visible—all this is still within the borders of New York City!—but they are tiny in the distance. The broad blue Sound opens up. Shoals of white sailboats cruise past. Rocks are crowded with cormorants. We paddle past lighthouses and round islands—City Island, Hart Island, Pea Island…

Here are a few photos (click on any photo to start slideshow).

More photos are here.

Friendly Creatures: Kayak Camping in Florida, Part 2

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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Day 2

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We awoke to a beautiful dawn spreading across the sky, mistily lighting up the graceful lines of the Tampa Bay Skyway.IMGP1625 cropped smallIMGP1667 cropped small

Well, technically, Vlad awoke to the dawn… I arose somewhat later, once the coffee was ready. We sipped it, watched the sunrise, and IMGP1630 cropped smallremarked on the steady progression of birds flying north—for all the world like commuters starting the day!

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We agreed that Egmont Key, though an unplanned stop, was a wonderful place to start our real adventure.

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