Fort Morgan Power Plant

Fort Morgan Power Plant

The power plant, a concrete post-and-beam industrial structure clad in red brick, was constructed in 1923 under the supervision of its designer, George Cox, Fort Morgan city superintendent. The building housed the highest pressure steam plant in the state at the time of its construction. The construction of the plant reflects the maturity of the city, as it provided critical infrastructure for the growing community. Source: History Colorado

6 Questions You Must Ask Your Wedding Photographer

6 Questions You Must Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Choosing the right wedding photographer is important.  After your wedding the only thing you’ll have other than memories will be the photos.  With all the expenses of the day, this one is arguably the most important.

For my wedding, one of my tasks was to choose the photographer.  I mostly decided based on photos I found online and really liked.  There were several great photographers that had actually done weddings at our venue, so it was easy to see how ours might come out. After finding a few photographers that were available and within budget, I came up with the following list of questions:

1.  Can I see a full wedding’s photos?

Photographers post only their best work online.  A full set of wedding photos will not look exactly like the small set that were hand selected for a website or social sharing.  Asking to see the whole wedding will show the total quality of the photos for an event.  It may be that only two or three photos turned out well from the wedding.  This is also a great time to see their technique in different scenarios.  Will your wedding be at night?  Ask to see a night wedding.  Can this photographer handle low light situations?  Mastering off camera flash isn’t easy for someone that normally shoots in natural light.  Would you be happy if this set of wedding photos is what was delivered to you?

2.  Are you insured?

You are going to want to make sure you are dealing with a professional, and that the professional is insured.  Insurance covers a wide variety of scenarios that rarely occur, but do happen.  Ask them about their contingency plans.  What happens if they get sick, have car trouble, or get hit by a bus the day of the wedding?  Pick someone that has an answer to these what-if scenarios.

3.  How many weddings have you shot as the primary photographer?

Experience is important.  A photographer may claim to have shot over 20 weddings, but this could have been done as a second shooter.  This experience is good, but you want to make sure your photographer has a good sense of timing, knows the shots to take, has experienced some challenges, and can manage their own second shooter.  The primary photographer is also generally in charge of the editing and handling the business/contract side.  A person with greater experience will also likely be more expensive.  If you’re looking to save money, choosing someone with less experience may be the way to go.  I would make sure that they have done at least 15 weddings as the primary.

4.  What are your deliverables?

You want to know what you are paying for.  Are you going to receive physical prints or digital images or both?  Can you make your own prints or do you need to buy them from the photographer?  Will the package include an engagement session?  These deliverables generally drive the price.

5.  What is the turnaround time on a final product?

You want to know when you’re going to receive your wedding photos.  A busy photographer can take a long time to go through and edit photos.  Don’t be shocked if a busy photographer says it will take 30 days.  You may prefer someone that can deliver them sooner, and will commit to two weeks instead of 4-6 for example.  If you do not ask, the photographer may take their time, and deliver the photos months after the event.

6.  Do you have backup equipment?

Backup equipment is required.  Equipment fails all the time, you want to make sure your photographer and their secondary shooters are covered in these cases.  Make sure they are going to bring multiple cameras, batteries, flashes, and memory cards.  Are they prepared for bad weather if it occurs?

 

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Capture One Revisited

In a previous post, I made a comparison between Adobe Creative Cloud and Capture One. In this post, I came to the conclusion that Adobe is still a necessary evil. Recently, Capture One just announced a 50% price increase.

The one redeeming quality of Capture One was that the price point was slightly less than Adobe. This has now been taken away, and it’s clear that this is no longer a viable option. Let’s hope for a new challenger!

Castlewood Canyon Dam

Castlewood Canyon Dam

CRUMBLING AWAY IN A VERDANT state park, the ruins of the old Castlewood Canyon Dam hardly looks like the remains of a sturdy industrial water wall that released a torrential flood on the surrounding area when it finally broke. Built in 1890 and leaking for years after that, the Castlewood Canyon dam collapsed on August 3, 1933. A storm raged on that day, filling the dam’s reservoir to bursting. When the crumbling stone barrier finally failed, over a billion gallons of water were released, traveling over 40 miles of surrounding wilderness before eventually flooding Denver. Huge logs were floated through train stations, bridges were washed away, and by the end of the torrent, the whole city was sitting in four feet of water. Luckily (and tragically) only one person was killed, but the property damage of the catastrophe was immeasurable. While it was likely just age and a lack of maintenance that caused the dam to give way, some residents who still remember the disaster claim that it could have been the local muskrat population effecting the integrity of the dam. No matter the cause, the ruins of the dam remain in Castlewood Canyon State Park. Either side of the structure still remains and the track through which the water broke through is now a dry, grassy thoroughfare. Source: Atlas Obscura

Duolingo

Duolingo

One of the more constructive things I’ve done this year is learning a new language. After taking Spanish in high school years ago, I’ve started over using the free Duolingo app. The exercises are great in the way you can do as much or as little as you’d like.

5094 XP

At 5094 XP, that puts me in the top 8%. This is one of better accomplishments of last year.

I started at the beginning of the pandemic and haven’t missed a day. One of the cool stats they keep is your daily streak. I’m currently at 276, and it feels like I’ve learned a lot. You must complete at least one lesson daily to maintain your streak, that provides a lot of motivation.

The lessons are broken out into themes such as people, places, and family. In each lesson you are reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Once things go back to normal, I ought to be able to survive for at least a little while in a Spanish speaking country.

Chatfield Dam

Chatfield Dam

Tommy and I took a hike along the Chatfield Dam Trail at Chatfield State Park. Here is some trail info from the Chatfield State Park website:

  • Permitted uses: Foot and bike
  • Miles paved:  2.4
  • Miles non-paved: .3 
  • Total distance: 2.7
  • Usage: Low
  • Degree of difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation: 5,500
  • ADA accessible: Yes – Asphalt
  • Comments:  Access trailhead at Dam Overlook parking lot. Connecting trail links include the Highline Canal Trail, Columbine Trail, and Centennial Trail.
  • Pets: Yes, on leash

The trail overlooks the Chatfield Reservoir which is located just south of the town of Littleton, CO. The reservoir was built in 1967 as a way to provide water to the Denver area, and prevent large floods. The intake structure is one of the highlights of the trail, as it is massive, and seems to be high security. The Dam and surrounding area is a great place to get pictures of the Southwest metro area and concertina wire.

Vacation Time

Vacation Time

I just had the great feeling of signing off of work for the year. It has certainly been an interesting year at work, having been home for the last 9 months or so. Now that I’m off work, the first order of business was to turn off my alarms.

That will be a great feeling — sleeping in. During the break, I don’t really have any plans. No travel planned, nothing really at all planned. I might be able to get caught up on some reading, projects around the house, and a side programming project I’ve been working on.

Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction

Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction

Today is the day for the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. They will appear to be close together in the sky, the closest they’ve been in 397 years. Here are some tips to photograph it tonight (source: NASA):

General tips

  • Jupiter and Saturn will appear brighter than nearly every star. They can be seen easily from large cities, and dark sites.
  • Dark skies will allow you to see fainter stars, but Jupiter and Saturn are bright enough that you don’t necessarily need to go to a dark site to take compelling photos of them. If you have a clear view toward the southwest, you have the chance to take some great photos.
  • Think about composition. Jupiter and Saturn will just appear as points of light. To make your photo more interesting, try to frame the planets with something – the silhouette of a tree, an outdoor landscape, the arch of a building, or even a neon sign.
  • Experiment with both wide-angle and telephoto shots. In early December, the two planets will be about 2 degrees apart, and will get progressively close toward December 21. In order to show them clearly in your photos, you might use a wide-angle composition early in December, and zoom in later in the month as they get closer.
  • Be sure to go outside on a few different nights, and see how their separation changes.
  • Using a tripod will help you hold your camera steady while taking longer exposures. If you don’t have a tripod, brace your camera against something – a tree, a fence, or a car can all serve as a tripod for a several-second exposure.
  • These planets are visible in early evening, and you’ll have about 1-2 hours from when they are visible, to when they set. The color and intensity of the sky changes during that time. Stay out for an hour or more, and try to capture shots with both the bright colors of sunset, and the darkness of the oncoming night. A photo from the same location can look completely different just an hour later!
  • The crescent moon will pass near Jupiter and Saturn a few days before the conjunction. Take advantage of it in your composition!

Tips if using a cell phone camera

  • Jupiter and Saturn will be bright enough to detect in many cell phone cameras. You won’t see additional detail by zooming in, but you can frame Jupiter and Saturn creatively.
  • Some recent cell phones have a ‘night mode,’ which will automatically stabilize a long-exposure, even without using a tripod. This can be great for capturing the dark foreground of your photo. Some phones will let you use ‘night mode’ on exposures up to 30 seconds, if you also use a tripod.
  • Many cell phones have a wide-angle lens. Try using this to place a subject in the foreground, with Jupiter and Saturn above them.
  • At the time of conjunction on December 21, Jupiter and Saturn may be too close to separate clearly in your photos. Images taken a few days before or after the conjunction may show them more clearly.

Tips if using a DSLR camera

  • Set your focus to Infinity (Manual Focus mode), so the planets will be sharp. Set your aperture wide open, to let in the maximum amount of light.
  • If you have a tripod, it will help you take long exposures. If not, you can still take some great pictures with a short shutter speed (< 1/4 second). If your camera or lens has an image stabilizer, be sure it is turned on.
  • If your photos show that the camera is not steady, shorten your shutter speed. You can also use a photographers’ trick to get a sharp photo when hand-holding: set up your camera to take multiple exposures, then hold the shutter button to take a series of photos. While some will be blurry due to camera shake, you may find a few that are sharp.
  • If you use a 200 mm telephoto lens, you should be able to see Jupiter’s four bright moons in a short exposure. Saturn’s rings will usually need a longer lens or a telescope in order to resolve clearly.
  • To capture Jupiter and Saturn as sharp ‘points’ while using a tripod, use a shutter speed of up to a few seconds. More than this and the Earth’s rotation will smear out the planets and stars. If you are using a wide-angle lens, you can use a longer exposure.

The weather locally looks great, so I’m hoping to get out for some pictures or to at least see the event.