Color The Skies

This morning, very early for a Sunday morning I might add, we went out to Ripon for Color the Skies, a hot air balloon festival to raise money for the Children’s Hospital Central California. IMG_6175b We got out there a little after 6. Lucky for us, they were behind schedule and were in the midst of having all of the ballooners move from one side of the park to the other. One by one, the colossal balloons inflated to enormous heights. I can’t ever remember seeing giant hot air balloons up close before and was amazed at their size.

Sadly, the festival organizers announced that weather would prevent them from taking flight. Although it would’ve been cool to see them launch, having them on the ground was still cool. Plus, made for some good photo opportunities.

Speaking of photos, I learned a valuable lesson. Or should I say, a lesson I already learned was reinforced. Since the sun was rising right behind us the lighting was tricky. I started shooting in aperture priority mode, with my shutter speed on auto. A lot of my shots were too bright though so I switched to manual mode and increased the shutter speed. My shots in the 1/125 - 1/640 range in AE mode were greatly improved by shooting 1/1250 - 1/3200 in manual.

125v1250 (first: AE, 1/125, f/4.0 ISO 100; second: man, 1/1250, f/4.5, ISO 400)

See the rest of the pictures here.

New Camera

I finally got my new toy a couple of weeks ago, a Canon Rebel T1i. After months of shopping around I finally settled on the Canon XSi. Having never shot with a digital SLR before that model seemed to be a great starting point. So, I did what any prudent person would do: I announced my decision on Twitter. Within just a few minutes I had several replies. One of them was from Rich, a friend of mine from Colorado, saying that I should look at the new T1i which would be coming out in just a few weeks. Given that the T1i, with 15.1 mega pixels, also takes HD video with resolutions up to 1920 x 1080, I decided to delay gratification and order Canon’s newest model. Then, I waited. And waited. And waited. With Canon only saying that its release would be “sometime in May” I was pleasantly surprised when came early in the month.


Along with the kit lens (18-55mm IS) I also picked up a 70-300mm zoom lens and a 60mm macro lens. I would love to give a full review of the camera but there is still so much I don’t know about it. Having only shot with point-and-shoot cameras before I fully recognize the fact that there is a steep learning curve here. What I do know is that I love shooting with it. I love the speed of the camera. Compared to my old S5, I love the ability to shoot when I want to as opposed to waiting for the power cycle, zoom, focus and shutter.

I haven’t had a lot of time to get out and shoot with it yet but have taken some shots, posted to Flickr of course. Stay tuned for more!