Zoolights Get turned out this weekend!

The National Zoo puts up a gazillion Xmas lights on trees and buildings and at the Connecticut Avenue entrance, and this is a great place to experiment with your zoom. Bring a monopod or a tripod so you can get some stable shots, make your aperture small to reduce light and your shutter speed slow (1-3 seconds), and then as smoothly as possible zoom in or out while the shutter is open. You'll get some colorful bursts in your composition: lights hung on the trunks of trees especially look interesting. Then, off the tripod, try waving your camera in circles or from side to side to let the lights blue across your screen. If you shoot with lots of black background, these pictures can then be of great use in video editing when dissolving with other black-dominant images. Zoolights come down on Friday, so there are only a few nights to go!

Here's the info: Zoolights!

2 seconds, ISO 800, f/22


A 3-second exposure, f/14, ISO 500, on a 60mm lens, sharp as a tack, check out the green tree at left.

Zooming in (or zooming out?) for 2 seconds at f/22 on a 60mm lens, ISO 800.

4 seconds, f/22, ISO 500

Accepting the Black & White Challenge

Facebook is a copycat circus, we all know. You want to see the cat play the piano? Fifty of your friends have just posted it. I've always thought that photographers and other creative people should simply post their own stuff on their timeline, and nobody else's. Why? Isn't Facebook a place to let people know where you went to dinner, or who you're dating now? I think it's the best single marketing tool you've got, if you're not already on Madison Avenue. Take it seriously, and show your friends and colleagues that you take your craft or talents super-seriously. One way of doing so is to join the current game of the day, The Black & White Challenge. You can put your own twist on it, as I have. The original rules called for posting five B&Ws in a five-day period, with you nominating a new person with each post. In my challenges, I've asked the nominees to think in black and white before they shoot or before they edit, so the pictures they submit will always be in black and white. I'll post the challenges from my Facebook timeline into this blog. Here's a black and white that I have not posted:

On the long road to Akuyeri in the north of Iceland, in winter.