Monthly Archives: August 2010

VIDEO: Saving Oysters in Seabeck

Some people think the future comes via a DeLorean. Not in my line of work. My “The Future” comes via the Canon 7D.

We’ve had it a few weeks now, but Meegan usually has custody. This was my first assignment shot entirely on the 7D. It says something that a camera makes for a fantastic stills, and video camera. And we’d probably be fighting over it more if it weren’t for our star intern, Jeanette Scarsdale, (Who left for home today.) shooting a zillion videos the last couple months.

Here at Kitsap Frames, we’re really, truly not in the product review biz. But I’m loving the 7D (for video.) Mostly.

First, the package is obviously portable, and the footage is drop-dead I-wanna-throw-some-swear-word-adjectives-in-here-but-I-can’t-because-this-is-a-family-blog good.

The downsides, however, are kind of annoying. If any of you decide to wade into the video DSLR pond, be aware of some compromises. First, it’s a camera first, video camera second, when it comes to ergonomics. Sure, there are fancy contraptions you can buy to improve that, but frankly a tiny selection of you will do that. It just doesn’t make sense for casual shooters.

Today, I was getting some shots (Like the opening one) at a super low angle. But I couldn’t see the LCD to tell if it was in focus. There’s one example. Hand holding to get a steady shot is tough. IS lenses and/or a tripod are good investments.

If you’re thinking, “Hey, the audio from the camera’s pretty good!” Don’t kid yourself. I used a shotgun mic from our XHA1 with an XLR to 1/8″ jack. Nifty. The mono cord I had presented some problems editing, but it all worked out.

I could take a detour into some wonky technical junk about editing 7D footage, but most of you probably don’t care all that much. And if you do, you know what I’m talking about.

Back to my point. Why is the 7D the newspaper reporter/photographer/videographer future? Because it’s one thing that does two things really, exceptionally well. As we’re all pushed to become multimedia journalists who can do everything really, exceptionally well, it makes life a lot easier to have one piece of equipment along for the ride.

Now, if only the next version could write my stories for me, too… Oh well. A DeLorian can’t do that, either.

– Derek Sheppard

PHOTOS: Bainbridge Island Is A Hoot

Earlier today our Web editor saw a bald eagle flying low down 5th Street, right near our office, clutching a pigeon in its talons. You don’t see that every day. Sadly, no photos.

You don’t see owls on street signs every day, either.

Morgan Wickline of Bainbridge Island sent these photos in of an owl on Baker Hill.

Caption: This picture was taken this evening around 8 pm. The owl sat still while we took a few shots. Unfortunately we had a new camera and did not quite get the hang of it to have it come out clear.

– Derek Sheppard

PHOTO: Challenge #23 Cellphone Favorites

Since Derek is/has been uber busy with stories he’s left it up to me to post our favorite cellphone photos from last week’s challenge.

Here’s what you should know, I do not use the camera on my cellphone, nor have I ever used it. Okay maybe I took one picture one time but it’s still on there because I don’t even know how to get the photo off of the phone.

I am not against cellphone cameras, if that’s the only camera you have, well by all means photograph away! It’s just I usually have between 1-3 cameras in my bag or on my shoulders most of the time, so my need for a cellphone camera has never been that great.

But I digress here are our favorites for the week:

“Oscar” by ladypoohbear

That’s right it’s a little dog in a mailbox and gosh darn it it’s pretty darn adorable! Aside from the silly cuteness of it it’s just a well composed photo but maybe a better title would have been “The Mailman’s Worst Nightmare” or something along those lines. 😉

by Kathryn Simpson

Who needs room in their kayak for all that fancy camera gear when a small cellphone camera captures such a beautiful scene right in front of you?!?! This photo has a nice perspective with the nose of the kayak just off center of the frame and the sun just off center of that- really just a great use of the rule of thirds (which happens to be this weeks challenge hint hint).

“Warhol Bainbridge Ferry Dock” by Warrick Wilson

Some might think that a picture of  the Bainbridge ferry dock is well frankly just a picture of a ferry dock, but when teamed up with an in-phone photo editing application it becomes a real work of art ready to be hung on the wall, or used as screensaver for your phone.

~Meegan M. Reid

PHOTO: Kitsap Frames Photo Challenge #24: The Rule of Thirds

That’s right we’re going all the way back to the basics of photography with this week’s challenge featuring the rule of thirds.

The rule of thirds implies that images are most pleasing when the subjects or regions are composed along imaginary lines which divide the image into thirds — both vertically and horizontally. The four points where these lines intersect are the strongest focal points. The lines themselves are the second strongest focal points therefore by placing your subject etc. on or very near these intersection points will give you the strongest composition.

Now here’s the thing, SOME rules are meant to be broken and this is one of them but for this challenge you must follow the rule. So show us your best image using the rule of thirds by placing important elements of your composition where the imaginary lines intersect or along the lines themselves. That means not a single photo entered should utilize centered composition.

Many camera viewfinders have a rule of thirds grid built in, but if yours does not then just imagine those lines while you are composing the photograph.

The photo can be of anything- that’s right ANYTHING just show us the rule of thirds.

You’ll have until August 23rd. to show us your best shot. Remember we encourage you to get out there and shoot the challenge in the week that it is posted and the rules and regulations will be posted at the end of this post. (NOTE FROM DEREK: Try to limit your entries to one or two of your best. It gets hard sifting through 10 photos from one person.)

Here are some examples from our archives that demonstrate the rule of thirds (I even put a grid on them to get you visualizing.)

***Do not enter your photos with a grid on them, this is just to show you what we’re talking about***

***To recap: Every week we will post a new photography “challenge” to help build on all of our current photography skills and to encourage everyone to get out and get shooting (cameras not guns). While we encourage you to shoot the challenge in the week that it is assigned, we will however accept entries taken prior to the challenge assignment date.

When you’ve got your favorite shot, login to the Kitsap Sun Your Media Site (if you don’t already have a login, you can quickly set it one up) or click the “Kitsap Frames Photo Challenge Entries” button over there on the right side of the page and upload your image to the Kitsap Frames Photo Challenge Channel (the channels run along the left hand side of the page, again if you can’t seem to get it into the channel just upload it normally and send me an email and we’ll move it).

PHOTOS: Final Kitsap Frames Cell Entries. Round 3.

Our cellphone photo challenge has come to a close.

Here are a few of the remaining entries that we received. Click here if you would like to view all the entries.

Stay tuned and we’ll try to pick our favorites and post a new challenge later this afternoon/evening.

“Mt. Rainier- Sunrise” by Surfergirl

“Foggy Coast” by Angela Dice (SUN STAFF)

“Stunned Hummingbird” by kebersole

“Dean” by Sharon O’Hara

“Warhol Bainbridge Ferry Dock” by Warrick Wilson

PHOTOS: More Kitsap Frames Cell Entries. Round 2.

After a stellar first round of entries, a few … few… more entries are coming in for the Kitsap Frames Photo Challenge: Cell phones.

Here’s a cool kayak/sunset shot from Kathryn Simpson:

This one wasn’t in the challenge gallery, but I assume it’s supposed to be because it’s from a cell. This is one studious cat. Definitely smarter than mine.

Photo by mjmpiggy

Even though Meegan is probably not going to participate, I’m a team player. Here’s my shot. I get a bit of a golf bug when the weather gets nice. And when it’s mediocre. And when it’s horrible. You get the point.

You’ve still got until TUESDAY at noon to submit a photo…

– Derek Sheppard

Balancing Pen and Pixels

I’m guessing, but head nodding in agreement is probably good neck exercise. I should probably rest a bit after reading a Washington Post blog entry this morning.

Ian Shapira writes in the Post’s Story Lab blog about his experience and struggle to transform himself from a reporter, to a multimedia journalist. Read “Print guy learns video–how’s he doing?”

Fumbling with a tripod? Yep. Wrestling with Final Cut? Yep. Fretting over what to shoot, and how to use it? Yep.

I definitely feel Ian’s pain. When I became a gainfully employed journalist in 2003, shooting and editing video was nowhere on my radar. Now I find myself occupying a sometimes bizarre middle ground, constantly developing my written and visual storytelling skills, while trying my best to fill my brain with all of the obscure technical knowledge that video production requires.

Trust me, the technical knowledge is valuable, but blabbing about encoding, deinterlacing and jump cuts is no way to make friends at the local watering hole.

On all counts, I’ve got a long way to go until I’m happy with my expertise in each arena. (That’s actually not true. You’ll find that journalists are never happy with their work. They always see some way it could, should, would have been better.)

This plate-spinning conundrum that Ian and myself share isn’t unique to us. In fact, it’s not even unique to me in the Kitsap Sun newsroom. There isn’t a photographer or reporter in the building who hasn’t shot video for their assignments. In fact, our company stresses that we’re all multimedia journalists, and we do our best to live up to the ideal.

But you can’t deny that telling a story in print, or in video, requires a boatload of sometimes contradictory skills.

Here’s how Ian puts it:

More important, I discovered that making a compelling video for a website such as The Post’s requires a fundamentally different kind of journalistic skill. As a writer with a pen and notepad, I have several logistical advantages over the video folks: I can reconstruct scenes that I am physically not able to witness; I don’t need to lug around heavy equipment to film or record every tiny yet important atmospheric nuance; and, perhaps most obvious, I can persuade people in sensitive situations — often, the very people who make the essence of a story — to be quoted in an article, while those same people might scram when you utter the words “Can I mic you up?”

Video storytelling, and the technical side of video production, is hard. But at the Sun, we’re learning. None of us have degrees, but we’re veteran students of the Google, web forums and YouTube.

Hopefully you get some enjoyment and information from our videos that stories don’t provide.

Sometimes I worry that I don’t write about video enough in this space, but I also know that the video production I’m doing is a little different than what most of you are concerned with. (Shooting home movies, and such.)

As always, if there’s something you’d like us to shoot, or if you’ve got ideas on making our videos better, let me know. If you have questions about taking better video, go ahead and ask. The learning never ends.

– Derek Sheppard

PHOTOS: How To Photograph The Meteor Shower

We had bad luck catching the northern lights, but tonight and tomorrow could be great opportunities to see the Perseid meteor shower.

Reporter Christopher Dunagan talked with our local amateur astronomer, Dale Ireland, for a story in today’s paper.

I wasn’t sure how to try photographing the Perseids, so I e-mailed Dale. Here’s his answer:

Meteor photography. This is one area where film still beats digital. The linear response of digital sensors means you build up background sky glow very quickly and wash out the meteors. Film reciprocity failure allows you to have longer exposures before the sky and meteor trails are washed out and still capture bright short flashes of meteors. Fast film like asa 800 and a wide open lens, wide angle, 5-10minute exposures depending on sky brightness.
Well, few people including me want to mess with film any more so the digital method is to take a lot of short exposures and add them together in Photoshop. With a lens in the 12 to 28mm range and iso 1600 you can get good shots of about 1 minute long before sky fog is bad and before the stars show too much trail. Then add shots with meteors together in Photoshop. The best method is to mount the cameras on a astronomical equatorial drive and take lots and lots of short high sensitivity exposures. ISO 3000+ with the wide angle lens wide open and exposures in 8-10 second range, one right after the other for as long as you want and can store, plus a couple exposures of a minute or two with lower asa or slightly stopped down to get real nice star field images. Then layer the exposures with meteors together in Photoshop and add that to the nice star field image.
Then you will get a photo like this
meteor streaks actually have color, green, red, blue depending on the part of the atmosphere they are burning up in, due to ionized nitrogen and oxygen emission lines.
If you coordinate photography with a friend 10 or more miles away and photograph the same meteor at the same time you can measure the offset against the background stars and use a little trigonometry to determine the height of the meteor. I have done this and it is easier than it sounds.
I forgot to mention that the skyglow around Bremerton causes the sky in images to look very red. You can make this much better by taking RAW images and adjusting the color temperature and tint later. If you don’t take RAW then you can try setting the color temperature to about 3750K or just select the incandescent white balance setting and it will be pretty close. In a really dark rural area a daylight WB setting is good.

Big thanks to Dale for the explanation. If you want to check out his work, head over here to If you’re checking Thursday night, the time-lapse he’s got up is really cool. It’s the fog burning away today, revealing Hood Canal and the Olympics.

– Derek Sheppard

PHOTOS: Cell Phone Challenge, Round 1

A light box, a cute kid and a dog in a mailbox!?! You guys are busting out the big guns to start off the Kitsap Frames cell phone photo challenge, aren’t you? I’m going to have to up my game, for sure. Even now that I realize the “lens” on my cell is cracked. It’s not a Schneider, so I won’t cry too much.

I was surprised to see this as our first entry, because it follows a theme that got me thinking about this challenge in the first place.

LPBP says it’s her son’s yellow car taken inside a homemade light box with the cell phone set on black and white.

Remembering that photography is really only the process of capturing light, the quality of that light matters. A lot.

I drummed up the idea for this photo challenge after reading this post, and watching a video from my favorite lighting blog It’s run by a former news photog who teaches the Internets about off-camera lighting.

The video came from

Yeah, that’s right, they’re shooting with an iPhone 3GS. Cool.

I don’t expect you all to rush out and buy a bunch of expensive studio lights (Or Home Depot flood lights.) but the basic lesson of light, and its quality, is worth remembering.

Now that I’ve blabbed on, you’re probably annoyed with me. You’re just waiting for the cute kid and dog in a mailbox, huh? Here you go.

chynagirl1278 – Give me the cell!!!

Kekoa Fuiava, 22 months old, on the swings at Kitsap Kids Park trying to reach for the cell, as mama takes a picture.

ladypoohbear – Oscar

Oscar has the travel bug!

– Derek Sheppard

Kitsap Frames Photo Challenge #23: Cell Phones

There’s a saying that I’m probably butchering that goes something like this: “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” I’ve also heard “The best camera is the one you use.”

Our cell phones really are the cameras most of us have with us at all times. In that spirit, let’s annoy Meegan (She’s not a fan of this challenge…) and stretch our creativity by taking the best photograph you can with your cell phone. Prove that it’s the photographer, not the camera, that makes a photo. Being a video guy, you’ll get extra points for sending us a snazzy moving picture.

This was my attempt at getting a photograph of myself, and my friends’ dog, Dib, playing fetch. But it was darkish. My not-quite-smart phone is sluggish when taking photos, and the dog wasn’t cooperating. Lesson learned. I’m going after a slower subject for this challenge. I’m expecting you all to do better than this.

Cell phones (Are they really phones anymore?) Are getting more and more advanced, with the megapixel race taking them over as it once did point and shoot cameras. I’ve seen the new iPhone pictures, and they look surprisingly good.

So, now you’re probably thinking, how do I submit my photo from my phone?

(Disclaimer: These steps will give you instructions on using texts messages from your phone. Be mindful of any charges your account may incur.)

There is a way to submit to the gallery directly with your phone. Log into the site,GO HERE, and follow the instructions. In a few minutes you’ll get the code via text message. Now the photo’s in the main gallery, but not the Kitsap Frames Photo Challenge gallery, where we would much prefer you put it. To do that, GO HERE, click the box under your cell photo, and click the “Add details to” button. There’s a drop down menu to select a channel. Ours is almost at the bottom.

If you have a smart phone, you can just e-mail the photo to yourself with your phone’s fancy wizardry, then upload it from your home computer. Alternatively, some of you can choose to picture message the photo, but instead of typing a number as the recipient, type your e-mail address. Download the photo and upload as you normally would.

So go get creative with the camera you’ve always got! You have until TUESDAY, Aug. 17.

– Derek Sheppard

***To recap: Every week we will post a new photography “challenge” to help build on all of our current photography skills and to encourage everyone to get out and get shooting (cameras not guns). While we encourage you to shoot the challenge in the week that it is assigned, we will however accept entries taken prior to the challenge assignment date.

When you’ve got your favorite shot, login to the Kitsap Sun Your Media Site (if you don’t already have a login, you can quickly set it one up) or click the “Kitsap Frames Photo Challenge Entries” button over there on the right side of the page and upload your image to the Kitsap Frames Photo Challenge Channel (the channels run along the left hand side of the page, again if you can’t seem to get it into the channel just upload it normally and send me an email and we’ll move it).