Amami Superman Photography

A Place to Share My Photos

Jan 7, 2010

Winter Vacation Homework

Posted by Amami Superman

It's Amami Superman Photography's 1st anniversary!
And what a year it's been.

Well, I thought about what I wanted to do for a blog anniversary post for a bit. I really didn't have any good ideas myself. A few mentioned maybe having my daughter Jade as a guest writer, but she just wouldn't go along with it. I thought of going out and taking photos at the same spot that I took last year, but I decided against it. So what should I do? I decided to do the same thing I always do and maybe talk about my experiences over the last year. But first, lets get around to the photos.

Our daughter Jade had some homework to do over winter break. One of the things they wanted the children to do was make a kite with their parents. I'm always up for an arts-and-crafts challenge so we went out yesterday and bought some supplies.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 36mm, 1/40 sec, f/5.3, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Kite Making Supplies

I looked up on the interwebs for some patterns for making kites. When I was a kid, I remember how my grandfather used to make kites for me out of black trash bags and some sticks we would cut from brush. I wanted to do something a little bit more pleasing to the eye than using trash bags. The pattern I found is for a Japanese 6 sided kite. The pattern called for some special kind of paper, but I decided to go with something a little more robust and used a tablecloth we bought at the 100 yen shop. You can find the pattern and directions we used here (although, it's all in Japanese, sorry).

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 32mm, 1/40 sec, f/5.0, ISO 400 -- EXIF
The Definition of Kite Making

We used thinly cut bamboo for the spine and spars. The bamboo was a bit curved so I used the nearest thing I had to hold it down while the glue dried, my Japanese dictionary.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/40 sec, f/5.0, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Spine and Spars Glued

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/40 sec, f/5.0, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Almost finished

I know this photo is at a goofy angle, but I wanted to also show the string I used to put tention on the spars to make it bow. We also cut some ribbon up to tie to the end of the botton spars to give it some style. I think it looked pretty nice. Now all we had to do was let it dry overnight and then tie on the string.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 32mm, 1/30 sec, f/5.0, ISO 900 -- EXIF
Ready to Fly

The next day we tied the string on and we were all set to go fly a kite. We were pretty excited to see whether or not it would fly. Was it going to fly? Was it going to fly?! The answer my friend, is blowin' in the wind. The answer is blowin' in the wind... (sorry, I couldn't resist)

It was very overcast today and it's been raining quite a bit over the last couple of days. I was afraid the nearby park's field would be muddy so we headed to the port to do our test flight.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 26mm, 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Ready for Release

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/100 sec, f/5.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF
We Have Lift Off!

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 160 -- EXIF
Flying High

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 20mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 160 -- EXIF

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 160 -- EXIF
Flying Kites Is Fun

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/60 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Winding It Up

I wonder if Benjamin Franklin felt this way when he made his first kite?

It was a great way to end winter vacation and I thought this would make a good post for my blog anniversary.

I bought my camera a little over a year ago and when I first bought it, I was excited, but I didn't know how long I would stick with taking photos. The more I took, the more I got into it. At first I had some luck and got some pretty nice photos. I really didn't have that much knowledge about photography but I spent a lot of time on the interwebs looking up whatever I could about the kinds of photos I wanted to take. I started to take my camera with me wherever I went and shot pretty much anything and everything. The more I posted on this blog, the more friends I made around the world. I've gotten plenty of emails from several people and through their advice and encouragements, I'm still with it and having more fun than ever.

I started out with a double lens kit that had a Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens and a Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 lens. They are pretty standard but I really didn't know how to use them to their full advantage. One thing that I found I couldn't do was take low lighting photos indoors. I needed a brighter lens so I decided to buy a Sigma 30mm f/1.4. With these 3 lenses I've made my way around Amami taking photos and learning more and more about aperture, shutter speed and ISO. I feel I have a pretty good understanding, but now I just need the experience to know what settings to use at the drop of a hat. I like to take nature photos the most because I can take the time to think about what I'm going to shoot and how to compose a shot. On the other hand, I've had the opportunities of taking receptions photos, sports photos, concerts and the like. They all take some experience to take nice shots and I end up messing a lot of them up. But those bad shots give me the experience I need to take better photos in the future.

Over this past year, I've made the newb mistakes of forgetting my camera batterie, forgetting my tripod, not having enough memory space to take all the photos I wanted to and the list goes on. But now I have 3 batteries, back up memory cards and I leave my tripod in the car. I've also added a few filters to my arsenal, a remote release, a large camera bag to keep my gear in and a hand held GPS that a good friend of mine, Jeffrey Friedl, gave me to help geoencode my photos. I also have to mention that Jeffrey introduced me to Lightroom and the plugins he produces. His plugins are fantastic. They make workflows faster and posting photos easier. Thank you Jeffrey for all your advice and hard work.

One of the accomplishments I'm proud of is I took second place in a photo contest that the local newspaper held here in Amami. I received a trophy, 10,000 yen and got my photo in the newspaper. I suppose that's not too shabby for a newb photographer. :-) They have another photo contest at the moment and I'm still thinking about what I'm going to shoot. I'll post more on that later.

So it was a great first year. I'd like to thank you all for taking the time to read my blog and sending emails. I really appreciate the comments and words of advice you give. I'll be out and about taking many more photos as much as I can and I'll share them with you all here. Happy New Year and I'll talk to you all soon.

For some reason, I had it stuck in my head that my first blog post was on January 7th when it was actually the 10th. Jumped the gun just a bit.


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Keep the language clean please. I have family that see this. Tell us what part of the world you're in.