December 2, 2008 Downtown Omaha

I thought I'd try downtown Omaha with the moon and planets, but cloud cover and big buildings made it harder than I'd hoped. I figured if I had problems like that, I could just shoot the many lights they have down there right now. I did some others of the lights and skyline, but none too interesting. Each time I used the walking bridge, people were on it, making it bounce too much. That and at first, around 6 pm, it was really damn empty in there. Not empty enough though. Seemed like some dude carrying a plastic bag was following me or something. I wasn't too afraid of him, since I figured I could take the guy. He just seemed a little odd in his movements, kept stopping and standing near where I would. Part of me was daring him to try to take my stuff. What bugged me were any potential group of kids or anything like that. Carrying around about $4,000 in camera gear wasn't helping my fear. It soon got better as it filled with other people. After I'd taken my bag back to the car at least, lol. Then you figure if you got jumped, someone trying to take your stuff, that maybe someone would help. Before though, well, it didn't feel terribly safe walking down in there away from the streets. And Omaha hasn't had the best reports coming out of it lately, people getting shot left and right and now robbery after robbery on the news. This very night there were several.

This is at the Gene Lahey mall by the way. My moon is getting lower, right above that building.

Using the 10-22 EF-s lens....10 mm.

I set it up so I'd have a 2 second shutter, so someone walking through would leave a blur. Then I just had to wait and wait for someone to walk through. I was like, geez, there'd been several going through before I got this idea. Then finally someone in a group left from near where I was. Moon still up there, barely fitting in the angle.

10th and Farnam.

Certainly something more interesting can be done here. I wouldn't mind owning a nice tilt shift lens. As it was I didn't want to tilt up much, and get perspective tilting to the buildings. If I keep it level I'm fine.

Getting a headache and about to leave, I try this telephoto idea first. I wound up doing this for a good while, and not feeling terribly comfortable in doing so, lol. People would see me pointing the camera at them, from way way down there, and I bet it was annoying to someone out there. I'm surprised I was doing it, because I really have a hard time shooting people at all. It seemed that since there were so many out, some shooting too, that it was not as big of a deal. Some of these were 20-25 second exposures, some much less. I'd push it and be like, hurry up and get over so I can move the camera and not be pointing at them as they get to me.

This is a crop. I never noticed those two holding hands at the time. Kind of cool that they weren't moving. Wish I had shot it that far zoomed and didn't have to crop it to get it this way.

This needs snow. I plan to do it again, actually to hit up downtown all over as well. I'd say this was the very first time I really shot scenes with people. I can see how this kind of thing, street photography, could be addicting.

Really hard to see the people close to the camera on the right. Also, someone had their headlights on up there, shining across the sidewalk.

After about 20-30 shots of people walking there I left to go home, but saw the moon as I drove. So I flip around and find a parking spot again. It was a lot harder finding parking spots now compared to when I first showed up. That is the Woodmen building on the right.

Moon out my window. Well their window. If only someone was looking out the window at the same time.

Something was always messing with the shot. This case a street light, which is JUST left of frame(can see its lighting up there top left). So as the moon set to the right, that pole kept me from placing it more between those two buildings. Hell it went behind the Woodmen so I had to walk to this spot till I found it again.

Now this is what I'd wanted for a while. Somewhere I could zoom in on downtown as the moon set near it. I'll just say there aren't many places to do this! Ok, so there probably are, but not on this road, which runs along I-29 north out of Council Bluffs. It's nothing but trees in the way. There are two very small sections on that road to do it. And even then, they didn't allow me to put the moon right next to the buildings as it got lower. I need to do it when the moon sets more south, if it does any further, or find some new area.

It figured, right after this one I lost it in a band of clouds for about 15 minutes. I was pretty pumped finding this spot, then that happened right when I didn't want it to.

I don't think I'm at 400mm yet, even on this one. This would be sweet if I can find a spot further south that will work. Problem is there is a river and not many options for roads northeast of the skyline. And you have to be a good distance from it so when you zoom in, you zoom way in and get them all together, so the moon appears big next to the buildings. Being closer with a wider lens obviously won't give the same effect. I mean think of zooming in all the way to 400mm. I can move around anywhere on the Earth basically and the moon will be the same size in the frame, pretty big. If I find a spot too close the skyline that the buildings no longer fit, well I'd have to back the zoom off, and then the moon would appear smaller in the shot. I'm not sure much of anything on the Nebraska side will work because of that. I probably need to be standing in the river to get it all maxed out. You can see the new walking bridge they built over the Missouri River in this one, lower left. It's hard to see. I'm assuming it will be too close to downtown to use 400mm on and get all the buildings.

I also need a much heavier tripod. I'd use the live view on the camera and zoom in 10x to get the focus just right. Well, just too much movement when I'd try and spin the ring. When you zoom in 400mm, then zoom into the image on live view 10x, well you are extremely zoomed so any movement to the lens(like using the focus ring) will shake the image on the screen too much. I could clearly see all the antennas on the Woodmen doing this. I was trying to make them exactly sharp doing this, but it was too tough. The 100-400L is an uber picky lens as far as getting focus just right. I was trying to get it perfect, had plenty of time to do so, no wind, and yet they are still a little soft full size. I would use live view too, which can double as mirror lock up, since the mirror has to be up for live view to work. I'd then not touch the camera or tripod for several seconds after adjusting. There was zero wind. The only reason they weren't tack sharp is the focus wasn't set to the picky ass perfect spot on the lens. Seems one almost needs a machine to make the tiniest of turns. That or shoot less picky objects, like clouds!...or use less picky lenses....about anything other than this one.

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