Shooting Journal: Autumn Shooting in Southwestern Ohio

Lacking travel plans until spring, I chose to try out a new Nikon D-90 on local fall scenery.

My D-80 tended to chronically underexpose so I have been pleased with the quality of the images I've made with my new D-90. I often start using the Program mode, then make adjustments based on both the image display and the histogram as well as whether I need to, for example, vary the depth of field. So far, I've found that the images shot in the D-90's Program mode require little to no tweaking in Photoshop. The tones are already rich and saturated, the exposure balanced.

There is a slight learning curve involved with changing the settings on the D-90. It is possible to do this the same way, more or less, as the D-80 but there are options on the newer camera that will be easier and more user friendly as I become more comfortable with them.

The Montgomery County MetroParks provide endless photo-ops, so this is where I chose to start trying out the new equipment. Patterson Road, running between Hills and Dales Park and Community Golf Course provides an overlook to the west. I used an older Tamron 28-300mm lens and a tripod to get some sunset views one evening and on a weekday afternoon, took advantage of an accommodating mallard pair at the Dogwood Shelter pond. Lily pads on the water made attractive patterns and I enhanced that image with a Topaz Adjust filter for more visual interest.

When my Tamron 18-270 VC lens returned from a tune-up a few days later, I took myself to Cox Arboretum, another MetroPark, where the early light and the crisp fall weather helped produce some especially clear and saturated shots of the scenery there. With a VC lens, it's nice to be able to leave the tripod behind. When I need to use it, however, I shut off the vibration control to avoid the camera shake it can generate when the camera is already on a stable base. I handheld the camera when I went back to Hills and Dales early one morning, caught the mist rising off the surface of the Dogwood Shelter pond and found wet wild blueberries along the wetlands boardwalk.

A favorite subject of photographers in southwest Ohio is the many covered bridges. The town of Troy, north of Dayton along I-75, is the site of the Eldean Road Bridge. Bridge hunts tend to be a little like scavenger hunts and the search for this one was no different. Serendipity works about as well as road maps. The Eldean Road Bridge was no exception but was worth the search. The bridge was built using a Long Truss support and is now the longest of this style in existence. It was placed on the Nation Register of Historic Places in 1975.

While it currently lies off the main road, it is possible to drive or walk across the bridge into the adjacent park . I chose to shoot toward the west, with the sun behind the structure, and set the aperture to f/22 to create a sunstar for a few of the images. From the other side of the stream, the Tamron's wide angle allowed a full view of this very long bridge. Again, the color and exposure were good but I had to add some fill light in Photoshop to bring out the details of the near side of the bridge.

So far, my experience with the D-90 has been really enjoyable. It is easy to master and, with or without a tripod, produces clear, crisp images. Initially, my plan was just to have a back up body but clearly, this was a good choice to add to my equipment.

Cox Arboretum Pond

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Dream of Autumn

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Eldean Covered Bridge

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Eldean Covered Bridge 2

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Hills and Dales Lily Pads

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Hills and Dales Mallards 2011

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October in Hills & Dales Park

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Sunset over Community 2

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Wild Blueberries

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