Thursday, August 31, 2017

First Beers and Cameras

I've been wanting to go to one of these for a while, but what with one thing or another, this is the first.  It's late, so here's just a couple images for you, mainly me playing. It was fun, I'll do it again.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

It's a glad day for you, now

The Gladiolus plants have been blooming, and mostly showing their good side for photography. Yes, the lime green one is the real colour, not some photo editing mistake on my part.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dragonflies in flight, doing

Lots of nice social media comments on the bee photo in yesterday's blog, thank you! While all that was happening I was wandering through Fish Creek again, downstream of bridge 8. That's the one just beside the LRT tracks.

I've run and biked past there many times, but never right along or through the river. The trees are beginning to turn colour, but the water is still warm and shallow. There was no plan for what I was going to shoot; I just wanted to be out in the sunshine and fresh air.

There were dragonflies! Not as many as I've seen a bit further upstream, but some. If I stood and waited, more of them would show up and fly around me. I've been reading up on dragonflies, and it says they have excellent vision. Maybe if I'm moving they see me as a threat, but standing still I'm just a strange kind of tree or something.

Standing still makes it easier to take photos, especially standing on slippery rocks in ankle deep water. Let's see what order blogger puts them. All were shot with the 70-200 mm lens, which limits how close I could get for the shots when it was resting.

Not the nicest background I admit. It was flying just above the creek, darting in and out almost faster than my eyes could follow. I took lots of shots, and almost all are rejects. Lots and lots of rejects. This is the best one for focus, and it's zoomed in a bit, which is why the background looks terrible. (1/1250 sec exposure if you're wondering what it took to get the wings captured.)

This one is slightly out of focus. The only reason I included it is that two dragonflies are flying formation. They were doing it for a while, and this is the best shot. There was a different pair doing the same thing, but no photos of them. I'm not sure what they're doing, exactly, but I have suspicions. So do you.

Two different views of this one getting some sun on a rock. I was wishing I had the 100 mm lens to get closer. I love looking at the structure of the wings.

I liked the calm reflection of the concrete pillars, and the other diagonal lines.

I'm told this is a Sandpiper, but my buddy says she isn't sure if it's a Greater, a Lesser Yellowlegs, or a Solitary. I didn't see another one around, so maybe that last one.

It's an interesting exercise, trying to stroll along, and be open to whatever might make an interesting photo. Point, line, shape, form, texture, pattern, tone, colour. Stopping often to look around. Listening to the creek as it tumbles over rocks. I liked the patterns of sunlight on the water, and how the rocks shaped the ripples in the water.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Macro Monday 4

A bit of a mixed bag for you macro lovers here today, with a reward down at the bottom. These were taken at various times over the last week.

A neighbour hankers to have a photo of a sunflower up on his wall, so he bought some at the supermarket and dropped them off the other day. It was fun getting some regular shots of them, but the one I like the most, at least so far is this 3.5x shot. I'm not sure what those are tiny little beads of. (Though there was one in yesterday's blog that is even more amazing, since I didn't even know the bee was there till I saw the photo on the computer screen.)

Some fabric mesh at about 1.3x, using an extension tube on the 100 mm macro.

This is the heart of a tiny little Johnny Jump Up, at about 4.5 or 5x. Those little white tendrils are barely visible to the naked eye, showing up barely as a tiny little white patch.

Artemisia at about 4.5x. I sort of think of this as a baby lake kraken, dreaming of taking on wet suited  prey. This was kind of fun. The camera was stable, and I gradually focused in, seeing how it changed at different magnifications. This might be a good place to try focus stacking, though I've got some photos of the sunflower I want to try that with. Maybe later today, in between all the other stuff I want to do.

Settums at about 3.5x. It took a while to get focused in on one that was open.

White geranium, the barely visible stamen at about 4.5x.

The centre of an English Daisy looks sort of nubbly to the naked eye, but at 5x these remind me of the Alliums.

All of these (except the extension tube shot) are done with the camera on the macro rails, but the rails  themselves are sitting on the ground or something firm. I really do need to get a small, but stable tripod good for shooting things close to the surface. The camera, lens, and flash weighs just over 2 kilos. (Any suggestions from my photo buddies?) Free handholding this kind of weight when you need to be within a mm or so of the focus distance, and you're aiming at a spot that's only a few mm on a side is nearly impossible.

Although, there are exceptions when you get lucky. I did this Sunday morning as I was out scoping out the flowers, and getting ready to shoot the sunflowers. I think this guy was napping so it didn't notice or mind the lens in it's face. Taken at about 3x, no cropping, HANDHELD! This is almost certainly going to be my August image of the month, and is a strong contender for 2017 image of the year.

The other thing I was thinking of is seeing what I've got around the house to build an improvised thingie to mount the macro rails on, that allows the camera to be moved easily into any position, and itself mounts on something sturdy. The bike stand is a possibility. Any suggestions from the macro community?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Photo wow day!

I'm not even done editing the photos from this morning yet, and I've seen 2 that would be strong image of the month contenders, even with that red sunset and powerboat shot in the mix, or any of the other dozen or so, like the second red begonia, a back lit dahlia, and a dragonfly are all bubbling to the top of the competition.

Except I think I got image of the year this morning. I'm giving that one time to settle in on me, doing some subtle tweaks to make it the best it can bee. (hint hint)

Here's the other two, for your pleasure, plus a bonus. Keep in mind there are still a bunch of other sunflower macro shots to edit, including a sequence where I want to try focus stacking. And a lily protuberance. And some other etherial lily shots. And some gladiolus that look pretty spiffy in the morning sun after being watered.

All in all, it was an excellent morning for photography.

What's so special about this one, you ask? It's certainly not a macro shot; I was kneeling about 15 feet away. Look closer. Look between the sunflowers. Now embiggen it. This is something I didn't think was going to be possible, getting a bee's wings in focus. That is a genuine holy doodle moment.

This is a shot at about 2x, using all the extension tubes (68 mm total) on the 100 mm macro lens.

This was shot at the same time as the one above, and might even be the same bee. I hadn't noticed the ant when I took the shot. I wonder if they're aware of each other?

Can't wait to get at the other photos, but my social life is calling.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The white of the lily

Yesterdays post was all about the dark lilies. Today's starts with a white lily only a few feet from the dark ones.

These are in pots in the front patio, but I think the plan is to transplant them over the fall into other parts of the garden. We've been working on suppressing a lily beetle infestation, and it will be easier to deal with if the plants are spread out a bit. Plus I think it will look stunning if the black, yellow, white, and orange ones are all arranged together in some artistic manner.

Hint, if you have lilies and see something that looks like a ladybug but without the spots, kill it. The larvae is like a black slug on the underside of the leaves and they are grossly disgusting but voracious. Kill them. I wear gloves to squish them. If you see a string of what looks like tiny orange beads, that's the eggs. Smear them. Your lilies will thank you.

The bees are still loving the dahlias.

And this, whatever it's called. It looks fearsome, does it not?

One of my neighbours yearns for a sunflower photo to hang in his living room, so he brought me some from Safeway. They are tiny, but that's ok. It's all in the choice of lens one uses. There's a stunning macro shot I'll post on Monday, but here's the sunflower shot I like best so far.

The gladiolus are opening up. Here's a teaser shot for you. (You're welcome, Susi.)

Friday, August 25, 2017

The dark of the lily

Lilies are beautiful! We have so many different kinds and they're all differently beautiful. Some of the colours are merely very pretty, and some of them are blow your socks off with the purity and clarity of the colour. Then for some of the photos where the lighting is perfect, it's like a little explosion happened in your brain.

Linda got these dark lilies as an experiment. I think they were a bonus for buying something else. I was a bit dubious about them, and at first I was thinking I wouldn't be able to photograph them. They are SO dark I was thinking all I'd get was a blodge of blackness.

So much for that. It is a bit of a challenge to get the settings right, and edited in Lightroom. Hint, forget the auto button exists. When the light is right, they are a beautiful black red that is difficult to describe. These have been captured in everything from morning to evening light.

I wonder whether a better camera would more accurately capture the flower colours, from brilliant yellows, oranges, reds, down to this black. The season is almost over, but anyone want to bring over a really good camera?