Sunday, March 27, 2011

Extreme close-up of the heart of a Crocus...

Crocus center
Shooting a Crocus with a 36mm Kenko extension tube + my 105mm macro lens makes for a shallow depth of field resulting in sharp focus for a very narrow range and bokeh everywhere! I don't normally add two posts back-to-back but just had to upload this one so I could participate in macro Monday over at Lisa's Chaos today. I keep forgetting to do that but finally remembered this week!

Recently resurrected roadside landscape from the Stanley, Idaho area...

roadside scenery near Stanley, Idaho
A friend stopped by today to learn a few tricks from me about using Lightroom 3 software for photo management. He's more of a novice using the software than I am and although I am by no means an expert, I was able to show him a few things that will give him a good basis for learning more.

The best part about our 'training session' today is that he showed me a marvelous trick for viewing images that are buried deep in my old iPhoto library from within Lightroom. Believe me, I do not want to put EVERY image I have in iPhoto into a Lightroom catalog... but being able to browse through my iPhoto library using Lightroom to pick and choose a few of the images for future editing is marvelous!

This image from a September trip to Stanley, Idaho in September of 2009 is one that I don't believe has been seen online before today. The area around Stanley, Idaho includes lakes, rivers and the beautiful Sawtooth Mountains. Just about anywhere in the area around Stanley, one can find scenes such as this one, taken with my D90 and the 18-105mm lens I was using at that time.

The other thing I learned how to do today was download a lens correction profile for that older lens and use it in Lightroom to correct for chromatic aberration, barrel or pincushion distortion or vignetting. Although many lens correction settings are built-in to Lightroom, some are missing and it was wonderful to discover that others have worked out those missing correction profiles and made them available online.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Camellia and Helleborus collage... after the rain stopped...

helleborus and camellia collage
I added a Helleborus close-up to complete this collage because I only had three Camellia images. This Camellia of mine produces all three of the bloom types you see here... it is really quite wonderful. And for the first time this past fall, it produced late fall, early winter blossoms as well as being COVERED with a profusion of spring blossoms right now.

A master gardener (which I am not) told me I should seriously prune this bush back since it is now over six feet tall. Since I have no clue when/how to prune it, I've let it continue to grow. It does need pruning so I'll research how to do it. When we get heavy, wet snow (as we did the past two winters), the entire plant bows down and kisses the driveway from it's perch a couple of feet above it in a raised bed along the side of the house.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mrs. Cardinal has been at the suet! Explored on Flickr!!!

Female Cardinal
I post images on Flickr and am quite excited that this one made it into "Explore" when I posted it. Explore is some magical algorithm that Flickr uses to figure out the 500 most interesting images posted to Flickr in a 24 hour time period. No one really understands it... but when one of my images gets that kind of recognition it really makes me feel great!

I'm just going to have to keep this new lens I guess! :-) Shot through my kitchen window using my Nikon D90 with Sigma 120-400mm lens at 400mm, ISO 800, 1/1250 sec at f/5.6. Edited in Lightroom 3 to crop and adjust exposure on the totally blown out deck railing on which Mrs. Cardinal was standing. Little else was done to this image.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Squirrel portrait... new lens is looking good!

squirrel close-up
I've been frustrated at not being able to get as CLOSE to my garden creatures as I'd like, so I ordered a new lens recently and am trying it out... this is one of the first really good close-ups of one of the MANY squirrels regularly visiting my garden to raid the feeders. He is sitting on my warped deck rail and taking a break from trying to get in to one of the feeders. He's just picked up some stray seed dropped onto the deck rail by one of the birds.

The lens is a Nikon mount - Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens with OS (Optical Stabilization). This image was shot hand-held from inside through my kitchen window... the lens is pretty well balanced for hand-holding as long as there is plenty of light. I also purchased a 1.4 teleconvertor... using that requires a tripod for sure! One day soon I hope to sit in the back yard with the tripod set up and the new lens + teleconvertor assembly. The birds don't really like me pointing this huge lens at them (even from INSIDE) so I'll have to bide my time until they get used to it AND me in the garden or I won't get any shots at all. My yard is too tiny to set up a blind of any kind.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Orchids, orchids, orchids... at the Philadelphia Flower Show!

photo collage of orchid images
I wasn't super happy with ANY of the photos that I came home with from the Philadelphia Flower Show. Between the low light and the crowds, it was very difficult to get into position for "best shots." Because of my experience lugging a tripod last year, I chose to leave the tripod at home... way too hard to position a tripod without causing inconvenience to others... and hand holding was tricky too because of jostling by the throngs eager to see the displays.

That said, I'll probably post another collage eventually but the orchids were phenomenal so I'm sharing this one first. Putting the images together in a collage makes it easier to overlook the flaws! :-)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Raptor in the garden... Winter, 2011

raptor - Sharp-shinned Hawk
While having my coffee and reading the paper after finishing breakfast this morning, I noticed the absence of birds at my feeders... this usually means a raptor visit! In the past, I've been able to spot a hawk (thought it might be a Cooper's Hawk but have since found out it is a Sharp-shinned Hawk) high up in the trees nearby when I notice the absence of birds at the feeders.

Today, when I looked out the window, the hawk was perched down fairly low in the Silver Maple next door. I grabbed my camera with 70-300mm lens already mounted and stealthily crept out the side door of our house and tip-toed around to the back yard. After snapping quite a few (some quite blurry) images from a respectful distance, I decided to take my chances and creep closer to where he was perched.

I managed to get within 25-30 feet without startling him because he was VERY interested in figuring out a way to get THROUGH the rose brambles in the bush under where he was perched. He could hear the birds hiding there but couldn't get to them. Talk about frustration. If you want to see a few more images of this beautiful bird, there are 22 in a slide show that will take less than one minute to view.

UPDATE to this post... I have recently discovered sharing my blog with others through posting (using Linkys tools or other) links back to my blog on someone else's blog. As of noon Tuesday (Eastern US Time Zone), World Bird Wednesday is open for sharing bird images with like-minded souls. So I'm posting this there today... come join the fun!