The Rhododendrons in our yard, and on the boarder between our yard and the yard next door, are in full bloom these past few days. The weather was variable yesterday so I got two series of images of the flowers…one in the subdued light of the overcast morning, and one in direct sun, a little after noon. This is from the sunny shoot, and is close enough to turn the image, almost, into an abstract. I like the way the light is just catching on the two anthers and the tip of the stigma, which stand out against the bokeh of the petals in the background.
Canon SX50HS. Program with iContrast and Auto Shadow Control. -1/3EV exposure compensation. In order to create this effect, I backed away and shot at 1800mm equivalent field of view, from about 5 feet. f6.5 @ 1/160th @ ISO 80. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.
I still have lots of birds to share from my trip to The Biggest Week in American Birding, but I feel compelled to celebrate the late but inevitable arrival of spring in Southern Maine. My wife has been working in the yard, planting and transplanting flowers, but I was mostly interested in the volunteers…the wildflowers of my mossy yard. Spring Beauty is always there, but the clumps this year seem bigger. And I caught a bonus Hoverfly at work in this clump.
The Dog-tooth Violets are blooming in every woodlot, and are even more lush in our sunny yard.
Then you have the Wild Strawberry, another widely abundant plant in Southern Maine, that has made a home in the margin of our lawn.
And finally Cinquefoil, which might be new this year, creeping in from the woods across the road. Both this, and the Strawberry image are littered with fallen petals from our Ornamental Plum.
So, pretty tame by true wild-land standards, but not bad for a yard at the edge of town. And, just so you don’t feel deprived of wild, I will finish with a true wildflower, a Painted Trillium from a lunch-time walk around the trail loop at Rachel Carson NWR Headquarters yesterday noon.
Canon SX50HS. Program with iContrast and Auto Shadow Control. A mix of tel-macros at 1200mm and wide-macros at 24mm plus 1.5x digital tel-converter. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.
The number of birds using our back deck thicket feeding station has increased dramatically over the past week. Both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers are frequent visitors. When seen together, or in rapid sequence, at least here in New England, there is no mistaking one for the other. The size difference is dramatic. However, when seeing either without the other present or recently seen, it is always a bit tricky. Even the bill size “field mark” can be very hard to distinguish when only one bird is there to look at.
Canon SX50HS. Program with iContrast and Auto Shadow Control. 1200mm equivalent field of view. 1) f6.5 @ 1/640th @ ISO 800. 2) f6.5 @ 1/400th @ ISO 800. Processed in Lightroom for intlensity, clarity, and sharpness, with a bit extra because taken through glass.
Another visitor to our back deck thicket feeders. I would prefer to catch them in the branches around the feeders, but this young gentleman just has so much finchenality that I will forgive him his choice of perch. Besides, a bird’s gotta eat, especially a bird coming into what might well be it’s first adult breeding plumage. I think that, in part, because this bird has been “sparing” with the other adult males that come to the feeder. The molt on this bird makes for an interesting bedraggled look. Almost a Goldfinch.
Canon SX50HS. Program with iContrast and Auto Shadow Control. -1/3EV exposure compensation. 1200mm equivalent field of view. f6.5 @ 1/100th @ ISO 800. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.
Just on Friday, four days ago, three days before this image I took yesterday, I posted a shot of our pitiful crocus shoots poking up above the cold ground, and made some kind of disparaging remark about how late the spring has been in Maine. Oh me of little faith. I completely forgot how fast crocus are! Those tiny little shoots, three days later, are full flowered and beautiful (and already home, as you see in the image, to what appears to be a honey bee). Not that the crocus completely redeem the spring. While they bring spring more or less on schedule, they are no match for the March 23 blooming of the crocus last year!
Canon SX50HS. Telephoto macro. 1200mm equivalent field of view from about 5 feet. f6.5 @ 1/160th @ ISO 320. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, sharpness, and color balance.
I am leaving Las Vegas this morning…at the airport already waiting the first long leg of my flights to Orlando and the Space Coast Birding Festival in Titusville. I am looking forward to birds and landscapes instead of the the artificial environment of Vegas.
This is a Blue Jay from the backyard to celebrate!
Canon SX50HS in Program with iContrast and Auto Shadow Fill. 1800mm equivalent (1/5x Digital Tel-converter). f6.5 @ 1/320th @ ISO 800. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.
We have both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers in Southern Maine, and occasionally they will be in the yard at the same time. When they are I am always tempted to call the Downy, the Dainty Woodpecker. I am not sure if it is the smallest North American Woodpecker, but it must be close. And more than small…it is indeed dainty…compact and elegant in both appearance and habits. Great bird!
Canon SX50HS. Program with iContrast and Auto Shadow Fill. –1/3 EV exposure compensation. f6.5 @ 1/160th @ ISO 800. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.
It was cloudy and dark most of the day yesterday despite the Weather Channel’s promise of partial sun, but the birds are becoming more active at my new feeding station. Yesterday we had a lot of Blue Jays in the neighborhood. I watched them forage not only our feeders but all the yards I can see from the house…whether or not they have feeders out. We are also getting Titmice everyday, and a few Chickadees and Juncos. I put up a thistle feeder yesterday…hoping for some of the rumored winter finches. We shall see.
Blue Jays are always handsome…and they are prettier in a photograph than in real life. In real life it is hard to get by their constant fuss and bother to see the beauty. And it really requires a close view…binoculars or camera…to being out the subtle shades and the fine feather detail that make them more than a big noisy blue bird.
Canon SX50HS at 1800mm equivalent field of view. Bad light. f6.5 @ 1/320th @ ISO 800. Program with –1/3 EV exposure compensation. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.
I planned on posting a dawn shot, out the back door, over the back yards, to celebrate the first sunrise of 2013, but I had given up on the sunrise and started another post. It looked to me like the sun had snuck up behind a cloud bank and I was going to have to post something else. Mid-post I happened to look up and, low and behold, there was the sunrise I had hoped for! Oh me of little faith.
So, I was writing about how my artistic intent for this year is to 1) be there, 2) be aware so I can see any possible image, 3) be ready (skills honed and gear mastered). And then to frame, capture, and share what I see. That’s it. That will be my photographic goal for 2013 as it has been for many years now. I am looking forward to it!
So, the dawn. Still in my bathrobe, I cracked the sliding glass door that opens on the back deck (it is cold out there) and framed shots as the colors came up in the clouds. Open door. Shoot. Close door. Wait. Open door, etc. When the sunrise had reached what I judged to be its peak, I shot two last frames to form a panorama. The panorama above. (click on it to open it full width in the lightbox)
Fine. Then I get the images into Lightroom and open them out into PhotoShop Elements. I just installed PE 11 last week. Where did they put the PhotoMerge tools?? It took me 10 minuets of searching the help files to find the new placement. Then when I got the images into PhotoMerge’s Panorama tool, I realized that (once again!) I had tipped the camera up to frame the sunrise, and forgot that the distorted perspective would wreck havoc with any panorama attempt. There was just no way these two images were going together smoothly. Rats! Not doing so well my statement of artistic intent so far.
But then, in preparing the other images for my gallery I tried adjusting perspective in Lightroom. Ah ha! What if I adjusted perspective on the two panorama pics before exporting them to PE? No sooner thought than done, and, hey presto, PE’s PhotoMerge Panorama tool was able to do the rest!
So, here it is. Happy New Year. Dawn 2013. And I will have to amend my statement of artistic intent to include whatever learning is needed to accomplish it. But that is okay. I like to learn.
Canon SX50HS in Hand-held Night Scene Mode. 2 images stitched in PE’s PhotoMerge tool. f3.4 @ 1/400th @ ISO 800. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.
Happy New Year to you all. And may you all fulfill your own artistic intent this year and every year.
Merry Christmas Eve!
I went looking for a macro this morning. It is MacroMonday over on Google+, and, as I mentioned yesterday, I need a break from posting images from the Rio Grande trip to Texas and New Mexico. Something new. The living room was dark, with only the little white seed lights of the Christmas tree glowing (along with the screen of my wife’s laptop . I was attracted to the way the light caught in the hair of this little nutcracker ornament. I was attracted by the way the figure was suspended in the shadows and shapes of the pine needles with only the Christmas Tree lights on.
And here is where the magic comes in. This is a handheld, ambient light, macro taken in “handheld night scene mode” at 24mm equivalent field of view with the Canon SX50HS. And the “ambient light” came from the few white seed lights that were close enough. The exif data reads f3.2 @ 1/15th @ ISO 1600 but that is not the whole story. To make this happen, the camera took three shots in rapid sequence and then stacked them to produce an exposure with has much of the noise processed out, and which has been stabilized by using the position data in the three images to process out motion blur. I did use a monopod under the camera to help steady it a bit, but still, this is nothing short of magical! I have linked the image to the lightbox view at WideEyedInWonder on SmugMug so with a couple of clicks you can view this image as large as you like. (Size controls are at the top of the page.)
The third of Clarke’s Three Laws (Arthur C. Clarke, the famous SiFi writer) is “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” It certainly seems as though our cameras today are getting to the point where the technology is that sufficiently advanced. This shot could have been made even in the days of film…but it would have taken a lot of work, and a very skilled artist. Today’s P&S cameras put this kind of shot within the reach of anyone with enough imagination to see it…enough sense to read the manual…and just enough courage to press the shutter button. That is magical!
Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness using my hyper-real preset.