Are you ready? It's time for our 14th annual photo contest! Enter your best pictures of the year, for a chance to win a calendar and annual subscription here. Hurry! Deadline for entries is October 21.
1. Fireball Hibiscus - 15 blooms yesterday and over 20 today!
2. Lichterman Nature Center - the bridge on the marsh lake, now full of blooming Lotus. I had to use several PSE Transformation tools on this one to get it straight.
1. A little explanation on this one...I'm in an Oldies but Goodies group on Facebook. Every now and again, we get onto the subject of a particular artist or group and post lots of their songs. We laughingly call these sessions "-fests." One time, we had a "Bobbyfest" and all the songs posted were by artists named "Bobby". Anyway, I was in an Englebert Humperdinck kind of mood a few days ago and made this topic header to use for a list of his songs. I used the picture I had Fotosketched last week of the bridge at Lichterman Nature Center as the background.
2. Pulled a rose and laid it in the water in a birdbath. PicMonkey edge fading.
Miss Mary, Thanks much for the new thread. And that lovely Fireball to start it off!! Love the leading lines of the pier. I shot a pier for the Lines in Foreground assignment for class. I like yours better. Much more interesting pier! I agree, Jubilada. That would be a great "Texture in Foreground" image for my assignment. I might have to steal it if I can find the right spot to shoot it. ... Need that Devil Smiley again. I seem to need that one a lot. Hmmmmm.
We were on the same wavelength today. I shot some Lotus flowers too. Haven't had time to process them yet, but I will soon and get some stuff posted. They are yellow. I thought that the lotus flowers that I had photographed a year ago at Brazos Bend State Park were white. Maybe all Lotus flowers are yellow? I don't know. The rose in the water is a beautiful image!
Jubilada, I'm just sitting here smiling while trying to find all the goodies in that gorgeous kaleido. Love the colors and the gradient background. That is a big glad or maybe just a small vase?
1. Wide Angle Shot of Lines Dominant in Foreground image for Class Assignment. That is, unless I shoot something else between now and the due date.
2. Dragon with much cleanup on flower - spots, spiderwebs
3. Lotus Flower with some cleanup - Shot with my 400 mm lens to get max blur on background. Don't care for the white sky at top, but that was the best of all my shots today. Need to do it again.
4. RT and the Parrot
Oh, my -- I really like that pier, Patti! I'm having fun just exploring all the curves and lines! The dragonfly is an amazing capture and the Lotus is a beautiful shot. I can understand why you'd want a less white background but, for my eye, the blur does the trick. It's almost as though the blossom has sucked up all the green and is projecting a pristine upward aura!
Patti, that "wide angle" is spectacular! Everything about it screams fabulous and perfection! Not to mention geometry! But is it actually really a "fish-eye," and does that matter? Never mind. The dragonfly merits superlatives of every sort! And I'm so happy that RT and the Parrot (no name yet?) are buds. Very important!
I took the ferry to Sausalito today ... haven't been there in over 40 years. Lunched with the ladies at The Spinnaker ... swell lunch. It was cold, drizzly, and windy, and the weather people described it as a June "cold snap." As usual, took a pile of pictures, many of which have already been disposed of. But I did try a pano soft of with my little G-10. It's flawed in many respects (which I've tried to fix up in many ways), but still kind of pretty ... Sausalito ...
PSP Kaleido of Fireball Hibiscus petals, with texture, shape and shadow added in PicMonkey.
A friend's pool as viewed from inside her gazebo in late afternoon - Fotosketcher.
Some sights in my garden today - PicMonkey collage with PSE9 bevels, shadows and gradient background. Top & middle-bottom: Fireball Hibiscus. Middle: Monkey Grass blossoms and Snow Hill Salvia. Lower left & right: Tiger Lily.
Miss Mary, Thanks for that description of the lotus image! Wow, projection of an aura! That's a cool way to think of it. Now I like the image better. That Fireball is RED! It just doesn't get any redder than that. Your kaleido needs some drops from the bottom. It's so red, I think it's bleeding. Okay, enough about the red and on to the wonderful image. I even love the thumbnail - it looks like a wagon wheel. But, when opened, it is full of wonders to see. First impression was that it is a Valentine's Day kaleido because of all the hearts between the "spokes." Nah, Christmas, because there are reindeer on each of the spokes close to the middle. And then, eeeeek, Halloween - it's a trick - the reindeer have stingers! And then the old, frowny dudes around the outer edge of the spokes ... Don't know what holiday he represents. It is such fun playing "where's Waldo" with your and Jubilada's kaleidos.
Love the framing on the pool shot. I was thinking about doing something like that for the "lines in the foreground" shot, but I didn't know if that would be "foreground". I might have to ask that question. Love the collage. The arrangement is cool starting with one and growing to three. I know I'm challenged on plant naming, but I'm betting that lower right is not a Tiger Lily. But, it is a gorgeous photo with the ones in the background repeating the angle of the main subject - my favorite image in the collage.
Jubilada, Yes, I am pushing the window a bit on that fishy fishing pier. Technically, a fisheye is not really a wide angle. But I live to push the window, so we'll see if Bryan and Chris interpret it as thinking outside the box and good or not following instructions and bad. Your Sausalito pano is amazing. I just love it, and like Miss Mary, I wish I could see it a lot larger. I want to wander around in all of that wonderful detail.
Patti, you're right about that lower right image in the collage. What was I thinking when I wrote that? It was probably that frowny dude looking over my shoulder making me nervous...
In any case, that's a Black-eyed Susan.
What is "pushing the window"?
The pool shot would have been better, I think, earlier in the day. Not only was it late afternoon, but we had some cloud cover. In any case, I was glad I shot it at an angle, capturing two sides of one of the gazebo posts. Otherwise, it might not have been clear what all that dark framing was. Would have been a good candidate for multiple images, some with the lighting on the scenery and some lit and focused to bring out the wood in the gazebo. Maybe with a new camera, I'll be able to do it...
You know, I looked up "pushing the window" and can't find it. Either I have misinterpreted a saying or that is just something we say around here. Probably the former. I can mangle English/American phrases much better than people with English as a second language.
What I think of when I say that is this ...
I am constrained in a room full of windows and while I'm not actually stepping outside this "box", I am pushing the edges a bit.
So, in my little world, the requirements for the assignment are inside that room. Stepping outside that room will absolutely violate a requirement. Just pushing on a window a little will stretch the requirement, but hopefully not break it.
That's it, Jubilada! If you have ever watched NCIS, there is a character on that show that botches these types of sayings. English is not her first language. No excuses for me. But, I do it all the time. At least in my world, pushing the window makes sense.
I also have a hard time with Pulling the Plug and Pulling the Trigger. I finally decided to buy a new lens and ordered it. My nephew asked what I was going to do and I told him it was a done deal - I pulled the plug on it. He was disappointed and said he thought I really liked it. I was confused and said I did really like it which is why I bought it. He started laughing and said he should know me by now. Correct phrase should have been that I pulled the trigger on it. That sounds horribly destructive to me. Pulling the plug out of the way of indecision makes more sense to me. But, that's not the way the rest of the world thinks.
Patti, when I was a kid, I got "prosecute" and "execute" confused, as well as "priceless" and "worthless". Think about that last one. Anyway, one day, my parents and I went to the grocery store and had to park near the far edge of the lot. As we were pushing the basket of groceries we'd bought back to the car, I noted the sign on the outside of the building that said not to take baskets out of the parking lot, adding that violators would be prosecuted. I feared the worst. They'd see us pushing that basket toward the edge of the lot and shoot us dead.
I guess we all suffer with Archie-Bunker-ism sometimes...
Oh, no! Now, in some countries, that might very well happen.
Playing with the flying creatures ...
1 The first dragon cooperated and landed on a beautiful green leaf. I did a tiny bit of clean-up and cropped.
2 Ditto for the second one. He found a nice fresh lotus seedpod. Quite a bit of clean-up on the pod. Starting to get brown in spots.
3. This very nice looking dragon found the ugliest perch in the lake. Didn't do anything to this one. Probably should throw it away.
4. So, I stuck him on this Red-winged Blackbird's head.
5. If that wasn't enough silliness, here's some more.
That "word" or "phrase" mix-up is called malapropism. There's a play called "The Rivals," and it has a character named Mrs. Malaprop ... she uses the wrong word or phrase for just about everything, which of course makes for some extremely funny dialogue.
"Pulling the plug" is like turning off the electrical current ... not like letting the bathwater out of the tub ... but I can see where one might think so ... On the old "I Love Lucy" show Ricky Ricardo mixed up some common proverbs: "don't cross your chickens before your bridges is hatched." Or something like that ...
Nice collection of dragonflies, Patti! That sure is a funny looking little creature in the last one!
Hmmmmm...another new word to learn. Thanks, Jubilada. I only recently learned "mondegreen" - "♪ There's a bathroom on the right ♫" is a mondegreen of the original lyric by CCR, "♫ There's a bad moon on the rise.♪" I'm probably the only one who didn't know that until now...
Patti, good work on that already exceptional dragonfly. I'm noticing the Blackbird's look of contentment. Maybe a good caption would be something like, "No, no...just a little to the right...ahhhhhh, that's it!"
Well, I picked and ate the first ear of corn from my croplet (don't bother adding that word to your list!) tonight. I was actually quite surprised that the stalks grew at all. Then, I was surprised that they bore ears. Surprised again that the squirrels didn't get to them. Now I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised that the ears (though very small) are filled out and the kernels are plump, tender and juicy. Oh, and good!
Miss Mary, first of all, congratulations on actually getting to harvest some corn! Looks like beautiful stuff. I, too, am surprised that the squirrels didn't get them ... I've completely given up trying to grow corn.
Miss Mary, I'll have to make a cartoon out of that image. Good caption!
Wheeeee! That corn looks scrumptious, with those fat, juicy kernels just waiting for some butter, salt, pepper and MY teeth!
Fess up, now. When you were a little kid, did you start at the left side of the cob, chomp your way in a straight line over to the right side and then make the "ding" sound of those old typewriters when you got there? And, then, dash back over to the left side to start munching another row? Kids today wouldn't have a clue. Young adults today wouldn't have a clue.
Patti, I still eat my corn that way! Except, I don't "ding" ... lol ...
Here are some more shots from my Sausalito adventure last Friday ...
• another view of Cupid's Span ... wish I'd had time to shoot this again and recompose a little
• kelvin waves on the way to Sausalito
• kelvin waves and the Bay Bridge
• skyline and boat ... it was a grim and gray and blustery day, lots of mist ...
And, finally ...
• Pano (two shots) of a fancy hotel in Sausalito ... rates start at $400 a night ...
• Pano (two shots) SF skyline coming back from Sausalito ...
• Cropped sailboat shot (only looks like a pano)
• The Golden Gate
• on the way back to the train station ... the Millennium Tower ...
So glad you posted these! I love the water and I love boats, so I really enjoyed seeing all of the images from the ferry. The water looks so blue and lovely in some of the images in spite of that dreary weather.
I thought it couldn't get any better than #3 in the first set. That is an awesome, beautiful capture with the blue, blue water, the gulls, the leading lines of the Kelvin waves, and the bridge. But then, along comes #5 in the set. Oh, my! I love it!
Perfect timing on #2 of the second set. The boat is in just the right spot of the frame, the sky is beautiful and the background is fantastic. Great depth of field on this (and all of them for that matter.)
Shots like this really make me wish TSA would go away and I could fly again. I would be in San Fran in a heartbeat.
One more Sausalito shot, a collage ... Sausalito has changed a lot since the last time I was there forty or so years ago ... it's really become a tourist town ... and there are all kinds of "artsy-fartsy" type shops ...
Wow, wow and wow again, Jubi! I want to just jump right into some of those shots. Love the panos. Oh, they are gorgeous! Wish DG would show them full screen...
The photo of the Millennium Tower is absolutely dizzying! Whew! I really like that Sausalito collage, too. Looks like a fun place to visit. I think I'll have to pass on a night's stay in that hotel, though...
1. Tiger Lily, Fotosketched and then Fotosketched again (with areas blended back), then processed with PicMonkey
2. Fireball Hibiscus early this morning, backlit by the sun. Actually front-let and back-shot, I guess...processed with Topaz Clean > Grunge.
I forget how much difference that early morning light can make for photographing things. I didn't alter the color of the Fireball at all. Think that pure early morning light did it all. I Pretty much had to take pics early today. We reached 100° today --- too hot for a photo op.
Jubilada, I checked out taking the train to visit my cousin in Portland, OR. I was shocked. It cost more than the direct flight and took three days instead of three hours. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration on the time, but sheeeesh. But, I think it could be fun to travel by train - the one that crosses Canada would be so cool. I'll have to check it out again. With gas prices coming down, maybe transportation fares have too. And there must be some great photo ops between here and CA.
I just love your white balance play. What a cool idea. I also love your portrait studio. The setting in that first image is so perfect with the textured background. You don't have to add texture with Photoshop. It's already there and beautiful.
Miss Mary, That backlit Fireball is gorgeous!!! Yes, that morning light is incredible - so soft and diffuse and truly golden. We had a scorcher yesterday too. It was 101 when I went out to tend to the garden. I went right back inside. It can tend itself for a day or two. I don't know what today will bring. It's 85 right now at 9am.
Oooooooh. Checked out the train again. Sunset Limited. Sounds way cool. Some kind of partnership with Nat'l Parks along the way. Very cool scenery. I don't know anything about public transportation, but I guess it's about time I learned. Exciting stuff. Thanks, Jubilada!
Patti, the train is expensive, and sometimes they run WAY behind schedule ... but it's a very cool way to travel. Years ago I took the train from Seattle to San Francisco, very swell trip ... fabulous scenery. Then, years later, train from Oakland to Grand Junction, Colorado and return ... breathtaking scenery! The train was late in both directions, however ... 6-8 hours! I can tell you that Salt Lake City at 4:00 a.m. is not a whole bunch of fun.
Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly Support Public Transportation ... it SHOULD be the wave of the future!
I have always wanted to take that train trip across Canada ... probably won't get to do that now. Sigh.
OK, Patti, that's pretty cute ... I downloaded the "free" version, but will wait until tomorrow to examine it. Are you using the "free" version or did you purchase the "premium" version? I think I still prefer to do my calendars my old labor intensive way (lol)!
I'm using the "pro" version, so I guess I paid a few bucks for it. I got it a year or so ago, so I don't really remember. You can use it to make calendars, invitations, scrap book pages, plain old collages and other things.
I might use it to try to make a 2013 calendar if I can find templates for 2013 without having to pay extra for them. I've been wanting to make a calendar for a long time and just keep putting it off. It saves 300 dpi jpegs at very high quality. I reduced them to 72 dpi and much lower quality to post here.
Well, yesterday was our best day, weather-wise, in the foreseeable future, with a high of only 91°... so I took advantage of the cool snap and went to Dixon Gardens. After 70-something shots, I gave up in frustration. I had to deal with 18 camera freezes and re-sets. That said, I had a good time and think I got a few interesting pictures. I found myself drawn to scenes where light and shadows played off of each other; hence the collage.
The bench, with its maturing, multi-toned wood and the geometric shadows it threw onto the ground, captured my interest for quite some time. The urn of flowers was just a little too far away from it, so I "moved" it in closer and got rid of the awkward gap.
This arbor shot had fringe of all colors -- brilliant blue, purple, teal, magenta...and the list goes on. Had to really clean it up. Had to straighten the urn on the right side of the photo, too.
Miss Mary, So glad you put up with that misbehaving camera for as long as you did. The Shadow Study is most interesting. The lines and texture of that bench would have kept me busy as well. The shadows are a huge bonus. I also like the shadows in the arbor. Hope you didn't hurt your back dragging those urns around... ahem, now if I can just get my tongue out of my cheek.
Some tips on the Picture Collage Maker
I found a few things in playing this morning that might save some time if anyone decides to use for calendars or for printing out collages large ...
To increase from the default size:
You have to go to Collage > Collage Panel Setting to set the size larger than the program default. I put mine at 11 x 8.5 inches at 300 dpi so I can print a landscape calendar page.
You can add any calendar or use any calender template on your page and then you can change the year/month or other attributes of the calender by just double clicking on the calendar somewhere. It opens a dialog box and you can change to a different month/year. It automatically sets the days in the right spots for that month/year. You will have to double click on the name of the month and the name of the year and change it too. Sort of clunky, but it is nice that you can format the font and size and all that however you want it and then just save that as a template and then change the month so that every month will look the same font/color/etc.
Made this page for January. I don't particularly like the font for January. I think I need to change that and reposition it some, but at least I'm making progress. And, I have not tried to print out any pages yet. I will do that once I get January done to make sure it comes out okay.
And, in all of this, I must give Jubilada credit for the idea of how to format the pages with calendar, a bit of poetry and a B&W image. I plan to put a color image of a hawk opposite this page - idea also copied from Jubilada's 2011 calendar which I absolutely love.
Hmmmm... Just noticed that there is a typo in the poem. It's should be its. I copied and pasted it from a website, so I don't know if the original is wrong or the person that put it on the web got it wrong. I guess I'll correct it, but hate to change another person's work. I will do some more research to see if original is correct.
Update ... Don't waste your time on this !! Oh, good grief. I printed the small jpeg version that I posted here, not the high res psd file. Totally ignore this post. I am still working on getting a good print out.
Got the page the way I wanted it and printed it on my laser printer. Everything is pretty fuzzy. I printed at the highest quality, so I don't know what's going on. I think resizing the calendar to a larger size didn't cut it.
Never could get it to print nicely. Text and B&W images are all fuzzy even at highest resolution. Probably something I'm doing, but I don't want to waste more time on it.
I went back to my labor intensive Word document and it prints sharp as a tack including the harrier B&W image. I'm using a calendar template wizard in Word, so not too bad, but not as automated as I would like. It took me about 20 minutes to get January formatted like I wanted and to add the B&W image which I had already prepared. So, another couple of hours of converting images to B&W and sizing them and then 4 hours of tedious formatting and I'll have all 12 months. Not too bad.
Patti, you would not believe all the time it takes me to produce my calendars. But, that's the way I am ...
Incidentally, I've been making these calendars (in varying formats) since 2004 ... the 2011 calendar was the most ambitious ... 2012 was pretty vanilla, and 2013 will be the same ... my color printer is 10 years old now, and probably needs to be replaced. It doesn't behave exactly the way I'd like, and so limits what I do ...
Keep up the good work ... you'll be so proud when it's finished! Your friends and family will be duly impressed!
I have some new toys ... I got myself a 1.4 teleconverter and a set of Kenko extension tubes ... I can see it's going to take a lot of practice to make them work properly, but my first attempts at least offer some hope that I'm on the right track!
• bee on calendula (36mm extension tube and teleconverter, Tamron 18-270, f11, 125 s ... the calendula is 1-1/2 inches across, the center being 3/8 inch, which will give you an idea of size ... it was not cropped, and only processed in RAW)
• lace cap hydrangea flowers (36 mm extension tube, teleconverter, f11) ... these guys are pretty small @ 5/16 inch across ... and I did crop this for aesthetic reasons ...
• another lace cap (all 3 extension tubes, teleconverter, f11) not good composition, cropping won't help, but I'm learning ... it's a real struggle to keep things in focus hand-held!
Oh, Wow! Exciting new stuff. Your first attempts are amazing. That first image is so incredibly sharp. I wonder what the little critter is? And I love the composition on the second one. I can't believe you shot these handheld! Let me rephrase that. I do believe you, but, holy mackerel! 3 tubes and a TC handheld! ---
Beginner's luck, I'm afraid ... have spent a few hours struggling with my two lenses and the extension tubes and on the one lens the teleconverter, with a tripod, and achieving decent exposure and focus is very tricky indeed! Lots of wasted shots! I know it's all in the practice ... but I'm slightly discouraged ... my 50mm lens seems to work the best, but will not work with the teleconverter (for various reasons) ... nevertheless I plow forward ... more. later, I hope ...
I'm sorry to hear that you folks are suffering such sweltering temps ... here it is very mild, and promises to stay that way through the Fourth ... I am very grateful for that!
A couple of shots, thanks to my little G10 ... Santolina, framed ... and a Mammoth Sunflower Bud, framed ... plenty of manipulations, but no
"real" close-ups ...
Your little cam did a great job. I like the way you presented the close up and then the wider view of the flowers in the first shot. Clever way to do that! I love the cloud frame on the second shot.
Sorry you are discouraged. Glad you are using that tripod. It should help to resolve the focus issue. I am pretty sure your cam has Live View. This is invaluable in macro shooting. Turn on the timer on your camera - choose the one for 10 seconds, not the 2 second one if you have both. Get your shot framed up like you want it and then turn on Live View. Get the little box in the LCD over the main part of the subject you want in focus (dragonfly heads for me today) and click the zoom in button twice. Now it will be huge on the LCD. Turn your lens's autofocus off and manually focus your lens. When you get it sharp, push the shutter button and step back. I was using the 10 second timer, not just the 2 sec one. I could see the camera moving all over the place and then it would settle down before it snapped the photo, but it took about 5 or 6 seconds to settle down.
You might even have to use mirror lockup, but just try Live View. I pulled out all the stops today shooting the dragons.
Hope this helps.
I took over 600 photos today. I have it pared down to around 300 now, but still a long way to go. I did process a few, but the most interesting ones are still to come - a Green Heron fishing.
I've heard about this and seen it on videos, but never really watched it myself until today. It is so amazing. These birds will catch a bug and place the bug on the water and then stare at it until a fish comes up to grab the bug. Then, with lightning like speed, the bird will grab the fish and scarf it down. Then, he will pick up his bug and start all over. It is amazing to me how gently they treat their "lures."
Oh well, here's what I have so far -
1. Male Blue Dasher Dragonfly on a grungy old t-post. I got within about 8 inches of this guy and he never minded. He stayed on that post for at least an hour while I was photographing other dragons and some lotus flowers. Dragons are so easy now for some reason. All of them had their favorite perch and pretty much stayed put until another one would fly by and annoy them. They would fly off briefly and then back to the perch. I don't know why this is happening. Have to read up.
2. Crop of a closer up shot of same dragon. I think he is showing me his injured foot. Poor thing has some ratty spots in his wings too.
3. Another male Blue Dasher on a Lotus seed pod. This one has all of his legs intact.
Great Dragonfly shots Patti! Love them! Glad to see RT is being useful/enjoying himself. Now, how do you get the dragonfly to hold still for so long?
I did try Live View and Mirror Lock up ... but I will definitely try out what you suggest, it makes sense. The steady focus seems to be the great issue for me ... despite the tripod, mirror lockup and cable release! Also, auto focus with this lens simply does not work with these tubes and teleconverter ... it has all been manual focus. Don't worry ... my enthusiasm is only temporarily flagging ...
Your Sunflower bud is awesome, Jubilada...all that wonderful detail! The sky was cooperating for you and made an excellent background!
Patti, the Dragonfly shots are...beyond any words I can think of to describe them! My goodness, that little alien face! Excellent detail on the wings and legs, too! The last time (or the time before it) I went to Lichterman Nature Center, I had the same experience with one of them. Prior to that time, they got spooked at the least little movement I made. That one I got so many shots of just sat there, unbothered by my repositioning. It didn't even fly off when my camera froze and I had to take it off the tripod, open it, etc., ad nauseam.
I might miss a great deal of opportunities to shoot those Lotus in bloom out there because of the excessive heat here. It's way hotter out on that lake than just about anywhere else in town and...today, we reached 103°. I heard that it was 109° in Nashville. Yikes! Jubilada, I'm glad your "neck of the woods" is cool. So much of the country is suffering right now.
Jubilada, The TC is the one that is preventing Autofocus from working. It should work with your tubes if you are not too close or too far away for focus. With three tubes, you have a very narrow depth of possible FOCUS. Even though depth of field is minimized too, I'm not talking depth of field, but actual area where you can even possibly focus. The tubes will allow you to focus closer than you lens would allow without them, but they will take away the infinity focus on the other end. So, the more tubes you have, the narrower the area that you can even try to focus. Hope this makes sense.
Now, the Teleconverter is a whole 'nother story. It has glass in it so it will do its job of magnifying your image, but at the expense of light. A 1.4 TC blocks out 1 whole stop of light and a 2x TC blocks out 2 stops! of light. Autofocus needs light to be able to "see" to focus. Canon 1-series cameras cannot autofocus at anything less than f8, so at f11, you can forget it. For the Rebel and 40/50/60D series cams, you have to open to at least f5.6 for those cameras to focus, so f8 or smaller and the cam cannot autofocus.
So, look at the widest (smallest number) aperture you can dial in with your lens when you have the 1.4x TC on it and you will know if the AF should even be expected to work. If it's f8 or a larger number, you shouldn't expect the AF to work. This is why fast lenses (f2.8) are so nice with TCs. Your 50 is probably a faster lens than your big zoom.
You probably already know this and are just experimenting to see what the different combinations will do, but my advice is ... Just for bugs and flowers in your yard, stick with the tubes. You don't need the extra magnification of the TC. You can just walk closer. When you want to shoot something far away that you can't get closer to, a bird in the tree or a flower out in a pond, for example, then put on the TC. However, it does help to experiment so you know what they will do when you need them.
I think I have enough images to pick the three for this week's PPSOP class, but I'm not sure which is better on the wide angle image.
The first and second images are both wide angle. I am tending toward the second one (landscape orientation), but not sure. Please vote - 1 or 2? A reason would be helpful, but "just gut feeling" works too.
Seeking more help. I had decided on the Dragonfly image with the natural perch and colorful background for the 400mm submission, but on another forum where I posted both, someone said he liked the other dragon image...
So, which one, 1 or 2?
Starting to feel like you're at the eye doc yet?
And, a couple examples of the Green Heron fishing ... His lure of choice for these two photos was a nice little spider. He would grab it in his mouth, place it and then when the spider would move too far away, he would grab it up again and replace it where he wanted it. So cool to watch.
Well, Patti, those photos are all knock-outs, for sure ... but I'm going to pick Number 1 water lilies (it just draws me in more), and the number 1 dragonfly ... it just has more elements and excitement, and number 2's wings are kind of beat up ...
And that Heron is an absolute hoot ... mother nature's ways are something for sure!
Now, how did you get that dragonfly so sharp??? What lens are you using ... you're not bothering with extension tubes ... it's a macro, right?
Thanks, Jubilada. That helps! I shot the dragons with my 400mm lens and the 36mm extension tube. The tube allowed me to get close enough to almost fill the frame. I did crop off a tiny bit from left and bottom to get the dragon on the golden third compositionally for the first shot. I used the technique I described for you.
I turned on the 10 sec timer so it would activate when I pushed the shutter button.
I framed up the composition looking through viewfinder and adjusting tripod.
I used autofocus to get in the ballpark.
I pushed the button to activate Live View.
I used the joy stick to move the little rectangle on the LCD to the dragon's face.
I clicked the magnify button twice. The dragon's face practically fills the screen.
I turned off autofocus on the lens and adjusted the focus manually and pushed the shutter.
I took my hands off the camera and stepped back.
Camera took photo after the 10 sec timer delay.
The timer was critical because the tripod ring on my 400mm lens is crummy. It won't tighten down, so when I touch the camera, it moves. I need to send it back to Canon.
Aha! of course! How could you possibly get that shot with a macro! Duh! Well, much food for thought ... but I'm simply not going to get a 400mm lens ... I could never justify that! Thanks so much for all your advice and insights! I'm going to try to put them to use to my best ability! I think I need better "glass."
I hear you. That's what I keep saying about the 500mm lens. I want one so much, but I just can't justify it.
That technique works for any lens. The only problem is that with a smaller focal length, you have to get really, really close and insects don't usually put up with that. But, you could have shot those dragons with a 50mm lens from 8 inches away. They were not going anywhere. Flowers will cooperate quite nicely.
Cut a small flower with a long stem, take it in the house, hang up something really colorful (patterned blanket, poster, something, but no whites since they overpower and distract) way behind it (8 feet or so). Set up your tripod, camera and your 50mm lens. Put a tube on the lens. Get as close as you can focus or wherever the composition looks good allowing for a nice blurry colorful background. You might even want to put a light on just the background - any old light, a lamp. It's not nature and nobody knows what color it should be.
Use Live View and timer to focus and shoot as described above. Use around f/4, but take several shots varying the aperture. If you are close enough to the flower and far enough from the background, you can probably get away with f/5.6 with the 50mm lens. If you use your longer lens (longer lens, less DOF), you can probably get away with f/11 or even more stopped down so that all of the flower is in focus and the background is still a nice, soft blur.
That's what I have done. I perfect these techniques in my nice, cool, humidity controlled living room, so when I'm out in the field and the dragons are playing nice, I know what to do.
OK, Patti, I'm going to try to practice what you suggest ... it all makes sense ... it will just take time and experimentation ... sigh ...
I did go out a little today with my 50mm and three tubes and a tripod ... my best result after many attempts (since discarded) is this santolina flower (it's about 1/2 inch across) ... it's been sharpened to the max, and not much else, but already I see some improvement ...
Then, just for fun, I tried zooming in with my Tamron 18-270 to the 270max and no tubes, no tripod, on this glad bloom ... it's been cropped and manipulated, but it is (for the most part) in focus ...
That glad bloom in in great focus. Very sharp! I love the little santolina flower. One of the things that Chris always says about texture is that the viewer should feel it. His example was in a photo with sand in the foreground. He said he could feel that gritty sand. Well, with your flower, I can feel it. I can just imagine that little guy brushing on my face and leaving bits of pollen. Wow.
A few more processed from yesterday. I think this is about all that is left, but if I get bored I'll try to salvage a few more.
1 Lotus Innards. Had to get rid of a bit of bee sticking out that really distracted from the softness of the shot.
2 More shots of the Lotus flowers. This time I was sitting in the mucky mud right at the pond's edge.
3 Bees. I was so excited when I cropped this way down and saw the bee shadow. A Miss Mary Shadow! I got one.
4 Just a little butterfly silliness.
5 Face only a mother could love ... I think it's a red-eared slider, but not sure. I don't know my turtles. Had to clean up his face some. Got this when I was sitting in another spot in the mucky mud right at pond's edge. Boy was he surprised to see me when he popped his head up ready to get out of the water. 400mm with the tube, but handheld this time.
Found another one - First image is one reason NOT to sit in the mucky mud right at the pond's edge. Never know when one of these beasts will pop out of the lily pads. They are all over the place out there. Cropped for composition and increased contrast to beyond the normal just to pop out the colors in the reflections.
Second image is just trying to improve the butterfly image. I do these to make birthday (or other events) cards for the little kids in my family. This version will hopefully teach them something. I will run it by my butterfly expert first though to make sure I have it right.
I tried to salvage this sunrise image. Did everything I could think of - crop, tweaked every slider in ACR multiple times, cropped bottom off and pasted up higher to get rid of the boring, horribly exposed middle section. Sharpened up the bird as much as possible. Shutter speed was too slow to capture him sharp. Cloned out some of the blown, bright spots.And more ... This is not what I was seeing! I can't make it work.
This is the starting material. If it wasn't raining here, I'd be outside playing instead of even trying to salvage something this hideous. It was really beautiful out there with a fog over the water and the sunrise was spectacular, but only for a very short time. I just couldn't capture what I was seeing.
Patti...where to start? Okay, I really like the way you used those new Gavin Hoey frames. I truly feel like I'm looking at something antiquated and lovely with age. On the 2 Lotus images, hmmm. I'm having trouble deciding between them because I like them both. I am drawn into the first one, as Jubi said, and I like the haziness in the distance. I really like that second one as well, though. It's as though I'm speeding along the pond's surface and am pushing my way through the Lotus, right and left! It's fun.
Okay, moving on to the dragonflies. I'm leaning toward #2. Love the rust (or whatever it is) on that perch and the muted softness behind him. I like how clearly I can see the hair on its legs (please don't ever take a pic of me that clear!!!) and the golden spots in its battle-worn wings.
The Green Heron is a sight to behold! I am amazed! Wow!
The Lotus Innards are so lovely, Patti. Oh, that is such a beautiful shot! Great bee shadow -- love it! Isn't it exciting to catch something like that? The turtle picture is an absolute blue-ribbon winner! I don't know how much cleaning you had to do and if it would fall within acceptable photo contest bounds, but I'd hang a First Place ribbon on it in a New York second if I was a judge!
Jubilada, that up-close-and-personal view of the Santolina is breathtaking! Look at the little sparkles inside that 1/2-inch flower! Fabulous! And that Glad is arrayed like a princess in the finest silk...the color is magnificent. I can truly "feel" that one!
So yesterday evening, a concert in the park ... Was expecting the entire contingent of the Air Force Band of the Golden West, and instead got a small ensemble (6 people: guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, and two vocalists). They were just ok. I took my little G10.
• the "band"
• two little girls, dancing their hearts out
• a speaker
• the moon
And as far as those extension tubes are concerned, I'm about ready to throw in the towel. Patti, I tried to follow your instructions, and I'm sure I neglected some of your prescription: specifically, the low light condition probably did not contribute to achieving good focus, which was at best, elusive ... these shots were basically shot at either f8 or f11 for 1/2 second or better (50mm lens) ... they have been cropped for aesthetic reasons ...
Jubilada, First of all, the park shots are so much fun. So stealthy of you to get so many images of the girls dancing without them knowing (or maybe caring). The speaker would have gotten a PPSOP Perfect Picture for the first assignment with pattern filling the frame. Cool shot. If PPSOP gave awards for tryps, your glads would get one too. The colors and texture in that image are incredible.
Not sure I understand the problem on the experiments with the ETs. The images look fantastic to me. I suppose it might have been better to shoot outside in the shade so that you could have seen better to manual focus. But then you would have to deal with wind. And, I would think that the Live View LCD would have been very bright even inside? But, anyway, to me they look to be perfectly in focus. I know it is hard to tell on a small web-sized image, but they really look very sharp.
You know that the closer you get, the narrower the dof, so you can't expect much (from front to back) to be in focus and for a larger subject like this, you will have to use even as high as f/22 or higher to get the whole flower in focus. A smaller flower might have been easier, but wouldn't have filled the frame with the 50mm. But on every image, something looks to be in crystal clear sharp focus. So, I think it is just DOF that is getting you. I think that's okay, because you always have the most interesting part of the flower in focus.
As far as the background, I think maybe a spotty colorful background competes with the spots on the flower, so maybe a solid one would have been better in this case? I don't know. You are better at that than I am.
I think these experiments have shown you a lot about what you can do with the tubes and the 50mm. Just keep experimenting and you will learn the limitations of each lens and approximately what aperture you will need to get your subject in focus. For some things, you can't get everything in focus from front to back even with the smallest aperture you have (largest f-number). An example is my dragons with the 400mm and a tube. The DOF is so narrow, I couldn't have gotten the whole dragon in focus. So, that's why I focused on the face - the most important part.
I think your experiment was a huge success! Keep trying.
Miss Mary, Thanks for the input on the images for PPSOP. I went with that first lotus image since you, Jubilada and Randy all like it. I was torn on the dragon image. The dragon was much sharper on the second image so I was leaning that way, but I was finally swayed by the colors and more natural perch on the first image. This sort of thing gets too subjective at some point. If two images are close enough to being acceptable, it is just a matter of personal preference and I don't know enough about Chris (the instructor) to guess which he would prefer.
Ack. More thunderstorms for today. Pretty dreary at my house right now. I hope I can get out tomorrow. Getting cabin fever. Yes, we need the rain, but I need to go outside - how about a little balance, huh, Zeus!
In the meantime, still picking through the images from last week. Worked on a few Anhinga images. These birds ride very low in the water when they are fishing. All you see is that long neck and head sticking out - looks like a snake. They dive and stay under for a long time. I just happened to catch this one when he came up with his catch. I hope not the catch of the day or the poor little guy will starve to death.
Later he flew up to a tree to dry out his feathers and do a bit of grooming. I liked all the color in the tree. Strange for this time of year, but I'll take it.
First image - CS6 version of Pixel Bender oil with bird's face, most of beak and fishy restored back to original.
Second image - Orton only on the foliage.
Patti, thanks for your feedback on my ET tests ... I'll just keep plugging away ... the Live View is sometimes hard to see clearly (depending on light sources), and my old eyes are sure not what they used to be!
Your Anhinga images are something! Is that a Cottonwood Tree? Great colors! And great "catch" of that "catch"!
Wonderful images, Patti. I really like the "catch," too!
Well, I was walking through the kitchen this morning and the just-risen sun was shining through the door onto a plastic bucket with my reddish garden snippers in it. It grabbed my attention and the first thing I thought of was the upcoming holiday. For effect, I slipped a piece of white paper onto the surface a few inches away from it (so that white would be the dominant "color" seen through the bucket handle). I did some manipulating in PSE and put a PicMonkey frame on it and...
Wonderful gold and blue tones in the inner circle of your Hydrangea, Jubi. Gee, that's so pretty.
1. My Butterfly Garden, still sans butterflies...sigh. Since my camera doesn't do well on wide shots like this, I Fotosketched it. The Clerodendron is covered in white blossoms!
2. A shadow cast by the early morning sun.
3. A tiny baby wabbit in my flower bed.
Fun July 4th image, Miss Mary! Cool that you saw it and even better that you were able to get such a wonderfully framed image. Love the shadow! You have proven once again that you are the Queen of Shadow. Awe! That bunny is such a cutie and your image is beautiful - the treatment really spotlights the little guy. Hardly any butterflies in my BG either. I did have some monarchs come through and devastate the milkweed. Haven't seen them in a while and the milkweed has rebounded.
Jubilada, Great job with the TC on that hydrangea. I love the composition. That cardoon flower is really something - not your run of the mill flower for sure. I like how you shot it and the sunflowers against the sky.
Couple of shots for PPSOP to share ... The assignment this time was to pick two words from the list below and take a photo depicting each word. We were not allowed to use people, monkeys or apes in the images.
The list: Security, Access, Connections, Risk, Safety, Despair, Noise, Instability, Caution, Indifference, Loss, Stubbornness, Elation, Lethargy, Ambition, Abandonment, Grief, Love
From my two shots, guess which words I was trying to depict. If you guys get it right, I'll know I got it right. If not, I'll go sit in the corner.
I think the first one is the easiest, but one person said she had no idea what it was a photo of. Eeeek. Heading to the corner.
Haha! No shock, no awe. Well, I think I get an E for effort, so I won't go to the corner just yet. Really, these could have gone in all of the directions you two have pointed. This little exercise was harder than I thought.
Here's what I was going for ...
The first one is indeed a photo of my safe, so one point for Jubilada. I put all of my camera gear in it, so when I leave the house, I feel very secure. Yes, I was going for security on that one - one point for Miss Mary.
The second one is a photo of planes and they are supposed to look like military planes, so both risk (flying in a war is a risky business) and security (our military makes me feel secure) are good guesses. Another point each!
But, what was not as obvious as I thought it would be is the formation that those planes are in. It is the Missing Man Formation. They fly this formation at airshows and at military funerals for pilots. Back in the old days when I went to airshows, it was just this type of formation - a pattern with a missing plane. But, lately when I've gone to airshows, they fly with all planes in the pattern and then one plane will peel off and fly straight up in the sky as if going to that final resting place. It is a very poignant moment in airshows when all you hear are the planes. The stands and the announcer are silent. I'm such a big sissy, it brings tears to my eyes every time. So, I was going for Loss on this one. Too obscure, I'm afraid.
Well, thanks Patti, for including us in this exercise! I'm afraid that since I attend airshows so rarely, I would know nothing about the "missing Man" formation. So, yes, that would be too obscure for me! But maybe not for those hot shot photo guys!
Today, I took out my wide-angle for a brief trip to the redwood grove nearby. Lie on my back and shoot upwards. Well, I'm going to have to study this a little more astutely, and go back when I've figured out the best way to do accomplish the shot. Nevertheless, got a couple of shots:
• on the way, was taken by this "shadow / lines / texture" incident (cropped to get rid of some unwanted foliage).
• the trees, with a nice sunburst ... not a very good shot, I was not lying on my back, and somehow I accidentally changed my ISO to 400 ... very noisy, but I fiddled with Topaz somewhat.
• I liked this burst of lavender.
Luckily I put in the description of the plane photo that it was a bit more difficult and the viewer had to recognize the formation of the planes to get it. Hopefully that will be a clue. But even if they do know the formation, it could still be grief, abandonment or other words on the list. Not so easy. But a lot of fun.
Jubilada, That first one is so, so good. That is a perfect example of what I am supposed to be "seeing" in the PPSOP class. And, I think the tree image is quite good. You did away with the noise nicely and I feel as if I am standing right there looking up at that awesome sunburst with the trees all around me. I like that lavender burst, too. Good name for it as it does burst out in every direction. Cool.
Miss Mary, Look out. You are in danger of being ousted from your throne. Check out that shadow. I think a counter move is in order.
Went to Brazos Bend State Park yesterday to see if I could catch a few more Green Herons fishing. I did, but I fell in love with a Common Moorhen youngster. Mom was keeping all her youngsters on a short leash and not letting them explore. This one decided he'd had enough of that and struck out on his own. He could have moved to the right up the shore, but he chose to walk my way instead. After looking right and left and at me several times, he slowly moved my direction, foraging all the way. Curious little guy! He got so close to me that my 400mm lens (no tube) couldn't focus that close, so I just sat and watched him, hoping he wouldn't get too close to one of the American Alligators in the area. He didn't and eventually walked back and joined Mom and the sibs.
1. Collage of a few of the shots I got of him. These are not color corrected and still have that golden glow of the morning light.
2. This was about the closest I could still get him in focus. Color corrected to the actual color of the bird.
3. My favorite of the series.
Ah, the brugs are back! And so, so pretty. Lovely font and I like the way you made the capitalized letters large enough to overlap the images. Very original.
I have processed a few more of the State Park images.
1. I thought it was interesting how much this flower opened in just a few minutes. I was trying to catch three dragonflies on the three perches and never could. (They were there before I framed up the photo - devilflies.) Later, I saw all three perches with dragons, so I framed it up again. Two of the devils flew away, but I snapped a few shots anyway. It wasn't until I started looking later that I noticed the change in the flower. The images were shot 36 minutes apart. If I can get back to the park soon, I will set up a camera on a tripod and frame up a new bloom. I'll set up the camera to take a photo every 5 minutes or so and I'll read a book or play around with my other camera in the area. If I can hang in there for three hours or so, it might be interesting to see the time-lapse video.
2. Well, the Green Herons were keeping their distance again - at least the ones that were fishing. But I took a few shots and cropped them radically just to show what this one enterprising young fellow was doing - first time I've seen that!
3. Here comes trouble, straight at me and fast. Time to get up from the pond's edge, stand up tall and look like someone to be reckoned with instead of prey. Oil paint at about 20% opacity, frame and foolishness.
Don't know if this link will work or not but...Patti, I gotta say it's what I was hearing in my head as I clicked on that last image!
Copy the link and paste it into your browser if it wants to be contrary.
And that prize-winning shot is a sight to behold for sure! I'd better be seeing that one on a magazine cover somewhere! It has so much emotive value in it.
Jubulada, I'm so glad to be seeing those blushing brugs again. They are beautiful and I know how they make you feel each time you look at them. My Fireball Hibiscus has the same effect on me.
Miss Mary, Hahahahaha! If I had heard that music, I would have been on my trike and in my truck in record time. That movie scared me silly. I didn't go swimming for weeks.
Jubilada wrote: ...snip... How do you GET shots like that? ...snip...
I know this is a rhetorical question, but I couldn't resist. I get them by sitting in the 95+ degree heat, in the mud, swatting flies and mosquitoes and dodging alligators for hours and hours. Sounds like fun, huh? Yeah, I'm exaggerating ... a little. It really is fun when I'm on the trike and riding slowly along the trail with the breeze blowing, birds singing and the different flower fragrances drifting in and out. Very relaxing!
LOL. Watch out for those blackbirds. Love the lines and textures you got. When I was looking at the first two of your photos, I thought they would make great texture images to layer with other images. And you did! Those two would go into my texture file. Very cool.
Good stuff, Jubilada. I had to sit and gaze into that first shot of the bricks. It was like one of those illusions - first, going this way and then, going that! Wonderful blend as well. I'm really crazy about that tree, though. Talk about stately!
1. Hosta blossom, Ortoned with PicMonkey, desaturated with PSE9 and selective color brought back.
2. Clerodendron Blossoms with various manipulations
3. After the petals fell off, the Tiger Lilies displayed their bare stigmas (?). I added a little whimsy to the already whimsical-looking figures.
Miss Mary, The selective color and soft light on that Hosta is excellent! It looks dreamy. That second flower reminds me of honeysuckle. Related? I just love your whimsical creation. That is so clever and so well done. Sometimes when I look at images (mine and those of others), I think, "that should have been a bit farther to the left" or "a different color would have been nice" or there is something I wish were different. I can't think of one thing that I would change on this image. It is perfection. Love the background colors, the angle of the pictures, the overlap, everything.
Jubilada, I do love seeing those Brugs. And the triptychs are triple the enjoyment. I have never seen any around me, even in the arboretums. I'm so glad I got to see some when I was in SF. They are amazing flowers.
And Patti, I was surprised to see how well Brugs grow in SF ... they're supposed to be a tropical plant. I've had my Brugs for many years, and never expected them to survive as well as they have, especially considering that most of them are in pots. Union Square in SF has Brugs planted all around, and they bloom even in December!
Jubilada, I enjoy your Brug shots so much and look forward to them each year. That color is so lovely and I know it must be a tremendous pleasure to wake up and see them each day! Sunflower image #1 is so big, bright and happy. I like that! I also like the adulterated one, though...
Patti, thanks for the compliments on the Tiger Lily image. I almost didn't post it. The final product just didn't live up to the idea in my head, I guess.
The Clerodendron is a shrub and not a vine like honeysuckle. Mine looks more like a tree than a shrub. It has a nice, sturdy trunk and stands probably 9-10 feet tall. Those little flowers smell somewhat like gardenias and, when the breeze is blowing just right, the yard is filled with their fragrance. It is commonly called a "Peanut Butter Bush" by many because it's leaves have a strong Peanut Butter smell when you rub them lightly.
I wanted to share this Fotosketcher tutorial with everyone. I've started doing some of this with my photos but they take it several steps further. I'll have to take notes when I watch the video again because it just goes too fast for me to absorb all at once.
Miss Mary, I'll have to study that one a bit too. I have already done the copy/paste to be able to blend two different filters. I think Jubilada posted a simpler tutorial on that a while ago. But, there is so much more in this one. I enjoyed seeing what that brush could selectively do. Very interesting. I also need to review a couple of those steps he says are very important because I think I was missing them and having some problems when adding frames. Good find. Thanks for sharing!
I was looking for spider web images for Dinu's new thread and remembered that I took a few shots from the underside of the tower at the park and there was a spider web there. So, I went to process them and found that I shot them as HDR. I can't post the wacky HDR processed images over there, so I'll post 'em here. I had a hard time seeing that web though. I think the cropped Black and White image shows it best, but it doesn't show up very well on any of them.
1. Color version, painterly in Photomatix for 4 shot HDR (but only using 3 of the shots since they didn't line up very well. I shot them handheld.)
2. Converted to HDR in Photomatix (reprocessed tone mapping) and cropped in PSCS6.
3. Different shot. The camera took this one. I just put it on the ground on the timer and ran out of the shot. Hit my head on the tower while ducking down and running out. Ouch. This photography gig can be hazardous to your health. This is what Chris recommended that I do with the fisheye lens to get lines converging at the top. Well, the top is all closed up since that is the upper layer of the tower where people stand. So, I just used my widest angle lens for this view. I do still plan to play around at the tower with the fisheye.
Patti, despite the web being very faint (almost an afterthought), those are terrific shots of the underside of that tower! I'm such a sucker for geometic and Escher-ish compositions, and those are prime examples!
Thanks! Jubilada, I thought of MC Escher when I first looked at that last one. I guess this "Learning to See" class is working. I have been to that spot at least a dozen times and must admit that I never once thought of going underneath the tower until Chris mentioned it. Once I got under there, I saw what you do, Miss Mary, lines and texture going every which way. It was good to just plunk the camera in the dirt aiming up and let it go. I would have tried to square the structure up in the viewfinder (as I did for the first image), but I really like the haphazard framing that just happened.
Well, we've had rain every day since Friday. I am running out of images to process and getting cabin fever.
One more play tonight ...
The third image above with Polar Coordinates, copy right half, flip horizontal and move to left. Flatten. Over to Fotosketcher to combine oil and brushstrokes and do a little manual brushing. Back to Photoshop for a frame action.
Whew, Patti, that's pretty spectacular play, ok! Very nice! Fabulous belt buckle! Can't you just see it with all kinds of inlaid turquoise and amber and stuff?
BTW, don't begrudge that rain, Patti ... you guys need it! Do some slow motion rain shots! You know, f36 for 30 seconds, or is the other way around? I always get that mixed up (haven't had enough rain here to try it out!).
Here's my play today ... I wanted a shot of my scarlet runner beans with the sunflowers and marigolds. They just looked so sunny and pretty. Didn't produce a very nice shot, though, with a big hole there where I've got some hardware cloth protecting newly seeded beets and radishes. So, as luck would have it, on my walk this afternoon I came across a very pretty scene in someone's front yard with a nice Guadalupe statue. So, I tried to blend the two images together as neatly as possible. Yes, I know it's very busy, but so is my garden!
Agree we need it, so I can't complain too much. Good idea to photograph the raindrops. I haven't played with raindrops in a long time. Yes, f36 is a very tiny aperture so would need a long shutter speed to get enough light in the lens for correct exposure. You got it. I doubt it would get all the way to 30 seconds in the daytime, but maybe if it was overcast and dark enough due to the rainstorm. But, even 1/2 second or a few seconds should work. Just use the sprinkler. I've done that when I wanted to play with learning how to freeze each water drop and the opposite effect of dragging them out. Problem with the sprinkler is usually that it is not overcast and very bright outside, so you can't slow down the shutter speed enough. I bought a 4x neutral density filter to hold in front of my lens for this purpose. Well, not for raindrops, but for making the waves look silky and smooth at Galveston and for waterfalls.
On moving that statue to your garden - neat idea and the blend worked well. She fits quite nicely. Interesting that when I looked at the first image, I just wandered around in the image looking at the plants and thinking how lush and tropical it looks. I studied the beans and thought about what they must be growing on, wondering if they are wrapping around that sunflower for support. I just enjoyed visiting your garden. When I looked at the last merged image, I noticed that there is an eye in the middle of the sunflower. Now, my eye goes right to that eye and keeps coming back to it. Eerie. The sunflower is watching the statue.
Played with the raindrops. Catching a drop hitting water is something I have wanted to try for a long time. It is not so easy. I should have looked for a tutorial and read up, but I just jumped in. I opened the backdoor when it was really pouring. I put one of my colorful birdbath bowls out on the welcome mat, filled it about half full of water and with the backdoor left open, from the comfortable, dry living room, I started shooting the raindrops hitting the water in the bowl. Took about 300 photos and got one that I would call half way decent. Holy mackerel. I must have been doing something wrong.
My one and only keeper cropped a bit, ACR sliders, noise reduction and sharpened.
In my play today ... practicing with refining edge a bit and some quick mask stuff ... came up with this giant bee and sunflower ... needs a lot of refinement, but my eyes got tired ... at least it's worth a giggle, eh ...
Plus, a highly manipulated photo of a window (skewed, straightened, cropped, topazzed, with a tree (cedar) inserted ...
And, finally, a house on Homer, which caught my eye ... first image completely raw ... second, a manipulation of the first, well, you can see ...
Pretty sunflower. Scary bee! My brain has fallen for the "fill the frame" optical illusion and thinks the bee is about three inches long. Yikes!
Very cool fake reflection with that sunburst.It is interesting to see the before and after on the lovely house. I like the appearance, but I'd hate to have to do the upkeep on that paint job - or is that siding?
Well, Patti, when I first viewed your creative piece on July 9th, I thought it looked like a sinister face. Then I thought, nah...Patti wouldn't make faces like that and I looked at it again. Sure enough, it wasn't sinister at all. It was a happy-go-lucky clown! Hey, your splashes are great. Maybe not what you were looking for but wonderful nonetheless! Some of those droplets remind me of back when we'd put a drop of Mercury on a dime to polish it (why exactly did we do that?). It was good thinking to use the colorful bowl.
Jubilada, your idea to put the statue in the garden was excellent...gave me ideas. When I take photos in my backyard, I have all sorts of things in the background that stick out like sore thumbs. I may have to try that! Your shot of that old window (with the faux reflection) is so nice. I'm such a sucker for reflections and you pulled that one off really well! You did an excellent job of perspective correction on the house! Wow!
I went to Dixon Gardens yesterday for the first time in a few weeks. We're enjoying a break in the heatwave and I was glad to get back out again.
1. A bench in dappled sunlight
2. A sunflower with zoom blurring
3. Reflection in the fountain pool. I was in the right place at the right moment to catch what I believe was a sun dog reflection.
4. Water Lily and reflection. I had fun beside that pool!
5. Another reflective shot just before the sun dog appeared.
Wheeeee. That sunflower zoom blur is so beautiful and such a fun shot. I love the bright orange and green colors and the blur is perfect. The first image is so inviting. I feel like I can walk right in and sit on the bench for a while and then head down that path for an adventure.
Sun dogs! I didn't have a clue and had to invoke my friend, Google. Cool catch! But, even without the sundoggy (remember moondoggy or am I the only one that watched those sappy Gidget movies), that is a cool reflection shot. The Water Lily and its reflection are gorgeous.
Nice flag shot, Miss Mary ... and interesting fallen limb (poor tree!)
Today I played with mixing oil and water ... got the idea from Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure," and since I had at least nominally the required tools, gave it a (few) shots (most of which have been discarded!) ... learned a few things along the way, mostly what NOT to do ... I used a pyrex roasting pan instead of a glass bread pan (too shallow, as I found out); wasn't far enough from the fabric; shot in f11 and f16 instead of f8 or f5.6 (DOF too big); and shot during the brightest time of day(!) ... I hope to rectify these things the next time I try this, if I do ... that being said, got a few interesting shots despite all that!
• as shot, with basic ACR, and cropped
• don't know how many of these I shot before noticing the "usa" stuff on the bottom (good example of not paying attention), the scratches and other imperfections are on the roasting pan itself
Miss Mary, That flag image is excellent - beautiful sky in the background and the flag is cooperating. It is extended and in the correct direction so that the blue is in the upper left. That sounds silly, but it isn't that easy to accomplish. Most of the time when I try to photograph flags, they are hanging straight down or they are extended in the wrong direction and I have to go around and shoot into the sun. That broken branch has some great texture. I like the angle you shot it.
Jubilada, Where do I start? You have done some wonderful work. I just love the cut-out in the tree with the vase of flowers inserted. That is brilliant. And the shadows of that tree are eye-catching. The oil and water creations are so cool! I think they are all wonderful, but I like the first one best. No, maybe the second one. Okay, I can't decide. They are all so different and mesmerizing. I saw that Bryan Peterson video where he set this up on his patio. Sounded to complicated for me, but you have done a great job on it.
Jubilada, I am so glad you don't know when to quit!! That has your stamp all over it and it is fantastic. I just love it when you take a technique that someone else has developed and you put your twist on it. You are so creative!
And thanks for that vote of confidence, but I could probably set it all up and I could swish the oil and water around and I could trip the shutter. But, the key is picking out the images with cool patterns and cropping to those patterns. That requires your artist's eye. Juli, on a photography forum I frequent has a sign-off that says, "I keep trying to find an artist's eye in the B & H catalog." Many don't understand what she is saying, but I do. That artist's eye is not something you can buy.
Wow, that's so true, Patti. Jubi sure has that eye! I could envy her but I'd rather spend that energy admiring what she churns out.
Jubilada, those are better than any Lava Lamp the 60s and 70s had to offer. The last one -- that charmer with the sunflower -- is absolutely stunning. I love how the flow of the petals and leaves makes me believe the flower is really submerged! It is a magical composition and a blue ribbon winner hands down!
Went to the "Glass and Clay" show in the nearby park this afternoon. Lots of sparkling glass, creative clay, and interesting other stuff ...
Tried to "compose" a couple of photos (did ask permission, first, of course) ... not horribly successful, but here are a couple of examples ...
• this creature is neither flora nor fauna ... I skewed and cropped to straighten the frame
• really was trying to catch the "sparkle" of this display ... didn't work ... pretty, nevertheless
• this is an interesting juxtaposition, I suppose ...
• and I HAD to buy a vase from my favorite local potter, Whitney Smith. This is "aubergine" (eggplant), seen here in my usual "studio" with some hydrangea ... this photo does not do the vase justice ... it's really a beauty ... (NB: many of my bouquet photos feature her pottery ...)
DMersh, That leaf is so incredibly detailed! Great job. The major veins are easy to see and then the ones a bit smaller and then smaller and it is still clearly resolved even one more step smaller. Wow.
Jubilada, Loved all your images from the art show! That first one got a chuckle. What a cute character. I can see a bit of sparkle (bright spots) in the second. I wonder if a smaller aperture (f22) would have helped with the sparkle. I always stop down on the aperture when I'm trying to show star or sunbursts, but you already know that, so maybe it didn't help. That eggplant vase is beautiful! I love the reflections. You can get two photos in one with it. I wonder if another arrangement in another of the artist's vases placed closer to the camera and out of the field of view would show up clearly in the vase? That would be cool.
You have pattypan squash! Yummmmm. My Mom used to make a sort of sauteed patty thing with the flowers (other squash flowers too). She mixed them with ham, breadcrumbs, seasonings, onion and I don't know what else, held it all together with an egg and dropped spoonfuls into a med hot skillet with olive oil. They were sooooo good.
Still raining here. Lots of flooding in Houston and other nearby areas. My neighborhood is soggy, but no flooding yet. The drainage ditch behind the houses across the street from me is getting full. If the rain doesn't stop soon, our street will flood. We never have had water in the house though - even with all the rain from hurricanes, so I'm not worried about that.
So, I have to play inside instead of outside.
I tried out a framing technique using the Refine Mask feature in Photoshop and some of my recent photos. Weird way to make a frame. Turns out different every time I do it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
Examples of both ... First of the Anhinga is my favorite. Last one I don't like. Middle ones are so-so. Nice to have in the arsenal, but I don't think I'll use it much.
Hmmm, that squash blossom patty thing sounds pretty good ... will have to think about that, maybe use Italian sausage instead of ham, and of course, add a little Pecorino Romano ... oh, dear, I'm starting to drool!
That's an interesting framing technique ... is it of your own division? I actually like the last one! (well, I like all of them ...)
Your suggestion about the vase reflection shot sounded good in theory, but in practice ... well, a horse of a different color ...
I spent about an hour fooling around, and most of it was for naught ... I offer three examples, and I think you can see how it's not working (the surface of the vase, for one thing, is not really smooth) ... well, let's say almost close, but no cigar ... the first example is a 3-shot HDR ...
I like 'em!!! All of 'em! Sorry, Texan accent creeps in when I get excited. I think it worked really well and the grainy, rough appearance makes the reflection look painterly to me. I especially like the second one since you got a self portrait as a bonus.
That framing technique was in the recording of the Friday Adobe Creative week talks. It was at about 2:39 into it. He used a picture of a swan.
Just click on the Friday Creative Week UK link over on the right down a bit and then click on the time bar at the bottom to get to about 2:39. That whole segment was pretty interesting though if you have time.
Of course, Jubilada, I have learned from you. I did the straight technique for the first one I tried, the Anhinga. And then I started to play around with it. I used gradients for the background instead of a single color. I added a layer style to the photo layer (not clicked on the mask, but just clicked on the layer) and for some I did Bevel and Emboss playing around with the Contours, with others I played with the glow (inner or outer? don't remember). I also added a layer style to the bottom background layer and added a 2 or 3 pixel stroke to it. Don't remember what else I did, but if you try it, I can't wait to see what you can do with it.
Patti, I'm downloading that video of the UK Creative Adobe now ... it's taking forever. Looks pretty interesting ... but I will have to wait to see it ... initially I kept clicking on those little buttons on the bottom, and nothing would happen, finally it dawned on me that I had to download the whole thing first (lol) ... my computer is very slow, and I only have medium DSL ...
Can't get over that guy's dimpled chin, however ... wow!
Add new layer.
Fill new layer with a color that complements colors in your photo.
Drag the lock on the photo layer to the trash can so you can ...
Move the new color-filled layer underneath the photo layer.
Select photo layer and using the rectangular marquee tool, draw a rectangle in the image that will be the inside border of your frame.
Now click the mask icon.
Now, in the mask properties box, click on the Refine Mask Edge tool.
Box will open. Increase the radius and pull Shift Edge slider to the right. Keep playing around with them until you get something you like. You can also play with the other sliders. I usually add just a tiny touch of Contrast.
Hit OK when done and you should see your new layer color underneath around the edges.
Then, what he does is while the mask is still selected, go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and add a bit of blur. I did this sometime and didn't do it other times. It blurs it too much IMO.
Then, he somehow unlocked the mask from the main picture (or something?) and was able to adjust the size of the rectangular marquee selection. I don't have a clue how he did this. If you are able to watch it and figure this out, let me know how.
What I do at this point is add a layer style to the image layer and also a stroke layer style to the background.
Okay, I lied. It wasn't quick. In reality, it doesn't take more than 2 minutes to do the whole thing.
PS: I didn't notice his dimpled chin. Of course, now I have to go look at it again.
Yes, Patti, I got an e-mail announcement from PPSOP ... I'm thinking about it. The "Stretching Your Frame of Mind" class sounds intriguing ... just a little afraid of getting in over my head and drowning, however! ... I've got a couple of days to make up my mind ...
As far as that Creative UK Video goes, I've managed to view some of it ... Did get through the one with the refine edge, and his various other techniques ... all very interesting, and I'll have to run through it again ... have not managed to get all the way through the Julianna Kost Evangelist Demo, because it stops to "buffer" or whatever it is, and just sits there ... I supposed I've managed to get through about 20 minutes, and will keep trying because she's presenting some interesting things ...
I did get a kick out of that guy's pronunciation of Haych-D-R, however ... those Brits!
So, here's what I did with that "refine edge mask," and it is similar to something I do with quick-mask and the filter gallery ...
• Gladiola (that's the real color, too ... just planted those bulbs this spring ... doesn't look anything like what was on the package, but I like it!)
That Glad is gorgeous. Love the frame and especially love the one for the sunflower. That one has your signature on it. The OOB combined with the 3D frame is very cool. Yes, that Haych-D-R cracked me up.
I don't think you will get in over your head with any PPSOP class. I don't have much experience, but for the two classes I've taken, it is just like any class. Some people get it quicker than others and a few people struggle, but everyone learns something. I struggle with the creative part and usually don't have a problem with the technical side. A lot of people really had a tough time learning how to stack images and change blend modes to process their star trail photos in that class. It was a piece of cake for me and would be for you too. I just can't imagine that there is anything out there that you can't do. You have the creative part down and have demonstrated through your mastery of Photoshop and computer skills that technical issues will not get in your way.
I just checked out that course and it sounds awesome. I also read some of the comments from students. Wow. It sounds like he spends a lot more time than either Chris or Kevin did in the two classes I took. I would love to learn all those compositional elements. I have a clue what negative space is and I know what a vanishing point is, but how to use them in making a photo ... no clue. Darn. I wish I could take more than one course in August and get that discount twice, but I have to work on editing a book for a friend in August, so already over-committed.
Well, Patti, I bit the bullet ... I've signed up for that "Stretching Your Frame of Mind" class ... whew! Now, it's all over but the waiting ... my DH is afraid that my mind is already stretched to it's limit ...
In the meantime ... here's a triptych of some Whitney Smith vases ... and a topazzed Cirsium Vulgare (Spear Thistle) which is thriving in my side yard. The fellow who helps me with my house yard work has been trying to tear it out since it first appeared in February. "This is a weed," he'd say. I'd say, "yes, but its a terrific weed, leave it alone." Now the plant is about 6 feet tall and is just starting to bloom.
LOL. That is a gorgeous weed! Oh, my. You can take lots of close up shots of it and fill the frame with wonderfulness. I love my "weeds" too. I build little guard stacks of limbs 4 or 5 inches high around my special weeds at the property so DH won't mow them down. I have several of what I think are soaptree yucca out on the side of the road leading in to the cabin, but not sure. They send up a bloom stalk with beautiful flowers every once in a while.
Snapshot of one of the plants.
And a couple shots of the one time I caught a bloom stalk. This plant now has a little limb stack around it.
The vases are so pretty and I love your presentation of them. I have to say that my favorite is the eggplant too. But those little cute ones on the ends are giving it a run. Had to Google the Whitney Smith vases and fell in love with the ones with the little birdies sitting on the edges. How cute is that! http://www.artfulhome.com/artist/Whitney-Smith/5805
DMersh, those leaf veins are just wonderful. It is amazing to see all that minute detail! How big is the Melancholy Thistle? I love the color. You and Jubilada both have captured them at fantastic angles.
Thanks, the key effect on the leaf is the backlighting which enables all the capillary detail to stand out.
Melancholy thistle is a rather odd thistle, it hasn't got any spines and has long, flat leaves at the base of a long stalk with one or two flowers that reaches 3-5 ft high.
Superb colouring on that flycatcher. The Spear thsitles here have yet to flower, partly due to a very bad summer with little sun.
DMersh, Interesting thistle plant. Love the processing on the second image. That leaf is just amazing to me. I will have to try backlighting a leaf to see if I can get that detail. I don't think so, but I have to give it a try.
Jubilada, Lovely flowers and tomato plant. I like the choice of colors on the frames and the simplicity. It doesn't overpower the images. I like how the action pulls all of the EXIF info right out of the image. Pretty cool little action. I will probably use it to post images on Facebook. I like to have my copyright on images I post there and a lot of people ask me about the EXIF, so it will all be right there with the image.
Jubilada and Patti - those are such nice frames! As Patti pointed out, they are subtle enough not to steal the spotlight...but they sure are classy. Jubilada, I really like the flowers in vases. I'm curious...what's that in the background providing the geometric design?
Patti, I love backlit subjects (you may have noticed) and find it both challenging and rewarding to photograph them with the sun at just the right angle. Here's a shot of a backlit "Naked Lady" (Lycoris) in my flower bed a couple of days ago.
If any of you are on Facebook, here's an interesting page. I haven't checked out this guy's other editing techniques, but his HDR album is worth a look. Some of these are overworked but some are quite fanciful.
Ditto what Jubilada said about the beautiful Lycoris image. I can see that the back-lighting really accentuates the edges for a very nice effect. I played with back-lighting a little bit while at the Wildflower workshop.
I checked out the HDR images with my cell phone. I need to look again now that I'm home on a real computer, but they were very cool to see. I like that he ran the gamut from normal processing to very wild and crazy. I do like a few W&C processed images, but I much prefer trying to make an HDR image look natural. I think the key is letting Photomatix process as normal (not painterly or grunge) and then go to Photoshop and add some contrast. Photomatix kills the contrast to try to even out and preserve the highlights and shadows (the whole purpose of HDR) and makes a flat, low contrast image. Adding a little bit of that contrast back will make the images pop to my eye and also make them more realistic.
Great job on bringing out that web and getting it so sharp. Also love the composition and background. Now spray one with a fine mist of water and shoot the "pearls". I'm still trying to get a good spider web pearl shot. The hairspray pump bottles make great mist sprayers.
The foxglove kaleido is a gorgeous color! Oh, my, how pretty. It is nice to just sit back and gaze at the glowing shades and the lacey patterns. I do see some critters. The angels are nice, but those University of Texas Longhorns are cracking me up. UT and Texas A&M University have a huge rivalry. UT school color is a hideous burnt orange and A&M is a lovely maroon color. (Can you sort of tell which school I favor?) Those UT longhorns in your image have a bit of the A&M maroon color. I love it!
Jubilada, you do capture webs with a flair! I was really admiring the handiwork in that one. Look at the design! I don't see any of Patti's angels or Longhorns in the Foxglove but I do see lots of beauty! Patti, I love what you're able to pull out of things! Hey, I'm glad you went to your workshop and can't wait to see your pretties!
I'm still playing around with my new cam (Nikon Coolpix P510), trying to learn about the features and all that. I took this pic of my coffee cup while sitting at the computer this morning. The light from the screen was above and behind the cup and a lamp was on just above that. All I did to this was correct some spots here and there, B & W it and paint back the original color on the kitty image, then crop it down.
Miss Mary! That is so cute. Fantastic processing - Selective color was a great idea. Love the shadow of the mug and cracked up at the text. And, it worked. The story you told with that image is so good, I'm off to the kitchen to brew up a nice cup of coffee...can't wait.
Hey, Miss Mary, congrats on your new camera! I checked it out online, and, WOW, seems like quite an impressive one ... what a zoom range! I'm sure you're going to get lots of fabulous shots with it!
Cute mug shot, and ditto what Patti says. By the way, my cats don't wait until I'm not looking, the little rascals!
Patti, here's a question for you ... what lenses (other than Macros) have a "macro mode"? Bryan Peterson talks about switching your lens to "macro mode" when you're using an extension tube, and I can't seem to find any information on it ... I can't find anything on any of my lenses that would suggest there is such a thing!
Also, as Miss Mary says, I'm looking forward to see what you "caught" during your wildflower workshop!
Lots of lenses have what they call a "macro" mode or are macro capable. Some are more macro than others, but most are not really true macro lenses. This is just marketing hype. Usually all they do is add some type of bellows or macro ring that will get the lens elements farther away from the film/sensor so that the lens will focus closer. It's the same as adding an extension tube between the lens and the camera - does exactly the same thing.
In order to be a true macro lens, the lens must give you at least a 1:1 life size ratio which means the subject will be the same size on the "slide or negative" as in true life. This is a little different for crop cams, but you get the idea. Also, in order to be a true macro lens, the lens must be designed with a flat field so that the image is not distorted at the edges. They can be used for copy work and the copy of the document will be just as sharp at the edges as in the middle. This isn't so important to me for taking photos of flowers or bugs on flowers, but it is important to note.
For example, our Canon 24 to 105 claims macro capability. It says Macro on the lens and it has a yellow line on the closest focusing side of the little window that shows the focusing distance. The yellow line says macro on it. My old Canon kit lens has macro capability as well as my new Canon kit lens. The old one has the yellow line and also has a little yellow flower icon.
The 24 to 105 focuses as close as 17.7 inches and has about a 1:4 ratio to life size, so the subject will be about 25% of life size at best. You need to look at that ratio to determine how much "macro" capability the lens has. The higher that second number gets, the worse the capability. Sometimes it is stated as % of life size, so a 1:4 would be called a 0.25x. In that case, the smaller the number, the worse the capability, so 0.5 is better than 0.25, but not as good as 1.0X which is true macro.
As far as "putting a lens into macro mode", my lenses automatically go to the macro setting if I try to focus close. I don't know how Nikon's lenses work.
I'm looking forward to seeing your video of wide angle to max zoom on that mega-zoom camera. Zooming from the entrance sign at Dixon Gardens to a little flower in the distance would be way cool. I'm sure it will take some practice to get the focus while zooming though. That looked a little tricky. I'm so glad you got the 510 instead of the 500! Is the wide angle noticeably wider than your L110?
DH and I just got back home at 2:30 am today. Slept for a little bit and then had to download some images. I really didn't shoot much. We did sunrise first and got some decent images. Then we shot flowers off to the side of the Blue Ridge Parkway, driving the Parkway between shooting spots. It was beautiful. The weather was kind until about 3 in the afternoon when the day was cut short by a lingering thunderstorm. The thunderstorm started right when we were photographing an elk that was wandering down the Parkway and it lasted until almost sunset. We did try to photograph sunset, but a heavy fog rolled in on us so the colors never did develop. We shot the fog rolling in, but it was fast, so in just a few minutes it was too thick to photograph anything.
All in all, it was a really good class. I will share some of the things I learned. Kevin was also really big on the Canon 500D close focusing diopter lens. I was way off base with that one. I never liked mine, but I guess I will try it again. He also liked putting the smallest (12mm) extension tube on with wide angle zoom lenses. More stuff later ...
Here are a few images processed so far... I didn't get very many.
1. This one didn't work, but we can learn from it. I flashed the flowers in the foreground to light them up and to try to stop action on them since the wind was blowing them. I think I should have boosted the ISO to get a faster shutter speed since I can still see some shadowy motion blur next to the flower. I sent a note to Kevin asking what I should have done and I'll report what he says.
2. Crop of the flowers so you can see the shadow.
3. These little beetles were all over the place. I submitted some pictures to bugguide dot net to see if I can get an iD.
4. Sun's rays peeking out of the clouds, throwing shadows of the trees on the fog in the valley. This was incredibly beautiful to see. It was constantly changing. I "shopped" a power line tower and some lines out of the bottom.
5. Probably the reason those little beetles are all over the place ... Bunny beetles.
Patti, those beetle shots are incredible! Also, love #4 ... beautiful!
Bryan Peterson is crazy about the Canon 500D close-up filter ... he says it's a must have. It's very expensive! I also have heard about using extension tube with the wide-angle lens, but have not tried it, because others have said it's a crazy idea! Sigh. Too many options, too little time!
Jubilada, Thanks! The beetle is a Japanese Beetle, Popillae japonica. I have been reading more and more about the 500D. I have the 250D, but it is also supposedly good. We'll see. Kevin really played down buying a macro lens. He said that for those in the class that did not have one, don't go out and buy one unless you want to do copy work where you need the flat field. He thought money was better spent on the tubes and 500D which would work on several lenses.
Yes, I know what you mean about not enough time. There are so many things I want to try and I just don't have time to devote to it.
I got a few more images processed and threw away a ton of them. Most of the flowers were not in very good shape. I only kept some of them because of a bug or butterfly.
1. This is an Indian Pipe Wildflower, Monotropa uniflora. Learning about it was fascinating. Many people think it is a mushroom, but it is not a fungus. It is a wildflower. It is not capable of producing chlorophyll, so it stays this white color. It grows about 6 to 8 inches tall and feeds off of the root systems of trees and fungi.It likes to grow among dead leaves and compost where it also obtains nutrition. The tea from the plant has been used to treat aches from flu, pain, restlessness and as a sedative. I wish I could have taken a photo of the inside of the flower, but I couldn't get under it without damaging the plant and that's a no-no in the National Park. I needed a mirror.
2. One of the elk photos - not a particularly good one, but it has wildflowers. I only include this one to illustrate how close he got to us. We were standing about 40 to 50 yards away from him as per park rules, but he kept walking right toward us. He was heading for this patch of wildflowers and Kevin said to get ready for the money shot - elk eating the wildflowers. I was following him when I should have focused on the flowers instead. When he got just a step or two from the flowers, he was too close for my lens to focus. I had to back up to get this shot which was my last one of him since he just kept getting closer. That's when the rain really got hard and the lightning started. We thought we had better get back to the vehicles since we were all holding long metal lenses in the lightning storm. My camera got soaked. Good thing it is the weather resistant one.
3. Elk. Darn. I cut off his antler. I have other shots with all of the antlers in, but I just liked this pose.
4. Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly on Scarlet Bee Balm. Our Bee Balm wildflower is totally different from this kind..
Those beetles are something else and that #4 picture in the first set is a winner for sure, Patti! Your elk is a handsome fella, even without the tip of his antler. I hate it when I do stuff like that! Aren't Pipevines beautiful? Love those foggy mountains, too.
As for the video feature on my new camera...it seems I need a higher class memory card. I'll let you know how the video works when I get one. I still haven't figured out the manual focus functioning but I honestly haven't put much effort into it just yet. I'm liking the wide shots I'm getting now, though I'm dealing with (fish-eye?) distortion on some of the closer objects. I'll try to get some examples of it on here soon. PSE9 doesn't seem to have a way to correct it, or at least I haven't found it yet. PSP does, so it's not a big deal...just an extra step.
I went out yesterday and got some shots here and there. I took these using the Scene Auto Selector mode. The camera decides which mode actually works best for each shot with this setting.
1. Cool VW (HDR-ish)
2. Goose (PSE9)
3. Audubon Park (purple fringe removal had to be done to the trees in the distance)
4. Cancer Survivor's Park (Accidentally had the cam set on Macro for these!)
5. Cancer Survivor's Park
So nice to see your new camera in action! First thing I noticed is the sharpness of all of the images. The flowers you zoomed in on are crystal clear. And the goose's face is incredibly sharp. Excellent auto-focusing in that cam! I wonder if you will ever need that manual focusing. But, I guess if you get really close to something, it might come in handy to get the focus exactly where you want it instead of where the camera wants it. Time will tell.
Colors look great too! The blue in the sky images is so lovely. It doesn't appear to have a problem with blowing out reds and yellows like so many digital cams. Those colors came out fine in the VW image, but that might be your processing? I can't tell.
I think #4 is a different perspective on the Cancer Survivors Park statue from when you shot it before. I remember really liking the angle you used to shoot it before and I really like this one too. They need to work on that grass though. It looks like my drought parched, weed-infested front yard.
Very good pictures from the Nikon P510, for a camera with such a small image sensor (1/2.3"). My own camera is an old Nikon Coolpix L6 with 6 megapixels but these small sensors can still produce high quality images, especially under good lighting, plus Nikon lenses are usually very good for overall image quality. The P510 would be an incredible camera if Nikon brought out a version with their new CX size sensor (used in the J1/N1 cameras), the 1/2.3" sensor is very small for a camera with so many features - see the table in link.
Nice shots you're getting with that new camera, Miss Mary, sharp and colorful! Almost makes me want to run out and get one ... but since the cameras I have are functioning just fine (other than their operator!), I'm going to have to stick with what I have for the time being!
Is that "Wizard of Oz" tree ok? Something tells me that trunk activity isn't quite right ... or am I being silly?
Here's another shot of that house, taken back in April, when I first saw the sign up that the remodel/tear down was going to happen ... most of the vegetation has been removed, including that palm tree ...
And did you know that palm trees are not actually trees, but a type of grass? I learned that from a master gardener.
Oh, that heavy-handed remodeling makes me want to cry! Such a lovely old house -- and that tall grass in the yard is gone, too! Jubilada, you have my curiosity stirred up now...what in the world did you use for your images in that triptych? You asked about the "Wizard of Oz" tree in my earlier post -- it's the first time I've driven down that path and seen it. I didn't get out and look at it (just did a drive-by shooting) but I'd say it has serious problems. I just can't figure out what kind of problems.
I learned last night that Dixon Gardens was opening up at 8AM (instead of 10AM) for the entire month of July. All this time I haven't been going out there because it was too hot! Well, I was out there this morning at 8:15, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!
1. Sunflower, with zoom blur
2. This is the back side of the original Dixon Home (now used for offices).
3. The entrance (Topaz Adjust)
Jubilada, I am also curious about that triptych. It looks like a reflection of a reflection in a reflection ... The house! Oh, my! That's more of a rebuild than a remodel. Hopefully the facade will be somewhat true to the original design.
Miss Mary, That sunflower zoom blur is beautiful! I really like the off-center composition. The curving wall looks nice in this view. I do see what you mean in previous comments about the greenhouse.
A little more play with the North Carolina wildflower workshop images.
1. Elk being naughty. OK, he's really just chewing, but I like to think he was tired of the paparazzi clickety clicking and let us know how he really felt. Fotosketcher + reduced saturation on the greens so they wouldn't distract from the elk.
2. A few of the photographers silhouetted at sunrise. Fotosketcher oil/brushstrokes blend + simple black stroke frame.
3. Shortly after sunrise. Coneflowers in the foreground. Fotosketcher sketch/oil blend and frame.
Patti, that Elk shot is great! I got a chuckle out of that one. The photographers at sunrise is done so nicely. I like everything about it -- the subjects, the silhouetting, the enhancement...all of it. That third one really appeals to me. So many "layers" of beautiful things to explore! My eyes went first to the flowers, then the tree, then the bushes, then the mountain, then the next mountain and the next...wow!
Is it my imagination or does this thread stretch out longer than it used to? We used to aim at starting a new one at around 200 (and we sometimes went over) but now it seems that we need a new one by around 175. Maybe I'm just getting old...
Thanks. I never do see these critters sticking out their tongues when I'm taking the photos. It isn't until I get home and start reviewing that I see what I caught. I guess since I subscribe to the "hold down the shutter button" theory when photographing animals, I get more than my fair share of unusual poses.
How do you tell when we need a new thread? Does it start to load slowly? I had that problem when I traveled so much and tried to pull up these threads on my Blackberry. Sometimes it just didn't happen. But, I never notice a slowdown anymore. It probably happens sooner since we put several images in each post instead of just one as in the old days. DG just gets better and better.