I spent most of this past week chasing monarch butterflies around, and playing with all my photo equipment and new software. I know that I’ve shot too many photos of the monarchs, but this is the first year in some time that I’ve seen so many around here. They’ve been everywhere that I’ve gone, and there was one period of time when I was watching five at one time. So, here goes.
Okay, enough of them, at least for now. Still, it’s good to see so many of them when their numbers are said to be decreasing rapidly.
In my last post I had a few images of a female northern cardinal that I thought were really good. But, what I think are really good images keeps changing.
These were shot with the 300 mm prime lens, 1.4 X tele-converter, and I used the new EX 320 flash unit.
That reminds me. I don’t shoot in burst mode, I press the shutter release for each photo. However, I’m not exactly slow on the shutter, and so far, the EX 320 flash unit has kept up with me. I have it set-up for “quick flash”, which means it doesn’t have to recharge completely before it will fire again. As long as it has enough of a charge to send out the needed light for the exposure settings, it will fire whether it’s fully charged or not. For fill-in flash as I’ve used it most of the time, I have yet to have to wait for the flash, even after firing six to ten shots relatively quickly.
While I’m on the subject of flash, here are two of my playing around photos. I used a very slow shutter speed along with the flash for these images of moving water.
The strobe effect of the flash unit tries to freeze the motion of the water, while the slow shutter speed blurs the motion. One of these days I’ll strike the correct balance between the two effects.
I didn’t go to Muskegon this past weekend, there haven’t been any reports of special species of birds there, and, I used the gas money that I would have spent getting there and back to purchase the pro version of Photomatix software for HDR photos.
I was going to start with the beginner version, then upgrade later, but I changed my mind, and here’s why.
The tone mapped version….
…and the exposure fusion version of the same scene.
You can see that in the tone mapped image, the shadows are almost completely gone, which doesn’t look as natural as the exposure fusion version, which has shadows, but you can see what’s in the shadows. Since you can’t do exposure fusion in the beginner version of Photomatix, I decided to go all the way to the pro version. There’s no sense in learning one method of HDR only to turn around and learn a second method later.
But, I have one last tone mapped image to share, just because of the clouds in it.
I don’t want to get too technical and explain the differences between tone mapping and exposure fusion, so I’ll leave it at this. I see more realistic results while having to make fewer changes when I use exposure fusion. But, I’m also learning that loading properly exposed images into the software is key to getting natural looking photos out, no matter which method I use.
The first few videos that I watched over simplified things. They said that you should set your camera up for automatic exposure bracketing at plus and minus 2 stops. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t, it’s far better to get an exposure correct for the brightest part of the scene, and one for the darkest part of the scene. Then, fill in between those two with as many shots as it takes going one stop at a time. It’s more work while you’re shooting photos, but a whole lot less work when you load the images into Photomatix.
Anyway, enough of that for now. Here’s a few more of my recent photos.
The only mushrooms that I’ve seen lately have all been the toadstool type, and very short. I’ve been hoping to find a taller one so I can photograph it from the side with the 10-18 mm lens.
So, I finally found a taller fungus, and it was on a day when it was raining. It was the first day in at least two months when I had brought only one camera body and a long lens with me, when I’ve normally brought the second body, the macro and 10-18 mm lenses with me. Oh well, this one shot with the 300 mm prime will have to do.
Little did I know at the time that over the upcoming weekend, I’d have a few opportunities to shoot fungi with the short lens, and even play with lighting. But, that’s another post, for now, time to wrap this one up.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!