I’ll settle for one a day
It was a little over a month ago that I was in a funk because it seemed as if I wasn’t getting many really good photos. The “drought” only lasted for about two weeks, then things returned to normal for me. But, at the time, I decided that if I got one well above average photo per day, that I’d be happy no matter how bad the rest of my photos were. I usually get the one good photo per day, with a few bonuses as well.
For instance, yesterday I was on my way back home and spotted a praying mantis in the bike path ahead of me. I chased it around using the 300 mm lens with 1.4 x extender, as it was obvious that the mantis was worried about me being a predator. Finally, it stopped for a few minutes, so I laid down on the ground and got as close as I could with the set-up I had been using. Then, I replaced the 1.4 X extender with the 2 X extender for this photo.
I have to brag a little, I’m getting pretty good at burning and dodging in Lightroom, just the way we used to do things in the darkroom. The mantis’ back was way over exposed, but I used the healing brush in Lightroom to dodge the back of the mantis so that the photo looks fairly good.
Anyway, since I had mesmerized the mantis into holding still, I switched to the 60 D body with the Canon 100 mm macro lens on it for this next photo.
That was about as close as I could get that set-up to focus at, so this next one is the slightly cropped version.
Seen full screen on my 27 inch iMac, the mantis’ head is 6 inches wide, and reasonably sharp, not bad for something that’s only around 1/4 inch (6 mm) wide in real life.
Changing gears, I’m going to try to make it up north to the Jordan River Valley this weekend in hopes of getting some good fall color landscape photos. In preparation for that, I’ve been practicing the last few days around here. On the first day, it was cloudy with a little mist at times, which I have learned leads to great color saturation if you use a tripod and keep the ISO settings low.
Sorry for the two nearly identical photos, I couldn’t decide which one I liked better.
This next one isn’t special, other than I used more than three images to make the HDR image for the first time successfully.
I was blown away by how well that one turned out as far as looking exactly as I had viewed the scene as I shot it.
Anyway, the next day was sunny, but by using the polarizing filter, shooting HDR images, and some tweaking in Lightroom, I came up with these.
Today, it was sunny, but the wind was much stronger, which up until now, has thwarted my attempts to shoot HDR images, as I haven’t been able to deal with the ghosting that you get as the wind moves the foliage around between the shots used to create the HDR image. I made it as tough on myself as I could, using seven images and a healthy dose of de-ghosting to get this image.
If you look closely, you can see some of the sumac leaves in the lower center of the image are being blown upside down in the wind, and yet are reasonably sharp, not bad if I do say so myself.
Some more bragging coming up next, it’s hard to believe that I’ve been using Photomatix to create HDR images for just over a year, and Lightroom for around six months. I should have worked at Photomatix more in the beginning, but I didn’t know that the RAW image converter written into it isn’t very good. I didn’t begin getting good results in HDR images until I began using Lightroom to convert RAW files to TIFF files for use in Photomatix.
Another little side note, it’s obvious that my two EF-S wide-angle lenses, the 15-85 mm and 10-18 mm are both very good lenses. On the same theme, the 60D body is a pretty good one as well, with the added benefit of the vary-angle display, which I used with the 10-18 mm lens to shoot this stump in Muskegon again.
By using live view and tilting the viewing screen, I was able to place the camera on the ground pointed up towards the stump, and I didn’t have to dig a hole to lay in to do so. 😉 I don’t use the vary-angle display often, but it sure comes in handy at times, and, it keeps the screen from being damaged since I can fold the screen face-in towards the body while I’m not viewing it. I purchased a nifty glass screen protector to fit the 7D Mk II body to prevent the screen from being scratched or damaged. It’s much better than the self adhesive sheet type of protectors, but I digress.
Speaking of the 7D, here’s a few more photos from it during my last trip to Muskegon.
Here’s one of those photos that I couldn’t resist, even though it’s nothing special in any way.
Even though this post is supposed to be about one good photo per day, I’ve gotten sidetracked again, as this series shows.
A Copper’s hawk went blasting past me as I was just beginning my walk on Monday, it was going for a flock of English house sparrows near the entrance to the apartment complex where I live. I found the hawk perched on one of the signposts that mark the entrance to the complex.
I tried to get to a better position, but that would have entailed walking out unto a busy road if I kept my distance from the hawk. I did the best I could, but was too close to the hawk, so it took off…
…landing on the roof of the storage facility being built next-door to the apartment complex. In case you’re not familiar with small hawks like the Cooper’s hawks, they are quick flyers much more like falcons than the larger hawks. This one stopped on a dime, unfortunately, I didn’t stop panning the camera on a dime though.
That one was cropped from the edge of the frame of the original image, as I overshot the hawk as I tried to pan with it. So, I shot a sharp image of the hawk was it had regained its balance to make up for the blurry one. Still, I wish that I had gotten the hawk as it struggled to stop as quickly as it did, that would have been a photo of the month if I had gotten that one right.
A few seconds later, it flew to the top of one of tall pines along the road, and I stood there hoping to catch it in flight for a good photo. I had the camera and lens all set-up for it, but the hawk wouldn’t budge. I eventually got bored waiting, set the camera and lens back to normal, and then the hawk decided to buzz me when I wasn’t ready.
Do you know how hard it is to keep up with a small hawk flying nearly directly over your head? At least I got the exposure almost right. 😉
I have a few more images from my last trip to Muskegon to share before I forget.
I like that one, the background looks like a painting.
I tried to show how much chipmunks can expand their cheeks to hold food, but I couldn’t get the right angle.
I couldn’t tell from sight that it was a trumpeter swan, but there’s no mistaking their calls for any other species of swan.
I think that those flowers may have different common names in different parts of the country, but not being an expert, I’m not sure.
Anyway, here’s a few more photos from around home this past week.
It will be a sad day when the last flower of the year fades away. But, I do like fall, the temperatures are cooler, and as the leaves turn color and fall from the trees, I get some good bird photos.
Allen had a bit about not seeing many dandelions in his latest post, so I went looking for some today. I found a few, here’s one.
Why is it that I manage to get most of my photos of songbirds in flight as they are gliding with their wings folded back?
I’m sorry that I’m rushing through this post, but I have much to do to get ready for this weekend, if my work schedule permits me to go up north. So, in hopes that I do make it, I’ll end this one with this unidentified caterpillar.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!