Doesn’t this make you want to go for a swim? This shot was achieved through skillful negotiation, and patience. The birds were flying in and out of this little cove and the family wanted to move on. Of course once I setup for the background, the birds decided to take a rest from flying. This didn’t help my small window of opportunity to get the shot I foresaw. As luck would have it, everyone wanted to take a break like the birds and took a breather. This gave me five more minutes to sit and wait. Even though I would have preferred an incoming seagull, I was pleased to get this guy on his way out. He’s in a good spot, great wing angle, and I can still see his eye. Perfect.
What a moment to capture! The pictured couple was sitting on the coastal rocks and I liked the double recliner nature of the rocks. So of course, up went the camera. Wouldn’t you know that on the first click, fortune struck enough to have a huge wave crash behind our love birds. In post, this took a bit of adjustment to keep the detail of the water spray and the colors but overall I think it turned out well.
Slowing things down today. This is a tank of swimming sardines at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I liked how their shiny scales looked against the light and the aqua background.
The month of May has been almost, if not, the coldest on record for the Bay Area. Rain, cold, clouds. The sun and warmth tended to appear only mid-week. This weekend, everything is starting to feel normal. The sun is shining, it’s warm and we went to Monterey to enjoy the coast. Here’s a nice seagull that was brave enough to hang around while I climbed on the rocks to get closer for some shots.
A happy little butterfly on a happy little flower. I’m pretty sure this is a Variable Checkerspot (Euphydryas chalcedona).
On the hike last Sunday with the togalongs, I noticed these little yellow flowers growing on the high bank of the lake. I didn’t stop to shoot them on the way out, but I knew on the way back they would end up a target. It took some work to get something that I liked, but in the end, I like the yellow against the blue water and seeing both sides of the lake. Also, I tried the recommended technique of underexposing the shot to bring out the detail in the yellow. Overall I think it worked quite nice. The brightness of the yellow is still a bit lacking, but I think the detail more than makes up for it.
A third sunset image from my recent trip to the south end of the San Jose International Airport. This one grew on me over the last few days so I thought I’d share it. I missed today’s spectacular sunset other than enjoying from the driveway. I thought I would try this as an entry into Skywatch Friday.
The kids and I went hiking around Anderson Lake in Morgan Hill on Sunday. The sky was playing very nice and the views were gorgeous. I really liked how the brown grass interacted with the blue sky, orchards, mountain and puffy white clouds. I took this at 28mm f13 to get the background just slightly out of focus. It was a bit breezy so it was really tough to get this with a super-sharp grass in the foreground.
After taking my recent sunset images at the airport, instead of putting the camera away, I thought I would try to recreate Funkyslug’s great driving image as an experiment for the drive home. It was a good learning experience which made me realize a few things. I now understand just how damn good Brian’s image really is given the challenges of driving, especially where he used a 30 second exposure and I used 8.
For this I set the camera to have an 8 second exposure which was triggered remotely after a ten second delay. I had the camera tripod setup behind the front passenger seat with the legs as wide as they would go. I didn’t use the seatbelt technique which bit me on one left turn when the tripod tipped toward the outside of the turn. Slower speeds resulted in sharper in-car details.
This was taken as wide as I could make it at 28mm and it is clear for this shot to really work, it needs to be a wider angle still. I think it would have also helped to reduce camera shake further. The only improvement of this image over its inspiration is that the steering wheel is on the correct side of the car. Thanks again, Brian!
What are these little iridescent pearl flower buds? I have no idea. I found them in the local hills on a bush and are very cool. I have no idea what they look like in bloom. If you know what they are, let me know, I was unable to identify them online.
As promised, here are the delicious strawberries. The cherries are an heirloom variety known as Coral Cherries. They are the best cherries I’ve ever had. This was a shot done in my window again for the nice lighting. If anyone wants to, have a moment of silence for this fruit. It was promptly devoured by the kids after I was done shooting.
The carrots sold by at our farmer’s market are like candy. Especially after being roasted on the grill. It’s important to get the skinnier ones, since the really big ones take forever to cook.
One more sunset from Saturday’s short excursion. I made my attempt to capture this as I saw it, and it was gorgeous. I wanted a plane in the shot, but I am not sure what I would have done with one since I bet it would have been blurry with the long shutter speeds.
Yesterday evening, after a day with the family, the clouds were setting up for a promising sunset. Since the airport isn’t too far away and the sun is getting closer to lining up with the end of the runway, I wanted to get some planes against the nice backdrop of a gorgeous sunset.
This proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated. My assumption was that there would be a stream of planes constantly landing which would make it easy to get one right where I wanted when I wanted it. This wasn’t the case. The frequency of planes was quite sporadic and the sun moves pretty quickly at the end of the day. Also, there isn’t really a great place to setup. I did find a legal place to park which was a bit low so I had to get creative. I setup the focus and camera settings for the lighting but the angle was wrong. So, I ended up with the tripod on top of my car, extended as tall as I could make it, while I stood on the seats with half my body out the sunroof. The post-shot viewfinder about 4 feet above my head was all I could use to verify things were just right. Minor framing adjustments were made by moving the tripod legs. I couldn’t tell when a plane was in-frame. A bit of spray and pray helped with that.
This plane shot above would be sweet if it was taken 1/2 second sooner, putting the plane at the top left corner. I’m going to have to get back and try again next time we have a promising sunset!
What do you do when you don’t have a macro lens and you want to get on the Dandelion Bandwagon (1, 2, 3)? Get a bigger dandelion! Again, we have Salsify seeds setup in my ‘studio’. In the afternoon, the sun comes through a window in my house and has served as my back-lighting system for awhile. I think it worked well here. The one thing I don’t have and need is a black backdrop to make something like this stand out even better.
The details in the fibers are wonderful. Click through to see them in good detail.
Broom bush from the front yard. These things smell wonderful when in bloom. Sadly this is almost done blooming for the year.
There are some gigantic dandelion-like seed pods out here that caught my eye. It turns out they are Salsify. Also known as oyster root. I have a couple of these growing in my back yard that sprung up on their own, of which I’ll have to try and eat once they mature. This image was taken out in Rancho San Antonio Park and was a bit rushed, but cool nonetheless.
I find yellow flowers extremely challenging to photograph. I’m not sure why they always lose their detail and appear so flat. No matter how I work the camera and the post-processing I always struggle with a attaining rich looking image. I’d love to hear pointers on how to make yellows feel as sharp and deep as other colors.
This image was taken in a very vibrant field of yellow mustard. The colors were fantastic. While this is nice and I like this image quite a bit, It doesn’t capture what I saw. It was all much more vibrant and had more texture in the petals.
The other shot from the farmer’s market. I’ll have to get some more on Sunday. I did do a quick arrangement of these for this shot.
This little quail was on the trail sitting on a branch as we were walking by on the way to the farm. He was sitting in a very picturesque spot until I brought the camera out, and then he started scooting down. I managed to get a couple shots before he went into the underbrush. I didn’t realize just how colorful a quail is.
More from the walk to the farm. This time we have a happy little sunflower with some definite personality. This flower was just begging to be photographed. It was in a challenging location and it was tough to get an angle on it, let alone one where the camera would be still. I love the wide range of colors in this shot.
Inspired by Consuelo’s Asparagus I thought I’d give cherries from the farmers market a try. No tripod for me here since the sun was bright and lit everything nicely.
At Deer Hollow Farm in the park on Sunday, there was a small garden with this Papaver poppy growing. The delicate red paper-thin wrinkled petals and how they catch the light are just wonderful. The white anthers and purple filaments combined with the bright yellow pistil that looks like a fancy pat of butter work so well for this large flower.
One of my new recent favorites! Today, I took the kids hiking through the hills in San Antonio Park with some friends to visit Deer Hollow Farm. The flowering thistles were drawing my attention but not delivering in any shots, no matter how much I encouraged them. Along the hike, my friend mentioned the bee on a nearby thistle. Needless to say, that was followed by several clicking sounds coming from my camera.
I love the pollen on this bee, the colors, clarity, aphids and spider web.