Happy Easter everyone! The Easter Bunny made a visit to a little sparrow that is just outside the front-door. The eggs were even decorated!
The day in the Marin Headlands let us have a nice, golden, somewhat hazy sunset. Off in the distance you can see an old army lookout station with a bit of graffiti on it. I’ll post a close-up of that in a couple days. The light on the iceplant worked really well for this shot. I just wish I had a round aperture and possibly an ND filter to really bring this image home.
Other than the stifling humidity, it is great to go feet from the house and have tons of vegetation, creeks, and fun things for the kids to do. I wasn’t able to get out to see a sunset in the fields, but the creek did very nicely. I love how the water caught the light.
A happy little butterfly on a happy little flower. I’m pretty sure this is a Variable Checkerspot (Euphydryas chalcedona).
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.
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.
What we have here is a small little creature that will grow up to be a lovely ladybug. Yup, it’s a ladybug larvae. I captured this guy (or lady) on a park bench yesterday. As usual when I see insects this size, I immediately flipped over my lens and setup for a reverse-lens macro shot. If I recall correctly, I took thisat about 135mm with the lens propped up against the arm of the bench (I was lucky that I had something to brace against). This means I was able to be really still in comparison to many of my other RLM shots. This image still has focus issues which I’ve decided to blame on the minuscule DOF. This was shot at 1/320, so camera shake should have been minimized. Oh how this taunts me into getting a real macro lens.
Today I bought a circular polarizing filter. So naturally, what is the first thing I do to break it in? Take it off the camera and do some reverse-lens macro shots. It’s what you would have done, right? That’s what I thought.
What we’re looking at here is a little daisy that was growing in the grass field of a local school. This was taken at 135mm focal length. Isn’t this shot one that is required of anyone taking flower photos? I thought it was, so I made my attempt at it.
The title says it all. This was taken back in February while taking a weekend break to South Lake Tahoe. This shot hasn’t sat well with me (why it hasn’t gone on the site until May), but has gone over well with the family (which is why it’s here at all). Usually it is the opposite, they don’t like it and I do. Let me know what works and what doesn’t. Maybe I’m missing something.
Lavender attracts three varieties of bees and the paper wasp in my front yard. These guys are Carpenter Bees. They don’t have stingers but are still rather aggressive. Despite their large size, they are harder to shoot in an interesting way than the honey bees since they are much faster and much more impatient. In the top photo, if you look, you can see my reflection in the eye. The bee below seems to have lost an antennae.
I am finding that I enjoy taking photos of the bees in the front yard. They don’t mind me being there and they are great subjects. This little guy was hanging on to the lavender with just his hind legs while cleaning his tongue.
A moment was found this evening to take a few (well 180) photos. I only managed to get as far as the sidewalk when the bees and warm light caught my eye yet again. Today I was determined to get some better focused and timed shots. I set the camera on shutter (1600) priority and auto iso so I can focus on focus. To get these shots I center-shot each one since I knew the PP cropping would be significant. This gave me more leeway if the bees took off.
I feel like I am getting better at these shots. Each of these captures some good detail with the bees and their interaction with the lavender. Also, I finally got a head-on shot. Tongue out and everything!
Today is the first time one of my Daily Shoot suggestions was used. Today also has horrible weather and I won’t be going out shooting in it. So instead, I am sharing a photo that I’ve been sitting on this for a while. The image quality isn’t great, but this catch shot of a hummingbird chasing a bug is one I feel lucky to have. In this, the beak is open and the bug is plainly visible.
This was taken in San Jose while at a park with the kids. I was trying to shoot some of the birds in the trees when I saw this hummingbird in the air. This was shot a 110 mm on a 70-300mm lens at 1/1000 f5.6.
#ds147 – Birds are beautiful and rewarding to photograph. Challenge yourself by making a photo of a bird today! (@theskane)
I’ve decided that want to practice more with the sun and the warm effects it can have in the mornings and evenings on subjects. This evening I spent about 20 minutes chasing this photo with various angles on different leaves. The nice thing about leaves is they cooperate, even if the wind is blowing them all around.
In contrast, I spent the sun’s waning time with my kids on getting some portraits with similar lighting. As you might imagine, the kids are not as cooperative as the oak leaves. That is why you only get to see the leaf today.
I have been quiet on here lately, but the shutter has still been firing. Bees are still capturing the attention of my camera. They are challenging to capture in interesting moments, which usually means flight. I’ve been getting pretty close and I upset one of the larger bees (which are quite aggressive even towards the other bees). The trick I learned here was a shutter speed of about 1600 was required to get the better shots. Manual focus seems to be the way to go along with patience. Chasing the bees with the camera is just plain frustrating as they are far faster than the focus.
Reverse lens macro of one of the bees on the spanish lavender.
The evening light today was perfect for shooting some tree blossoms and the busy bees working on them. I was using my 28-135 lens for these shots which means I had to crop quite a bit to get the right detail. The real challenge here was sharp focus with the quickly moving bees. For that, I used live view, zoomed in to quickly manually focus on the bees while somewhat still. Once they started to move, I let the rapid-fire shutter go. This collection is out of about 30 total attempts.
Today I took the kids out into Sanborn Park in the Santa Cruz mountains. The redwood forest is always a spectacular place to visit. This was my first time in this particular area. Below is small collection of photos from the morning, starting with the log cabin type hostel.
I love the look of this building. The fact that moss grows absolutely everywhere out here adds tons of character to everything. It was a challenge to capture things with just the right amount of light since the most mossy structures were also in the shade. This collection is comprised of both single-shot and HDR images to bring out the looks I was going for. With most of my HDR images, I prefer the more natural look.
Towering Redwood Trees
Creek in Sanborn Park
The first image I used for the Daily Shoot assignment: #ds103 – Novelty can help goose creativity. Go somewhere today you’ve never been, even just a different street, and make a photo.
A quick find today during a break in the rain. These brightly colored flower buds are opening on a small tree outside my office. The glass of the office building provided the nice dark tones to really highlight the colors here.
#ds64 – “Practice the art of simplicity today by making an interesting photo from a minimalist perspective (@domingocaceres).”
#DS56 – “Challenge: Silhouettes are an interesting way to abstract a subject. Make a photo featuring a silhouetted subject today.”
I spent the morning at Lake Almaden to watch the world wake up. I love how the geese and Umunhum come together. This was captured with a high ISO and a bit grainy. I’m not sure if I think this looks better in color or black & white.
I am a fan of Mt. Umunhum. It is visible from almost everywhere in San Jose. The dilapidated radar tower at the top, bad roads, and large stretch of private property add to its mystique. Cloud formations over the top are always a treat, especially as storms are just rolling in or leaving. This is my submission for #ds46: “Time for a change in perspective! Look up today and make a photo that favors what’s going on in the sky.”
Other recent clouds were captured in Palo Alto. This one captured the sun fabulously just as a jet was leaving a contrail that was cutting the sky like a knife.
Today I left work a bit early in hopes of catching some of the waning light of the day. The wildlife sanctuary at the Dumbarton bridge was a good place as any to try and complete a couple Daily Shoot assignments. While at it, I was hoping to get a bit more practice with sunset photography and if really lucky catch a good picture of a bird. While still only owning a 28-135 lens, I wasn’t holding out for a killer bird picture.
This is the type of shot I was after. I am not necessarily thrilled with it, but it was fun to try and get this one. Finding the dead tree and placing it against the power lines and marsh seemed like a good combination. I think a wider lens may have made this a bit more dramatic. I am using this one for #ds43: “Trees come in all shapes and sizes. This time of year they may be covered in snow. Make a photo of an interesting tree.”
I would be hard-pressed to find one with snow out here.
After my attempts with the sunset, I noticed this next shot with my car.
I liked the way the car, the radio tower, fence and bridge came together. For this one I waited until a truck drove by to add a sense of bustle.
Finally, my other favorite shot from this mini-outing was the photo of four cones that were stuck in the silty mud under the bridge. I love how dirty this photo is and how along with the bright reflections in the water. The cones captured the setting sun to make it look like a flash was used on this shot.
Finally, I have been hunting for a picture for #ds41: “Share a little bit about yourself by making a photo that exemplifies your part of the country or world. (@book_up)” While this one is similar to the one with the tree, it captures a bit more about the area. Marsh, Wildlife, hills and the power that drives silicon valley.
The variety of color on this image is what I think I like the most. This was captured with the camera closed way down. 90mm, f36, 1/1000
I am debating if this image would look better cropped in a portrait style which would put more emphasis on the birds.
#DS4: “Get close! Photograph an ordinary object from as close as you can manage. Fill the frame!”
Yellow flowers in my front-yard.
#DS3: “Let’s play around with composition. Give us your best rule of thirds shot. Make it obvious, then reply with a link!”
Guadalupe Park area, San Jose