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Archive for May, 2013

IN THE FIELD: Flaunting In Fuchsia

May 31, 2013 21 comments

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This photo was taken a few weeks ago using a 90mm macro lens. Macro lenses of this or longer focal lengths serve a double duty. They can be used as a macro lens or as a medium telephoto.

When I composed this shot, the front lens element was a little more than one foot away from the tulip. This helped compress the scene yet still isolate the flower nearest the camera.

I wanted some color in the background but wanted the focus to be soft, so I chose a wide aperture to accomplish this. There was also the slightest breeze adding some movement to the flowers to further soften the scene.

f4.5

1/320th

cloudy WB

ISO 200

IN THE FIELD: Gardener’s Retreat

May 28, 2013 22 comments

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Our next door neighbors have a love of gardening. So much so, at one time they owned a small farm where every year they grew six acres of flowers for cutting. Folks would come from far and wide to walk the fields and cut bouquets of flowers. About ten years ago our neighbors retired from the farm and downsized to a smaller home. They continue to cultivate and nurture their plantings to beautify their corner of our community.

The selection of plants surrounding their home includes rhododendrons, azaleas, lilies, iris’s, roses, hollyhocks, gladiolus, flowering shrubs, two wisteria plants that cover their pergola, and a wide variety of annuals and perennials. They have turned their intimate garden into an oasis of color, shape, and texture.

This is an old cart they kept from their farm, and now use it as a planter. The lady of the house loves the color blue, and one day she had an urge to paint something. The cart was the perfect candidate.

f 5

1/200

ISO 200

cloudy WB

IN THE FIELD: Dramatic Skies

May 24, 2013 16 comments

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Most of the land around where I live is either forest or farmland. When the ground begins to dry out a bit from the early spring rains, the farmers begin to work their fields. They use enormous equipment to cut the hay for feed, then start plowing to prepare for planting of their summer crops.

All this farming activity usually stirs up lots of dust. And when you combine all that dust, and mix it with a steady wind throughout the course of a sunny day…it’s a perfect recipe for a colorful sunset. Then it’s just a matter of waiting for evening and hoping a few clouds will stick around to add some drama.

f5.6

1/250th

cloudy WB

ISO 200

IN THE FIELD: Skywards

May 22, 2013 29 comments

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On the morning I took this shot, the air was cool, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the sun was shining brightly. With skies this blue, I couldn’t resist using the vivid color as a backdrop for these bright orange and yellow tulips.

To set this photo up, I adjusted the tripod to go as low to the ground as possible. I was able to then lay down in the grass behind the tripod to compose the shot.

I know I’m always promoting the use of a tripod, but if you don’t have one handy, here is an option. It’s much easier to lie on your back and look up for this kind of shot versus lying on your stomach and straining your neck and back. You’ll have to experiment with the position of your arms in order to steady the camera…but it works.

Besides, using this technique gives passersby something to talk about. Their conversation typically goes like this: “Did you see that person lying on their back looking up with a camera? What an odd position to take a photograph. They must really want that shot.”

f11

1/250

cloudy WB

ISO 200

IN THE FIELD: Immerse Yourself In Your Subject

May 19, 2013 21 comments

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Over the years I’ve heard a variety of humorous sayings regarding outdoor photographers.

“If you’re not sitting on the ground, you’re not a photographer.”

“You can always tell a good photographer. Their clothes are always dirty.”

Uhhh yup…folks often do look at me a little funny as I sit or lie down on the ground with camera in hand. And that’s okay because I’m creating an image that is uniquely mine. By changing my perspective or viewing angle, I feel I’m likely to create a more compelling image. And of course, there are times when I may get my pants dirty. But who cares about a little dirt anyway. Soap was invented a long time ago.

I took this photo at Longwood Gardens two weeks ago during the Celebration Of Spring Blooms.

f11

1/1000th

cloudy WB

ISO 200

IN THE FIELD: Revisiting Familiar Places 3

May 16, 2013 14 comments

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Bracketing exposures:

Whenever I am in the field, I like to bracket my exposures, if time and the situation permits. One reason is to see how adjusting the amount of light the camera records affects the subject or scene. And as good as camera meters are at predicting what settings to use for a “proper” exposure, sometimes an adjustment from the recommended setting may be needed to get a preferred exposure.

To illustrate what a slight adjustment to the shutter speed can make, here are two photos of the same scene taken at the Hopewell Furnace. The photos were taken within seconds of each other, yet they are different. Neither is an incorrect or an improper exposure. As the photographer, or the viewer, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

In this series about revisiting familiar places, all of the photos were taken with ambient  light. I wanted to capture the mood as it was occurring naturally, rather than adding an artificial light source.

These two shots were taken with identical settings except for the shutter speed. It was slowed by half (one full stop) which doubled the amount of light between the two shots.

Left Photo

aperture 7.1

shutter 1/50th

cloudy WB

ISO 200

Right Photo

aperture 7.1

shutter 1/25th

cloudy WB

ISO 200

IN THE FIELD: Revisiting Familiar Places 2

May 12, 2013 16 comments

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In the previous post I mentioned how revisiting familiar places often will bring new discoveries. I found a few more during my latest visit to the Hopewell Furnace Historic Site.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I have walked past this doorway to the company store. But I never experienced what I did that morning.

As I peered into the room, the early morning sunlight was streaming through the old window. It may have been the time of day, or the time of the year, but the aged wood was aglow with golden light.

Ambient light from the window was the sole light source in this photograph.

aperture 7.1

shutter  1/25th

cloudy WB

ISO 200