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Fall Red

Red Fall Leaves

A bit of serendipity, here. I had been at the Fall Barn site for nearly an hour, since shortly before sunrise.  I was just starting to pack up and go across the street for some barn close-ups and found this bright red tree behind me.  This is the kind of surprise that makes the early mornings, which are so difficult to awaken for, worthwhile.  I got the barn shot I was after plus this little gem with the orange morning light adding intensity to the tree trunk, underlying pine needles, and red leaves offset by deep shadows from the pines […]

Light Switch Study 2

Light Switch Study 2

A different approach to the light switch, this time.  I got up close – maybe three inches away.  I used my old 50 mm lens, as in Light Switch Study 1, but this time I reversed it with a reversing ring that threads a Nikon F-mount adapter into the lens’ filter threads.  This gives an approximate life-size projection of the image onto the camera sensor.  What’s cool about that, is that I can print at a large size, say 13″ x 19″, and still have a crisp image. As before, I shot at high ISO, but in this case processed […]

Fall Barn

Fall Barn

The vegetation is all grown up around the Frozen Barn from this past February, giving me no easy way to get as close to this northeastern side as I did back then. Instead, I found a ridge across the street and set up there.  It was an early morning shot and I arrived before sunrise without even knowing if the sun would reach any of the side facing me.  The real surprise was not that the roof did indeed catch some of the sun, but that it was covered in frost. Nikon D800, Nikkor 70-200 mm + 1.7x teleconvertor @ […]

Light Switch Study 1

Light Switch Study 1

It’s back to basics. I’m doing more black and white conversions and finding I like them.  With a little practice, I hope to develop a better eye for light and shade. I took this image after staring at the same light switches in the bathroom every morning for who knows how many years.  Two weeks ago, I realized that the light from the  shower casts great shadows from the switches when the main bathroom light was off.  I didn’t think a color image of a white switchplate on a cream wall would be that interesting (although I suppose I could […]

SandHill Crane

My Aunt Bobbie liked my recent bird posts, so I thought I’d dig through the archives for a sandhill crane I had photographed at the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary in southern Michigan back in 2010 (Pleasant Lake, MI, near Jackson, MI, north of I-94).  A friend of my wife invited us to watch the cranes landing in the evening at the end of October.  We watched what must have been thousands of Cranes landing in the last hour before sunset.  Indeed, the official crane count from a few days later put the number at nearly 4,100 birds.  In mid-November, the […]

Wren Watcher – Red Tailed Hawk

Our family of wrens lives in a bird house hanging from a low branch of a linden tree in the back yard.  High in the locust tree across the patio, a hawk stands guard over its nest, with an eye toward the wren’s house. Perhaps it is not really watching the wrens – but I do imagine…   In past years, the hawk has dined on robins, leaving the remaining carcasses for me to dispose of.  But, I have never seen a wren carcass.   Either it doesn’t find wrens particularly tasty, or it eats them whole. We have seen little […]

House Wren

House Wren 003

An almost-summer day, I’m freshly-showered after an afternoon of yard work with nothing to do but set up camera and flash while I sit on the patio drinking my G&T and reading the paper.  We have a wren family that visits every year and the parents will fly in and out while we sit nearby.  Yesterday was no exception and I was able to capture a few quick shots.  In the last, you can see how streamlined and fast these small birds can be. All images: 70-200mm + 1.7 teleconvertor @ 250mm 1/60 s, f/8, ISO 1250 (except last at 1/80 […]

Cube View

Detroit Crane

A bit of whimsy and serendipity, this one.  Behind my monitor in my work cube, there is a gap between the panels.  When I glance up from my work I can watch this crane at work lifting the panels and decking for a parking structure down the street.  After weeks of watching the red boom moving in and out of view, and thinking I should capture the image, I finally bit the bullet and brought my gear into the office. 70-200mm @ 170mm, 1/160 s, f/8, ISO 400

Whale Watch

Whale Fingerprint

Whale Fingerprint The markings on the underside of whale flukes are referred to as “fingerprints”, and uniquely identify each whale.  What caught my eye, besides the white streaking, were the white circles found in several locations.  You can see the most prominent examples just inside the white streaking near the trailing edge of both flukes, with the left being more distinct.  Scientists use these fingerprints to track whales and learn about their habits.  This was shot from a catamaran off the western shore of Oahu, on a whale watch cruise operated by Hawaii Nautical.  You can find more photos from […]

Frozen Barn

Dilapidated Winter Barn

Nikon D800, Nikkor 70-200 mm @ 70 mm, 1/13 s, f/11, ISO 800 Driving home this afternoon, the late afternoon sky was a dramatic mix of low orange sun burning into the otherwise gray clouds amidst swirling flurries.  Boy, that was inspiring! Of course, by the time I got home, grabbed my gear, and got to the perfect location, the moment was long past.  I hunkered down in the 19-degree gusty evening hoping for a return to striking skies that were not to be.  Instead, I worked several compositions with black and white in mind.  In the gray and now-dimming light, […]

Teasel

Teasel

Nikon D800, Nikkor 70-200 mm @ 340 mm (200 mm + 1.7x teleconvertor, Canon 500D macro filter, 1/60 s, f/22, ISO 400, with off-camera flash Less than a mile from my house is a fallow field that fills with teasel, at least in the good years.  I’ve always found the dried heads of the teasel fascinating and I’ve photographed them on many occasions.  Never in January, though!  We had weather in the 50’s this weekend, very warm for a Michigan winter, so I went out to see what I could capture.  The light was poor, overcast and dim.  While overcast […]

Wet Day

Wet Tree on a Wet Day

What do you when the rain stops on a December Sunday morning? While staring out the window, pregnant drops of water caught my eye and drove me outside. At first, I was shooting with B&W in my mind, shooting upward against the heavy gray sky. Mainly, this was because I was working with mature trees with no low branches. Then, as I wandered the yard I came to a young pear tree with branches at eye level. Now I was shooting with pines and my house beyond the wet branches, fifty or sixty feet away. By using a macro filter […]

D800 ISO Tests

How good is the Nikon D800 sensor at high ISO?  That is, how bad is its noise?  I thought I’d take a gander and setup across from a bookshelf at the top of our stairs.  The light was all household incandescent ceiling lamps, so nothing special.  I had my white balance set for “Auto 2”, which is a new (at least to me) setting that is intended to preserve warm tones.  I think the it came out a bit too warm, but it doesn’t really matter for these tests.  I used aperture priority at f/8 for best sharpness (I had tried f/2.8, […]

November Linden

November Aspen

There is always one last leaf!  Or maybe just a few, as in this backyard linden.  What wonderful things you can do to color with an f/2.8 aperture.  The blue sky, grey clouds, and yellow leaf blend into an almost watercolor wash, making the central leaf pop out from the page (screen, I guess).  I have a few more fall perspectives on my flickr site.

Painterly Photos

Taillight

Especially in this era of cameras that help a large audience to make well-exposed pictures, serious photographers (amateurs and pros alike) can distinguish themselves by finding a unique view of a subject. Sometimes, I look for a different angle than a person might usually take to view a common object, or take advantage of different materials, such as old, wavy glass.  I’ve taken such an approach with this photo, with a rather painterly result – but, no Photoshop-like tools used.  It is untouched, except for a bit of normal exposure controls and one spot that I healed in Lightroom.  The […]

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