Day 213—Bandit

Late this afternoon, I met Bandit, an adorable Welsh Corgi whose name could not be more perfect. He was a bit shy and elusive, constantly moving away from the light, making it difficult for me to photograph him at my desired ISO 100, so I had to bump up the ISO to 400. As much as it kills me to do that, I’m not noticing any noise so maybe it’s okay to do that!

Focal Length 82mm
ISO 400
f/5.0
1/80
WB Auto
SOOC

Day 212—Honoring Col. Frederick Hjort Nelsen, USAF Ret., 1917-2012

The flag at Golden Gate National Cemetery flew at half staff today in honor of Col. Frederick Hjort Nelsen, United States Air Force Retired, as a USAF Honor Guard stood motionless for almost an hour before funeral services began. Col. Nelsen, my friend Chris Nelsen’s Dad, was buried with Military Honors in a moving ceremony in which the Honor Guard, serving as pall bearers, precisely folded the flag draped on the coffin; fired a three volley salute; and presented the flag and the spent cartridges to Chris as one of the members of the Honor Guard played taps.

Obituary

Day 211—Almost Ripe

I planted my tomatoes a full six weeks after the recommended April 15 planting date for the Sacramento area. Finally, at the end of July, when those who planted on time around here are starting to become overwhelmed by their tomato crops and are finding out who their true friends really are (that actually applies more to people who plant zucchini than tomatoes, however) a few of my Juliets (featured in their very green state on July 1 ) are starting to ripen and might find their way into a salad in the next day or two. I can’t wait for my first bacon and tomato sandwich, though. Alas, Juliets are grape tomatoes. This shot makes them seem to be four times life size but they are not really big enough for a bacon and tomato sandwich and my Brandy Boy is not exhibiting too much promise. The Patio tomato is filled with lots of smallish tomatoes but they’ll do in a pinch if they ever ripen.

I cropped this photo, made a few exposure adjustments and then discovered the vignette panel in Lightroom so I had to add a vignette to this one.

Day 210—Patience And Curiosity

I found this red-tailed hawk perched on the side of the road at midday. He was patiently waiting for a meal and preening as well. When I stopped on the other side of the road and pointed my camera out the window he stopped preening, turned, and looked at me, out of curiosity I suppose. Despite his taking note of my presence, but he didn’t fly away. I was only there a minute or so and when I drove by again twenty minutes later, he was still there, waiting patiently. The sun was high and the shadows were harsh and my camera settings did not result in a good exposure so I made a few tweaks in Lightroom and this is the result.

Day 209—Optical Illustion

Optical illusions fascinate me. The shadows from the morning sun make the grout lines between these bricks appear to bulge up. I know that they are concave but the more I stare at this photo, the bulgier the lines appear.

Focal Length 300mm
ISO 100
f/5.6
1/400
WB Fine Weather
SOOC

Day 208—Winsome, Lose Some

This is Winsome, one of two Ron Smith memorial roses, this one given to me by my friends Royetta and Cherry after Ron died. It has remained healthy and beautiful after five years. My blog title today is just because of my unsuccessful efforts to photograph the hummingbird again this afternoon; he was tantalizingly close — I heard him scolding me while he was hidden away in the branches of the pear tree — but he never appeared while I was outside so when I noticed a couple of buds opening on Winsome, which is a miniature rose, it occurred to me that I should try out the DX crop factor on my D800. I took the first shot with the image area set to FX as it usually is and the second with it set at DX which has a crop factor on my camera of 1.5. So I guess technically all was not lost; I learned something else about my new camera. Using the crop factor, the images appear closer because the files are in essence cropped in camera; these files are half the size as when I set the camera at full FX with virtually no loss in quality. What I see in the view finder is the entire scene that would be shot if the camera were in FX mode but with a crop mark showing the borders of the cropped shot.

Focal Length 300mm
ISO 100
f/5.6
1/320
WB Fine Weather
SOOC

Focal Length 300mm (450mm in DX)
f/5.6
1/320
WB Fine Weather
SOOC

Day 207—Not So Random. . .

. . . in fact, they’re the numbers on my house, my address. Today’s daily challenge theme is numbers and I decided the brass numbers screwed to the front of my house would meet the challenge. On close inspection of these numbers, I discovered that my house painter wasn’t particularly careful when he repainted my house a few years ago, as evidenced by the splatters on some of the numbers. I used one of my new Lightroom presets, Sunday Paper, for this shot. It gave the photo more depth and color than the original.

Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100
f/2.8
1/100

Day 206–Empty Pots

This pile of empty, used clay flower pots seemed like an interesting subject for my blog today. And since the weather continues to be normal and it is actually pleasant to be outside, I spent a few minutes trying out different exposures with my new 24-70mm lens. This is the last shot I took today. I was in indirect light in the shade of the house. I set the camera on the tripod and focused about a foot away from the pots, zoomed in to 70mm and kept adjusting the aperture to see how the depth of field changed. At close range, it seems to retain its shallow depth of field, even at higher apertures. This is f/9. Then, I experimented with some of my new Lightroom presets. Since this photo is monochromatic to begin with, I thought that black and white would be interesting. This is “newsprint” and I think I like it better than the original color version. The minute details on the pots seem to pop in black and white and the background pots fade into the background so they’re not distracting.

Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100
f/9
1/13
WB Fine Weather
SOOC

Day 205—More Clouds

After yesterday evening’s 102° temperatures and clouds (please see yesterday’s second post), I awoke this morning to more clouds and evidence of rain. When I went to pick up the newspaper outside my front door about 6:30 AM, the light in the sky was beautiful. Since I was still in my bathrobe and the light was most beautiful out my front door not in my backyard, I had to run upstairs and throw on some clothes before venturing out. In those few minutes, the light changed but while not as dramatic as it had been a couple of minutes earlier, it was still pretty so I faced into the sun to capture this shot. I decided to post clouds again today because rain, cool weather (all relative–it’s now 90°), and clouds are rare this time of year in the Sacramento Valley. And besides, I haven’t had a chance to take more photos today and it’s almost 7 PM as I write this.

Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100
f/11
1/160
WB Auto
SOOC

Day 204—Part 2—7 PM, 102°, Clouds!

What happened to the Valley’s “dry” heat and the evening Delta breeze? Despite the mugginess, I found the evening clouds to be quite spectacular. I tried the Auto tone adjustment in Lightroom and that tweak resulted in this image. It is slightly darker than the original image and much more spectacular. I find the dark streaks fascinating. They were there when I raised my camera to photograph the clouds. I don’t recall ever seeing anything quite like it before. It’s like there is something dark spewing out of the back side of the clouds. I faced west and that’s the setting sun in the lower right side of the image.

Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100
f/11
1/1000
WB Auto
Auto Tone Adjustment