2013–Day 177—Back To The Moon

The waning moon presented itself in the morning light when I went out to get the newspaper. I took a few shots with my 28-300mm lens, which lens hasn’t been on my camera much lately. The morning light through the lens revealed a huge scratch on the filter and when I downloaded the photos, I realized that my camera needs to pay a visit to Action Camera for a thorough cleaning. I’m glad I finally figured out how to use the healing brush in Lightroom so that I could eliminate all the spots and squiggles from the morning sky. The clouds veiled the moon a bit so the overall look of this shot is a bit hazy.


Focal Length 300mm
ISO 100

2013—Day 175—It’s Super?

The Super Moon, created when the new moon occurs when the lunar apogee, or is it the lunar perigee, oh, forget it, who cares? Anyway, the moon is closer to the Earth. I had decided not to photograph it because we are in the midst of an unseasonal summer rain that brought clouds and overcast skies to the area Sunday and I thought the moon would be obscured. I looked outside about 10PM and the moon, appearing a bit larger (I think the actual super moon occurred at moonrise a couple hours earlier) was unobscured with a cloudy background, the light of the moon reflecting off the clouds. I set up with my 70-300mm lens and discovered that I have no idea how to capture clouds while photographing the moon and retaining its detail. I should have taken one shot of the clouds and one shot of the moon and merged them in Photoshop but since my Photoshop skills are lacking, I didn’t think I would succeed if I tried that. The other thing about the Super Moon is that it really only appears to be “super-sized” in photographs when other things are in the shot, like a bridge or a mountain top. Photographing the already risen moon from my front walkway resulted in yet another ordinary moon shot. At least this time, I got a few clouds for added interest.

I took the first shot at my normal “moon shot setting” which is the Sunny 16 rule, ISO 100, f/16, 1/100. I added a bit of clarity and contrast. The clouds do not show at all. I took the second shot at ISO 100, f/11, 1/100, adding some clarity and increasing exposure by 5 full stops. This brought out the cloud detail and surprisingly, because the clouds were drifting in front of the moon when I took the shot, some of the moon detail as well. I increased the luminance to get rid of some of the noise in the clouds.

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2013—Day 174—Drab and Dreary

I noticed some hummingbird activity in the yard late this afternoon so I attached my 70-200mm zoom and went outside to see what I could see on this unusally overcast summer day. A hummer landed on an interesting, unobstructed twig and he seemed to have his eye on me the entire time, waiting for me to leave so he could enjoy his feeder in peace. I hear him at the feeder now that I’m back inside. These shots are rather drab but the day is drab and dreary and I think this is the female because it has very little color.

Focal Length 200mm (and cropped)
ISO 100

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2013—Day 172—Mad Dogs and Englishmen

I have been very negligent in my photography of late. I do still take photos every day (well, almost) but obviously they don’t all make it to my blog. Some go on Facebook (my band photos and weekly food specials, mostly) but most of the others languish in a Lightroom catalog, probably never to see the light of day again, because they aren’t particularly good. I do look forward to having time to focus (no pun, well, I guess, yes, pun intended) on my photography a little more soon. And, I am especially looking forward to a couple of photography workshops with Moose Peterson coming up. One is scheduled in October in the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, and the other at Arches National Park in Utah in February of next year. I am excited to see the Tetons again after almost 50 years (yikes how time flies). Besides it being one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, I spent the two best summers of my life during my college days there. And my rafter buddies and I visited Arches National Park a few years ago during our Colorado River adventure. And now, after my Grand Canyon adventure with Moose, I can see real possibilities for incredible photos at Arches, especially now that I have a decent camera.

About noon, I realized that I had some time to myself today, so I went out because I noticed a butterfly flitting around and thought it might be a photo op. By the time I emerged onto my patio, the butterfly had disappeared so I made do with what I found. The light was harsh and bright; probably the worst time to try for a decent photograph. A cluster of Spiraea Bumalda (Anthony Waterer) got my attention because only the flowers clusters themselves were in sunlight. The rest of the plant was shaded. The second shot is a cropped version of the first.

Based on my choice of time for this photo shoot, it could be argued that I am one of those mad dogs I mention in today’s blog title (I’m pretty sure I’m not an Englishman); after all, I was out there in the noonday sun!

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2013—Day 169—Half Moon

I took this shot a couple of evenings ago. When I reviewed the photos, all taken with my 70-200mm lens, I noticed that the color of the moon was slightly different in some of the shots. Most were grayish but some had a slight brownish cast, despite the settings being identical in all of the shots: ISO 100, f/11, 1/100, WB Auto. The only differences were that I had the lens’ VR setting on in some shots and off in some and I used the camera’s timer in a few of the shots instead of depressing the shutter release. I took all of the shots with the tripod and once the camera was set up,I didn’t adjust the tripod.

I cropped the shot and applied clarity and a few other basic adjustments. When I changed the white balance from the “as shot” setting, which setting was Auto on the camera, to “Auto” WB in Lightroom, the brownish color became very pronounced, giving the moon a very different look than I usually get. I like the results. I have no idea why the color of the moon would change from photo to photo, all taken within a four minute period between 10:26 and 10:30PM; yet another photographic mystery I should learn about. . . someday!

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2013—Day 164—Fortnight

When I left the gym this morning, the glint of sun reflected in water drops on a fortnight lily caught my eye, espcially because my friend Honora had just sent me a collection of macro water drop photos that were awe-inspiring. This photo is not particularly awe-inspiring because I don’t have a macro lens and I didn’t have my tripod and I was battling a slight breeze that kept the flower in almost constant motion but I think a bit of cropping and adding a vignette makes for an interesting flower photo.

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2013—Day 163—Sea Salt Caramel Gelato

I suppose I should be worried that today, Raley’s Supermarket texted me a coupon for $2 off Talenti’s gelato. That means their targeted marketing is dead on! In the past few weeks, I have bought so many pints of Talenti’s Sea Salt Caramel Gelato, with huge chunks of dark chocolate suspended throughout its silky goodness, that it has surpassed everything else I buy there. . .even Zinfandel!. . . and rocketed to the top of the list. I found it quite by accident and tonight, when I got home with my newly acquired pints, having taken no other photos today, I decided to feature it. Yum!

I took a little too long to set up this shot so the gelato has melted a bit more than I wanted but it still looks luscious and, of course, I had no trouble devouring the model once I’d taken all the shots I needed!

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2013—Day 162—L’herbes Du Provence

I had dinner tonight on the patio. It consisted of a glass of Klinker Brick Zinfandel and herbed goat cheese with ciabatta bread. The herbs in the goat cheese were herbes du Provence, which includes thyme, basil, lavender, and perhaps, rosemary. Although this photo doesn’t show it, the basil is to the left and the rosemary is to the right. The lavender and thyme are in the background but I didn’t make this batch of l’herbes du Provence nor did I infuse it in the goat cheese. I bought it at Safeway. It is delicious. I may have this dinner again tomorrow night!

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2013—Day 161—Pink

One of my favorite roses, one that I have featured here in the past, is Abraham Darby, a gorgeous pink David Austin rose with a deep, heady fragrance, and so many petals it is too heavy to stand upright without support. This evening as the sun dipped, I noticed my David Austin rose had a single, lovely bloom that had managed to survive the killer weekend heatwave and had perched itself on one of its horizontal trellis bars so the cluster of petals displayed themselves to me instead of drooping toward the patio.

I used my tripod and set the aperture to f/22 to capture a deep depth of field.

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Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100
WB Fine Weather