2013—Day 301—Welcome to Arizona!

I’m in Prescott, AZ visiting my dear friend and fellow photography enthusiast, Melinda, her husband Lonnie, and their son, Matt. They welcomed me to Arizona today. I’m staying at Lonnie and Melinda’s new home in Prescott for the next week. We are going to spend the week catching up, playing with our cameras, visiting some of the spectacular places in the area like Sedona and Jerome, and even visiting with our old friends (and former college roommate) Susan and Chris who are visiting the Grand Canyon and environs from Neenah, Wisconsin. Melinda’s new home is lovely and she had a bouquet of welcoming sunflowers on the table. Late this afternoon, the light shining through the sunflower petals caught my attention. I took lots of shots but this composition was my favorite. I took it with my D7100 and the 70-200mm lens at a focal length of 200mm, on the tripod using its new lens collar, and Aperture Priority (f/7.1, 1/8, ISO 100).


2013—Day 300—The Key To. . .

. . .?

Playing with my D7100 and my 50mm lens this afternoon while sitting at the kitchen table, resulted in my taking photos of absolutely nothing of import but I did find my keys kind of intriguing. When I switched from Lightroom to Perfect B&W, the magic happened. This is an effect called “Over a Baril” and I loved the result. I looked up “Baril” and think this refers to a photographer named Tom Baril who uses interesting effects in his photography. So, thanks, Tom.

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2013—Day 298—Mystery

I have one camellia left in my garden and it came with the house when we moved here in 1991. When I took over its care, it still had its nursery tag attached; it is called “High Hat,” a pale pink peony form camellia. It was a pathetic, scraggly shrub with just a few yellowing leaves and I was determined to save it. I nurtured it and it became a lovely specimen that was covered with gorgeous pale pink blossoms every year from October through March, providing much needed fall and winter color in my garden. The mystery began several years ago when one of the flowers that emerged was red with white spots. I discoverd that “High Hat” is a sport of “Daikagura,” another peony form camellia but with red and white spotted petals and I presume that one or more branches reverted to the original form. I featured one of these flowers in my blog almost three years ago. Then, for several years after that, the shrub was covered with two kinds of flowers: some pale pink and some red and white. Last year, however, due to my complete neglect of the garden, not a single flower emerged. So, when I noticed lots of buds on the plant a couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled. A couple of days ago, I noticed one had opened and it was a Daikagura flower. Today, however, I noticed another flower had opened and the mystery deepens. The new blossom is solid pink, but a deep rose pink, not as red as the Daikagura and much darker and more intense than the delicate pale pink of the High Hat bloom. It looks as if I will have three different flowers this year; already starting to open are a couple of delicate pale pink blossoms and a couple of Daikaguras. This is the only deep solid rose flower. Time will tell if there are more hiding among the branches. If more open, I’ll have to feature a trio of blossoms in a future blog entry.

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50mm lens
ISO 100
5 seconds

2013—Day 297—Autumn Leaves

Mady and I walked three miles this afternoon along the Miner’s Ravine Trail in Roseville. I hadn’t intended to walk that far because I’d already done 2 miles earlier today on the treadmill at the gym. But, the weather was delightful and despite our leaving after 3 for our walk, the temperature was mild. It was only when I realized we had gone over 1.5 miles (that’s when I decided to turn us around) that I began to sweat. I took my camera and the only thing I found photo-worthy along the trail today were some fallen oak leaves…and they looked pretty blah until I added a vignette to make them pop.

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2013—Day 296—Rock Solid

Lately, it’s either hummers or Mady who star in my blog. This afternoon, UPS delivered the new collar for my 70-200mm f/4 lens which, while considerably lighter than Nikon’s 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, still causes some unstableness in the camera due to the length of the lens. While I was in the Grand Tetons, Moose Peterson strongly suggested I get a collar for the lens that allows me to attach the lens to the tripod. He told me my camera would be better off without the strain of the lens. I had noticed that even when it is on the tripod, without a collar, my shots weren’t as crisp as I had hoped, so many of my Grand Teton shots are only marginally in focus. Now I’ll have to return to the Tetons again, first because the park is open again so I can visit my old stomping ground, Jackson Lake Lodge where I worked in the mid 1960’s, and so I can capture tack sharp images with my 70-200mm lens.

I was on the patio drinking a glass of old vine Zinfandel when I remembered that the package would be delivered this afternoon and, indeed, it was on my doorstep. After fiddling with knobs and allen wrenches, I attached the foot and the collar to the lens. Since it was starting to get dark and my patio is already in deep shade by this time of the afternoon, I set up the tripod and waited for the hummers who did not return so there was Mady, patiently waiting for me to take her for a walk. Ahhhh. What a rock solid, crisply focused shot. I took this shot with my remote shutter release, another thing that I reclaimed from my brother after I realized that it worked on the D7100 as well as the Nikon D90. I am happy to give him my old camera and some lenses, but if he is to become a serious photographer, he needs to buy a few of these goodies for himself!

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Yesterday, I took Mady for a late afternoon walk at Mahaney Park near my gym. We strolled through the dry grass and headed for the pond overlook. I saw this great white egret fishing and stopped to take several shots. I had my D7100 and the 18-200mm lens set to shutter priority to see if I can overcome the camera shake. I took the first at 1/500 then switched to 1/320 for the next two. I think the camera did a decent job on these shots but I have to admit, I am spoiled by the super high resolution of my D800. I couldn’t crop these shots nearly as much as I can with the D800. I don’t know if it’s apparent but the egret is stalking something; I missed the actual snatch and I can’t tell what’s in its beak; the first and the third shots are barely 2 seconds apart.

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