2013—Day 333—Guardian Of the Stash

Out on a late afternoon stroll with Mady Thanksgiving Day I heard the familiar sounds of an acorn woodpecker. I followed the sound and saw this guy clinging to a dead oak tree where lots of acorns are crammed into holes. I have read that one acorn woodpecker guards the stash while the rest fly around finding more acorns to cram into the holes they drill with their beaks. This guy seems to be a diligent guardian.

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2013—Day 333—Crab Boats

I found myself unexpectedly in San Francisco at Fisherman’s Wharf yesterday and photographed this row of fishing boats there. After looking at the shot and all of these beautiful boats with their brightly painted trim, I decided to see what the shot would look like edited in Perfect B&W. I much prefer the edited version to the original. The boats in this shot look weathered and raw and ready to go out again tomorrow morning for another catch of, yes, Dungeness Crab, which is what drew me to San Francisco in the first place. A nontraditional Thanksgiving dinner at my house today is cracked Dungeness Crab and San Francisco Sourdough bread. One of the loaves I bought is a sourdough loaf shaped like a turkey so turkey WILL be served here on Thanksgiving. It will just have a different texture!

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2013—Day 331—Leaf Impression

It’s an impression of a tiny oak leaf, in the path where Mady and I have been walking. It is no more than a couple of inches long. It must have settled into the wet concrete and nobody noticed. I played with the color sliders a little to bring out the color in the late afternoon sunlight on the concrete.

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2013—Day 329—Bubble Bath

When I noticed the fountain needed water (Mady has been drinking from the fountain base instead of from her water bowl) I dragged the hose over to refill it and the hummers were waiting for their morning bath in the bubble. So, camera at the ready (D7100 with 70-200mm attached, speed light on, auto focus set to continuous, and shutter speed set to 1/800–love that high speed sync) I managed to capture two of the three hummers bathing together in the bubble. The hummers are very possessive about their bubble bath and will not leave even when I’m planted in a chair, lens pointed in their direction, speed light flashing. Still, as prepared as I was, it is almost impossible to keep them in focus and they dart so quickly that most of the shots of them in flight are blurred, the auto focus feature focusing on the background leaves instead of the hummers. They move so quickly, I am not managing to manually focus on them let alone to keep them in tack sharp focus. Fortunately, I have lots of opportunity to practice as my little family of hummers (three were there this morning) likes the amenities in the Smith garden.

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2013—Day 328—Take Off




I went on a late afternoon walk with Mady, this time at Mahaney Park in Roseville.  I think I have photographed this great white egret before; it seems always to be there.  I followed him from one pond to another, and watched him gulp down his supper but he was in deep shade so my shots were mediocre at best.   Then I actually took the time to adjust my settings in case he took flight.  I raised the shutter speed to 1/500 and changed the focus to “continuous” and my few seconds of introspection about my settings paid off.  I was prepared when the egret flew up and out of the shadows into the golden hour sunlight.

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2013—Day 327—Golden Golden

I took this shot of Mady late yesterday as the afternoon sun was low in the sky and sunset was about 30 minutes away… the “golden hour” they call it in photography. As Golden Retrievers go, Mady is more coppery than gold but I love how the glow of the sun on her fur makes her a golden golden. We were overlooking Dry Creek which was anything but dry and it would have been nice to show that in the background but because I had the 70-200mm lens on the crop frame D7100, and because I needed to keep hold of Mady’s leash, I couldn’t get far enough away to show the water .

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2013—Day 325—Around The Bend

Mady the Golden Retriever is visiting again and late this afternoon we went for a walk in an area we’ve walked before but which has been revamped since out last visit and new trails abound. As we walked back to the car, I was taken by the late afternoon sun through the trees shining on the trail snaking away and remembered that today’s Flickr challenge was “bend” or “bendy” so I decided this shot of the bend in the road works for that challenge.

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2013—Day 324—Thar Be Dragons

I spent a couple of hours at the Bird and Pet Clinic of Roseville this afternoon, taking photos of the staff to update their website. While I was there, I met this bearded dragon who was there for treatment and who appeared in some of the group photos. Just before I left, I notice him back inside his glass aquarium basking in the light of a heat lamp.

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2013—Day 320—Dripless

I found myself in old town Roseville this afternoon, at the Tower Theater, an art deco relic from the past. While I waited for my friends to arrive (I was taking some family photos) I wandered around the area, realizing that the light was too harsh for the kind of photos they wanted but I was somehow mesmerized by this faucet and its stark shadow in the late afternoon sun.

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2013—Day 318—”D” Is For Dandelion

I’ve missed posting photos for a few days after vowing to get back into the routine of daily posting. My Flickr Challenge group offers inspiration so that helps. A recent challenge was “starts with ‘D'” and I had planned to take this photo on Tuesday but by the time I got home from the gym, my gardeners had obliterated the dandelions in my lawn. Luckily, dandelions seem to miraculously regrow overnight, or maybe I missed this crop. I found four new dandelion poufs this morning—lucky me—not so lucky lawn.

I took two kinds of the shots this morning: with flash and without flash. I’m fascinated by high speed flash syncing but I’m not sure it worked correctly for me this morning, although I did like the results. High speed flash sync reduces the amount of light from the flash that affects the picture because the shutter speed is so fast. I took the first shot at 1/1000 of a second at f/5.6 with the speed light directed slightly above the dandelion. The purple background is actually a black background but with the bright flash, its true color seems to be purple. I took the second shot at 1/15 of a second at f/6.3 with no flash, just window light and light from my OTT light.

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2013—Day 315 —Wings

As anyone who ever reads this blog can attest, I never tire of photographing my hummers. A few minutes ago, I noticed one flitting around the fountain.

I took this shot at 200mm (300mm effectively since it’s on the D7100), ISO 100, f/4 and 1/800 using the speed light and Flash Bender. I’m not sure if the flash had any effect because I had it on for the fountain which was in deep shade and the hummer decided to land in the shrubs which were in partial sunlight and I still had to increase exposure by a full stop in Lightroom.

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2013—Day 314—Half

I have just rejoined my Flickr group, Our Daily Challenge, which group dropped me for non-participation. I am trying to get back into regular posting on both my blog and the Flickr Group. A recent challenge theme was “half” and when I looked outside a few minutes ago, I realized the moon was a half moon. How perfect. I struggled a bit with my tripod which has some loose parts but finally, after poking my allen wrench into various slots to tighten the loose pieces, I got my tripod to be still and captured a few decently focused shots. I attached the 2X teleconverter to the 70-200mm lens which was on the D7100 making that lens effectively a 600mm lens. This shot is cropped. I added an adjustment in Silver Efex Pro 2 to make it look a bit sharper.

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2013—Day 313—Visitor

I’m trying to edit wedding photos taken on September 21 but I’m easily distracted and when I noticed the lone squirrel that has visited my yard in 22 years crouched in the middle of my lawn retrieving an acorn planted by a scrub jay, I grabbed my camera and went out. He moved to this pot by the garden bench and I captured a couple of shots before he scurried away over the garden wall. I cropped it (my 70-200 lens was on the D7100) and decided it was too ordinary looking so I edited it in Perfect Effects 4, trying lots of different effects. I liked this one, don’t remember what it was, but, it works for me.

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2013—Day 312—More Bliss

The light changed so I had to photograph “Bliss” again. It actually glows but my photo doesn’t show it. I’ll have to figure out how to photograph it so that the depth of color emerges.

This shows the bottom half; it hangs vertically over my mantel. Each glass tile is about 3 inches square and the overall piece is 9X24 inches.

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Day 312—Bliss

On my last day in Arizona, Melinda and I spent time strolling through some of the many art galleries in Prescott. At Ian Russell’s Gallery, we were both struck by the stunning work of Tanya Garvis whose glass on copper pieces are gorgeous. “Bliss” reminded us both of some pieced velvet fabric we both remember having in about 1970. I couldn’t stop thinking about “Bliss” and decided it had to be mine. I bought it and had it shipped home. “Bliss” arrived today. I hung it over my mantel and the design and colors are perfect for the room—just my style.

Photographing it was not so easy. The piece measures 9″ by 24″ and I hung it vertically and I wanted to photograph it alone, without walls or anything else showing. I first tried photographing it with my D800 and the 24-70 lens up close and but the mantel kept the tripod too far away and I couldn’t get the angle I wanted. So, I set the D7100 with the 70-200mm lens on the tripod about 6 feet away and got the shots I wanted.

I also used my Expodisc for white balance. I discovered that setting white balance from the light reflecting off the piece produced a very cool white balance, not at all what it looks like in this room so I set the white balance by reading the light from the lamp next to the camera. Perfect white balance.

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