2014—A Day In The Life

My friend, and fellow photoblogger, Melinda and I got together yesterday in, of all places, Chico, Melinda’s home town. She and her husband drove up from Arizona on short notice for a business trip and I drove up to Chico to spend the day with her. As we strolled downtown, Melinda was excited to show me a potential photo op she had discovered the night before: none other than a life size tromp l’oeil mural of our old teen idols, The Beatles, strolling on Main Street, not Abbey Road. Of course we had to join in the procession to the great amusement of many passersby. One gentleman even took a photo of both of us together, although with Melinda’s camera so I don’t have those photos yet. Here is Melinda, clearly enjoying the parade!

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2014—Owl Eyes

Bob is a tiny 18 year old screech owl, well past his prime. But, as a retired education bird for the California Foundation for Birds of Prey, he is living the life of luxury in the comfort of his own personal enclosure with Andy and Vickie McBride, the co-founders of CFBP. Bob came out of retirement Sunday to visit the open house at the Bird and Pet Clinic of Roseville. Bob looks to be in a perpetual state of surprise, except in the last shot where he is doing his best imitation of “Garfield, the Cat.”

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2014—Eagle Eyes

Tesla is a golden eagle, ironically named Tesla because about twenty-five years ago, she, beyond all odds, survived electrocution, losing the talons and toes of her left foot. Since then she has been in the care of Andy McBride, a falconer and co-founder of the California Foundation for Birds of Prey. She cannot fly because the accident damaged her shoulders. At some point, Tesla contracted West Nile Virus and again survived, but her vision is compromised and the infection altered the color of her eyes. One eye is gold and the other is brown. I’ve known Tesla for about 5 years and have taken her photograph many times but I have never noticed the difference in the color of her eyes until Andy pointed it out to me Sunday at an open house for the Bird and Pet Clinic of Roseville.

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2014—Negative Space

I’ve been thinking about negative space since its importance was discussed the other day in a class I attended on macro photography. I like negative space in a photo and I use it often. When I took this shot of a sprig of lavender late Saturday afternoon, I purposely isolated the one stem and blurred out the background but somehow the shot that resulted was not too exciting—just a bit of purple lavender against a streaky obscured green background. The only think I liked about the shot was the sun shining on one side of the stem. I started fiddling with the photo in Lightroom, first turning it black and white, then adding a split tone and a white vignette. This, I like. And there is lots of negative space so the lavender pops.

This is not a macro shot. I used my 70-200mm lens zoomed to 200mm and set to ISO 100, f/6.3 and 1/100 shutter speed.

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It’s raining again. I checked my Flickr daily challenge group listing and saw that one of the topics a couple of days ago was “umbrella.” At first I thought it was an odd choice for a topic at this time of year but then remembered that the administrators of this Flickr group are “down under” so it’s fall in Australia and the start of the rainy season there, I presume. And, today it is raining here, as well. I won’t complain as it’s one of the very few days of rain we’ve had all year.

I retrieved my leopard print umbrella from the car and opened it outside on the patio, clipping it to a garden chair. That allowed me and my camera to stay dry under the overhang and still get close to the drops on the top of the umbrella.

This topic gave me a chance to chance to photograph raindrops with my macro lens. After my macro class at Action Camera Thursday evening, I’ve been anxious to put into practice a few of the tips I learned in class. Of course I already forgot one of the most important for me: using a crop frame camera to get in as close as possible. I actually discovered that bit of intelligence as soon as I got my 105mm macro lens and use my D7100 with the macro most of the time. For some reason, when I went to the class, I attached the 105mm to my D800, a full frame camera…probably the guilt I was feeling for having bought the D7100 at Costco instead of Action Camera. But I did remember a few things I learned about focusing and that it’s best to use the mirror lock up setting to avoid camera shake. I also learned that I was using too small an aperture. Deeper depths of field, resulting from higher f/stops over f/22, bend the light coming into the camera too much, degrading the image. Ah, so much to learn.

I took all three images at ISO 200, f/16, and either 1/15 or 1/25 shutter speed.

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2014—Fiendish Thingy

“It’s a thingy! A fiendish thingy!” — George Harrison

This bug isn’t exactly what George was referring to when he spotted the “fiendish thingy” in Help but to me, anything with buggy eyes and long legs that could jump at me at any moment is a fiendish thingy. I continue to amaze myself that I am able to actually get up close and personal with such creepy things now that I have my macro lens between me and it. I was following a bee around the flowers of my miniature rose tree (Winsome) and the bee made a sudden about face when this fiendish thingy waved a clawed leg at it, convincing the bee to find another rosebud in which to seek nectar. I must admit that as tiny as it is, I was not too worried about it jumping on me but after seeing it through the macro lens, I wouldn’t have been anywhere near it had it been the two or more inches it looks to be in this shot.

I was surprised to get this shot in decent focus because the breezes were shaking the flowers sharply. The sun was so bright I could barely see the LCD screen in Live View on the camera so I was glad I remembered I had the Hoodman Hoodloupe so I could see the screen without it being blown out by the sunlight, allowing me to focus. This rosebud measures about an inch in diameter, the bug’s body, about 3/8 inch. The shot is not cropped; 105mm, ISO 200, f/20, 1/160

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2014—On Gossamer Wing

This delicate looking damselfly posed for me the other day. Every minute or so it flew up and around and returned to the same twig. I sat on the garden bench just a few feet away with my 70-200mm lens trained on it. It was only when I looked at the downloaded photos that I realized that I had captured this tiny creature (only about two inches long and about 1/8 inch in diameter) devouring another even tinier creature. Apparently, the trips off the twig were hunting trips. I wish I’d had my macro lens on for a closer look.

In the first shot, he’s got a mouthful of gnat. In the second shot, he’s finished dinner and is showing off those gossamer wings.

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2014—W.J. Anderson Roofing

While driving on Tyler Foote Road near Nevada City, on the way to Ananda Village with a few of my fellow Placer Camera Club members, we came across a trio of weathered, collapsing buildings on the side of the road, a sight irresistible to a group of photographers. We found this ancient rusted truck parked inside one of the buildings, its roof on the verge of collapse, rather ironic given the name on the side of the truck. W.J. Anderson Roofing is still in business in San Franciso, and they still have the same phone number (I love Google) but they’ve lost the JUno exchange for the less interesting 58 prefix. I know nothing about trucks, let alone old trucks, but, thanks to Google (again) I have determined (only until someone who really knows will identify it for me) that it is possibly a 1936 GMC 1/2 ton pickup truck, GMC’s first half ton pickup. I wonder if I should send them this photograph, in case they’re still looking for their lost truck?

I used Perfect Photo Suite 8’s HDR effect on this shot.

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