Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Early Morning

Early morning often finds me outside with my camera. Not too early, but before the sun has risen high and the heat of the day has come. Yes, I'm already griping about the heat! Who wants 80 degree days in spring??

Most of the spring flowers have faded and fallen, but there's still plenty to discover outdoors. Walking across the pasture I met this guy. In fact since I took this picture I've seen him almost every day. He's a quick one, not very shy, and always on the move.

Jerry spotted another turtle in the mud near our property line. He was huge; longer than my foot.

The real surprise was rounding the barn and finding this cute little bunny. I see one now and then hopping across the yard, but this one was so afraid he froze. I felt so sorry for him that I took a couple of quick shots and left him alone. As I walked away, he scooted under the barn.

We're already swarmed by insects. A mild winter makes spring even harder! The mosquitoes, bull gnats, horse flies, and wasps are out in multitudes. There's no sitting outside in the evenings now! What I need is a screened gazebo. I wonder if I could convince Jerry of that!!

And of course, you can't have spring without spiders. They seem to like the new Itea bushes I planted. I had several to choose from for this shot!

My most interesting find was this fuzzy bee looking insect. I've done a little research and can't find anything that looks exactly like him, but he does resemble the bee fly. Yes, I said fly. He's a large one about three quarters of an inch long. They are quite similar to bees. Not only to they resemble bees, they like flower nectar. I was in awe of his beautiful wings. If you know what he is, I'd appreciate knowing.

UPDATE: with the help of my good friend Leon, I've learned that this is a hummingbird moth. Pretty exciting!  Thank you, Leon!

I enjoy looking for the small creatures that we're blessed with. Well, maybe not the wasps and mosquitoes, but you know what I mean. After all, "the Lord God made them all." ~ Cecil Frances Alexander

I hope you're enjoying every moment of this spring season.

"It is in the early morning hour that the unseen is seen, and that the far-off beauty and glory, vanquishing all their vagueness, move down upon us till they stand clear as crystal close over against the soul." ~Sarah Smiley

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Closer Look

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f5.6)

I am a senior citizen. There are some advantages of being a senior. I get a discount at many places to eat and other businesses. People excuse me when I talk to myself. They forgive me when I lose my way. I try to take advantage of as many senior benefits as I can. For instance, a nearby senior Citizen center offered a free macro class to anyone that was interested.

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f3/2)

You probably already know that I love macro photography. I love the details and shapes that are revealed through close-up photography. Even thought I already take macro pictures, there were several reasons I was interested in the class: (1) it was free, (2) it was a chance to spend a beautiful day in a beautiful botanical garden, (3) I would be with a group of like-minded seniors, (4) I would be spending time with my sister and sister-in-law doing what we enjoy, and (5) there is always something that I can learn.

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f2.8)

The bad things about the class were (1) the wind was blowing, (2) the flowers were covered in pollen that makes one sneeze, (3) my tripod would not hold my camera steady (I have since solved that problem), and (4) my eyesight is not very good anymore (that comes with age, too.) For the life of me I can’t figure out how to manually focus when my eyesight is not good!  Yes, I know about the diopter on the camera, but when your eyesight is bad and you have blurry spots, that doesn’t seem to work. I fought with it all day. Any ideas on this problem, please pass them to me. I need help!

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f208)

This was my first “in person” class. All the other photography classes I’ve taken have been online. When we arrived at the garden we divided into three groups lead by professional photographers. The leader of my group asked what we’d like to accomplish. I mentioned that I wanted to work on creating a creamy, soft background. As we walked through the gardens he found different situations that would create that effect, pointed them out to me, and helped me get the picture.

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f2.8)

I have a confession to make. Probably 95% of the macro pictures I post are taken with a Fuji point and shoot camera, not my big camera. It’s just easier for me. My hand trembles slightly when I hold a big camera (more effects of age) and I can’t stand a tripod. We did take our tripods on this photo shoot and I did use it, but I still don’t like it. I’m just too spontaneous!  I don’t want to take the time to set everything up. Maybe it’s not spontaneity, maybe it’s impatience!

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f2.8)

Back to my point and shoot camera. It has a quick shutter speed, a great macro focus, and it fits in my pocket. The drawbacks are that the lowest aperture is three so you can't get those dreamy backgrounds and you can’t  get extremely close. I sometimes have crop to get what I want. That’s fine if I’m just using the image on the computer, but not so fine if I want to print it. I used to be embarrassed that I used a point and shoot for macro photos, but not anymore. I finally realized it’s not about the equipment or even my head knowledge. It’s about capturing what I see and what makes me happy.

I do want to learn to use my big camera and my macro lens with better results. Since I took the class I’ve taken macro pictures everyday with my big camera. They're still as sharp as I want them. I'm still working on that. The only way I’ll ever improve is to do it over and over.

                                 (Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f2.8)                                                         (Fuji FinePix f31 - point and shoot, f5.6)

The macro class was a new and fun experience. I enjoyed observing what others were taking pictures of, but what impressed me most was watching our leader as he walked through the gardens, not stopping to take a picture of every flower, but looking for something that would make a great macro image. I need to follow his example; to take my time, find my subject, to observe the light, and then take the picture.

Just so you know, until I master the big camera, my point and shoot will be in my pocket and used as a backup!  I do want the picture no matter which camera I use!