70-200mm IS lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Oops!

For this week’s challenge, I invite you to take you on a walk around the zoo with me as I go in search of a photo. I take a lot of photos and I’m grateful for digital photography.  It’s easy to go ahead and take a photo, try another angle, another setting perhaps.  Think for a minute, try something else.  The beauty of digital is that you can throw away all the duds.  My laptop trash bin often has a lot in it. Here is a little gallery of our walk:

You can roll over any of the photos to see why they will not be making it into a blog post other than this one where I show you all my oops moments.  For those of you who visit regularly, you will recognize that cheetah.  He was in last week’s post looking like this:

I see you

ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 0ev 200mm

To get that one photo, I took one hundred and twenty two photos, for me that is almost nothing.

I have a few that I will keep.  I’ll edit those, make sure they are tagged, and save them to a separate hard drive too.  The rest, well those are headed for the bulging trash bin.

Thanks for taking a walk with me. I always like chatting about photography.  Feel free to comment below, either about what I have done here or about your own creative process.

Cheers!

 

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70-200mm IS lens, Canon 50D, Flowers, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiration

When it comes to inspiration for my photography, I just go outside.  I love taking nature images and this past week, I was away for a few days camping by a river.  Close to our campsite was a garden full of butterflies, here is one:

ISO 400 190mm 0ev f/10 1/250

ISO 400 190mm 0ev f/10 1/250

This is the edited version, I’ll show you the original in a bit.  For this photo I chose an ISO of 400 because even though it was sunny, the garden itself was full of harsh shadows. I picked an f-stop of f/10 because I wanted most of the image in focus, but I was OK with some of the background detail fading away. A shutter speed of 250 seemed to be fine to catch the movement of the butterfly.  In editing this photo, I first cropped and sharpened it.  I then made a layer with a gradient map that was yellow, but dropped that layer’s opacity to about 70%. That was the top layer; I also put a mask on it and masked back in the original flower and butterfly.  The result created some contrast between the two layers. I then decided to use the oil paint filter to give the photo a bit of a dreamy look.  Here is the original:

ISO 400 190mm 0ev f/10 1/250

ISO 400 190mm 0ev f/10 1/250

So what do you think of my two versions? Feel free to leave a comment below.

On another note, what do you do when things go seriously awry? One of my favorite bloggers and certainly my favorite dinosaur, just got out of prison.  She’s going to use her experience to help other women who have been incarcerated.  To me, that’s brave and inspiring, read her thoughts on it here.

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70-200mm IS lens, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Roy G. Biv starts with R

I have been in Utah for a few weeks.  One thing Utah has in abundance is beautiful red rocks:

ISO 800 185mm 0ev f/16 1/30

ISO 800 185mm 0ev f/16 1/30

I took this photo at about 6:30am at Bryce Canyon National Park as the sun was starting to work it’s way through the rocks.  I used an f-stop of f/16 because I wanted to show detail in the rocks.  That required a fairly low shutter speed, but I wasn’t too worried about that because I was fairly sure my subject matter wasn’t going anywhere.  The light was the variable, shots taken a few minutes earlier on the same settings were much darker.

I bracketed this photo and when I edited it, created this HDR image in Photomatix Pro.  The individual photos turned out a bit flat as compared to what I was seeing in person.  I think this HDR version above is closer to what I saw.  I was thinking as I was taking pictures that this landscape just looked better in person than in photos.  So after taking my shots, I put my camera away and just stood for awhile watching the sun come up.

Have you ever had a moment like that where you just put your camera down, because you were sure the images wouldn’t do the moment justice?  This week’s photo challenge is Roy G. Biv, the colors of the rainbow.  I love taking photos with all sorts of colors, but I also think that sometimes the rainbow is best experienced without the camera.  What do you think? Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, 70-200mm IS lens, Birds, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Intricate

The original post for this week’s photo challenge mentions a robin’s nest as a possible example of intricate.  I’m going to take that a step further and suggest that it is not only the nest that is intricate, but that those weeks of being an egg and hatchling are perilous and require a lot of intricate details go right for the young bird. Two years ago four of the five health hatches were taken away by a larger bird of prey, a simple example of what can go wrong for these young ones.  This year’s nest is doing well so far, four healthy hatches.  The nest is getting crowded as the birds are growing, here is the nest first thing this morning:

ISO 800 4mm f/2.7 1/200

ISO 800 4mm f/2.7 1/200

I have been taking a quick photo on the macro setting with my point and shoot every morning to get a beak count before I set up my larger camera.  I had taken this photo and was inside getting the chairs for my larger set-up when I heard a lot of squawking and looked outside to see that one of the birds was on the ground and hopping away.  Much to the distress of the adult birds the young bird was sitting out in the open like this:

ISO 800 200mm f/6.3 1/250

ISO 800 200mm f/6.3 1/250

The adults spent several minutes trying to corral their youngster:

ISO 800 200mm f/6.3 1/250

ISO 800 200mm f/6.3 1/250

The baby hopped back closer to the nest and was fed by the adults:

ISO 800 195mm f/6.3 1/250

ISO 800 195mm f/6.3 1/250

But the nest is too high up for this baby to get back in.  The adults managed to lure it over to a patch of wildflowers we have.  A few minutes later, the young bird was led by the adults into our hedgerow which will provide more cover while the bird is learning to fly.

It seemed like a bit of a stressful moment for the adult birds as they saw to their young offspring.  Their chatter attracted the attention of other animals who came to watch.  In addition to myself, there was another pair of adult robins, a pair of mourning doves, a northern flicker, a squirrel, and a rabbit.  All of these animals, attracted by the noise, came to watch the moment unfold.  After it was over the robins went back to the business of feeding the rest of their remaining offspring.

ISO 1000 50mm f/6.3 1/250

ISO 1000 50mm f/6.3 1/250

Just a few of the intricacies that go into being a robin. As for me, to capture these few moments required two cameras and three lenses.  I started with my point and shoot.  The rest of the photos were taken with my Canon 50D.  I used my longer 70-200mm lens for the yard shots and then switched to the 50mm when taking the last photo.

I’ve been posting photos of this journey on Flickr and Twitter, so feel free to join me there and follow along. Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

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Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photography

Travel Theme: Flow

These photos were taken in a park near Virginia Tech.  We were in the Blacksburg area for a few days.  Blacksburg is a neat town, but the surrounding natural area is really beautiful.  I have chosen these photos to go with the theme, flow, which is what is featured this week at Where’s My backpack?:

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/500

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/500

This first photo is perhaps not what you would normally think of as flow, but that is what the lines in the wood reminded me of.

Here are some more standard images of flow:

For this hike I chose to take along my Canon Powershot instead of my 50D.  This was just a logistical decision.  We were doing quite a bit of walking to the waterfalls with children, towels, and lunch.  Sometimes, just having a small camera makes more sense.  I do have to say though, I wouldn’t mind doing the hike again with the larger camera and a tripod.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Travel Theme: Peaceful

This weekend I made a short visit to the St. Louis Zoo.  I had my 50mm lens on my camera when I saw this very peaceful looking lion:

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/160

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/160

And right there you see the limitation of a 50mm lens.  I can’t get any closer to the subject, so that is as good of a shot as I am going to get.  So I switched to my 28-135mm lens for these next two shots:

ISO 400 135mm 0ev f/7.1 1/60

ISO 400 135mm 0ev f/7.1 1/60

How peaceful looking is that? but remember to stay alert around wildlife because I took this picture 15 seconds later:

ISO 400 135mm 0ev f/7.1 1/80

ISO 400 135mm 0ev f/7.1 1/80

Hello there, not asleep!

For the two shots taken with my 28-135mm lens I did have to increase the ISO and decrease the shutter speed to get the depth of field that I wanted.  I don’t find the rock outcropping that she is sleeping on to be distracting, so I wanted to keep it in focus.

My blogging friend Rosemarie wrote about the St. Louis Zoo recently and also took some great photos.

This post was written in part as for the weekly travel-theme challenge that is hosted on the blog, Where’s my backpack? this week featuring peaceful as its theme.

Thoughts? Comments? feel free to leave them below!

Cheers!

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Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

This Spring I was working on a series of bird photos.  I wanted to do birds of prey.  My favorite place to photograph birds is World Bird Sanctuary which is just outside St. Louis Missouri.

If you have never seen a Barn Owl in flight, it is almost silent.  It is almost like you can feel a slight disturbance in the air rather than hear it flying.  Talk about fleeting, it you didn’t know the bird was in the air, you might miss it.  I was at the Sanctuary, and they were flying this owl:

ISO 400 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/500

ISO 400 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/500

For all these images in this post I was using a 70-300mm IS lens.  For the photo above and below I was using a fast shutter speed because I really wanted to stop the motion of the bird.  For these images I was not using a tripod.  Here is the owl at rest with a treat:

ISO 400 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/500

ISO 400 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/500

Here is the final photo I used for my project:

ISO 400 150mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

ISO 400 150mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

This is actually an HDR image.  I merged three photos that were exactly the same, except for their exposure, in Photomatix, which is a software that specifically helps the user create HDR images.  As for the photo itself, because the bird was still, I lowered my shutter speed.  It had been at 1/500th for the other two shots in the post but here it is 1/125.  That is still a pretty fast speed and the reason for that is that I know that if any of the feathers are moving at all, it creates a blurred look in HDR.  For this shot I was also using a tripod.  A lens like the 70-300 IS I was using is fairly heavy, so the tripod was to help with any camera shake I might have introduced by just holding the camera.

I was happy with the way my birds of prey turned out.  The final photo is available in my Picfair portfolio.  One of the other birds in the series was a Eurasian Eagle-Owl that I blogged about here.

This post was written in part as response to the Weekly Photo Challenge hosted by WordPress, this week’s theme is fleeting. I appreciate your thoughts and comments so feel free to leave them below.

Cheers!

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