Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Fresh

For this week’s travel theme fresh I’m back in the classroom.  A freshly hatched chick:

ISO 3200 50mm 0ev f/4 1/25

ISO 3200 50mm 0ev f/4 1/25

And outdoors with newly hatched robins:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

These photos were taken with different cameras.  The chicken photo was taken with my Canon 50D.  The lighting was quite dark but I wanted to give the photo a soft light look.  So the ISO is high, the f-stop is low, and the shutter speed is slow. The chick was resting it’s head on the shell and was being very still, so the slow shutter speed was not a problem.

The robin photo was taken with my point and shoot camera using the macro setting on the camera.  While I didn’t do any post editing on the chicken, the robin photo has been cropped and sharpened.

Cheers!

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

Chicken on the Loose

Extra! Extra! Read all about it here! One little chicken attempting to make a getaway!

You can see he has spotted the opening:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

Edging a little closer to check it out:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

Making his getaway:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

The truth is though, there is no such thing as an extra, unwanted chicken, so he was returned to his home.

I took this series of shots in relatively quick succession, so there was no time to adjust the settings.  I have decided not to do any post editing because I think the imperfections help to tell the tale of this attempted hasty escape. Do the imperfections bother you? or do you sometimes prefer a photo to be displayed as shot? Your comments and thoughts on the matter are welcome below!

These photos were taken as part of a life cycle unit in a second grade class that I was documenting this Spring as is my entry for this week’s photo challenge at WordPress.

Cheers!

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Animals, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Room to Roam

I was camping a few weekends ago and spotted this False Map Turtle:

ISO 100 8mm 0ev f/4.5 1/500

ISO 100 8mm 0ev f/4.5 1/500

Basking in the sun, which is an activity you are likely to find these turtles engaged in on rock outcroppings at lakes here in Missouri.  After a few minutes of posing for photos, he wandered off:

ISO 100 8mm 0ev f/4.5 1/400

ISO 100 8mm 0ev f/4.5 1/400

I was at the water’s edge with both my DSLR and point and shoot camera but reached for my point and shoot to get these photos.  I used my smaller camera because I really like the macro setting on it.  The other reason was that for the first photo I have my camera pretty much on the ground.  Getting a photo from that angle is just easier with a smaller camera.

Once I got home, I edited these photos in Photoshop.  I used a levels adjustment layer to get the color to be a bit more true to the actual coloring of the turtle.  The original images were a bit overexposed despite the low ISO and fast shutter speed.  The top image was also cropped a bit and both images were sharpened.

This post was written in part as a response to the theme room.  My favorite room? outdoors, where there is some room to roam.

I wrote a few weeks ago that I was a bit behind on my blog and that I was hoping to catch up soon.  I’m sorry to say that that hasn’t happened.  I’ve been under the weather for just over a week now, so I’m even more behind than before.  I’m happy to say though, that I am feeling better and am happy to publish this post after about a week off.

Thoughts on my turtle images? Do you have a favorite setting on your point and shoot camera? they seem to come with so many these days.

Cheers and good health to you!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing

Twist of Fate

Where you are born can make a difference in your life. It turns out the same is true for chickens. Every year I have followed a 2nd grade class as they go through a life cycle unit that involves hatching chickens.  Not all the eggs make it to a healthy hatched chickens.  That’s true of chickens everywhere but sometimes if you are a chicken born in a 2nd grade classroom and you need a little help to start your life, you get a lucky break.  Meet this year’s lucky break:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/160

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/160

Not cute, like the other chicken photos I have shown you.  The reason for this is pretty simple, this chicken needed some help getting out of its shell, so it is still sticky and gunky.  Shortly after I took this photo though, he was cleaned up a bit, so the next day he looked like this:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/200

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/200

He is still not the cutest, although his feathers have begun to grow in.  Because he is small, he has to be separated from the other chickens who peck at him.  Here he is three days later, moving day:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/50

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/50

He is still small, but able now to hold his own with the other chickens.  He moved to his permanent farm home shortly after I took this last photo. So, he has lived his first week.  Under other circumstances, he would not have made it, but a twist of fate and he has enjoyed the luck of hatching in a 2nd grade classroom.

Not a pretty chicken is he? He was particularly hard to photograph because he was always in motion.  The lighting wasn’t helping me either.  While these aren’t my most technically good photos of the year, this was the most interesting storyline to develop in this year’s life cycle unit.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Flowers, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Blossoms

I live in suburbia.  Over the years I’ve lived in several variations of suburbia.  Whichever variation of suburbia I am living in I like to put native plants and wildflowers in my gardens.  The native plants I put in over the last few years are struggling this season because we had a non-native winter, far colder than usual.  So are first spring flowers this year are not native plants but wildflowers.  I love photographing these blossoms as they appear in the yard. On this particular shoot, I took both of my cameras with me.  This first was taken with my Canon Powershot:

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

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

This version was shot using the color picker setting in the camera. I selected purple and it changed the rest of the image to black and white.  I do wish the camera had picked up more of the purple.  I did love the way the light turned up in this image.  It was beautiful in that particular moment, and I think the camera honored that.  This image was edited in Photoshop, I cropped it and sharpened it.  Here is the original:

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

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

This next flower I shot using my Canon 50D:

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.5 1/400

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.5 1/400

I chose a very shallow depth of field to draw your attention to the front blossom and deal with the very busy background by blurring it.  This photo has also been cropped and sharpened.  Here is the original:

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.5 1/400

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.5 1/400

So, what do you think of my editing?  How is your spring going, did your plants struggle this year? Ours are just now starting to bounce back.

Cheers!

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

Chickens as Art

This week the photo challenge at WordPress asked us to consider a work of art.  It is my opinion that some of the most beautiful works of art are created by mother nature.

A yellow chick with black accents:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

 

Still beautiful, even on a bad hair day:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

These chickens are part of a 2nd Grade life cycle unit which I have written about here and here. When I am shooting photos like this I am generally trying to have the chicken in focus and the background blurred a bit.  Generally an f-stop setting of 5.6 works.  I also attempt to freeze the motion of the chicks, so my shutter speed is ideally 1/100 or faster.  To achieve the shutter speed I often have to set my ISO at 800 or higher.  To my eye, these settings achieve a clear picture without noise.  Both of these photos have been cropped, but that is the only post editing I have done on them.

What do you think of my “found” works of art? Have you ever considered chickens to be art?

Cheers!

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Animals, Birds, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Telling a Nature Story

For the last few years I have been fortunate to have robins make a nest and hatch their young ones outside my kitchen window. I set up my camera and take plenty of pictures.  Every morning though, before I set up my larger camera, I take a look inside the nest and take a few pictures using my point and shoot. I use my smaller camera because my larger camera would not be able to fit in this space and take photo like this:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/50

Apr 22 ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/50

For these photos I am using the macro setting.  I choose the ISO; 800 seems to work well in terms of getting the color with out too much noise.

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

April 24 ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

The first morning that there were two hatchlings.  These are approximately an hour old.  They hatched early, before there was enough light for photos, so I waited.

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/40

April 25 ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/40

Just a day later, they had many more feathers and a new sibling.

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/100

April 26 ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/100

After a few days, these three were doing well, but I was concerned about that last egg.  It had some imperfections on the shell, but it had grown some, so I was hopeful that it might just be a bit late.

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/80

April 28 ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/80

By the time I took this photo it was four days after the first hatchlings made their appearence.  The egg does not look good.  Also, the other three birds are now strong enough to stick their heads up over the lip of the nest when the adult birds come to feed them. So, even if this last bird was to hatch, I suspect it would be too small to be able to get food.

Two days later the birds are much bigger and looking more like robins:

May 1 ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

May 1 ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

It turns out that was the last photo of the babies I would get.  The next morning, this is what I found:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/80

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/80

No sign of the babies or the last unhatched egg.  I’m not sure what happened but my guess is that they were taken by another bird. I like doing projects like this, just documenting nature.  It isn’t always pretty.  Our nest last year had five successful hatchlings, four of which were then taken off by a hawk.  This post was written in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge, Spring.  A reminder perhaps that nature is both beautiful and brutal. What do you think of this type of project, do you find it difficult to stomach?  Let me know what you think of the photos or the project in the comment section below.

Cheers!

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Animals, Birds, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Brand New Robins in Black and White

I’m pretty excited to have a robin’s nest right outside my kitchen window.  I had been tracking the nest for days and thrilled to see that two have hatched. In addition to taking color photos I was interested to see what these birds would look like in black and white:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/400

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/400

At the time this photo was taken the babies had been hatched for at least 9 hours.  I had taken their picture earlier in the day and they were already bigger and had more feathers than my earlier shots.

I edited this photo in Photoshop.  I cropped the image then converted it to black and white, then I sharpened it.  Here is the original color version as it was straight out of the camera:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/400

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/400

What do you think?  It is more common to see an image like this in color, but do you like the black and white treatment? Feel free to leave a comment below

I wrote this post in part as a response to the theme of “small subjects” over at Cee’s Black and White Challenge. I’m not sure if I would have thought to convert this image to black and white if I had not seen her challenge, so I’d like to thank her for the idea.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

On Top of my Electric Meter

Every spring for the last three years there is a robin nest on top of my electric meter.  As a photographer, I love it when my subject comes to me and sets itself up perfectly.  I wrote a bit about what my set-up to get these photos looks like last week.  Here is a photo from yesterday:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/100

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/100

If you took a look at my set-up, you would probably have guessed that I have a remote shutter hooked up to my camera.  That makes it possible for me to set up my camera, then come back inside to take the photos.  So on mornings like this I come into my kitchen to start the day and wait for her to leave the nest which she does at a fairly regular time.  While she is gone I go out with my ladder and point and shoot camera to get a photo like this:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/30

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/30

I then put that away and drag out my chairs, tripod, and large camera.  By the time I have done that, she is usually back. I go inside so she will get back on the nest and I can take my photos.  Then I wait for her to again leave the nest and I retrieve my equipment.

When it comes to editing these photos, I do very little.  At least at first I am making more documentary style photos than artistic ones.  The photo of the robin on the nest has been cropped.  I did a levels adjustment in Photoshop to push in the whites a bit.  Then I sharpened it.  The egg photo was not cropped.  I did a levels adjustment to push in the blacks a bit and then I sharpened it.

As this project progresses I will be blogging about it and posting photos.  I also put a photo or two on Twitter and will be adding to that, so if you want to check that out, you can find me @marantophoto. Questions or comments about my photos, editing, or set up?  Feel free to leave them below.  If you have a post related to robins feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments as well.

This post was written in part as a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

Cheers!

 

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument to Photography

There is a lot going on in my backyard this week.  Some robins have built a nest so I am busy photographing their efforts.  It looks a bit ridiculous but here is what the set up looks like:

ISO 200 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/50

ISO 200 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/50

I’ll call it my monument to photography.  Yes, those are the “good” dining room chairs.  It’s a temporary monument, I set it up, take my photos then take it down.  Here is a photo I got this morning:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

At this point there are two eggs in the nest.  I’ll be experimenting with different camera angles over the next few weeks in the hope of getting some good photos.  This photo was cropped and sharpened, here is what the original shot looked like:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

I am so excited that the robins are back and building here. If you are interested in seeing where this project led last year, you can click here.

Cheers!

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