Archive for May, 2010

31
May
10

5/31/2010

Brief as the Dew on a Rose

Rugussa Rose, or Beach Rose, is an invasive plant all along the seaside in the northeast: so typical of the dunes in New England that most people assume it is native and natural. This is Parson’s Beach in Kennebunk, Maine, while I was out early one morning last week to digiscope Song Sparrows and Yellow Warblers, who feed and nest in fair numbers in the roses and Honeysuckle of the dunes. The dew had just touched this rose, and was not going to last long.

Somewhere in there is a reason why this might be an appropriate image for Memorial Day.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent and Super-macro. F5.6 @ 1/30th @ ISO 80. Programmed auto with Exposure Lock and Program Shift for greater depth of field.

In Lightroom, some Recovery for the highlights, Fill Light and Blackpoint to the right. Had to be careful with the blackpoint which tended to block up deeper pinks of the rose really quickly. Added Clarity and and a touch of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset. Cropped from both sides for composition.

From Around Home 2010.

30
May
10

5/30/2010

Primary Colors

Happy Sunday! Something a bit bright to celebrate the day. Early morning light coming in low and level pops the colors on this kiddy playground at Wells Harbor, in Wells Maine. The same amazing sky from yesterday’s shot…they were taken about 200 yards apart. I zoomed in a bit to isolate the play apparatus while still piling in the sky. I made a print of this and my wife said, “Those colors don’t look real to me. Did you do something to it?”  Actually, I did nothing out of the ordinary beyond my normal processing. The light did it. That is the way it looked. Which is why I took the picture. 🙂

Canon SX20IS at about 60mm equivalent. F4.0 @ 1/800 @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Recovery for the sky in Lightroom. A touch of Fill Light. Blackpoint to the right. Added Clarity and just a tiny bit of Vibrance. Sharpen Landscape preset.

From Around Home 2010.

29
May
10

5/29/2010

Much Ado About Nothing

This is about a close to a picture of nothing in particular as you can…but I still like it for its undeniable (to me) drama. A little corner of meadowish ground behind the parking lot at Wells Harbor in Wells, ME,  some second growth trees forming a corner, the single pine standing lose, that bushy beach-rose on the bottom right with its orangey tones, the light of early morning lying flat out in front of me and picking out all the interesting variations in the grassy vegetated carpet…oh, and of course, the sky above with clouds streaming in from some point stage-right and far behind on unrelated business of their own. Move along, nothing to see here…and yet the eye pauses to appreciate, the heart hangs waiting for revelation, and the mind for resolution.

Or is that too much to make of it. Much ado about nothing. 🙂

All I know is I want a print of this for my wall, because I could look at it for a long time. Look at it as large as your monitor will take.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. F4.0 @ 1/800th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

In Lightroom, Recovery for the clouds and sky, Fill Light and Blackpoint right for drama in the foreground (delicate balance there to preserve detail in the shadow on the right). Added Clarity and just a tiny amount of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Around Home 2010.

28
May
10

5/28/2010

Rhododendron

We only have one Rhododendron bush in our yard…which is far below par for southern Maine. We have, over the years, planted several more, but none of them took. So maybe we enjoy our single bush all the more. This is an open shade shot, early in the am. I used the Super-macro setting which locks the lens at 28mm equivalent, and exposure lock and program shift to put the f-stop at 5.6 for greater depth of field. (The lens was just about touching the forward reaching stamen.) That put me at 1/20th of a second for exposure, but the Canon’s Optical  Image Stabilization handled it well, even sans-tripod.

And if I tell you it was at ISO 80, and Programmed auto, that is all the technical data already.

A touch of Fill Light to compensate for Blackpoint right for extended contrast, added Clarity and just a tiny amount of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset. Auto White Balance to remove the blue tinge of deep shadow.

From The Yard, Kennebunk ME.

27
May
10

5/27/2010

Pastel Jungle

While this gives the impression of a veritable jungle of purple blossoms and green stalks, it is actually quite a small patch of chives in flower in our garden out back. The low angle facilitated by the flip out LCD on the Canon SX20IS, combined with the 28mm equivalent Super-macro, transform the mundane into the exotic. The chives were in deep shadow, early in the morning, with the sun already on the lawn beyond the sheltering trees. Composition and placement of the plane of sharp focus is critical to the success of this shot. I wish I could say I did it on purpose…but I just shot several exposures and selected the one that works best in post-processing triage. 🙂

Canon SX20IS, as mentioned, at 28mm equivalent and Super-macro. F2.8 @ 1/50th @ ISO 160. Programmed auto.

Recovery in Lightroom for the highlights in the background. A touch of Fill Light for the flowers, Blackpoint to the right. Added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset. Finally, the tricky light made the chives too purple. Auto White Balance in Lightroom brought them back to reality.

From The Yard, Kennebunk ME.

26
May
10

5/26/2010

Brim-full of Sky

I have posted two other shots from this same spot on this same day…when the tide had pushed the Little River to its brink, and the sky was caught in the smooth surface. I have to remind myself to take vertical shots. I am such a landscape guy 🙂

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. F4.0 @ 1/640th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

In Lightoom, Recovery for the sky, Fill Light to open the shadows, Blackpoint right for intensity, added Clarity and just a little Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Rachel Carson NWR Seasons.

25
May
10

5/25/2010

Unscardy Rabbit!

The rabbits of Cape May Lighthouse State Park and the Meadows (Cape May Migratory Bird Sanctuary of the Nature Conservancy) are among the most secure rabbits I have encountered. True there are a lot of people around throughout the year, but I am still not certain how they have become so confident. This fellow was caught out nibbling on some grasses in the shade of a trail-side bush, and let me approach very closely. All he did was cock up into this classic pose 🙂

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent. F5.7 @ 1/200th @ ISO 200. Landscape program.

In Lightroom, a bit of Recovery for the highlights in the sand and on the fur. Fill Light and Blackpoint right to extend the apparent contrast range. Added Clarity and a touch of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From World Series of Birding 2010.

24
May
10

5/24/2010

Touchable Song Sparrow

If you look carefully you will see that there is an out of focus branch right between the camera/scope and this bird. The bird literally popped up on to this bush top no more than 15 feet from me while I was headed back to the car after some digiscoping. It waited until I got the tripod grounded, the scope focused, the camera swung in, and for maybe ten shots at different effective focal lengths. It was close.  It was fast. It was intense.

It was only when I got home with the images on the computer that I realized there had been a branch, well out of focus, right between the camera/scope and the bird. Not that I could have done anything about it. The bird was too close. It certainly would have flown if I had tried to reposition myself. Still, obscuring branch or no, the level of feather detail here is impressive. Try viewing it an a larger size.

Canon SD1400IS Digital Elph behind the eyepiece of a Diascope 65FL. Equivalent focal length 2200mm. Exif data: f5.9 @ 1/250th @ ISO 80. Programmed auto. Effective f-stop, f6.1. (When digiscoping there are two f-stops. The f-stop the camera chooses, and the f-stop which is determined by the interaction of the camera lens and the scope. The smaller of the two determines actual exposure.)

In Lightroom, a touch of Fill Light to compensate for Blackpoint to the right. Added Clarity and just a tiny bit of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Digiscoped Around Home.

23
May
10

5/23/2010

Lady Slipper Lineup

Happy Sunday.

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge is the only place I have ever seen Lady Slippers growing in groups. There are two clusters there which have been spectacular the past two springs. I went out late afternoon to catch the light on these. The flip out LCD on the Canon makes these low shots easy.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent and Super-macro. F2.8 @ 1/200th @ ISO 160. Programmed auto.

In Lightroom, some Recovery for the hot pink highlights. A touch of Fill Light to compensate for Blackpoint right. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Rachel Carson NWR Seasons.

By the time I got to the second cluster, the direct sun was no longer on them, but the color is so vibrant that it hardly matters. 🙂 Settings and processing just about identical, with the exception that this shot is at ISO 400 (and pretty good at that!) and I used Auto White Balance in Lightroom to warm the open-shade tones.

22
May
10

5/22/2010

Little River Panorama

I tried a pano of this view earlier this spring. The Full Bend in the Little. Since then I have started using PhotoShop Elements Panorama feature, in conjunction with the Easy Panorama mode of the Canon SX20IS. As noted in a previous post, Elements’ pano engine is considerably smarter than the one in the Photo Stitch software Canon provides with the camera.

This shot is 5 shots taken at about 50mm equivalent. Exposure was determined by the camera in Panorama mode, but averaged about F4 at 1/640th @ ISO 80.

Of course I never have a tripod with me. I have started carrying a light-weight monopod, which, for panoramas, is not as much help as I had hoped it would be. I tried this shot three times and every time the last shot was considerably off horizontal. I had to straighten and crop to get a level horizon and lost from every edge to do so. This is the best of the lot.  Third try lucky.

Do try it at as large as your monitor will take by clicking the image above and using the size controls at the top of the window that appears.

After processing the shots in Elements for pano, I took the whole thing into Lightroom as a PhotoShop file for final processing. Recovery for the sky, a bit of Fill Light for the foreground, Blackpoint to the right, added Clarity and just a little Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset. Finally, the left most exposure was just a bit dark, even with Element’s intelligent blending, so I applied a Lightroom graduated filter effect from the left to brighten it slightly.

From Rachel Carson NWR Seasons.