Archive for the 'bokeh' Category


12/7/2010: Great Blue in a tree

Though I have seen it many times now, it is always still somewhat a shock to see a Great Blue Heron in a tree.

This is one of those cases when it pays to stop and see what the other guy is looking at. During the Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, or most any weekend in November, the photographers outnumber most species except for Cranes and Geese. Or so it seems. They litter the road-sides, cluster where the corn has been freshly knocked down, and the sound of DSLR motor drives is as prevalent as the calls of the geese at sunup and sun down, though not nearly as loud. So this photographer was pulled off where there was no obvious crane or goose concentration…so I stopped to…and there, up this old snag, was this Great Blue Heron.

What makes this shot interesting, besides the bird, is the bokeh…it looks a lot like a Japanese screen of some sort  behind the bird.

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for something in the 2000mm equivalent range. 1/1000th second @ ISO 160. And I think I still had it on Kids and Pets mode.

Processed for intensity in Lightroom (see page link above).


11/2/2010: Yellow-rumped Warbler 2

Late in the day on Saturday, out behind the Hawk Watch platform at Cape May State Park, as I mentioned yesterday, was like walking through an aviary, the birds were so thick and so close. This Yellow-rumped Warbler was perched about 20 feet off the boardwalk, in the full light of the low sun behind me, and a hint of autumn color behind. Irresistible.

I was able to catch several different ”poses” as, despite how it might look in the images, the bird was quite active on the perch. The low sun certainly picked out all the yellow in the bird.

For a digiscoper, or anyone who attempts bird photography, it just does not get any better than this!

Canon SD4000IS behind the eyepiece of the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for the equivalent field of view of about a 1400mm lens on a full frame DSLR. 1/320th @ ISO 160 @ f4.5 (camera limited).

A bit of Recovery in Lightroom for the white breast and the highlights on the branch, Blackpoint just barely right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset. Slight color adjustment to tame the yellow.


10/8/2010: reflections on snowy egret

People kept telling me about this pond on the gulf course on Jekyll Island where the birds, egrets, herons, and Wood Storks, were roosting for the night, and, after a couple of aborted attempts, I actually found it just before sunset yesterday. Quite a show! Roosting birds and birds flying in for the night…constantly something going on. These Snowy Egrets were there when I got there, part of a group of 15 birds, including immature White Ibis and an Anhinga, on a snag in the water out maybe 70 feet and at the foot of the bank where I was standing, maybe 20 feet above them, still in bright light but just below where the setting sun was striking the trees across the pond. Ideal! I spent 20 minutes with the group.

I was shooting the pair in the second image when my scope drifted down and caught the reflections. I could not resist.

Both shots with the Canon Powershot SD4000IS Digital Elph behind the new Vario eyepiece of the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL spotting scope for an equivalent field of view in the 3500mm range. Programmed auto. –1.6 EV exposure compensation.

Processed in Lightroom for Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpen.

Lots more digiscoped birds in my Jekyll Island 2010 gallery.


9/24/2010: Monarch

Another of those quick shots in passing. I chased this guy from rose to rose among the beach roses at Parson’s Beach while there to do some HDR work…who could resist. This the full tele macro on the Canon SX20IS…which always gives amazingly sharp close-ups and interesting bokeh.

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent, f5.7 @ 1/320th @ ISO 80. Programmed auto.

Blackpoint adjustment in Lightroom. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.



Cotton Grass

(Still in Germany)

On the bog in August, about the only thing blooming (or looking like it is blooming), is the Cotton Grass. These tuffs of cottony fiber with their attendant spears dot the marsh and provide contrast with the blueberries that make up the mass of the surface vegetation. I got down low, using Macro on the SD4000IS for this shot (really missed the swing out LCD on the SX20IS!).

Canon SD4000IS at 28mm equivalent and macro. F2.8 @ 1/640th @ ISO 125. Programmed auto.

In Lightroom, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Saco Heath.



Up with Flowers!

Happy Sunday!

Anther shot from the overgrown flower maze at the University of Machias. Daises and Lupine in abundance. This shot, from an odd angle, low down among the stems, captures some of the riot of blooms.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm and Super-macro. F3.5 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 160. Programmed auto.

Recovery in Lightroom 3 for the white petals and the sky. Fill Light and Blackpoint just barely right. Added Clarity and just a touch of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Machias 2010.



Red and White (and Yellow)

There is a neglected and overgrown flower maze on the campus of University of Maine at Machias, and I spent a happy hour while waiting for my daughter in the garden taking pics. I like the contrast of the red and the out-of-focus daisys in this one, plus the way the light in the background grades into shadow.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm and Super-Macro. F2.8 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 80. Programmed auto.

Some Recovery in Lighroom 3. A touch of Fill Light and Blackpoint barely right. Added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Machias 2010.



Iris Surprise

This is a pretty straightforward shot.  My wife planted these Iris several years ago. Nothing. Then this year, boom. Tall and beautiful and full flower. Early morning sun brings out all the richness. A long tel macro setting at about 550mm, from 4 feet away, isolates the bloom against the background.

Canon SX20IS. F5.7 @ 1/320th @ ISO 200. Programmed auto.

A touch of Recovery in Lightroom (mostly for the background). Some Fill Light and Blackpoint right. Added Clarity and just a tiny amount of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From The Yard: Kennebunk ME.

And for the alternative view: more or less the same shot at 28mm and Super macro from centimeters away. This plant is in open shade, not full sun.



Cinnamon Fern

The Cinnamon Fern gets its name from the fertile spike, or fond, which is loaded with cinnamon colored spores. According the wiki on the subject, it is genetically separate from the rest of the fern world, possibly even a separate, though related, family. Early light and Super-macro bring the cinnamon aspect. You see it more often like this.

Taken at the Wells National Estuarine Research Center at Laudholm Farms in Wells ME on Memorial Day. The tricky part was exposure, as I was about 50 feet from the forest edge and the full sun on the marsh beyond, working a mix of light shafts and shadow. Mostly I just kept the brighter background out of the images as much as possible. The camera’s Programmed Auto handled the mix of light values very well.

Canon SX20IS. 1) F2.8 @ 1/500th @ ISO 160, 2) F2.8 @ 1/400th @ ISO 160, 3) F2.8 @ 1/200th @ ISO 80.

In Lightroom, a touch of Recovery for the highlights and the bright backgrounds in 1 and 2, some Fill Light for the shadows, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From the new Laudholm Farm gallery.



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.