Archive for the 'bokeh' Category



The Long and the Short of Fiddleheads

Same fern. Same fiddlehead. The top shot is taken at the wide end of the zoom, 28mm equivalent, and Super-Macro from centimeters away. The second shot is taken at the tel end of the zoom, 560mm equivalent, and Macro, from 3.5 feet away. Clearly they are very different images of exactly the same subject. The angle on the first one is slightly different as well. I used the flip out LCD to get down a bit lower to put the background elements exactly where I wanted them as part of the composition. In the second, I shot from higher up to increase the separation between the subject and the background, and to make sure there were no recognizable objects to distract. Both were carefully framed for effect.

I am not sure which I like better…and I am not sure that is even the question to ask. Both are strong images (in my opinion 🙂 ). They are just very different images. Same fern. The long and the short of it, so to speak.

Both are with the Canon SX20IS on Programmed auto.

1) F2.8 @ 1/500th @ ISO 160.

2) F5.7 @ 1/320th @ ISO 400.

Similar processing in Lighroom involving Recovery for high-lights, Fill Light for shadows. Blackpoint to the right, added Clarity and Vibrance and Sharpen landscape preset. Reduced exposure values #2 to match the tones better to #1.

From Rachel Carson NWR Seasons.



Unfolding Season

I have taken a shot (several actually) like this almost every spring. Compare to 4/15/2009 which are actually images taken on 5/19/2008. It does not matter. I find the emerging forms and the coiled potential irresistible.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent and Super-macro. The fiddlehead was actually  inside my lens hood. F2.8 @ 1/160th @ ISO 160. Programmed auto.

In Lightroom, Recovery for the background. Fill Light for the fern. Blackpoint just slightly right. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset. Cropped for composition.

From Rachel Carson NWR Seasons.



Daff on the Rocks

Happy Sunday.

This lonely Daffodil, posed against a granite bolder with its lichen in my daughter’s piano teacher’s yard, somewhat caged by dry stems, caught my eye. The bright yellow, the vibrant green, the texture of the stone and the delicate tracery of the weeds. This is another shot that employs the long end of the macro zoom on the SX20IS to good advantage.

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent and macro. F5.7 @ 1/400th @ ISO 200. Programmed auto.

In Lightroom, some Recovery for the yellow in the Daff, a touch of Fill Light to offset Blackpoint to the right, added Clarity and just a tiny amount of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Around Home 2010.




I am not sure I am done with the NYC images, but we will go back to Maine this morning (appropriate since I am physically back in ME this morning). This is Coltsfoot…a plant I honestly never noticed before this spring. It was abundantly blooming way ahead of anything else out in the waste ground of our local gravel pit. Could not miss it with those bright yellow flowers! I caught this clump by zooming in to 560mm and using the macro setting. It was on a little rise of ground (pile of sandy gravel), and by getting down low I was able to put the flowers against the out of focus background of the far edge of the pit many hundreds of yards away. Hence the bokeh. The dark band is trees. When I got it in Lightroom, I cropped from the top for composition. I am really enjoying saying “this looks even better at larger sizes” (on if you click on the image above) with the images from the Canon. I often could not say that with images from the Sonys I was using. 🙂

Canon SX20IS at 560mm and macro. F5.7 @ 1/400th @ ISO 125. Programmed auto.

In Lightroom, besides the cropping already mentioned, I added Clarity and Vibrance, moved the Blackpoint slightly right, and employed the Sharpen landscape preset.

From Around Home 2010.

This is a more standard shot, which perhaps shows the plant to better advantage, but is a less interesting image. Also at 560mm equivalent and macro. This time taken from on top of a sand/gravel pile looking down on the flowers.



This Bud is for You!

So, I am getting really impatient for spring here in Maine. I think I may have said that before. To ease my pain I have been collecting buds of various kinds…photographically collecting that is. Once we get beyond yesterday’s maples, though, I am not good enough with local plant life to identify buds, but that does not keep me from enjoying their shapes and colors.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm and Super-macro, with manual focus. F2.8 @ 1/400th @ ISO 80. Programmed auto. I am finding, on occasion, that the SX20 fails to find focus on Super-macro. Other times it works fine??? It does have an excellent manual focus mode with an enlarged display that, for macros, is good compensation. This was taken, by the way, according to the exif data, at .09 of an inch. The bokeh on these macro shots is interesting as well.

Just basic Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance and Sharpen in Lightroom. Cropped just slightly for composition.

And of course, here are a few more from the bud collection, all taken the same day at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells, ME.

Okay…this next one is, apparently, a flower. It was tiny. As seen here it is at least 4x life size.

And this one is plainly a Catkin, but it fits the theme. I looked it up. A Catkin is a pendulant cluster of flowers, mostly without petals.



Bright as Copper

Happy Sunday!

I keep going out looking for spring and only finding stuff held over from fall. This vine started out dark red, but the winter sun and cold has bleached it to this bright copper. I had to touch it, when I first saw it, to convince myself it was not a tangle of wire somehow blown up into the bushes. I took many shots at close range before it occurred to me to back off and use the tele end of the Canon SX20IS’ macro to isolate the vine against an out of focus background. Being able to shoot at ~500mm from under 4 feet is one of the more interesting features of the Canon, and I am just beginning to explore the possibilities it provides.

Canon SX20IS at about 475mm equivalent. F5.7 @ 1/320th @ ISO 80. Programmed auto.

Some Recovery for the background. A touch of Fill Light. Blackpoint to the right. Added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Around Home 2010.



Bird of Paradise against the Boats

An alternative view of the Bird of Paradise bloom, this time framed against boats in the marina, taken at a longer focal length from further back to isolate the bloom and turn the boats into interesting bokeh. Late afternoon light on the plant brought out the orange of the petals in particular.

Canon SX20IS at 250mm equivalent. F5 at 1/250th @ ISO 80. Programmed auto.

Added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance in Lightroom. Blackpoint slightly right. Sharpen landscape preset.

From San Diego 2010.

And here is an image taken from the same spot, using a wider lens setting (95mm equivalent @ f4). As you can see, the boats become more sharply focused and battle a bit with the blooms in the foreground, but I still see it as an interesting shot, and as a contrast to the longer/closer shot above. Processing similar to above.



Sweet Gum Burrs in Early Morning Light

Low sun on the moss, and these Sweet Gum seed pods. The flip out, rotating LCD on the Canon SX20 works just as well as the flip up display on the Sony H50 for these low angle shots. An articulated display was one of my major requirements in a new camera, and kept me from purchasing cameras that I might otherwise have considered (like the new 30x zoom models coming out in the next month or so). I am addicted to the low view…or at least the possibility of capturing it when I see the potential. As here.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. F2.8 @ 1/320th @ ISO 160. Programmed auto.

Blackpoint slightly right, added Clarity and Vibrance (much less Vibrance than I was in the habit of adding with H50 shots…added Vibrance turns the Canon images yellow very fast). Sharpen landscape preset. Cropped at the bottom to eliminate out of focus foreground.

From First Canon VA.



Rose by Any Other Name

Rugosa Rose, beach rose, Japanese rose, Ramanas rose, introduced from Asia to North America many generations ago as an ornamental landscape rose, escaped, and now lives rampant on the dunes of New England. The hips are sometimes made into jelly. In this first snow of the season they certainly stand out, still only slightly shrunken from their fall glory, and still very red. The early light only emphasizes the color.

I took quite a few exposures of different clumps with snow cover. I shot in very close with wide-angle and macro, and I used the macro setting with full telephoto to isolate clusters of hips. Once more, the flip out LCD made shots like this one, where I had to hold the camera well below waist level to get the angle, possible…even easy. I look at the new entry level DSLRs and wonder…but until I see one with as flexible an LCD. I will have to stick with my little Sony P&S!

Sony DSC H50 at full tel (465mm equivalent) macro. F5.6 @ 1/640th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

Just your (my) basic added Clarity and Vibrance in Lightroom. Sharpen landscapes preset.

From First Snow 12/09.



Anhinga: Green Cay Wetlands

Anhinga: Green Cay Wetlands

There were several birds in this tree. A Red-shouldered Hawk at the top. White Ibis lower, and this Anhinga in the lowest branches. And it is such a great tree! You can see from the abundance of white-wash that the birds really really like it. The tree and the background are as important in the image, for me, as the bird itself.

The challenge of the Anhinga is the range of contrast between the silvery white of the wing patterns, through jet black, to the gold of the throat. The fur-like feathers on the upper breast and throat provide a real test for the resolution of your system.

Zeiss PhotoScope 85FL at 40x (field of view of a 1600mm lens on a full frame DSLR). 1/380th @ ISO 100. Metered at about f5.0.

Just my basic added Clarity and the Sharpen landscapes preset in Lightroom. Only a touch of Vibrance.

From Green Cay, FL.