Archive for the 'macro' Category



Daylily Fireworks

Happy Sunday. Happy 4th of July.

Fireworks of another kind. The inner fire of the Daylily in the early morning sun. This is the common variety…though we have several cultivars of different colors in our yard, acquired over the years. A drive around the neighborhood yesterday afternoon reminded me of just how abundant these Daylilies are in Southern Maine.  We have a few individual plants. Some yards have masses of them!

For this shot I used the tel-macro function of the Canon SX20IS to frame and isolate the strongly lighted flower against a darker background. One advantage of the tel-macro is that you can get this kind of shot without dealing with the shadow of the camera.

Canon SX20IS at about 450mm equivalent. F5.6 @ 1/500 @ ISO 250. Aperture preferred.

In Lightroom, a bit of Recovery for the highlights on the petals, Fill Light to slightly offset Blackpoint to the right. Added Clarity and a small amount of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From The Yard: Kennebunk ME.

And, since it is Sunday and the 4th, a few more to celebrate.



Yellow Loosestrife and Daisies

It took me 30 minutes to find this yellow flower on the internet…for some reason it has escaped my notice until now…until I found masses of it growing in the overgrown flower maze at the University of Maine at  Machias. In the top image, the Loosestrife forms a backdrop for the small cluster of Daisies. The second is, of course, an uncompromising portrait of the the blossoms taken in Super-macro mode with the lens hood touching the flowers at the top.

Canon SX20IS at Macro and Super-macro and 28mm equivalent. 1) F2.8 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 160, 2) f2.8 @ 1/400 @ ISO 80. Programmed auto. –1 EV exposure compensation.

In Lightroom 3, Recovery for highlights, added Fill Light and Blackpoint just to the right. Added Clarity and very little 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.



Lupine Love

Happy Sunday! Again this year on my way up to Acadia I could not miss the masses of Lupine growing on banks along the interstate, and again, I determined to find a good stand in Acadia to photograph. The trick is not fining them…they are all over Mount Desert Island…the trick is finding them when they are not obliviously in someone’s yard, where it would be awkward at best to get out of the car to spend any time photographing them. Of course I need a good background too.  Last year’s stand, near Southwest Harbor, was pretty sparse (I checked), but I found this field of them just off Route 3, near my motel. Good enough!

Of course, Lupine is not native to New England, or even to the Americas. [Note: further research, prompted by some viewer comments, yields the fact that while the Lupines most common in New England are not native to New England, they are native to North America. The Blue-pod Lupine, which is what you see in these tall mass stands generally, was introduced from the Northwest. Other cultivars have escaped from gardens, and there has been some inevitable cross-breeding. There is also a Wild Lupine, considerably shorter on the average, which is native to New England.] There is a children’s book about the lady who actually, like Johnny Appleseed, is responsible for their proliferation in Maine and adjoining states. IMHO we owe her a debt of gratitude. They are strikingly beautiful in the spring.

Subdued afternoon light on an overcast day. Hence the white sky, but otherwise perfect for photographing the color and the details of this striking plant.

Canon SX20IS. 1) 28mm equivalent @ f5.6 @ 1/320th @ ISO 160, 2) 215 mm @ f5.6 @ 1/250 @ ISO 125, 3) 28mm and Super-macro @ f5.6 @ 1/800 @ ISO 160. I was experimenting with aperture preferred.

Similar treatment for all in Lightroom. Recovery for the sky (though it did not help much), Fill Light and Blackpoint just barely right, added Clarity and a touch of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Acadia 2010.




Laudholm Farm manages old farm lands, as you might guess from the name, and the open meadows are home to all kinds of plants…both native and foreign. This is English Plantain, which is a weed in a yard, but part of a natural and nutritious mix of plants in a meadow. Song-birds eat the seeds (it is actually grown commercially for cage bird feed). Rabbits love the leaves. One man’s weed is another man’s treasure.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent and Super-macro. Lens-hood touching the stem and the flowers inside. F4.5 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 160. Programmed auto.

And here is another view.

This one at F4 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 80. This one, to me, has a feel of the open prairies…though it is only a hill top meadow in New England.

Both processed in Lightroom using my standard touch of Recovery, Fill Light, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance and Sharpen landscape preset.

From Laudholm Farms.



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.



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.




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.



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.


5/14 – 5/15/2010

I will be doing a chase car for Team Zeiss at the World Series of Birding, beginning at midnight tonight and going trough midnight on Saturday, so…this post will most likely have to cover two days. (You can follow my adventures, and the adventures of Team Zeiss, on Twitter, @singraham or @zeissbirding_us, or see both twitters and blog posts at

That said, these are Pink Lady Slipper Orchids from Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells, ME, taken last Sunday. The top shots are from a sunny patch facing the river, right at the edge of the forest, which bloomed early…most of the flowers at Rachel Carson looked like the bottom shot last Sunday. I was there early, and the low sun was in and out behind clouds, so the light on the full blooms is quite different than the light on the unopened buds.

All were taken with the Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent and Super-macro. Exposure varied with the light but was mostly at ISO 80 and ISO 125. The top three at F2.8, and the bottom one at f5.

For the sunny shots, a bit of Recovery in Lightroom. A touch of Fill Light, Blackpoint to the right, added Clarity and Vibrance, Sharpen landscape preset. For the bottom shot, similar but, clearly, different amounts, plus cropping for composition.

From Rachel Carson NWR Seasons.