Archive for the 'meadow' Category

04
Dec
10

12/4/2010: Bosque morning

Time for some straight up Bosque del Apache scenery. Mid-morning layered landscape HDR. The temporarily flooded fields are a Bosque feature, a way of managing where the geese and cranes feed. The geese, in particular, love to feed on the seeds and roots that flooding makes available. In this case either the field was newly flooded and the geese had not discovered it yet, or it was flooded long enough already that the geese had eaten everything they could find. Still…it adds the mirror layer to the landscape.

Three exposure HDR, Canon SX20IS at about 70mm equivalent, autobracketed around –2/3 EV exposure compensation, assembled in Photomatix Pro using the Lightroom plugin and final processed in Lightroom.

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12
Aug
10

8/12/2010

Water Meadow

Along the Mousam River near its mouth, several little streams come in from the north, generally winding, as this one does, through an open area of tidal mash. These meadows were actually a big attraction for early settlers, who put cattle and sheep on them, and even harvested the hay. They are the reason for the salt water farms of colonial times.

Of course my interest in them is that they remain rich in both plant diversity and wildlife. Many, like this one, are protected by one conservation organization or another. They are one of my favorite summer haunts (despite the mosquitoes!).

This is another Canon SX20IS and Photomatix HDR. Two exposures, at full 28mm wide angle equivalent, one dialed down on the Exposure Compensation dial for the sky, and one dialed up for the foreground. Combined in Photomatix using the Enhanced Detail: Tone Mapping Mode with tweaked controls. Final processing in Lightroom for sharpness, Clarity, Vibrance, and Blackpoint (slightly right). Cropped at the top to eliminate some clouds that were moving too fast for the two exposure technique (they looked shadowed…almost 3D…when over-laid in Photomatix). The sky, of course, makes it (along with the bit of reflection in the stream)! Look at it large on Wide Eyed In Wonder.

From Around Home 2010.

20
Jun
10

6/20/2010

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.

14
Jun
10

6/14/2010

Yearling among Flowers

This looks to me to be a late season fawn from last year. It was feeding with two adult female Whitetails, one of which was obviously pregnant.

There is a story behind the images. I was 90 minutes early for a bird walk I was coleading last Saturday at the Acadia Birding Festival in Acadia National Park (misread the schedule), so I shouldered my digiscoping rig and was hiking along the shoulder of the road between the Seawall proper and the Seawall Campground entrance, looking for cooperative birds. A huge, industrial scale, white dump truck approached at speed, and hit is hydraulic breaks hard just as it came parallel with me. It literally skidded to a stop about 100 feet beyond me, and this huge hairy arm dropped from the driver’s window, up there 10 feet in the air in the cab, and snapped its fingers. I could see the driver looking at me in his rear view mirror. He was a dump truck driver: sleeveless tee, a bit tattered and smudged, beard and a fringe of longish hair around a bald plate. Big as his truck and just as tough. He snapped his fingers again, and, getting impatient, jammed his truck into reverse and started back. I hustled over.

“Hay,” he said, “There’s deer in the field about 200 yards down the road on the left, right out in the open. Great shot!” And he grinned and nodded. “Well thank you,” I said, and he jammed into first and rumbled on.

Humm? Deer? Whitetails would be nice, but, honestly, what were chances of 1) their still being visible when I got there, and 2) their not running off as soon as they saw me?

Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained. So I hurried down the road, trying to remember where the first open meadow was, and wondering if I would be able to see the same deer from road level he could see from 10 feet up in his cab? Turned out to be closer to 400 yards, but eventually I came up to an obvious meadow opening on the left. I could not see any deer from the angle I had. I crossed the road and edged up to the last blocking shrub and peaked around into the meadow.

And, of course, as you can guess from the images above, there they were: the two adults and this obvious yearling, the two adults together and this guy ranging ahead of them further into the back of the meadow.

So, down tripod, up scope, focus, camera in, camera on, zoom to eliminate vignetting and take the first shot. (Not one of the ones above 🙂 ) I was able to work the three deer for 20-30 minutes, taking hundreds of exposures. The light was great: gentle under light cloud cover. When I had enough to think I might have some keepers (my rule is 10 exposures for every keeper you hope for) I backed away and left them to their feeding. When I passed in the car 30 minutes later they were gone.

So, I want, right here, to thank that dump truck driver for the extraordinary kindness of stopping his rig to tell me about the deer he had just seen. I never would have known. 

Canon SD1400IS behind the zoom eyepiece of a Zeiss Diascope 65FL for an equivalent focal length of about 2200mm (first two) and 3400mm (last one). Exif  f5.9 @ 1/200th @ ISO 160 and 200. Real f-stop closer to f12 (based on the scope).

In Lightroom 3, Fill Light and Blackpoint considerably right. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen Narrow Edges preset. Auto White-balance to remove yellow cast.

And, once more time. Thank you.

05
Jun
10

6/5/2010

Plantain

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.

04
Jun
10

6/4/2010

Bobolink

For some reason, the Bobolink has been a digiscoping jinx bird for me. Every year I try for new shots at Laudholm Farm, just down the road from us, where they are abundant and very visible during courting season in the spring. I tried two years in a row in North Dakota where they are also abundant. And I have nothing to show for it…or at least, nothing I am willing to show to others. 🙂

So, this year, I gottem! Or at least I got my best shots yet.

Even then, this is still a very hard bird to photograph. White on black is always a hard exposure problem, and the fine-fur like structure of the head feathers is a real challenge to capture effectively. And when they are visible in courtship, they are always moving. After courtship they simply disappear. I have never seen a Bobolink that was not courting or being courted. Maybe I am just not looking hard enough.

Canon SD1400IS behind the eyepiece of a Zeiss Diascope 65FL for an equivalent focal length of about 3500mm. Exif f5.0 @ 1/160th @ ISO 80. Computed f-stop, considering the spotting scope, f9.6.

In Lightroom, some Recovery for the highlights, a touch of Fill Light to open the black plumage, and then a bit of Blackpoint right to intensify the colors. Adde Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

And, though the light on this video is not what I would like (got to leave some challenge for next year), it does showcase the song!

All but the video are from Digiscope Around Home on my Wide Eyed In Wonder site.

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.