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Category Archives: Nikon

Last friday, I took a break from photographing summer flowers to plant a newly acquired pot of Shasta Daisies. Heading off to the shed, I plopped the pot down onto the grass so I could grab my gardening gloves and, of course, a shovel.

When I returned just a few seconds later, the most unusual flying insect was already feasting on the luscious, sunny-side up blooms. As I was about to swat it away, I caught a glimpse of its cartoon-ish looking ‘eyes’ and knew instantly, a primo photo-op was literally, staring me in the face! 😉

“Hungry Eyes” (Thread-waisted Wasp on Shasta Daisy ‘Becky’) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/6.3, 1/400s, ISO 160

Getting the right angle to capture that adorable mug proved trickier than I’d thought (and the wasp was way more interested in eating than posing for the camera) but in the end, I got the shot and, a happy addition to my garden! 🙂

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A few weeks back, right before the digital photography class I was teaching was about to start, there was a sudden power outage in the room. Try has he may, the building maintenance “guy” was unable to fix the problem so I simply moved my class to the lobby of the building. While it’s not the most lovely of places, the suspended ceiling just happened to be covered with more than a dozen strands of colorful garlands made up of origami paper cranes. Neat! 🙂

“Soarin’ ” (Origami Paper Crane Garland) Nikon D300, 120mm, F/5.3, 1/160s, ISO 3200, Built-in Fill-Flash w/Gary Fong “Puffer” Diffuser, -1.0 EV, Nik Silver Efex Pro “Infrared Film Soft” Filter w/Selective Toning & Vignette

Not one to miss an opportunity for intriguing subject matter, I instructed my students to shoot the birds (with their cameras, of course 😉 ) and look for angles and patterns that create interesting compositions. I also joined in the fun, playing around with different camera settings and switching back and forth between shooting in color as well as in black and white.

Those shots remained completely forgotten until today when I came upon them while scanning through my media cards. Turns out, I preferred the compositions I’d taken in color except for the stained drop ceiling tiles in the background (which I thought would have faded away with the shallow DOF I was using). 

So, I popped on over to Nik Silver Efex Pro to see if one of the trusty black and white filters could diffuse that not-so-great background and perhaps, bump up the contrast to make these birds really sing. A few clicks later and that’s an affirmative on the background and the contrast but now, I missed the color. 😦

Hmmmm, lemme think. Welllll, it was the orange bird who caught my attention in the first place soooooo let’s give him the spotlight and see if that does the trick.

Click, click, click – Boom! One fun abstract image! 🙂

Today’s ponderings were inspired by this post over at A Half Hour a Day.

It got me thinking, “Hmmm, what are our words?”

“Shine On Me” (Cranesbill, Hardy Geranium ‘Bevan’s Variety’) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/8, 1/160s, -1.0EV, ISO 200, Built-in Rear-Curtain Slow i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong “Puffer” Diffuser, -1.0EV

In this house…

Dust is rampant

We are forgetful

Critters come first

We eat with our hands

We are friendly and kind, generous and loyal

We dance and sing (poorly)

We laugh often (and loudly)

We converse with the cat

We sweat, fart and belch

Laundry piles up, floors get dirty

We get cranky for no reason

We are sarcastic

We give kisses and hugs freely

We share the good and the bad

We are flawed

We take things for granted

We say we’re sorry

We forgive

We try to do better than “fine”

We do happy

We do love

We do forever.

What are your words?

“Cat Call” (Gray Catbird, Adult Male, Dumetella carolinensis) Nikon D300, 490mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x Teleconverter), F/6.3, 1/320s, ISO 320

After the silence of winter, the chirping of birds in the spring is a welcomesound!

When you’ve been listening for as many years as I have, you can’t help but learn the different bird calls and, after some time, can instantly identify what birds are around just by the prevailing sounds.

Since it is mating season, the songs have been abundant! Many will sing for hours on end, desperately trying to entice a mate. Once a mate is found however, the songs do not end but rather, turn into chattering between the males and females.

Oh, wouldn’t you love to understand their conversation? 😉

The male Gray Catbird returned time and time again to this particular branch to sing out his melody. I spent quite awhile photographing in order to achieve a well-composed, well-lit shot of him in full song, his beak wide open. Another must-have was to capture an image where that tiny spot of red under his beak was exposed as he sang. Not an easy task, as I soon found out! Persistence, however, does indeed, pay off. 🙂

During his song, a House Wren joined in on a lower branch and began to sing along. Not one to pass up an opportunity, he now became the focus of my attention.

“Sing to Me” (House Wren, Adult Male, Troglodytes aedon) Nikon D300, 490mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x Teleconverter), F/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 320

The wren’s song was different as he was already successful in finding a mate who was busy making a home in the large yellow bird house for the inevitable wren brood to come. Still, their voices blended and harmonized and I enjoyed the free entertainment on that warm, sunny day.

Eventually, both birds flew off to other tasks and I called out a “Thanks, guys!” for the private concert, knowing that it wouldn’t be my last.

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