June 30, 2011

Photo of the day: 024

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 8:26 pm

I’ve switched to a more photo-friendly wordpress layout (thanks to the suggestion of my former Orange County neighbor, Shelley), and I’m also going to try posting the photos smaller so they will allow for unscrolled viewing on most screens.

I visited James and Becky’s yard first this morning as the sun came over the ridge, then as I was walking back home on the road I met Jim and Madeline out for their morning canine constitutional, and they invited me to visit their backyard flower garden. I also stopped to capture some wildflowers in the ditch of the neighbor across the road. The flower above is from Jim and Madeline’s side yard. I had to throw away about 20 photos to get one that had any part in focus. The DOF is so shallow, and the wind was moving the bloom a little, and I was swaying while I bent over the flower bed (no tripod this morning–I was perambulatin’). But I kept thinking, this could be a nice shot, stay with it…while longing for the sort of criminal mind that would let me move the bloom into my house (tripod, no wind, controlled lighting) without remorse. It turned out okay without the larceny, so, for today, virture was not punished.

Taking my eye for flowers past their prime to an extreme.

One of James and Becky’s dogs. Yeah, it’s a framing device. Pretty subtle, hey? Usually you try to get the thing you’re framing in focus, tho.

June 29, 2011

Photo of the day: 023

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 2:15 pm

Here’s a shot I captured from the space shuttle last night. Of course, even in the ionosphere, I can’t resist a good leaf photo. 100mm macro f11 1/160.  DOF is about a tenth of an inch, all on that one corner.

It was my evening to think about edges.

Could be time to mow. Our front yard after a week away. The neighbors have commented on how lovely it is.

Besides the clover, they can’t get enough of our dandelions.

I suffer for my art: mosquitoes munched me last night while I concentrated on those leaves, and chiggers chomped me this morning as I slithered after these dandelions.

Only those pink tips and the grass stalk in focus. Just to show that I can get something in focus.

This aspen is right outside our son Mike’s third-floor deck in Ft Collins, CO.

I tried and tried to make this photo more interesting with Photoshop. Nothing.

One for dog lovers and lens flare appreciators among us. The lens flare can be fixed easily with the hood I always leave in my bag. The dog was already fixed when we got her.

June 28, 2011

Photo of the day: 022a

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 11:34 am

100mm f22 1/100. The reason to use such a bitsy aperture is to attempt to get all the points of the bloom (sort of) in focus. I also held it pretty far away from the focal plane.

WordPress (my blog host) did a strange thing last night with day 022: though I had inserted photos and salient text, what appeared was nothing. I’ll try again. These are the last photos from Wyoming. We’re home in KCMO this morning.

200mm f6.3 1/320

100mm f11 1/320. To keep most of the flower stalk (kind of) in focus at f11, you need to arrange it uniformly parallel to the camera’s sensor plane.

My SIL Gail thought the white stripes looked painted on. 100mm f11 1/125.

Not a studio shot–outdoors in Wyoming. But with a manual levels in Photoshop that threw away most of the medium-dark range, leaving only the really dark. 100mm f22 1/160. Below is what it looked like before darkening it. Which do you like better?

Not the best hummingbird shot ever–it was a hasty grab of my camera, stab at focus, and underexposure of the little lady herself. I took one step closer and she bolted. So I set the camera up close by with the 200mm on, focused tightly on the spot she’d been, got the exposure right, backed across the porch with my wireless remote, shushed and calmed an entire porch worth of big-time gabbers, and sat down to await her return. Everyone knows what happens next…or you would now be seeing the really great hummingbird shot.

100mm f11 1/640. I like the background especially.

Photo of the day: 021

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 2:43 am

One of the kids came running into the dining hall on Saturday morning to announce: “Butterflies!” Yes, I know it’s a moth.

This was a handy time to have an invertible head on my tripod, so I could hang the camera upside down. It was early enough, and cold enough, that the moths were very sleepy, and let me get close without moving.

By the next morning, their wings were already tattered. It was the right day to be there with a camera.

Not a very artful shot, but one moth hanging out on another moth’s wing was worth recording. Someone will now inform me that I’ve caught bugs in another indelicate moment.

Photo of the day: 020

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 2:24 am

The road into Camp Paradise, from the only spot you can get three bars on your phone. I took lots of shots in that aspen grove, while dodging elk scat.

We’re home from the trip now, so if you were going to rob our house, too late.

I read in the bookstore yesterday that when you take photos of flowers, you should select only flawless blooms–a single bent tip can cost you the Pulitzer.

I promised B some blue.


June 27, 2011

Photo of the day: 019

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 3:43 am

This is all one flower, not an arrangement. It’s only a couple of inches long, total. Barely noticed it beside the road, but when I got down and looked more closely, I couldn’t believe everything she has going on. Anyone know what this one is called? Some sort of Wyoming wildflower.

Funny how the same hues appear in flowers, grasses, and lichens. The landscape can seem pretty barren until you look more closely.


I took this weird shot from inside the tipi, down at ground level. In the blurred distance is the playground, with kids playing.

There’s a problem with lying down amongst the cacti to get the shot.

I never got tired of this specimen, until she wilted from all my attention.

Yep, still that one flower.

These look like studio shots, with a black background, but they’re outside, with grass in the background. The depth of field is so shallow, and the background grass far enough away, that it goes to a uniform dark gray/green. In Photoshop, I do a manual levels that further darkens the background.

There’d been a little rain during the week, and this cactus popped some blossoms.

Photo of the day: 018

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 3:15 am

One of my favorite targets, backlit wild grasses in the early morning, grows just fine in Wyoming, too. The main reason I’m leading with this one is the natural sunspot. I faked one recently, and I felt this was a kind of forgiveness.

The simplicity of green blades.

The simplicity of two big rocks.

Lots of aspen groves around the camp. Got to get there when they’re golden.


Elk had rubbed a lot of these aspen down to the bare wood, so I had to be selective.

Way more red in the Wyoming grasses than Missouri varieties.




June 26, 2011

Photo of the day: 017

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 11:26 pm

Jeanne taught a painting class on day two of the reunion. I took the opportunity of the students’ absorption to take weird shots of them. 58mm f8 1/60. This is with my slow 28-200.

125mm f5.6 1/100

125mm f5.6 1/100, which gives you a pretty skinny DOF at minimum focusing distance.

For all of these shots, I had my head and the camera on the table right beside the artist. She was not disturbed. The variable is focal length, which is driving the viewable slice of reality. Same f5.6, but 62mm focal length, so you see a lot more, and DOF gets a little deeper.

Now f5.6, but 45mm.

Still f5.6, but 28mm. See how much more depth of field, as well as slice of the world.

f5.6 and 28mm again, but the artist has changed our slice of reality.


Photo of the day: 016

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 11:06 pm

What’s notable about this shot is that I took it with a 1970s vintage Soligor 80-205 3.9, gifted me by my sister-in-law Gail upon my arrival in Paradise. Nikon mounts work no matter how elderly. This lens is about a foot long and feels as if it weighs ten pounds. It has four separate rings: focus, zoom, macro, and aperture. It neither auto-focuses nor provides aperture data to the camera body. You can see the focus by looking through the eyepiece, but you have to guess and reguess on the exposure (unless you have a light meter, which I don’t). It will macro up to 1:3, which is pretty good. This is the first shot I took with it, after sorting out the exposure. Not that awful.

The second shot. No idea what the exposure info is–the camera didn’t know, so didn’t save it.

For point of comparison, this one was with my Tokina 100mm macro, f16, 1/80. A lot easier to get right, but a 205mm almost-macro is nice to have. You can stand a long way from those critters.

At least one of my loyal viewers has suggested that human beings might be a nice growth opportunity. This kid is worn out, but not taxing his mom’s good humor.




Photo of the day: 015

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 10:11 pm

Hi, there. I’m back in the land of connectivity. Camp Paradise, 200 miles equidistant from nowhere, yielded a daily trove of photos, but what paradise gives with one hand she takes with the other…and what she took was the internet. One could stand on the deck of the lodge, lift one foot, swear amiably, wish for a goat to sacrifice, and occasionally get one bar on one’s iPhone, but one could not upload, it goes almost without saying.

If one were OCD and yet found oneself unable to maintain one’s regime of daily posting, and if that condition persisted for a week, what would one do? This one has decided to carry right along with the daily counter as if nothing had happened. Think of me as an orange-jumpsuited escapee from OCD Camp.

I took these photos in my Uncle Rich’s yard in Ft Collins, CO, the morning after our twelve hour drive, right before leaving for Paradise. That first photo is looking down the length of Rich and Mary’s front flower box, f20 1/320 on my 100mm macro lens. Backlight is harsh Front Range stuff, but very early AM, so a little softened.

A columbine in the back yard, still in the shade. 100mm f16 1/60.

I liked the spill of pollen on the petal, and the shadow…sun must have peeked over the fence. 100mm f40 1/125.

More flower box long view. That big yellow blob lower left is not good form. You are asked to ignore it, if it troubles you. Celebrate it otherwise.

Nothing seriously wrong with this photo. The white at the top isn’t doing much.

Yellow dancers. 100mm f40 1/160.

I always like the undershot. 100mm f22 1/160


And a variation with the middle of another flower foreshadowing.

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