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Your Daily Bridge. August 13, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I just can’t stay off of that damned thing!

But this particular visit to the Bridge of Flowers in nearby Shelburne Falls was a furthering of my investigations of the combination of my 400mm Gizmo and a Canon 2X tele-extender.

The combo is cumbersome, shaky and slow – the auto-focus on my 5D Mark II doesn’t work in this configuration, and the 2X closes the maximum aperture by two stops, leaving me with a max ap of f/11, which makes hand holding difficult for this shaky old relic. I addressed that problem with a monopod collapsed short and canted against my thigh in a kneeling position. It made for wet knees on a dewey morning…

Hey, one does what one must to get that shot!  😉

So, the results:

People can be photographed from enough of a distance to not be self-conscious – here gardener Carol works to keep things beautiful:

Thanks, Carol!  😉

The tele-extender doubles the magnification of my 400mm Gizmo without increasing the minimum focusing distance. Glads from just over twelve feet:

Crisp focus is difficult with 800mm hand-held, and nearly impossible for these hands with a twirling subject:

…but she was too darling to not include in this post. God bless the children!  🙂

I did better with stationary subjects like dahlias:

The effect is nearly macro-like, with a peek-a-boo look which brings a viewer into the scene, or so it seems to me…

…and the depth of focus includes the entirety of a blossom while utterly excluding the background:

This is exactly what I was hoping for from this visit: find the strengths, isolate the weaknesses and develop strategies to contend with them.

I’m pleased.

Giving You The Bird. April 8, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Our National symbol, that is.

Here in Western Massachusetts we have a resurgent population of eagles, which were extremely rare in my youth.  Conservation and re-introduction efforts since the ban on DDT have been one of the great success stories of the modern environmental movement, and I’m thrilled every time I witness the results.

Along my local stretch of the Deerfield river we have frequent eagle sightings; they’re nesting near-by, though I’m not sure where.

Yesterday I got home in the evening and unloaded my camera gear and groceries, then saw the laundry basket in the back seat and remembered that I had a load drying at the laundromat in the next town down river.  I hopped back in the car and went for it, and along the way spotted three eagles roosting in a tree across the river – damn!   I always  have my camera with me, but… not tonight.  Bummer!

I carried on and retrieved my laundry, then headed home, and don’tcha know, there they still were, three eagles in one tree.  And me without my camera.

So I got home, ditched the laundry, grabbed my camera and headed back down river.

I know: my chances of success at this point were slim.  But if I didn’t try,  my chance of success was zero.

So I went, and some little while later as I pulled around the bend into view, I saw…

…two eagles.

Oh well.  Mother Nature isn’t obliged to mark time while I get my act together.

So here are a few shots Gizmo snagged over the next twenty minutes.  I resolved as soon as I turned the key off to stay ’till somebody took wing, and many cramps later I got my wish:

Yeah, I shoulda been closer, but there was the small matter of a river between us.  And I shoulda had an 800mm lens, but that’s several more thousands of dollars I don’t have either.

So I got what I got, and I hope you like it.