Female Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

I was so happy to see my first hummingbirds of the year this past weekend, and was able to spend some time relaxing on my parent’s porch, camera at the ready to capture a few shots. I’m quite pleased with the results, so there just might be a hummingbird of the day around here for the next little while 🙂

1/200 sec, f5.6, ISO 100 with speed light

1/200 left significant motion blur of the wings, and with the light, the fastest I tried was 1/640, and that didn’t even come close to freezing the wing motion.

Penguin

Penguin

The long grass was doing nothing to enhance the photo, and the Jackass penguin has only a limited amount of pale pink colouring around the eyes, so I decided to do a black and white conversion. After a hectic day, unwinding with some editing seemed like a good choice, and the penguin made me smile. Mission accomplished 🙂

1/320sec, f5.6, ISO200 – conversion in Silver Efex

Penguin at Boulder Beach, Cape Town, South Africa, March 2013.

Slow

I saw this painted on a street in Vancouver and it made me chuckle.  I'll give them an A for effort...
I saw this painted on a street in Vancouver and it made me chuckle. I’ll give them an A for effort…

Sometimes, I make poor decisions.  Okay, oftentimes I make poor decisions.  But today, the decision to leave my camera at home really pissed me off.

I’ve not had much success photographing bald eagles.  The closest I came was last summer, but it came out of nowhere and my shutter speed was a bit too slow.  The last three times I have seen bald eagles, my camera was safely packed in the well cushioned case… at home.  Once was a juvenile bald eagle with a rainbow in the background, the second was a single mature eagle chasing a Cooper’s Hawk, and today, two mature bald eagles perched in a tree, scanning the river.   As I was walking with Spencer this morning, a Cooper’s Hawk flew in front of me at head height and as I scanned to follow it, spotted the pair of eagles.

Hence the SLOW (or is it WOLS?) photo.  Hopefully this time I have finally learned, and the next time I think it is too damp to bother taking my camera with me when I walk the dog, I will grab it anyways.

This was the best my phone could manage of the last couple of eagle sightings. Big, sad sigh.

eagle pair

I am posting this as a lesson to myself to be better prepared for opportunities! The photo, and the lack of quality, clarity, detail and definition just makes me mad!
I am posting this as a lesson to myself to be better prepared for opportunities!
The photo, and the lack of quality, clarity, detail and definition just makes me mad!

 

Crocuses

I’ve been hoping that the weather would finally cooperate, and I would be able to get some photos of the crocuses before they are gone. Sunday afternoon I finally got my chance.

I’m still getting used to the focusing of my new macro lens, and I am sure I will look at these in a couple weeks and cringe at the decisions I made on focus, but for now, I’m pretty happy with the results.

I love the vivid colours of the crocus; they are a vibrant sign in the midst of awful weather that spring, and brighter days, are coming.
I love the vivid colours of the crocus; they are a vibrant sign in the midst of awful weather that spring, and brighter days, are coming.

Striped Crocus Crocus

Safari Sunset

Safari Sunset

I set this photo as my desktop wallpaper a couple days ago, and that seems as good a reason as any to share it. This was taken on our first game drive at Londolozi.

1/800sec, f4.5, ISO100, April 2, 2013

Leopard

Leopard

Another photo from the vault. The direction of the sunlight made the original black and white conversion I did in Lightroom look washed out. I re-edited this with Silver Efex pro, and the harsh highlights have been minimized without losing detail.

Elephants at Chobe

I decided to go back and re-edit some old photos, as I wasn’t inspired to get out and shoot this weekend. Here is a photo taken at Chobe Park in Botswana while on a boat tour.  I see lots of possibilities for editing it.

Base image, with only basic Lightroom  adjustments for chromatic aberration and lens profile correction.  1/250Sec, f10, ISO100 April 8, 2013 at Chobe Park, Botswana
Base image, with only basic Lightroom adjustments for chromatic aberration and lens profile correction.
1/250Sec, f10, ISO100
April 8, 2013 at Chobe Park, Botswana

To me, the elephant at the far left of the photo looked out of place.  I cropped it out, and edited the photo with Colour Efex adding a polarizing filter effect.

Edited with Colour Efex Pro

Edited with Colour Efex Pro
Edited with Colour Efex Pro
Edited with Colour Efex Pro

For the edit above, I used the same polarizing filter effect, but cropped in just to focus on the elephants crossing their trunks.

Edited with Silver Efex Pro
Edited with Silver Efex Pro

Finally, I did a black and white conversion with Silver Efex Pro, on a cropped version of the photo showing several elephants with their tusks in alignment.  I added in vignetting and a border to help obscure the elephant far right that was heading out of the water.

Thanks to my landscape photography instructor Jim for reminding us to always look for the picture within a picture. 🙂

Silhouettes

The clear, cold weather over the weekend brought with it a lot of shivering, but also a lot of great photos opportunities.  I had Spencer with me, so I was more concerned with his well-being and enjoyment than getting the perfect shot… but, I still managed to get a few that I really like.

I hadn’t set out with a theme in mind, but the strongest photos of the weekend were all silhouettes (a clear topic for the blog – hurray!)

I see a Cooper's Hawk on nearly every weekend walk I take out at the dikes, and still they catch me by surprise most times.  I was glad I had the camera set to capture it in flight.  The setting sun is glimmering off of some of the ice floating in the river.  1/1250, f5.6, ISO100.
I see a Cooper’s Hawk on nearly every weekend walk I take out at the dikes, and still they catch me by surprise most times. I was glad I had the camera set to capture it in flight. The setting sun is glimmering off of some of the ice floating in the river. 1/1250, f5.6, ISO100.
I saw this pair on the dike as we were pulling into the parking lot, and snapped a few quick photos without thinking too much more about it.  This is one of my favourites from that afternoon. 1/1250, f4.5, ISO100
I saw this pair on the dike as we were pulling into the parking lot, and snapped a few quick photos without thinking too much more about it. This is one of my favourites from that afternoon.
1/1250, f4.5, ISO100
Cool tones in the sky, and ribbons of ice lining the river's edge.  The ice creaking in the dark made things a little bit spooky.   I had to adjust my exposure slider 1 1/2 stops in processing, so I guess I should have bumped my ISO to start or waited an extra 10 seconds or so during the exposure.  61sec, f22, ISO100
Cool tones in the sky, and ribbons of ice lining the river’s edge. The ice creaking in the dark made things a little bit spooky.
I had to adjust my exposure slider 1 1/2 stops in processing, so I guess I should have bumped my ISO to start or waited an extra 10 seconds or so during the exposure. 61sec, f22, ISO100
While we were walking, I saw this shape in the water, and thought it was a oddly shaped stump.  When I realized it was a heron resting, I set up right away, and didn't bother adjusting my settings; I just hoped it would stay still long enough to get a shot.  Like the Golden Ears photo, I had to adjust my exposure slider 1 1/2 stops...but I am glad I pressed down on the remote when I did, as he soon shifted position.  34sec, f29, ISO100
While we were walking, I saw this shape in the water, and thought it was a oddly shaped stump. When I realized it was a heron resting, I set up right away, and didn’t bother adjusting my settings; I just hoped it would stay still long enough to get a shot. Like the Golden Ears photo, I had to adjust my exposure slider 1 1/2 stops…but I am glad I pressed down on the remote when I did, as he soon shifted position.
34sec, f29, ISO100
I love the sky before sunrise, with the beautiful warm tones to the east, and cool tones to the west.   2.5sec, f22, ISO100
I love the sky before sunrise, with the beautiful warm tones to the east, and cool tones to the west.
2.5sec, f22, ISO100
Beautiful Mount Baker, about a half hour before sunrise. 6.0sec, f25, ISO100
Beautiful Mount Baker, about a half hour before sunrise.
6.0sec, f25, ISO100

Things I missed

Sunday morning walks with Spencer are my very favourite.  When we get up and head out early, we can find, for a few brief moments, a bit of quiet space.  On Sunday mornings, the trucks aren’t moving around in the gravel pit along the river, and fewer people are out early in the mornings.  There are gaps when we don’t hear a train in the distance or the hum of the airplanes on the landing path into YVR – and we can hear the birds chirping, the geese honking, the ducks quacking and the breeze rustling the trees.

It was in one of these blissful gaps that I realized how much I miss while out walking the same stretch of dike.  How did I fail to notice the blinking light on the top of the buoy in the channel?  I’ve seen it every weekend for months, I’ve been past it on a jet ski and on boats, but until today I never actually looked at it.  I know this is true in all aspects of my life – how much gets done or accomplished in busy-ness without really thinking about it, rushing around without really seeing what’s happening, being consumed with mental clutter and stress…

So this morning, I took photos of some of the things I have missed, over and over again.

I spent most mornings through the fall heading out to the dikes to take photos for my fog project, and I don't know how I failed to notice the flashing yellow light on the river!
I spent most weekend mornings through the fall heading out to the dikes to take photos for my fog project, and I don’t know how I failed to notice the flashing yellow light on the river!
The dikes are dotted with memorial benches, and occasionally Spencer will pause long enough to let me read the plaques.  These flowers have long lost their lustre, but are now home to one or more spiders.  I wouldn't have noticed the webs without the fog collecting on them.
The dikes are dotted with memorial benches, and occasionally Spencer will pause long enough to let me read the plaques. These flowers have long lost their lustre, but are now home to one or more spiders. I wouldn’t have noticed the webs without the fog collecting on them.
I'm not sure how I failed to notice the bright orange-yellow tone of these branches before, but this morning they stood out amongst the dead grasses and blackberry brambles.
I’m not sure how I failed to notice the bright orange-yellow tone of these branches before, but this morning they stood out amongst the dead grasses and blackberry brambles.
I'm not sure what type of birds these are, but their music was beautiful.  It was so quiet this morning that I could hear them singing and chattering long before I could figure out which tree they were perched in.
I’m not sure what type of birds these are, but their music was beautiful. It was so quiet this morning that I could hear them singing and chattering long before I could figure out which tree they were perched in.

Zebra

The weather on the weekend was not conducive to having my camera out, and none of my indoor projects have inspired me this week.  So, I decide instead to experiment with new software on a photo I have worked on before.

I've edited this photo a few times, but recently purchased Silver Efex and wanted to see the difference in using that compared to Lightroom for a B&W conversion.  I am very happy with the results.
I’ve edited this photo a few times, but recently purchased Silver Efex and wanted to see the difference in using that compared to Lightroom for a B&W conversion. I am very happy with the results.