Friday, January 30, 2009

Finches, Sparrows and Black Phoebes in the Backyard

I haven't much of a chance to do any bird shooting lately. This morning however the songbirds were very active in the backyard as they usually get at this time of year. I went out with the big gun on a monopod and got a decent if unremarkable set of images.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D3, 800 f/5.6 IS, f/5.6, ISO 800, varying shutter speeds.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Daisy disk

The center of a flower like a daisy is actually made up of a bunch of really small flowers called disk flowers. This image is an extreme magnification of the center of a daisy. Creating this photograph was rather challenging. First, in order to get the extreme magnification, I had to use the 64mm MP-E lens which is manual focus only. Then, at 5x magnification and at f/11 the depth of field is extremely narrow. Furthermore the lens itself blocks so much light that focusing becomes very challenging.

The scene was illuminated by a Quantum T5D triggered by a pocket wizard. I was able to focus by firing the strobing 'modeling light' of the T5D. At f/11 the depth of field was still so narrow that it most of the image frame was out of focus. So I racked the focus slightly forward and backward and took 6 additional exposures which I then combined in Photoshop CS4 using the Extended Depth of Field Auto-blend mode.

I can see why people quickly lose interest in the MP-E 65mm lens, it really is a challenge to set up and use. However when you do set it up, you get the chance to capture a different perspective on an otherwise mundane subject.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D2, 65mm MP-E, f/11, 1/125s, ISO 400, strobe fired. 6 exposures combined in PSCS4.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Daffodils in January?

We've been having some unseasonal warm weather recently, I believe the temperature was over 20 degrees for most of this past week.  Therefore a lot of the spring flowers in the gardens around the house are starting to come up.  Normally this wouldn't be a bad thing however, California has been suffering a drought the last 3 years and we could really use a couple more months of rain (which usually disappears when spring arrives).

Technical Specs: Canon 5D2, 180mm macro, f/11, 1/20s, ISO 200.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Zion is Gorgeous

We spent the past several days on a road trip to Las Vegas and Zion National Park. Unfortunately, we didn't have too much time to spend at Zion, but from what I've seen I really like the park. I'd say its one of my favourite national parks and I look forward to returning again both in the winter and in the summer.

A Happy New Year to everyone. If 2008 was a good year for you, then I hope 2009 brings more goodness, otherwise lets hope for a better 2009!