Organic Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia
Ripe Highbush Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) in the Fraser Valley of BC
-click to enlarge-
These are some Highbush Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) I photographed back in August of 2011. I didn’t get the final editing done until now – but I wish I had processed these when I could actually eat some. Viewing these gave me a craving for some fresh Blueberries! Unfortunate that I will have to wait until around August before I can have some fresh ones again!
A closeup of two Crocus (Crocus vernus) flowers in the backyard last Spring.
This photograph was a bit of an experiment. I wanted to have a shallow depth of field that would blur the background. Since these flowers were at different heights, having them both in focus was not going to occur along with a shallow depth of field. I might have been able to get these both in focus with an aperture of f/16 or higher, but this would not have the background bokeh effect I was looking for. So this is a blend of two exposures shot at f/2.8 each focusing on the top of one of the flowers. The two exposures were then merged in Photoshop. I like the effect this created, and it shows that a “focus stack” doesn’t have to have everything in focus through the composition.
I haven’t shot any macro since last Fall so during a break in the rain I made this photo a few days ago. “Lady’s Mantle” (Alchemilla) leaves have lots of little hairs on them which always seem to collect such great water droplets. Made with my trusty Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.
Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides) -click to enlarge-
A few years ago I made it my quest to pursue the “perfect” bee on a flower shot. I took hundreds of photos – but my technique and understanding was not (apparently) very good. I wound up with a few keepers but nothing that really made me feel like I nailed it. Having to go through all of those shots burned me out on the idea and while I have shot the occasional bee since, I’ve generally avoided trying again.
I have a much better understanding of how to shoot this sort of thing now, and inspired by this post by Robin Black, I decided to try again. The lavender flowers in the backyard are somewhat past their prime, but the insects are still all over them collecting nectar. I found this Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides) to be a more interesting subject than the plain honeybees, though the Skippers seem to be a lot more manic in their movements. I am quite happy with this shot, but is it the “perfect” Skipper photo? Not yet!
A few months ago I walked through Campbell Valley Park with only my macro lens on my camera. The point of this exercise was that I wanted to focus on just type of shot and not get distracted by other sorts of shots. I wanted to concentrate on the small things like this mushroom, or another subject from that day – a Bleeding Heart flower.
Unfortunately I am not adept at identification of fungi, so I’ll get as close as possible and merely identify this as some sort of Mycena sp.
Western (Pacific) Trillium at Campbell Valley Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.
The Western Trillium is considered a Species at Risk (Yellow Listed) in the Fraser Valley due to habitat fragmentation. (Purchase)
Last night the weather was good so I ventured down to Campbell Valley Park to see what I could find in terms of wildlife and wildflowers. A whole lot of both as it turns out. While I was setting up this shot of a Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum(link)) a Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) decided to land on my camera. I have spent hours in the past trying to get a shot of these guys in my backyard, but they enjoy hiding in the underbrush and are not very interested in people being near them. This one, however, didn’t seem to think of me as a threat – at least up to the point where I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and said “are you kidding me” out loud. I guess I was surprised. The Towhee was not amused and fled.
Trillium aren’t as skittish so I was able to get this shot with my macro lens. A lot of wildflowers are just about to bloom in the park, so I will be returning there shortly to try to get some more photos.
I realize I may be a bit late to the party obtaining a Canon 7D – but I wanted to pass along my first impressions regardless. A few weeks ago I upgraded my DSLR from a Canon 30D to the newer 7D. The difference between the two is quite noticeable even in the first few hundred exposures I have tested it with. Better dynamic range with the 7D, larger number of frames per second. Live view, bigger, better LCD, 18 vs 8 megapixels etc.
Red Huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium) Click to enlarge…
A year or so ago I had to make a decision. Do I go for the EF-S type lenses and be somewhat more tied to a APS-C sensor camera like the xxD series and 7D lines or stick with EF lenses only? I wanted a wide angle zoom, and that seemed to be a choice between the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM or the 17-40mm f/4 L. Both are great lenses, but I went for the 17-55mm over the 17-40mm – somewhat committing me to the crop sensor fork in the road. The other benefit to the crop sensor camera is that it would give me more reach with the telephoto lenses (the 70-200 for example) without having to pay the price for a long lens (like the 300mm L). Those two reasons are why this is not a discussion comparing the 30D to a 5D Mark II.
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) Click to enlarge…
The weather here has been pretty bad, even for spring in Southwestern British Columbia – lots of rain and still cold – the “spring” monsoon. Consequently – only a few of the early to rise plants have starting budding out their leaves, and only the really early flowers are out. So I have not gone on many trips yet to photograph spring, but instead ventured into the backyard with my macro lens (Canon 100mm f/2.8) on the 7D. The world suddenly becomes a whole lot larger with a macro lens.
What I have appreciated the most so far about shooting macro with the 7D is the opportunities the live view gives me. The 30D does not have live view, and I didn’t think it would be as useful as it is. To be able to zoom in using the screen and focus on a specific aspect of the shot is very valuable. I suspect that is more valuable to a macro photo but it will no doubt become handy with some landscapes as well. The ability to actually consider raising the ISO beyond 400 for a shot that requires a faster shutter speed without introducing a lot of noise has also been very nice. With the 7D I don’t have to be too afraid of going well over 400 ISO, though I try to stick with 100 for a non-moving subject.
Weeping European Larch (Larix decidua) Click to enlarge…
Another plus to the 7D is the actual LCD on the back. The image of the shot I just took seems much more representative of the actual file compared to the 30D view screen. I think the only downside I can see to the 7D, and its NOT really a downside is the size of the resulting files. I have been used to 8 megapixel images which were somewhere between 6 and 9 megabytes each – and the 7D is an 18 megapixel camera with 22-24 megabyte files. This will force me to be a bit more discerning on which images to keep. Though storage is cheap, its not unlimited at the moment, so I will likely cull more than I used to. I’ll be careful to keep those “maybe” images as I never know how I will feel about an image tomorrow – or next year even. The increased file size has also made both of my 2gig CF cards seem rather small since they will only hold about 70 images each now. I do have 4 gig and 8 gig cards as well, but it might be time to finally get a 16 just so I do not run out of space.
So I have nothing but good things to say – and am happy that I finally upgraded. Soon I will have some landscape shots of some manner to show here for further consideration. I think the monsoon might end early next week…
I am sure I am abusing the term panorama by calling this a “macro panorama” but it seems the easiest term for this. Would have been much easier with a panorama specific clamp on my ballhead but I did okay sliding my tripod instead. I wouldn’t want to use that method every time if I were to do a lot of stuff like this though.