Another stab at close up photos

Another stab at close up photos

I enjoy trying my hand at taking close up photos. It takes an incredible amount of patience to get the subject in focus and I’m getting better at it. The trip to Stratford last month offered a prime opportunity for photography. I was happy drifting with the weekend, and I didn’t pull the camera out a lot. I mostly pottered about with it, taking lazy photos, most of which aren’t terribly good. A few, however, are worth looking at.

I didn’t do a lot of editing on these photos. A little contrast and brightness adjustments and a bit of cropping seemed to do. I did seem to have a few problems with focus in many photos, which will remain unseen. Not sure what the issue was, but I just couldn’t seem to get it right. Maybe I was too relaxed.

A rose is a rose

Photo of roses in bloom

You can never go wrong with a photo of a rose

 

The contrast and bokeh affects in this photo thrilled me. It has a deep vibrancy that surprised me when I looked at it on the computer screen. It wasn’t until I blew the roses up on the monitor that I realized out wonderful the outside of a rosebud is.

Close up photo of rose bud getting ready to bloom

Just about ready to pop out of its shell

The little fuzzy white lip around the edges gives the photo a sense of texture. I want to reach out and pat the rose bud.

The bee’s knees

Oh, come on. You grimaced, admit it? I’ve been waiting years to use that line!

Close up photo of a bee pollinating a Black Eyed Susan flower

Lots of bees in the garden that day

Black Eyed Susans are a real pain to photograph. The orange is so intense, it swamps every other colour. I had to do a bit of colour correction on this one, so the bee and petal definition didn’t disappear into a sea of orange. I took quite a few photos of these flowers trying to figure out how to compensate for the overwhelming orangeness. It’s odd, even the shadows were overpowered.

I love taking close up photos of bees. Their wings are like stained glass. When you look at them with a bright flower behind, they are ephemeral. You catch a fleeting glimpse of beauty and they are gone.

Close up photo of a bumble bee backside

I always seem to catch the back end of bees

The edges on the petals have a feathery delicacy to them. I’m pleased as hell they came out so clear. The bees don’t really care if you hover around them. They are busy doing bee stuff and don’t notice people. I get up so close to some of them, I’m surprised they don’t turn and say “working here! Back off”.  Just leave them be and admire them. And no when I first wrote that line, I didn’t notice the pun.

I am beginning to get a clearer idea of back lighting and the position of the sun. I experimented with angles a lot, seeing how the colours and lighting changed as I shifted around. I tried adjusting light and shadow on the bee a bit, so it stood out, but that destroyed the balance between light and shadow on the petals. Turns out it wasn’t the bee that was the focus I wanted; it was the flower itself.

In all her morning glory

Photo of a morning glory against a white brick wall

Loved the contrasts

Honestly, I’m not sure what gives with all the corny headers. Must be the espresso rushing through in my veins.

I loved the contrast in this one. The intense purple against the old, stained white brick, and the bright vibrant greens begged to be photographed. The purple is a bit too much, but I left it because it seemed to capture the mood of the day.

I’m ready for my close-up photo

Photo of purple flowers with a large spider's web in the middle

Webbing and more webbingI was attracted to the mass of webbing in this photo. It looked like a weaver on speed swept through. To my mind, it was a chaotic jumble of threads. Maybe a couple of abandoned spider webs caught up together. Until I looked closer.

Close up photo of spider sitting in the web

Okay, not so little spider

Oh yea. Those are beady little spider eyes staring out from behind the web. I didn’t spot it until I was processing the photos today. Nearly jumped out of my skin when I realised someone was home. I have a bit of a spider phobia. Ok, a big spider phobia. He’s a bit largish too. Not sure how I missed him. Had I known he was there; I would never have gotten that close.  In hindsight, I’m glad he was hidden. The webbing is amazing.

The gardens at Stratford are breathtaking.  Theatres be damned, I’d go back just for the sheer joy of wandering about without any plans.

An afternoon in the ravine – David Balfour Park bugs ‘n stuff

An afternoon in the ravine – David Balfour Park bugs ‘n stuff

Pottered around this afternoon in the ravine behind David Balfour Park. Lots of green and buggy things down there to enjoy. Far too many of the 2 legged creatures today using the paths so no chance of catching any wildlife. Still a nice day, all in all.

I’ve decided to save for a better camera in the fall. I’m currently using a Canon PowerShot SX130, which is a pretty decent point and shoot camera, but it’s frustrating if I want to set up a close up shot. The macro zoom sucks. I’ve given up on it. It takes forever to set up close ups and is severely restricted in how close (especially with macro) I can actually get. Second issue is the view screen. I can’t see close up very well so it’s kind of irritating setting up shots at weird angles because the screen is pretty much a big blur. I’m going to see if a Canon with a swivel view screen is in the budget. Also, the new camera must have a better colour balance – this is a MUST. I find the Powershot, although fun to use, often bleaches out colours. The greens are never quite right and lean more towards a bluish tint, which I’m constantly correcting with Photoshop. A proper DSLR camera will also let me pop filters onto the lens to compensate for intense sunshine. Hopefully cloud cover will come out with more depth.

I’m thinking of sticking with Canon and hopefully will find one in my bracket. Henry’s Cameras usually has a good selection of used DSLR and lenses. I also need read up on f stops. Fussing with it on the PowerShot seems to be a lesson in futility – does bugger all.  It’s pretty limited in what it can do. Oh and the biggy on my wish list? Better control over focus. I’m tired of the camera trying to pick the focal point. I end up with more blurry shots than I can count. I’d prefer to be able to manually focus. The Canon PowerShot says it has manual, but it’s more a glorified “point and we’ll help you focus” kind of focus. Also be nice if the ISO were a bit more sensitive so night photos would actually look decent. Lots of research to do. I’m a bit wobbly with the mechanics of DSLR cameras and the ins and outs of photography. Time to educate myself about fstops and iso settings so I know what I’m actually doing.

In the meantime, here are a couple of photos from today.

Photo of a moth on a thistle plant

It took me forever to catch this moth. Well, okay, not forever, but it felt like it. Taking a photograph of these little white moths is like trying to bottle a will-o-wisp. They flit about so quickly, plus my camera really does stink at close ups. Got a lot of great shots of blurry white spots on thistles! Want to see those?

No idea what this bug is, but he’s a beauty. Quite large too.

Unknown bug photographed in the ravineNot sure what it is. Could be a cicada. My bug identification isn’t that good. I’m an admirer of insects, but an amateur at identifying them.

This shot I call Incoming! For obvious reasons.

Photo of a bee landing on a thistle plantDidn’t even know the bee was in the shot until I got home and looked at the photos. Lucky shot. I took the photo because I liked the contrast between the greens, reds and white. The funny part is I had spent nearly 15 min trying to catch a shot of a bee on the plants and had, by this time, given up. I did get some great shots later, but it is a bit funny.

Still parsing through the photos and will share more this week. So enjoy. I’ll be loading more shots on my Instagram account, so pop over there to take a look https://www.instagram.com/bittergrounds2016/

A beetle, some Black Bear espresso & everything is right with the world

A beetle, some Black Bear espresso & everything is right with the world

Woke up this morning knowing everything would be ok with the world today.  I have my beloved Black Bear beans back. Whoa … aliteration before a second espresso! I experimented with another brand of espresso and well … I’m a creature of habit.  The other espresso was good, but lacked the boldness and low acidity of my favourite bean. I love Muskoka Roastery.  I should hit the company up for a sponsorship … I could babble all day about their beans. If they ship me a case of Black Bear I’d dedicate Memoirs to them.

Product label from Muskoka RoasteryThat’s their label up there. For awhile I couldn’t find it in any stores and was forced to try different brands. Just not the same. I almost did a happy dance when I spotted it back on the shelf yesterday.

AND a bonus day on top of having my Black Bear back, I found this sauntering along the livingroom floor:

Photo of a beetle wandering around my apartmentLovely, isn’t he? I may be a complete and utter coward when it comes to spiders, but I have no fear when it comes to the rest of the bug kingdom. And he is gorgeous. Photo isn’t that great, but you can see some of his colouring. He even has a little fuzzy butt. The white hairs stick out a bit, which amazed me. I didn’t know beetles could have hairy bottoms.  Unfortunately, I suspect he’s the one who’s been munching on my morning glory, making it look like a wholey mess.

For the record, he’s a Japanese beetle.  I’ll have to do a bit of research and figure out a way to send them off to join the aphids.  Given the aphid devastation my plants endured, I’ll take a wild guess and say Japanese beetles have zero interest in eating them. Why couldn’t I attract lady bugs?