Wishful Thinking

Been busy doing some detailed research for an upcoming photo trip to beautiful Glacier National Park (Montana). There will be numerous photo ops … beautiful sunrises and sunsets, breathtaking scenery, mountain wildflowers and clear lakes, abundant wildlife (mountain goats, bighorn sheep, marmots, pika, Colombia ground squirrels, and possibly a brown bear or two), and (with a little luck) nice, clear, dark skies filled with stars at night! Gee, I need to go back and reschedule my time so I can find some “sleep time”!  :o)

As I continue planning and preparing for this visit, I’m reminded of some mountain wildflowers I captured a few years ago in the mountains of southeast Colorado. I don’t think I’ll find any of these beauties in Glacier, but I’m sure there will be plenty of other welcome finds!

Here are a few macro images of Corn Lilies, or False Hellebore (Veratrum californicum) from the mountainsides near Ouray, Colorado:

Corn Lily wildflower

A closeup shows the Crane Fly that is perched on one of the Corn Lilies:

Crane Fly on Corn Lily wildflower

This next image is one of my favorites. So simple, yet so powerful!

Corn Lily wildflower

What surprises will the Glacier NP trip yield? I’ll be at Mother Nature’s mercy … and I’m sure she will have something special planned for me … Life is Good! Meanwhile, back to more planning!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3021 tripod with Graff Studioball ballhead
  • ISO 400 (top photo), ISO 800 (middle photo), ISO 100 (bottom photo)
  • Aperture f/5.6 (top and bottom photos) and f/8 (middle photo)
  • Shutter 1/320 sec. (top photo), Shutter 1/100 (middle photo), Shutter 1/10 sec. (bottom photo)

 

 

Posted in 2014, 2018, Blog, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Indian Pinks

Today’s post features some wildflowers that I planted last year, for the hummingbirds that call my acreage home in the summer. The Indian Pinks (Spigelia marilandica), is a very colorful wildflower that hummingbirds are often attracted to. Here are a few images I captured the other day:

Indian Pink wildflowers

Indian Pink wildflowers

And moving in for a tight, macro image (note: during post processing, I noticed that the wind had caused some movement in the flowers … I need to go back and capture more images, using a higher ISO so that I can stop the action … or find one of those rare, windless days!) :

Indian Pink wildflowers

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180mm f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with Giottos ballhead
  • ISO 250
  • Aperture f/3.5 (top and bottom images) and f/8 (middle image)
  • Shutter 1/30 sec. to 1/350 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fresh From the Nursery

Saturday evening, just as the sun was falling below the hilly treeline to the west of my rural Missouri home, I was watching a movie on tv when my driveway monitor sounded off. I walked over to a window and looked to see who would be coming over at this time of evening.

What I first saw was a small, tan-colored animal that was moving around under a shrub that was about 60 feet away. At first, it looked like a red fox. But then I saw a white-tailed deer doe amber around the bush. Just then, the smaller animal raised it’s head and I could see it was a very young fawn. Quickly, I ran into the other room and grabbed my camera. Hurrying back, I began shooting some images of mom and young. Unfortunately, I had to shoot through 2 panes of glass and a screen window … not the ideal situation! And especially since the light was quickly fading.

I was unable to grab any really good images, but I did manage a few images for documentation purposes (I felt if I had walked outdoors, mom would have likely ran into the woods with her fawn, so I decided to shoot at the less-than-decent conditions). Here are a few of the images I captured:

White-tailed Doe and Fawn

White-tailed Doe and Fawn

White-tailed Doe and Fawn

White-tailed Doe and Fawn

Again, the quality of these is really poor. Shooting through glass and screen is not a good idea! And the waning light made my shutter speeds as low as 1/10 second, even when using an ISO of 800. Even though the quality is poor, the experience was worth a thousand images!

I didn’t see the pair last evening, but I hope to see them again real soon and work at grabbing some decent images!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 800
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/10 sec. to 1/20 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Mammals, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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A Cat in My Garden

Over the past few days, I’ve been working in and around my rural Missouri butterfly garden. As I weeded, I looked over and discovered this Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar that was busy munching on some parsley that I planted a few weeks ago:

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

I have planted several herbs in my butterfly garden. Parsley is one of the host plants for the Black Swallowtail and the Anise Swallowtail butterflies.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Handheld
  • ISO 500 (both images)
  • Aperture f/5.6 (top image) and f/3.5 (bottom image)
  • Shutter 1/500 sec. (top image) and 1/350 sec. (bottom image)

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Out-of-State Visitor

Today I’m featuring a “lifer” wildflower for me, the Oklahoma Grass Pink Orchid. This little beauty was found on Noah Brown’s Prairie (southern Missouri) a couple of weeks ago. Very small, very dainty, and somewhat difficult to photograph among the taller prairie grasses and plants.

I captured a sequence of 22 images, using the focus-stacking technique, but at least a couple in that sequence captured some movement, caused by the wind. I’m still working on the focus-stacked image, trying to identify which one(s) of the 22 images were captured swaying in the wind. I’m hoping that once I find them, I can exclude them from the focus-stacking and maybe I will come up with a decent one. Until then, here is a single image I captured, using a deeper depth of field (f/16):

Oklahoma Grass Pink Orchid

Although not real bad, the background is more distracting to me than I like. Hopefully, I can get a decent result with focus-stacking (which I captured at f/3.5) that will soften the background even more!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3021 tripod with Giotto ballhead
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/16
  • Shutter 1/90 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Collecting the Sweets

Last week, when photographing some of the prairies in southern Missouri, I captured this nectar-hungry fly working on an Ox-eye Daisy wildflower:
Fly on Ox-eye Daisy wildflower

Fly on Ox-eye Daisy wildflower

It’s always amazing to see what and how many different types of insects depend on our natural prairies.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3021 tripod with Giotto ballhead
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter 1/2000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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I Was Singin’ the Blues!

Today’s post features some pale blue Prairie Larkspur wildflowers I found on Linden’s Prairie, in southern Missouri last week. Usually when I find larkspur on the prairie, it is white. But this pale blue really caught my attention … and had me singin’ the blues! Here are a couple of my favorite images:

Prairie Larkspur wildflowers

Prairie Larkspur wildflowers

Coming up … more wonderful, spring prairie wildflowers … and some more winter Florida images. But right now, I’m off to look for a reported pair of leucistic Red-tailed Hawks that have been observed not far from my rural Missouri home. Hopefully, will also have some of them to feature soon!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3021 tripod with Giotto ballhead
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/11 (top image) and f/19 (bottom image)
  • Shutter 1/180 sec. (top image) and 1/60 sec. (bottom image)

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Putting the Paintbrush in Focus

Today I’m featuring some more wildflowers from my recent trip to Noah Brown’s Prairie in southern Missouri. The Indian Paintbrush has always been one of my favorite wildflowers to find. Since I’ve been working with a few photographers on using selective focus, I thought this would be a good time to compare the basic ways one can photograph wildflowers.

To quickly photograph a group of wildflowers, we typically shoot a “group shot”, where most, or all of the clump is within focus. This type of image is a good image for documentation purposes or for educational purposes (i.e., for later identifying an unknown wildflower). This type of image usually shows the flower structure, leaf pattern, and other attributes that are useful in identification. Such an image might look like this:

Indian Paintbrush

But if you wish to get down to the “nitty gritty”, a macro image is more suitable. Macro images are images captured up close and personal, and will often show very detailed structures and patterns within the flower. And when shooting macro images, you generally have two methods to choose from … and it’s all about the Aperture you have your camera set at. In the first example, a larger depth of field (i.e., the front-to-back distance where the image is in sharp focus) is used so that the resulting image has more of the flower in focus (this image was shot at f/16 aperture):

Indian Paintbrush

In the above example, you will notice that the background is not in focus, but it is just beginning to be sharp enough to start seeing the details within the background. This is where one must be careful … if the background is allowed to become too detailed, the eye travels to the background to check it out, which takes our focus (pun intended) from the subject to the background.

In those instances, it is best to use what I call the “more creative” look. By using a shorter depth of field (f/3.5 in the example, below), the background seems to disappear. This results in the eye only seeing the subject, retaining our eye on the subject:

Indian Paintbrush

This is one reason I always recommend for those new to macro photography, take lots of shots, while varying the aperture setting. Once the images are downloaded to a computer, compare the various looks with the apertures used, and determine what look you like the best. Over time, you will learn to anticipate what the result will be with different apertures, even before shooting.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3021 tripod with Giotto ballhead
  • ISO 200 (all)
  • Aperture f/8 (top image), f/16 (middle image), and f/3.5 (bottom image)
  • Shutter 1/90 sec. to 1/1500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Photography Tips, Travel Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Ox-Eye Daisies

Today’s post features some prairie wildflowers from my trip Tuesday to Linden’s Prairie in southern Missouri. Ox-Eye daisies always catch my eye whenever I run across them on the prairie. At Linden’s Prairie, there were multiple, nice masses of these little beauties. Here are a few of my favorite ones:

Ox-Eye Daisy wildflowers

Ox-Eye Daisy wildflowers

This next image is another “focus-stacked” image, made by stacking 7 individual images to get a greater depth of field image, and without sacrificing the blurry background. In this instance, a “mild” gust of wind came up midway through the 7 captures, as can be seen by the obvious movement near the center of this image, as well as around several of the flower petals. Wind … one of the most harshest enemies of macro photography!

Ox-Eye Daisy wildflowers

Coming up … more wildflowers from Noah Brown’s Prairie and Linden’s Prairie, both in southern Missouri (and including my first every wild orchid captures)  :o)

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3021 tripod with Giotto ballhead
  • ISO 200 (all)
  • Aperture f/3.5 (top and bottom images) and f/11 (middle image)
  • Shutter 1/750 sec. to 1/6000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, focus stacking, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Noah Brown’s Prairie, Part 1

“Catch up” time! I was unable to prepare a blog post over the past couple of days, due to several activities. On Monday, I traveled to St. Joseph, MO for a private, one day consultation and yesterday I spent the day in southwest Missouri, photographing wildflowers on several Missouri prairies (even finding some orchids!).

In this post, I’m featuring a beautiful Spiderwort that was growing at the edge of the prairie. I wanted to highlight the incredible beauty of this plant, when inspected at closeup range (i.e., a macro), so I decided to use the advanced technique of focus-stacking. This image was made by capturing 14 images, varying the focal point for each image, then combining them in Helicon Focus software:

Spiderwort on the prairie

Many more wildflowers from Noah Brown, as well as Linden’s Prairie, are coming up!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3021 tripod with Giotto ballhead
  • ISO 250
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter 1/1000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, focus stacking, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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