Monday, November 26, 2007

experimenting with the new lens

To some, this housecat may seem a deviation from my normal nature and wildlife photos, but my friends and family know this cat is a bit wild. This is his look that says, “I’ll give you three seconds to stop pointing that camera at me.” When my new lens arrived, it was too dark outdoors to shoot anything. The other human family members both said, “Not me!” so I took my chances with the wildcat living in our home.

Handheld (!) at 1/15 second, at 275mm, f5.6, no flash, lighting from a single overhead compact fluorescent with the ISO set at 1600, from 10 or 12 feet away and ready to run should my subject forget who feeds him.

Stellers Jay - the back side

As recently promised in comments, the backside of the stellers jay.

I've been playing with a new lens, canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM. We've had frigid temperatures, but I got a few stellers jays to come out and play. The lens is working well so far and I'm hoping for a chance to use it a bit more this week. The zoom is operated push, pull instead of twist. I have to get used to that. I love the full time manual focus; you can use the auto focus first and then fine tune manually without turning off the auto focus. I have one other lens that has full time manual focus and wish they were all FTM.

The stellers jay image: 1/250 second, f5.6, 340mm, ISO 250

More to come with this lens... I'm hoping for some big furry mammals to wander by, deer, elk, or a bear at a distance.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Dramatic Morning Clouds over Lions Head

When I'm up before sunrise and clouds are in the west, I'm rewarded with a view like this to photograph. (click image for larger view) This morning, when I looked out the window, the clouds were already pink over lions head so I ran with the camera and tripod out in my pajamas to capture the color that never lasts long. A few seconds of barefoot on the cold deck was all I could stand and the color was disappearing fast, so I didn't take the time to set mirror lockup, but did use the tripod to steady the camera for the low light shot. 1/8 second at F11 with the ISO set at 400 and a focal length of 10mm. Canon 30d with canon ef-s 10-22mm lens.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stellar Expressions - Stellers Jays Photos

Their faces are so expressive that I want make cartoon captions for the images. (anthropomorphic, don't scold me, I know!) I photograph this common bird frequently and love sorting through the results of an hour spent with them. The stellers jays' crested heads change continually, sometimes the feathers are fluffed, sometimes spread into a crown, often folded into a sharp peak. They seem always hungry, so if I throw out a bit of seed or peanuts they come to the feast and pose for me. These are crops of the low resolution jpegs. I shoot RAW plus jpeg, but usually only process the raw files for printing. For the blog images, I just crop, if needed, the jpegs and resize them smaller for easy viewing on the web.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Red Fox - Tippy's Beautiful Sister

Here is one of the young foxes from the family I photographed in the spring. The markings on her legs identify her. She's been hanging around on the hill above my house and I took several photos of her scratching the back of her head with her hind leg. After viewing those images, I'm fairly sure this lovely fox is female.

I watch her from the deck in the shadow of the house, but she knows I'm there. I see her staring intently at something, usually I can't tell what. If I make noise, she will glance at me for a second and then stare off at some point to my right or left refusing to make eye contact.

She stole a bread crust I had tossed to the stellers jays and carried it a short distance away and buried it by digging with her claws then dropping the crust and pushing leaves and sticks over it with her nose. She stalked one of the jays, but it flew to a high branch when she came too close.