J R learns the D200 - Day 26
Over the lake and through the woods
Day 26 — March 31, 2006: The Woods. Sunset Bay is in the bright area off to the left. The real forest is straight ahead, as the duck flies, over a couple branches of the creek, into the thick where slovenly fisher persons and Muscovys hang out. If there really is a mountain lion or other big cat at our lake, that might be where they hang, too. I've seen possums there, and big paw prints in fresh mud. But never anything as big as a dog.
These guys seemed strange among the ducks we see often. The dirty gray one stood at the shore for a long time, nearly upright, looking faintly Gestapo-like. Anna got pictures of that. He was too far for my new short zoom. This is a substantial crop.
Notice the green bills on both these ducks, neither of which show up in my various bird books. I'm curious. Anybody out there know their names?
Now that I've finally got both male (left all puffed up) and female (mostly ignoring the male) in sharp focus with lots of little details showing — like the way he drags his extended tail in the dirt, their iridescent teal and purple neck feathers, her beady little red eye and his not completely darkened one, the nice black stripes on their lovely blue bodies, I won't have to do it again.
Thanks to the incredible sharpness of the new lens, this may be my ultimate shot of these birds' courting behavior. Well, until I get back into video...
I panned this duck around more than 180 degrees through the air over Sunset Bay and park. In not a single one was he sharp (which may have more to do with the shutter speed than anything else). This is as near as it got. Great sense of motion, fine display of under-wing feathers, neatly tucked orange feet in back for streamlined flight and brilliant emerald green, matching his head.
Are they rugs? Escaped purses? Something living? Animal, vegetable or mineral? We haven't the vaguest notion, but I kept plugging away at them, hoping they'd get tired of me pointing my new lens at them, and swim away. But they're probably still there, just off the pier at Sunset Bay toward shore. It looked like they had long, tree-limb like legs, but they weren't going anywhere.
Like many of the images on this page, this is another example of this lens just not being a great Sunset Bay lens. Too short for this shot, which is a small crop of a big photograph. Lucky it's so darned sharp.
Interesting that they seem to be pals, marching lock-step (duck walking) together along the shore. Pretty amazing exposure, considering. I would have liked more detail in the dark duck, but that would have meant less texture in the light one. Quack!
I tried looking them up in my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers, Western Region, but though they're very similar to Star and Avalanche Lilies, they don't seem to be either exactly. I'm sure someone will know which is which, they're not uncommon around the lake these spring days. Lemme know, okay?
Remarkable sharpness, amazing closeness, surprisingly good photo considering I was bent over and doubled back shooting that low. And this is not the full frame. More like about a 40% crop (meaning 60% of it got cropped out). Nice thing about shooting 10.3 megapixels is that the image can survive major enlargement. Nice, too, to see buds before they hatch.
I hesitated several times before I finally put this shot on this page. It's the ugly part of the lake I don't want to have to see, either. But there's all that stuff caught up under the bridge, as if some big picnic just walked off and left it to blow into the creek.
As slovenly as the public is, I wouldn't doubt it.
Those adobe-like apartment buildings near Sunset Bay used to be called The Rock. As in the White Rock apartments. My friend Phil used to live there and loved it that close to the lake. I took several shots of the buildings through the trees, but this is the only one I really liked.
I wanted to see this, too. Top is the new lens at full wide angle, 17mm. And be low ...
...is the exact same view (up from me lying down after climbing hills, slipping and falling in fresh creek mud and lying down at a picnic table still sweating profusely, only seeing up, with that big camera and big lens on my chest. I did what photographers do. I shot a picture of my lovely new vision.
No post processing except the usual 38% sharpen of the reduced size JPEG image. It's the lens that's sharp here. The sky is fully blue when I shoot straight up. I'll have to work that into something sometimes soon. That's a lovely shade of Robin's Egg Blue.
Mom was just behind her pushing gently. That's her shadow under and behind the little girl. The two siblings semi-automatically made themselves parallel. I wish I'd noticed the dark shadow over her face and unruly, shaped shadow on her leg. I actually thought about using a flash, but I demurred. I shot and got out quickly.
I was nervous about standing that close. Not that I'd get hit. Just being so directly in front of [even a little] audience. Not having done that sort of thing in such a long time. My way of asking permission to shoot kids and adults is maintaining a big smile.
The photograph is cropped in on both sides. I love that they are swinging in unison and that those big dark chains are dynamically leading right into the treasure of this photo, the kids.
Three pelicans. Small crop out of a big picture, because this wide to very mild telephoto lens simply does not have the reach of a longer zoom or my 180mm tele. Talk about paralleling form. What looks like great exposure is great masking and separate adjustments of the water, then the birds and careful sharpening. Although it was pretty good exposure. I didn't change their colors or relative face shadows. The one on the right really is darker than the others. I don't know why or how.
Note the various configurations of nose fins (indicating breeding males).
I saw this mess of a nest, I assume, and we both shot it for several minutes. Lovely blue sky again for the same reason. Pieces of white plastic. Fluffy, raw cotton-like stuff. Grackles seemed to be guarding it, darting around in that tree, trying to draw our attention elsewhere. It will be interesting to drag out a real telephoto next time we're there, just to see what can be seen in the soft, cozy place so far up.
The Rock is behind that screen of trees to the right. I liked the magical feeling of a path through the woods. Leading to the light at the far end. No post manipulations here. That's really what this scene looked like, will look like again. Great trees, essence of path and lush neutral ground balancing on the right.
I'm beginning to get a feel for this new lens. What it is, and what it is not. Tomorrow, I'll hit some openings and shoot some crowds, maybe individual shots of friends. Get this social lens into the social stream, so we'll both know what to do at the wedding. It'll be interesting.
After adding the photo data underneath each photograph above, I realize I usually, but not always, use my new lens at the long terminus, 55mm. Which means I have to struggle it down to wider. Flowers, scenes, whatever. It's a slight new direction worth pursuing.
Total images, so far = 3,406