Now That's a Burger!

I am spending a relaxing Sunday morning going through images from this past year, making decisions along the way as to what to keep and what to delete. I also want to be sure I have "keyworded" most images before moving all to their permanent folder on my hard drive.
[Via Lightroom: All images incoming from my cameras to my computer in 2014 first go into a temporary "2014 Import" folder inside of "My Pictures". When I am done with my review and have given each image at least a few month to ferment a bit, I then move them to the permanent "2014" folder.  For what it's worth, inside both the temporary "2014 Import" and permanent "2014" folders I have sub-folders listed by the month and sometimes by the month and activity.]
Probably because I had only a small breakfast this morning, when I came to the image shown below, taken last winter, I became quite hungry!  It doesn't get much better than a "bacon and blue cheese burger" consumed in a pub sitting across from your daughter the night before an awesome day of skiing together.

Unfortunately the pint of Guinness photo was too blurry to show here.

"Bacon and Blue Cheese Burger"
Taken with a Sony NEX 5R with kit 16-50mm lens at 37mm, 1/6th sec, F5.6.
ISO 3200. Ambient light only.
Yes, the background is a bit distracting, so I cropped square and tight
to make the best of it. :-)


Tower Hill Botanic Garden for flowers

In my last post I featured some macro images that I took while walking around Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA.  I realized afterward that there were a number of images of the facility on my cell phone, which I hadn't looked at.  The iPhone 5S can be a really awesome camera with its 30mm equivalent lens, so long as there is plenty of light.  And, its fun to use.

It will be obvious that several of these were taken with the Panorama feature where you merely scan from left to right as if you were taking a video.  The camera automatically stitches and snaps everything together into one panorama.

I have no pictures of the inside of the facility.  I stayed outside.  I'll have to grab some inside shots during one of my winter visits.

If you are interested in Tower Hill, you may wish to view larger sizes of these pictures on my Web site, here:

All images with iPhone 5S


Autumn Macros - Page 3

Most everything around my yard is dried up and dead.  Not that that doesn't make for some good outdoor macro pictures.  But recently I drove to Tower Hill Botanic Gardens to see if I could get some flowering plants.  There will soon be some beautiful flowering plants inside, but I wanted to see what I could find in the outdoor gardens.

I did find some flowering plants, but also plenty of dead stuff.  The images below are a mix.

Taken with iPhone 5S.
500D closeup lens by Canon attached to
Panasonic 35-100 (70-100 equiv) mm zoom.

I used my recently acquired Panasonic 70-200mm-equivalent F2.8 zoom (due to the Olympus/Panasonic 2x crop factor it is actually a 35-100 zoom) and added the Canon 500D closeup lens.  With this add-on, all the focusing is done at about 20" from the subject and the zoom is used to compose. All are at F2.8.

Larger images and EXIF information available on my Web site, here:

Bishop's Weed

I like the colors and composition.
Unfortunately only 3 pedals are in focus, at best.

Northern Sea Oats


Autumn Macros - Page 2

Yesterday I posted a number of macro shots I had taken during October while walking around our yard looking for subject material.  I didn't post this one shot, because it just seemed out of place.  All the other images had a natural appearance, though some were of cultivated plants such as our male and female holly bushes.

The background for this image is not natural at all.  It is the windshield of my wife's automobile. The scene immediate caught my eye as I walked out our front door, camera in hand, looking for macros. The multiple reflections are from green foliage (our maple and oak trees had not yet turned color at the time) and blue sky.

Larger image and EXIF information on my Web site, here:

Leaf On Car Windshield


Autumn Macros - Page 1

I was hoping to get a day outside this weekend, traveling by car to capture some more fall foliage scenes.  But as of today, when I look at my "leaf peepr" cell phone app, I see that the foliage just about everywhere in New England is past peak.

The exception is the Cape Ann/Gloucester/Rockport area of northeastern Massachusetts. That being said, even though the weekend is upon us, the weather is terrible.  Temps are in the mid-40's, it is raining, and the wind is gusty and blowing out of northeast.

There's even talk of snow tonight. Yuck.

So, inside projects are the order of the day. For me that means I have an opportunity to clean up some of the photos in my Lightroom library. What I discovered this morning is that I have taken a fair number of macros this fall, some of which I have posted below.

I find that occasionally I take my camera and walk around the yard looking for plants and insects to photograph.  That's where these images were taken.

This fall I seem to be experimenting a lot with auto focus versus manual focus. And with manual focus, I have been experimenting with and without focus-peeking enabled. So far, I can't say that I see any difference in the results.

These images were taken with a mixture of the following lenses:

  • Olympus 12-40 F2.8
  • Panasonic 35-100 F2.8 with Canon 500D macro lens screwed into the filter threads
  • Olympus 60mm F2.8 macro
  • Olympus 40-150 F4-F5.6 with Canon 500D
  • Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro

Generally I use F2.8 to get the blurriest possible background.  Shallow depth of field is a consequence of using a large diameter aperture, and that may or may not be desirable.  However, that plus letting ISO go as high as 1600 allows for a fast shutter speed.  And that means the tripod can stay in the car! 

Slightly more than half of these were shot at F2.8.  Because at that aperture it is very easy to miss focus, I usually take several shots.  I do not shoot a burst, but instead consciously and slowly refocus for each repeating shot.  

The images that were not at F2.8 were mostly taken with the Olympus 40-150 F4-F5.6 zoom, where F2.8 is not available.

Larger Images and EXIF information on my Website here:

This is a flower on our male holly bush.
In white, but sometimes also yellow, you can see the four stamens
of a male holly flower.  Holly flowers, both male and female
have four petals. The flower measures only 1/4" across.

These are the berries on our female holly bush.
You can't have berries without pollination from the male flower.


Searching for Autumn Color - Page 2

As a follow-up to my little excursion last Wednesday, which I commented on in the prior blog post, I decided that I would take last Friday (a week ago today) and explore a bit of southern New Hampshire. My goal was to drive "the long way" to Jaffrey, New Hampshire and the Mt.  Monadnock area.

For the first time in five or six years I brought along (and used) a polarizing filter. I was expecting a bright  blue sky and puffy clouds, and thought the polarizer would give me some really nice results. 

Even though I am happy with how the sky and clouds turned out in the images, I'm not completely convinced that a polarizer is worth the hassle.  That's because with software like Photoshop and Lightroom, it is fairly easy to approximate a polarized look by adjusting saturation and luminescence sliders. The results are not quite as nice as what a polarizer can do, but it takes no fumbling with additional equipment in the field. And some would even argue that adding a filter on top of a lens downgrades image quality by adding more glass layers through which light must travel. I can certainly say that it creates two more glass surfaces that must be kept clean!

A hassle (for me) is that the sun must come from a specific angle for the polarizer to have full impact. In addition, for each shot, I need to remove the lens hood to be able to rotate the polarizer to its proper placement for that specific composition.  Following that, the hood must be replaced, while at the same time hoping that the action of twisting the hood onto the lens does not also rotate the polarizer.

All that being said, I do plan to experiment more with polarizers. Not only when the sky is blue, but also for close-ups of flowers and foliage, where in many situations the polarizer can reduce glare and make colors richer.

A few from my fall excursion to Jaffrey:

In the center and in the distance is Mt. Monadnock.
The perspective of the 24mm-e lens used here makes it look
smaller and further away than it actually is.