Monday, July 29, 2019

Visigoths of the woods

COMMON GRACKLES, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JULY 25, 2019

Pentax K-3
300mm Pentax-F f4.5 with 1.4x Pentax extender (420mm)
1/400 sec. f8
ISO 1600

Rarely ever am I able to capture two birds side by side in one photograph, but these grackles, part of a noisy, bullying flock that took over our feeders one day, complied nicely. The photo just begs for a comic caption such as "You didn't tell me your mother was coming to stay for a month!"

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Cold and wet

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JUNE 5, 2019

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F 300mm f4.5 with 1.4x Pentax extender (420mm)
1/200 sec. f8
ISO 1600

All puffed up in a tiny down jacket, this hummer huddles against fog and cold during a gray and blustery day on the shore of Lake Superior. It's a male ruby-throated, but its throat will appear black if the light is not just so. I shot the photo through the living room window.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Hairy woodpecker

MALE HAIRY WOODPECKER, GREEN, MICHIGAN, MAY 29, 2019

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F 300mm with Pentax 1.4x extender (420mm)
1/3200 sec. f6.7
ISO 1600

The hairy woodpecker and its smaller lookalike, the downy, are familiar denizens of our Upper Michigan cabin's bird feeders. I used the largest possible aperture on this system in order to throw the background out of focus as much as possible while retaining sufficient depth of field.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Today's hummer

FEMALE RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, GREEN, MICHIGAN, MAY 25, 2019

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F 300mm f4.5 plus Pentax 1.4x converter (420mm)
1/2000 sec. f8
ISO 800

The hummers are plentiful at our Lake Superior cabin this year, as always, and they make excellent photographic subjects, The angle on this one is unusual.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Scarlet Tanager

SCARLET TANAGER, GREEN, MICHIGAN, MAY 22, 2019

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F 300mm f4.5 with 1.4x Pentax extender (420mm)
1/800 f7.1, handheld
ISO 1600

This species has been a rara avis in our neck of the Upper Peninsula woods, but quite a few have been sighted in the vicinity in the last week. This one is the first I've ever seen, and it makes quite the splash of red even on a dull day. Now I'm going to try to capture it on a tree branch rather than on the man-made suet feeder.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Tree in bud


TREE IN BUD, CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN, GLENCOE, ILLINOIS, APRIL 21, 2019

Pentax K-3
Sigma 18-250 at 31mm
1/1000 sec. f14
ISO 800

This is less a photographic statement of a tree agains the early spring sun than an experiment in the surprising ability of an inexpensive consumer zoom lens to show detail—which it seems to do very well when stopped down. Click on the photo and examine it closely and see if you don't agree.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

GoPro on the train


DEBBY ON THE CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR, EASTERN COLORADO, JANUARY 24, 2019

GoPro 7 Black
3mm GoPro lens
1/900 sec. f2.8
ISO 419

Those little GoPro sport cameras, it seems, make excellent travel cameras as well—if you can get used to shooting only wide-angle photographs. The Model 7 does allow the photographer to shoot linear shots like this rather than distorted fisheye style. On this trip I carried mine in a form-fitting rubber case on a lanyard around my neck, and found myself using it more often than my Pentax K-3 or iPhone to shoot inside and outside the train.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Almost painterly enough

VIEW OF THE GREAT BASIN, CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN, OCTOBER 21, 2018

Pentax K-3
Sigma 18-250 at 105mm
1/250 f9
ISO 800

Too bad the guy in the backwards ball cap wasn't a young woman in a yellow summer dress lounging on the lawn and leaning on the grass with one hand, but I had to make do with what was there. I was pleased with the image quality of the Sigma 18-250, a consumer lens, and think I will henceforth use it as my travel go-to when I can carry only one lens. The panoramic effect was achieved with simple cropping of top and bottom of the image.