At the April 3rd meeting of Cayuga Nature Photographers, Mark Malkin will show us how to do macro photography without a macro lens. Spring brings a blossoming of macro subjects, but macro lenses can also bring a relatively large price tag. So, Mark’s demonstration will focus on the use of close-up filters, extension tubes, and reversal rings as inexpensive ways to get into macro photography. Bring your camera and tripod so you can try out some new toys and techniques! We have Nikon gear lined up, and we are looking for Canon gear. Spring is a great time to explore macro subjects. This will be a great way to prepare for spring. We will meet in room 404 of the Cornell Plant Sciences Building at 7:30 pm. All levels of photo skill are welcome.
One of the summer interns at Cornell Plantations asked me what my favorite wildflower is. I have many favorites, but the one I anticipate most is the Showy Lady’s Slipper, Cypripedium reginae. So that is my best favorite. The species name in latin, queen(ly), says it all.
Shot with Nikon D800, 105 mm Nikkor Micro lens, f/11 at 1/125 second ISO 800. Gitzo tripod. Shaded the bloom to reduce harsh light.
So, for Cayuga Nature Photographer members in the Finger Lakes region, the message is that it is Showy (Lady’s Slipper) Time. If you know of a population, this weekend is a great time to visit them.
I’ve posted a more details report in my regular blog at:
Remember to apply tick repellent, my friend found one on her afterwards.
I resolved to visit the Black Swamp area east of Toledo, Ohio after a terrific presentation at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology by Kim and Ken Kaufman. I was not disappointed. The number of warblers and other spring migrants is overwhelming, and the ability to be at eye level with the birds remarkable. My most productive time was along the boardwalk at Magee Marsh. I will make this an annual outing for future years.
There were several warblers that particularly caught my attention. First was the Prothonotary Warblers. Some were as close as 5 feet. Try focusing on that!
I’ve posted high resolution images in a gallery on my website at:
In the link above, you’ll also find a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a Palm Warbler and the Blackburnian Warbler below:
I’ve written a further commentary with more details in my personal blog at: http://birds-n-blooms.blogspot.com/
Ray Hunt and I went to Coy Glen on Tuesday. It is a natural area of Cornell Plantations. There is one nice drop of about 12 feet with a secondary ledge about 2-1/2 feet in height. We advise caution at Coy Glen. Beyond the obscure access on Culver Road, the trail is essentially unmarked and the slope to the waterfall is steep and slippery when wet. Never attempt this alone. Please consult us before going there.
We arrived around 9:30 in the morning after a fifteen minute walk into the falls. Ray’s initial photo shows the wonderful reflections on the smooth rock surfaces below the falls.
At this time in the morning, the falls were in shadow. As we photographed, we realized that we were soon going to lose the good light as bright rays of direct sunlight were approaching to blow out the left side of the falls.
It is always interesting to see how two photographers, standing near the same spot, can see a different rendition of the subject. My initial photo was different.
I captured less of the warm glow from my position to Ray’s right but found a pool of water that mirrored the creamy waterfall. I also chose a different aspect ratio with less foreground.
As I mentioned, there is a second drop that has fascinated me. With care, and with rubber boots reaching my knees, I can stand in the stream below the ledge and show both drops.
Ray pointed out that the entry of bright sunlit areas called for some HDR processing. The image above was tonal mapped using four images. Obviously, a steady tripod is required along with some adjustments to tonal values in the foreground.
The next meeting of the Cayuga Nature Photographers is to present black and white images made by the members. It has always seemed to me that waterfalls are one of the best subjects for that. So, I processed the above image in Photoshop using the RGB channels. (I will likely be on travel and miss the next meeting, so this is my contribution.)
Soon, we realized we were losing the good uniform light in the gorge and began the careful climb out of the streamside. The route out requires using tree roots for hand holds initially until the ground becomes a little less steep.
Eventually, we came upon the more moderate slope and near the top, where Ray noted some beautiful fungi growing on the mossy covering of fallen tree branches. The vivid scarlet colors were too much for Ray to pass up. (I just did not expect fungi and left my micro lens in the car. Shame on me.)
I believe this is Sarcoscypha austriaca, common name Curly-haired Elf
Cup. I was impressed that Ray had a plastic bag to kneel on while contorted on the wet ground. I never think to do that and come home with dirty knees on my pants.
It was a beautiful day, unusually warm for mid March, and perfect for two retired gentlemen to take a saunter in the woods. Ray treated me to a good cup of coffee and a delicious sour cream donut. That really made the morning perfect.
Our daughter got us admitted to the annual open house at the production greenhouses for the US Botanic Garden. They raise the orchids and other showy plants seen in the conservatory adjacent to the capital building on the mall. The staff was very excited to have a day to show what is normally invisible to the public. It was also a nice way to celebrate our 46th wedding anniversary too. We ended up spending a lot of time with the master gardener for the orchids. Wonderful experience.
I used the open house to continue my exploration of the iPhone camera, this time comparing it to my Canon G9 point and shoot camera. This is a typical photo with no editing. The blooms are nice, color is good but the mesh under the pots just doesn’t compliment anything. My first observation is that busy backgrounds were difficult to hide the iPhone wide angle lens.
There were situations where I could move around and get so close that the greenhouse did not show, and then the result could be good. I think the color is nice and rich in this example.
But, when the subject is larger, the wide angle often could not miss showing the overly bright sky or a maze of plumbing and framework. Then the zoom on the G9 had a clear advantage. It could find just the right amount of focal length.
This photo has good color and excludes most of the busy background to deliver a more pleasing result.
I’ve posted a more detailed text in my personal blog at:
I simply have found it easier to create the layout I need at this alternate site, and I know you will find the result more informative. Hope you check it out.
So Hello CNP members. This is your new blog. Hopefully you received an email telling you about its existence and the log in information if you are a member current with your dues. You are invited to become a blogger and write about where you’ve been, what you’ve seen, show your recent photos, offer advice on deals you have found, equipment you like, or even let members know you have equipment to sell or trade. Anything you feel might be of interest to members. So share your nature photo news with us all, and enjoy this forum. Also feel free to leave comments on things others post. It’s easy. Be sure and sign your posts at the end so we know who the author is.