Desert Lily

1/250 th, f-2.8, ISO 100, 90 mm Tamron macro lens
1/250th, f-2.8, ISO 100, 90 mm Tamron macro lens

Doing some macro experiments with my old Konica-Minolta Maxxum 5D DSLR and my Tamron 90mm f 2.8 macro lens. Today I photographed our desert lily, a present to Anita from our niece, Avril, years ago. It produces beautiful blooms some years and this was a good year. The plant sits in the dining room bay window during the winter and gets placed on our deck once the risk of frost is gone. It is back in the house now.

I have not done much really close-up macro photography, so I re-read my Freeman Patterson primer, Photographing the World Around You, and set up the camera on a tripod. I played with camera angle, f-stop and shutter speed. Of course, manual focus was used interpretatively.

This was the first photo I took and is arguably the best – by accident. I didn’t have the focus perfect on the foremost petal’s tip as I’d intended, but the crisp highlights in the curve underneath it were brought out. Also, there was a tiny thread of dust attached to the petal that distracted from the overall effect when the focus was where I had wanted it – impossible to see in the Maxxum’s outdated, small monitor playback. Learning requires patience and serendipity behaved, as usual, as my best friend.

I selected three photos for this post. They will be up as soon as FB zeroes in on this one above for the link to this post. (I don’t like the way FB locks onto one photo of IT’S choosing for the link so that any future attempts to use a different photo are made impossible.)

Here they are:

The first two are unaltered. In the last one the only change was a 30% enhancement of its saturation, which had the effect of increasing the brightness of the top-left curl.

When Camera Meets Hummingbird

Hummingbird at feeder

For a few years now the hummingbirds have stayed all summer. We’ve experimented with different types of feeder. This one I bought this spring at Canadian Tire. It comes in three parts: the antique glass bottle, an all-metal flower plate and a plastic bowl. It is the best one we’ve had: it’s easy to clean and fill and a key advantage is that the flowers are metal and do not detach, like the plastic insert flowers do. Probably less chewable if the squirrels get to it – but they don’t usually get past the cone below the feeder.

We have lots of hummingbird attracting flowers in our yards: monarda, nicotiana, and Wiegela shrubs, among lots of others. Haven’t noticed many males at our feeder. The males have the ruby throat. Our feeder gets visited about every 10 minutes – not quite a fast-food drive-thru, but there are plenty of flowers to give our tiny clients some variety. Sugar-water food: a third of a cup of sugar boiled briefly in a cup of water lasts about a week. I change it once a week to get rid of the bugs, so the easy clean feature is welcome.

These photos were taken with a 5 year-old Konica-Minolta Maxxum 5D digital SLR camera using a Sigma APO DG 70-300 mm f-4 – 5.6 zoom lens, which does a great job in well lit situations. Early morning, lower light shots are tricky, since this lens has to be steadied against something to avoid hand-held camera shake at these magnifications.