September 14, 2014 | Categories: Photography | Tags: ancient, bug, Cicada, ciceda, close, close-up, eyes, fuzz, fuzzy, insect, macro, mating season, midwest, north america, photo, photography, spent, wings | Leave a comment
I bought a set of screw on macro filters to play with. I was buying an intervalometer to enter in to time lapse photography and adding the filters to the order made it qualify for free shipping, for cheaper than the shipping cost. At twelve dollars, this four piece set made by AGFA is a steal! They simply screw on a lens like a UV, or polarizing filter and allow You to get physically closer to what You are trying to shoot. Not without a hitch though. This 77mm set has been mated to my Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 OS to reduce the minimum focus distance from three and a half feet, down to eight to twelve inches with the +4. The extreme curve of the +4 and +10 filters, dramatically reduces the amount of light intake. So You are pretty much required to shoot in full sun light. On My first try, I used a portable L.E.D. to augment the fading evening light. It worked okay, not great though.
Over the weekend, I was musing pretty hard on My friends garden, so I popped on the +4 filter and had a go in full sun light. The filter reduced the depth of field to nearly nothing. I had to run very tight apertures to get a range of one inch into focus. Using shutter speeds of 125ths, to 400ths of a second, with apertures from 16-22 and My ISO at 400 and 800 in broad daylight was very odd. It did yield some rewards, at a better ratio than the first time, but still only 1 in every 15 shots was acceptable. Half of those were still not quite sharp, but I think I am getting the hang of using these things. Who would have thought that a $12 set of filters could turn a telephoto lens into decent macro shooting optics. It is not as good as buying a 200mm macro lens, but at one, or two percent of the price, WOW. None of the images in this post have been cropped…
August 4, 2014 | Categories: Photography | Tags: +10, +2, +4, 1, 200mm, 70mm, 77mm, agfa, aperture, beautiful, bee, bees, beetle, beetles, best option, bloom, blooming, blooms, blossom, blossoming, blossoms, bought on amazon, bumble, bumblebee, burrowing, center, cheap, cheap option, close, close-up, collection, color, colorful, coloring, colors, contrast, core, daylight, eating, exoskeleton, filter, filters, flower, flowering, flowers, fur, furry, fuzzy, garden, gardens, grazing, image, images, img, instect, iridescent, japanese, kit, lens, lenses, light, lighting, lights, macro, middle america, midwest, minnesota, mn, nectar, nice, no coating, no cropping, no multi-coating, oppo moto, oppomoto, petal, petals, photo, photograph, photographic, photos, pic, pics, picture, pictures, pink, pistil, pistils, plant, plants, pollen, pollenating, pretty, range, salmon, see, sharp, shell, shoot, shooting, shot, shots, shutter, sigma 70-200mm, speed, sun, sunlight, twin cities, view, wing, wings, without cropping, yard, yellow, zinnia, zoom | Leave a comment
This weekend is the Car Craft Nationals here in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I have been taking a LOT of car pictures lately, so I opted not to attend the gathering it’s self. Instead heading out with My buddy Ryan Clemens of Opposition Motors, to post up on the side of Snelling, just out side of the show. There was a very wide variety of vehicles out and about, mostly American made, spanning many decades, but there were some other cars out cruising too. It is nice to see classic and modern muscle cars, massive land boats from the 70’s and 80’s, low riders, high riding trucks, kit cars, sports cars and a whole lot more, out on the streets at once.
This was like a throw back for Me. When I was Younger, University Avenue was the home of all things cruising. Every weekend there were thousands, upon thousands of cars and huge quantities of people out on the strip. We had one of the most robust car cultures in the world, on display, three days a week. Over the last ten to fifteen years, this scene has been broken up and dispersed, to the bain of an awful lot of local businesses. So many local and family owned restaurants and shops have gone out of business since the city started it’s campaign to end the cruising scene’s dominance of our weekend culture. Much of the blame lands on the shoulders of a large home for the elderly, building and expanding to become a sprawling complex, right on University, next door to the beating heart of this, now miniscule scene, Porky’s drive in. Naturally, the people at the Episcopal Homes complained heavily about the noise and abundance of people walking next to their building. Sadly, three or four years ago, Porky’s, the lone 50’s style eatery left in Saint Paul and home to some of the best all American eat’s around, went out of business. I really, REALLY miss having My double supreme burger, with that great “special sauce,” the city’s best pork cutlet sandwich, the best onion rings I’ve ever had and a thick, chunky strawberry malt, whenever I want. Now I, as well as every one else, will never get to eat their great food again. Below is a picture from their last year in business. That crowd, is nothing compared to what was around for decades in the past. The massive bland buildings in the rear, are two of the four newest buildings of said retirement home. I am all for giving our elders reasonable homes, with care takers to look after them as best they can, but why choose the busiest street in a bustling part of town? Can You guess who expanded in to the space left when Porky’s died?
I wish I had a better picture of this iconic eatery, but I don’t. In the end, all hope of the cruising scene on University being revived, was crushed by the construction of the recently completed light rail line, which runs right down the center of the street. The car culture is still visible, but since there is no place that everyone knows to go to, the numbers of cars out on the weekends are laughable. There is no where that You’ll find ten, or fifteen thousand people gathering, like in the past. So those of us who wish to re-live the sight seeing, less the food that’s not available anymore, must wait for two or three events per year. Back to the Fifties and Car Craft being the main draw. The local economy has been delt a pretty big negative impact overall. These hand full of gatherings do help a lot, but that doesn’t change the fact that the miles of road occupied by smaller businesses are now lined by endless corporate chain stores. Funneling money out of the Twin Cities. The general lack of low riders and imports out at these events is a huge loss of variety too, but at least we still have something! I guess.
July 20, 2014 | Categories: Automotive Photography, Random Thoughts | Tags: 190e, 2014, 350, 427, 442, ac, american, auto, automotive, autos, ave, avenue, back, baracuda, bee, bel air, benz, best burger, biscaine, blower, boat, boulavard, boulevard, buick, business, c5, c6, c7, caddy, cadillac, camaro, can-am, car, carcraft, cars, carshow, charged, charger, chevelle, chevette, chevrolet, chevy, chip foose, chrome, chrysler, city, classic, clean, cobra, convertible, cool, corvette, coup, coupe, craft, cruise, cruising, cuda, culture, custom, cutlass, dart, datsun, days of old, deville, dodge, door, drag, dragster, drive thru, drive-in, driving, drop top, eatery, el dorado, eldorado, engine, enthusiast, fair, falcon heights, fast, fast back, fastback, fat, fin, fins, flames, foose, ford, four door, frogtown, fun, galaxy, gathering, general motors, gm, gmc, grand, grounds, gt, gt 350, gt 500, gt350, gt500, high, hood, hoodless, hot, hot rods, hotrod, huge, icon, iconic, image, images, impala, impalas, iroc, iroc-z, jaguar, july, kit, kit car, lights, lincoln, low, low rider, lowrider, mach 1, mach1, massive, merc, mercedez, mercedez-benz, mercury, merica, middle america, midway, minn, minnesota, mn, mod, monte carlo, motor, msra, muscle, mustang, mustangs, nationals, nhra, nice, ninety-eight, nostalgia, nostalgic, nova, old, olds, oldsmobile, original, paint, paint job, photo, photographer, photography, photos, pic, pick-up, pickup, picture, pictures, pix, pontiac, porkys, rag top, ragtop, ramsey county, rat rod, resto, resto-mod, restored, rider, riding, rims, riviera, rod, rolling, roseville, roush, saint paul, scene, scoop, sedan, shelby, shots, SHOW, sled, slick, snelling, speed, spider, sport, srt, ss, st paul, state, sting ray, stingray, street, streets, strip, style, super, super sport, superbee, supercharger, supreme, tires, town, trans am, trans amt, transam, truck, trucks, tubbed, twin cities, twincities, two door, two-tone, university, v10, v8, vette, viper, wagon, wheel, wheels, wing, wings, z28 | Leave a comment
July 5, 2014 | Categories: Photography | Tags: 17-50mm, 70-200mm, barge, barges, beetle, bench, bend, bends, bluff, bluffs, boat, brick, bugs, building, buildings, burial, camera, canon, capitol, car, city, cityscape, classic, color, daisies, distance, downtown, dragonfly, east side, f2.8, field, flower, flowers, flowing, foreground, fountain, high ground, hike, hydrant, image, images, insect, insects, invasive, japanese, landscape, lens, lenses, lime stone, limestone, lush, macro, marlin, menace, middle america, midwest, minn, minneapolis, minnesota, mississippi, mn, mounds, mpls, park, path, paved, pavement, photo, photographer, photography, photos, picture, pictures, pigseye, pink, point, portrait, purple, Rambler, recreation, red, river, saint paul, scene, scenery, scraper, scrapers, sculpture, shade, sigma, sky, skyline, skyscrapers, st paul, state, statue, stp, t4i, tamron, tc, telephoto, trail, transparent, tree, trees, tug, tug boat, twin cities, twincities, two cities, urban, vantage, view, walk, walking, wander, wild roses, wings | Leave a comment
June 19, 2014 | Categories: Photography | Tags: annuals, backyard, bald face, bald faced, bee, bees, biodegrading, bloom, blooming, blossom, blossoms, brown, bunches, cedar, close-up, cluster, clusters, collecting, colorful, day time, door frame, fading, fence, flower, flowers, flying, garden, gathering, green, honey bee, hornet, hornets, insect, insects, knot, lantana, layers, magenta, midwest, minnesota, nectar, old, photo, photograph, photographer, photos, picture, pictures, pine, pink, plant, plants, pollen, potted, purple, remnants, rotted, saint paul, st paul, stump, symetry, tree, twin cities, weathered, white, wing, wings, wood, wooden, worker, yard, yellow, zoom | Leave a comment
My friend Asha called Me early in the week and asked if I wanted to go camping. She was in need of being surrounded by nature, as opposed to this city-born existence we live. Sharing Her sentiment, I said “hell yeah!” It was a one night excursion in the snow. After sitting in My alley for nearly an hour, calling state parks, browsing the Minnesota DNR website and scrolling through maps, the destination was decided. Wild River State Park, on the Saint Croix River, an hour or so north of the Twin Cities. I had never been there before and google maps gave us useless directions. For some reason, they said the park’s entrance was at the boat launching point, down a non-maintained dirt road, ten miles from the actual entrance to the park. Eventually, we found where we needed to be and effectively had the park to ourselves. One mile of hiking through sloppy snow down the untouched trail, camp was made. It wasn’t actually very cold out. 40’s on Saturday and 50’s sunday, I would guess the temperature at night was around 30 degrees. The snow certainly made it feel like winter, as did the massive slabs of ice floating down the river.
During the day Saturday, there were no clouds in the sky, so I was quite excited to get some pictures of stars, then as the sun set, clouds rolled in. They relented for about 45 minutes and revealed the sparkling sky I wanted to see. Some good practicing time doing something I have long been a fan of seeing others do. Capturing the night’s sky. Here is what I came up with.
First thing Sunday morning, I woke up, snapped the picture at the top of this post and proceeded to go back to sleep for 2 more hours. After that, we shared a can of pinapple chunks and Asha sat down to read in the sun. I decided to go for a walk, hoping to snag some closer pictures of some birds of prey. Half a mile or so down the trail from camp, I spotted a massive bird landing on a tree a few hundred yards away. I did My best to quietly work towards it, but such a thing isn’t possible when You’re walking through snow ranging from four inches to two feet deep. It kept ahead of Me, following the river for at least an hour, flying from one tree to the next. Every time I got within 150 yards, the bird would skip ahead another 300-400 yards. I use a 70-200mm lens on a cropped image sensor and just couldn’t get close enough for the shots that I desired. Which was quite saddening to Me, given this huge bird was actually an owl. I didn’t know they were so active during the day. It may only be this particular type of owl, which I believe was a Barred Owl. The wing span looked to be five, or more, feet. After looking at the two pictures I got of it, I was suprised that I wasn’t looking at a Great Grey owl. This owl’s eyes were not the right color and the greyish brown, with white stripes on the feathers didn’t match either. Included below is this barred owl sitting in a tree and flying directly over head at about 400 feet.
This was an especially awesome weekend for Me. Seeing for the first time, that big owl, golden eagles and turkey vultures. Not to mention the bald eagles, herrons, swans and various varieties of ducks that were fluttering about in large numbers. Just after the sun set, a pair of golden eagles came to our camp site. One landed in a tree about 40 feet from where we were, while the other circled 40-60 feet above us. I was a bit nervous, as well as awe struck. Not as large as the ones I’ve heard and read about, but the wing span was at least 6 feet. It was to dark for Me to get any sort of picture, so I am making due with these long range shots I aquired during the day light hours.
April 8, 2014 | Categories: Photography, Random Thoughts | Tags: air, amazing, april, beautiful, big, biggest, birds, bright blue, cloud, clouds, colors, cool, covered, creatures, day, daytime, deep blue, dnr, door, doorway, elapsed, exposure, flight, fly, flying, food chain, free, get away, getaway, hunting, jupiter, large, life, look, looking, massive, middle america, midwest, minnesota, minnesotan, mn, natural, nature, night, noerthern axis, north, north america, northern, one night, one nighter, outdoors, parks, patch, predators, prints, puff, quarrel, quarreling, rise, road, rotation, saturday, searching, short, silhouette, skies, sky, snowy, soaring, star, stars, state, state park, sun, sunday, sunrise, swirl, track, travel, trip, vacation, valley, weather, weekend, wild, wild river, wildlife, window, wings | Leave a comment
March 30, 2014 | Categories: Photography | Tags: andor 2000, andorius, bank, banks, bird, birds, blackened, burned, burnt, cedar, coon rapids, current, currents, dam, dead, digital 2014, duck, ducks, electric, electrical, female, fishing, flight, floating, flow, flowing, flows, flying, forest, ice, icicle, icicles, icy, island, land, ledge, line, lines, male, mallard, mallards, man, melt, melting, midwest, minnesota, north, northern, old, pair, park, path, photo, photograph, photographs, photos, pic, picture, pictures, power, recreation, resting, ripple, ripples, river, rock, rocks, shade, shadow, shelf, shore, sky, snow, spring, stones, stump, sun, t4i, telephoto, tower, trees, twist, twisted, walk, walking, water, waxwing, wide angle, wings, winter, wooded, woods, yellow tail | Leave a comment
This beautiful hawk was clearly not happy about the amount of people stopping and walking toward it. I was more than happy to disturb it’s meal, considering it was on the side of a road. It was an intersection too, most of the people who drove by, turned around and came back. We spotted it and stopped immediately. Hastefully removing the wide angle lens from My camera and applying the hefty Sigma 70-200 2.8, since I did not think the bird would let us go near it. This large bird, which I believe is a ‘red tailed’ hawk, let Me within 15 feet or so before jumping up and perching in a nearby tree for a moment. I could feel a strong swirl of wind from the roughly 5 foot wing span as it took flight. Staying nearby as We humans went on our way, I assume it was going to swoop right back down on it’s kill. I admit the Mallard duck that it slayed looked quite delicious to Me as well, enjoy that fat meal bird. I hope no one hits it while it is feasting.. I see two or three of these birds of prey daily, never so close up though. They are much larger than one might think from seeing them perched atop a light pole on the side of the highway. What a magnificent semi-urban predator.
February 24, 2014 | Categories: Photography, Random Thoughts | Tags: 2014, afternoon, angry, angrybirds, avian, awesome, beak, bird, birdofprey, birdonbirdviolence, birds, brown, claws, close, close-up, curb, curbside, day, dead, deep, dinner, duck, dusk, eat, eaten, evening, feathered, feathers, february, fridley, grip, guarding, hate, how it should be, image, images, intersection, kill, killed, large, late, mallard, meal, mess, midwest, minnesota, mound, natural, nature, near, perch, perched, photo, photograph, pic, pics, picture, pictures, pile, pix, predator, predators, prey, rare, red, region, road, roadkill, selection, sharp, shooting, shot, shots, side, snow, span, street, sun, suprise, tail, twin cities, urban, way of the world, white, wild, wing, wings, winter | Leave a comment
September 8, 2013 | Categories: Photography | Tags: bird, birds, brown, flowers, flutter, flying, green, hover, hovering, humming, hummingbird, images, nectar, photo, picture, red, wings, yellow | Leave a comment