Thursday, August 30, 2012

2012, Day 243 - Trumpets

I look at this flower and see dozens a little trumpets raised into the air and giving a blast heralding summer's arrival.  I found the colors distracting so I eliminated them and crafted what you see here to emphasize the myriad of textures present on the flower.

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/500 sec @ 200 ISO

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012, Day 242 - Burst

It is dahlia season here in the Pacific NW and they are popping up all over the place.  I haven't made my annual trip to Old House Dahlias yet but my neighbors have a nice variety blooming now.  There is almost a sense of motion, like you can see the petals opening up right before your eyes.  The colors are so clean and pure, it is a nice break from the other flowers that are wilting around them.

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/640 sec @ 200 ISO

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

2012, Day 241 - Trudging

I found this photo buried in an archive from earlier this year and was instantly drawn to the lines.  Nature has been my muse lately and I felt like a change; I wanted something more dramatic, more geometric, something like a bit of grunge.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
23mm, f2.8, 1/50 sec @ 500 ISO

Monday, August 27, 2012

2012, Day 240 - Flit

Another one of my insectoid nemeses are butterflies.  They bob up and down from flower to flower and are so easily threatened that it is hard to snag them at just the right moment.  I understand that they are delicate, even fragile, but that is what makes them so pretty.  To make things more difficult butterflies seem to require a large quantity of nectar whereas bees scavenge for pollen which means that butterflies give up on each blossom more quickly than other insects.  Nevertheless I found myself a more willing subject the other day and this is my favorite shot.  If I had my ring flash I might have been able to capture a greater depth-of-field but I am still happy with the final result.

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/160 sec @ 400 ISO

Sunday, August 26, 2012

2012, Day 239 - Kick up your heels

I am very excited!  My upcoming trip to Cambodia is really taking shape; flight is books, most hotels are booked, guide is arranged, local transportation is under control.  It is almost to the point where you sit back and wait to pack your bags and board the plane.  Unfortunately the trip is still months away but that is just more time to prepare!

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f4, 1/800 sec @ 640 ISO

Saturday, August 25, 2012

2012, Day 238 - Pinned

Shot this way I am reminded of the insect collection that we had to do in high school biology.  I took the sciences out of order and had biology in my senior year so I ended up working on the collection with my sister and her best friend.  We stalked through fields and along creeks looking for choice specimens.  It was hours and hours of fun collecting but the identifying and pinning was rather tedious.  Dead smelly insects that had to be mounted with wings.  Still, it was great fun!

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS with 12.5mm and 25mm extension tubes
100mm, f11, 1/200 sec @ 100 ISO

Friday, August 24, 2012

2012, Day 237 - Hooked

I was walking home from some errands this morning when I happened upon a bush literally buzzing with activity.  Many of the flowers around here seem to have lost their allure but this one still has flowers yet to open and the bees are swarming it.  As I was reviewing my images this one stood out not only for its clarity but also because of a little detail.  I noticed that the bee's little hooked feet were each wrapped around flowers to keep the occasional breeze from blowing him away from his targeted flower.  The little details like this is what make macro so much fun!

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/800 sec @ 320 ISO

Thursday, August 23, 2012

2012, Day 236 - Mosquito moth

This is an unusual looking guy and he was kind enough to enter my studio the other day although at first I mistook him for a mosquito closer investigation revealed his true nature.  This is actually a plume moth and they have multiple feather-like wings that are bound closely together when at rest.  Their larvae roll leaves around themselves before pupating and I have found a number of them on the apple tree in my backyard.  While many are considered pests because of the damage they do to flowering plant crops others are used to control invasive plant species.  My yard has relatively few flowering plants so I don't view these little monsters are a problem and will probably just let their babies grow into odd but beautiful adults.

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS with 12.5mm and 25mm extension tubes
100mm, f16, 1/200 @ 200 ISO

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2012, Day 235 - Like butter

It was a rough day today as I played the part of a nervous parent.  Yesterday I called the vet to see when I could get Frankie scheduled to join his eunuch brothers and they said "How about tomorrow?"  I agreed and as soon as I hung up the phone I started to worry.

Frankie is my baby but he is no more special than the other dogs so why was I anxious?  Maybe because all of my other dogs were neutered before I got them so I know they had been under anesthesia before and came out okay whereas this would be Frankie's first time going under the knife.  Possibly because the little monkey is a grazer at home and keeps himself, completely by choice, on the thin side and anesthesia is often harder on skinny dogs and he's extra skinny.

Whatever the reason I took my boy to the clinic this morning and dropped him off.  My vet is great, I trust all of the people in the clinic completely, and I told them I was nervous before I left so I got calls with updates.  At 10 o'clock they called to tell me he was coming out from under anesthesia and that he would be ready to come home at about noon.  I arrived a few minutes early, not wanting to wait a minute longer than necessary.  They sent him home with some pain killers and a little drunk.  The whole way home he stood in the back with his head draped over the back seat nodding off constantly.  By the time we got home he was exhausted but I made him take a short walk where he answered the call of nature, took a few more steps and wanted to lay down.

I figured he had been through enough so I took him inside, made him a snack and let him rest.  By this evening he was almost completely back to normal and ravenously are his dinner.  At least we're done with the vet for a while (fingers crossed).

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
155mm, f4, 1/800 sec @ 400 ISO

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2012, Day 234 - Final approach

"Skill" strikes again!  Insects in flight are hard to capture, they can change directions so quickly making anticipation almost impossible.  I came upon this bunch of poppies with only one flower left and noticed the bee bobbing in and out of my framing so, composing with my right eye and my left open to watch outside the frame, I waited.  Sweat was beading on my forehead and finally the bee returned to the lone flower and I took six frames in rapid succession.  Hooray!

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/2000 sec @ 320 ISO

Monday, August 20, 2012

2012, Day 233 - Ending soon

This is a dandelion I encountered on a walk late last week.  They're such interesting plants because first they flower and then the flower closes and begins to die as the seeds push it outwards until the dried petals fall off and you are left with a head of seeds ready to fly away on the slightest breeze.  A couple hours later I walked past this dandelion again and all the seed were gone, the plant had done its job and it was left bereft of purpose.

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/100 sec @ 320 ISO

Sunday, August 19, 2012

2012, Day 232 - Waiting for a change

I found this little guy on my walk with the dogs.  He was crawling along the fence as we came into the yard so after the dogs were settled I went back out with a model release and we sat down for a little studio session.  I have had extension tubes for years but I rarely use them, it just seems like an inconvenience, but this little critter was quite small and I needed greater magnification so I stacked both of them to close the distance.

When we were kids we had this delusion that caterpillars were cute but up close they are rather monstrous.  Beady little eyes, long hairs, sharp mouth mandibles, a humpback, really they are rather strikingly ugly.  Still, it was a fun test of my macro lens coupled with extension tubes.

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS with 25mm and 12.5mm extension tubes
100mm, f11, 1/200 sec @ 100 ISO

Saturday, August 18, 2012

2012, Day 231 - Frolicking

What a relief!  I awoke to a lightly raining and overcast Portland day.  It was such a relief after the blistering week we've had and to make things even better we had racing practiced scheduled.  The weather was perfect for Frankie to go running with his buddies and extended family.  Oddly, the little monkey did not want to go into the starting box and normally he doesn't have a problem with it at all but with some coaxing he cooperated and ran really well.  He still is breaking that well but he's got some really decent speed and he has a great time, the latter being the most important part.  Best of all, he helped his cousin Eddie learn to race.  Eddie is a bit shy and unsure of new things but he is a quick learner and a total sweetheart.

After practice we all sat around on Karen's large covered patio with our dogs and chatted.  The weather was beautiful and I had a tired Frankie sleeping in my arms.  I knew when I started to nod off with him it was time to go home after a truly marvelous day!

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f4, 1/800 sec @ 640 ISO

Friday, August 17, 2012

2012, Day 230 - Sneak attack!

It's bug wars!  On my walk home from a grueling workout I stopped to look for excitement around a really nicely planted garden.  I've been on the lookout for a crab spider all summer but so far I've had no luck.  The rest of the spiders have hatched and some are getting pretty big but no crab spiders to be seen.  Granted, they are extremely well camouflaged but I've found them before.

What I did find was a battle of the bugs.  I was watching a small bee busy collecting pollen from a series of flowers and he was repeatedly attacked by another species of bee.  Glad for a diversion I waited, not so patiently, for another attack and this is what I managed to capture.  I would like to say it was due to my prodigious skill but I think luck played a large part in my success :)

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/1250 sec @ 320 ISO

Thursday, August 16, 2012

2012, Day 229 - Friendship

I had one of those days where you feel like you've been running nonstop and as I finished my last task for the afternoon I decided to make a random stop on my way home to take some pictures.  The insect life seems to love the heat and today was a scorcher!  I found these two flies relaxing on some rosemary and decided to take their picture.  For the first couple of frames I didn't notice the other fly in the background and when I did it made me rethink my composition and t his is the one that I liked best.

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/60 sec @ 400 ISO

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2012, Day 228 - Midnight moth

Life is all about little diversions.  Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I found a new friend on the wall and I was left with a choice, go to bed or stay up and have a little late night modeling session.  As you can see, I opted for the latter.  The best part is that once I had him in my clutches he didn't seem too interested leaving, I think that we had a moment of beard bonding...

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f11, 1/200 sec @ 100 ISO

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2012, Day 227 - Terrestrial coral

This is a juniper that was growing the high desert of central Oregon.  It is amazing how an image can bring to mind the sounds and scents of a place.  I can smell the sharp sweet scent of the juniper, the dust in the air, feel the dry air of my face.  I liked the texture more than anything in this image so I thought that it would be best highlighted by heavy desaturation, a heightened contrast, and a little vignetting.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/125 sec @ 320 ISO

2012, Day 226 - Moody cool

I am a weather wimp when it comes to the heat but if you read my ramblings with any regularity that shouldn't come as a surprise.  Today was another warm one and it is supposed to get hotter as the week progresses so I delved months back to my trip to Sunriver this past winter and discovered this photo.  I pushed the dynamic range close to breaking but it was easier then my failed attempts at layer masking.  The goal was to create a sort of moody evening look to the scene and I think it came out rather nicely even if it is slightly melodramatic.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
25mm, f5.6, 1/8000 sec @ 200 ISO

Sunday, August 12, 2012

2012, Day 225 - Floral hedgehog

Vibrant colors and simplicity can be refreshing.  Life is so full of stimuli, the sounds of cars, people jabbering, dogs barking, bicycles whizzing past, vehicle flying by, the smells of exhaust, of dust, asphalt, it is a dizzying array that often breaks out concentration.  Sensory overload gets the better of us and we miss so much but their absence itself is not noteworthy to most of us.  Stop and allow yourself a moment to smell the flowers and enjoy life's little pleasures.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/100 sec @ 400 ISO

Saturday, August 11, 2012

2012, Day 224 - Warmth

The wonderful thing about living in Portland that is that you aren't exposed to the unbearable heat with the same regularity as the rest of the country.  Unfortunately that leaves all of us that much less acclimated to their spikes in temperature.  Today started off with light cloud cover but as I drove west the protective blanket shielding the worst of the sun's effects disappeared and I started my 10km run.

Fortunately the nights have been cool and I had the benefit of a nice mild start.  Sadly my recent foray into crossfit left me slightly crippled so I wasn't able to perform at my peak which is, as yet, rather unimpressive.  Nevertheless I ran, walked, and jogged until I crossed the finish and when I was done and driving back into Portland my clouds returned and stayed for a few hours longer until I had myself fed and the dogs exercised. It was a lovely day.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/125 sec @ 400 ISO

Friday, August 10, 2012

2012, Day 223 - Rest

All I can think about right now is sleep.  The day seemed endless and I as did my volunteering this evening I almost dozed off standing up.  Still, I never stop watching the world around me and as a result I had a nice compliment this evening.

My friends and I volunteer at a shelter that has great housing assistance and job placement programs.  All the men are to remain sober while going through the program and must submit to periodic testing.  Anyway, a few times each month we go and cook a meal for the residents, nearly one hundred in total.  Because of the frequency of our visit you get to know the guys, not usually by name but you recognize them and remember what they like or prefer.

This evening there was one guy who was obviously new.  He was reluctant to get into line and appeared unsure what to do but eventually got his first serving.  We always have enough for the guys to eat their fill and some of them really put it away.  At the end of service we still had some really tasty pasta salad with BBQ'd chicken liberally added and I noticed that only one person didn't come through the line again, the same guy who seemed out of sorts.  Despite the fact that they can always eat what we make as leftovers I filled a heaping bowl and took it to where he was sitting.

Later, as we were packing up to leave he came up and thanked me for noticing that he didn't get seconds.  He said it was nice to be acknowledged and to know that someone was paying attention.  It doesn't take much to make a difference in someone's life, we just need to remind ourselves to slow down occasionally and think about what we see.  With that in mind, I am asking everyone to take a moment this weekend and pay attention to someone you might not otherwise.  You would be surprised how much people appreciate as little as a greeting.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/100 sec @ 400 ISO

Thursday, August 9, 2012

2012, Day 222 - Spread your seed

Light is what gives life and in photography it is what we capture.  A moment of light reflecting into a medium that records it.  Hopefully it has meaning and sometimes it is a failure but it is always worthwhile because it helps us to learn and the knowledge gives us meaning.  So get out there, do something creative and if it isn't great do it again and again and eventually you and others will recognize your achievements.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/125 sec @ 320 ISO

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

2012, Day 221 - Dangling

This evening I took a walk and I found these great flowers with fuzzy buds and stalks.  So I crouched down to take a picture and noticed a couple of bees so I waited and when the bee was in the frame I took my shot.  The evening light was warm and rich and the colors so vibrant that I had to share it with everyone.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/1000 sec @ 400 ISO

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2012, Day 220 - Just a feeling

Woohoo!  I booked my flight to Cambodia this November with my friend Araceli and fellow photographers Nicole Young and Brian Matiash.  There is still so much left to do, to figure out, to plan and to book and even though it is months away I am giddy with excitement.  And the best part is that I don't have to be here for the aftermath of the election.  I will cast by vote by mail like all Oregonians and then I will leave and check the news to check the outcome.  It will be either celebration or distraction using the sights and sounds of Asia to distract me from my misery :)

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f11, 1/200 sec @ 200 ISO

Monday, August 6, 2012

2012, Day 219 - Reminiscing

It was another scorcher today and the plants really seem be to suffering almost as much as me.  To make matters worse I started a new workout regime and I am already sore so I suspect that tomorrow morning I will actually be crippled.  Anyway, I am thinking back on cooler weather, I think I'm ready for fall...

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/800 sec @ 200 ISO

Sunday, August 5, 2012

2012, Day 218 - Stinky friend

At least something likes this absurd and oppressive heat!  After walking the dogs in the oven that is Portland I noticed that a number of insects were out scavenging so after the dogs answered the call of nature I went back to collect a few models.  This is the first of my new friends and he was relatively cooperative at first.  Slowly exploring while I took pictures but after a few minutes his caution left and it began to get difficult to track him so I figured that was a clear indicator that he had grown weary of his career and an insectoid supermodel so I returned him from whence he came and moved on...

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f13, 1/200 sec @ 100 ISO

Saturday, August 4, 2012

2012, Day 217 - Study in green

I found this katydid hanging out in my bathroom a couple of days ago.  He appeared and disappeared over the past few days and today I decided that it probably needed to be placed in the yard and set free.  Still, I felt that he owed me a little bit so I made him pose for a little studio session and this is what came out of it.  Yup, he is grooming so that he would look good for this closeup.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f22, 1/250 sec @ 100 ISO

Friday, August 3, 2012

2012, Day 216 - Tattered

I thought that today I could use a change of pace, photographically speaking.  This is the old peeling paint on the side of Centennial Mills, a moldering ruin of the building on the waterfront in NW Portland.  The site is mired in controversy and while it was once hoped that it could be rehabilitated into something new every project has failed to survive its own infancy.  So it sits, neglected and in danger of collapsing on any who dare enter, with the hope that some kind of resolution will lead to a phoenix-like rebirth.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f11, 1/50 sec @ 200 ISO

Thursday, August 2, 2012

2012, Day 215 - And the green grass grew

I am trying to make travel plans and I can't stop obsessing.  There is so much I want to do, need to do, should do but don't want to, and the list goes on and on.  The only way to stop the cycle is to actually make my speculative plans concrete but even though it makes me anxious it is in a good way, I become giddy and if you've ever met me you would know that it gets rather overwhelming but in a good way, I hope...

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/320 sec @ 320 ISO

2012, Day 214 - Exploring

I love macro!  When the wider world seem so boring in its familiarity all you need to do is concentrate on the details.  We had another nice overcast morning and as the temperature rose so did the activity level of the insects.  My neighbors have a number of beautiful rose bushes and as I was looking at a particularly photogenic blossom I noticed movement in my peripheral vision.  Not wanting the frighten off my new friend I turned slowly an spied this little wasp rolling around inside the rose like a cat on catnip.  His movements made him look so excited, he dove in and out of the flower like Scrooge McDuck swimming in his wealth.  It was fun to watch him and it definitely brought a moment of levity to my day.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/320 sec @ 320 ISO