Monday, April 6, 2009

SoFoBoMo: Thoughts

Since it's nearly time for SoFoBoMo 2009 to start, I suppose I should start thinking about what I'm going to do... 

As far as software goes, I'm using InDesign. I used it to create the one edition that I handled of the newsletter for the North Bethesda Camera Club in Maryland (I ended up moving to Seattle shortly after publishing it), so I've been through the learning curve already.

I would like to have a physical book as well as a PDF, so I'll probably get some prints done; since I'm most likely going to be hosting my web site on SmugMug, or at least using SmugMug as my back-end, I'll give their partner a try to see how they do.

These pictures are of flowers around my condominium complex. I suppse these are further signs that spring really is here at last.

I used my 105mm Nikon Micro lens with a Nikon 2x teleconverter. There was a bit of a breeze, so I used 1/250th shutter speed and aimed my Metz flash into the silver side of my reflector to get enough light to freeze their movement.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring is here at last!

One of my friends organized a trip up to Mount Vernon on Friday. I left Seattle at around 4:25am, met up with the crew, and arrived in Mount Vernon at around 6:15. We puttered around a bit, looking for the "best" daffodil field, and parked.

The "best" daffodil field is a tough one to determine, because they don't look that different from each other. The one picked had a bit of a hill, and more space for us to park than the others. :)

The first shot here is an attempted HDR, showing the sky, the flowers, and one of the farmhouses in the area. I merged the HDR in Photoshop CS4. It seems to work fairly well; I'll have to keep experimenting. I have a lot to learn about working with HDR images.

Although I did do come up with some wide-angle shots like the one above, most of my images are, as usual, close-ups.

I found this bug while setting up a close-up on one of the many daffodils in full bloom. The insect didn't move while I set up the shot, so I had plenty of time, one advantage of being out there so early in the morning.

I don't know whether the insect was hiding there, or feeding. Possibly both. I need to learn more about daffodils and insects, I suppose :)

This was some dew that I found on one of the daffodils. I like seeking out little details like this, there's always something new to discover if you look closely enough!
The hard part is setting up the shots, more than just finding them. With the magnification that I was using (Nikon 105mm VR Micro + Nikon 2x teleconverter), there was very little depth of field available, so I couldn't get all of the dew drops in focus. Instead I had to pick one, and attempt to arrange a composition around them that that didn't require that the rest of them be sharp. Even then, it wasn't an obvious setup, and it took several tries to get it to this point. I'm still not entirely satisfied with this image, because I think it needs to be sharper.

I'll get a second chance when we go back to the Mount Vernon area in search of tulips. :)