Thursday, October 19, 2017

I lied. The lens isn't awful.

Sunrise, shot in "Sunrise" mode in Camera
and cropped

I just need to learn how to operate it. I purchased a Tamron 18-200mm last year for my Nikon camera. I thought the 18mm to 200mm would be the ticket. I could get wide shots and zoom-er-in shots.

I got it in November and made my first mistake with it. I tried shooting indoors at full zoom and doing long exposures.
MISTAKE! Whoops! Nothing came out like I wanted it too. I was so disgusted I simply put the lens back in the box and thought about returning it. The lens was heavy, the tripod wouldn't hold the camera still long enough. There were some other minor issues too but these were all in very low light.

I put the lens away. I did take it out to see how it would preform in the daylight and if it was useful for portraits.
It was.

However, it does seem to shine in other ways too.

Zoom into the meadow by the Owl Trees.

Another zoom to 200mm for catching the curve of the gravel road and the oaks in the sunlight.

Maidenhair ferns. Used the lens to try and do a 'sort of' macro. Nice bokeh and it worked well.

I had to go to the township recycle place and took a slight detour to see if the pair of eagles had come back.
They had. One stayed on the trees and one flew off.

Another fast zoom. Kids walking with Morris.

And then a shot of the neighbor farmer cutting his hayfield and his round bales. Our area is rolling and hilly. There is a telephone or electric line running midway through the photo which is distorted because of the focal length.

How the lens do at 18mm?

Well I took this sunrise this morning.
Cropped to take out the foreground.

And last shot. Kid silhoutte at the bus stop with the predawn colors behind them.

I think the lens does well. I just need to leave it on my camera and keep using it so I can learn to make it perform well for me.

Every lens has its 'sweet' spot especially those lenses which are not prime.
I'd love to own a professional 70-200mm Nikon pro lens. However the average price is about $2,100. I think this one will serve me well and I sure did not pay a huge price for it.

Monday, October 16, 2017

After the Rains and a Micro Lens

I have a Nikkor 40mm Micro/Macro lens. I had put it aside for a while and decided to just shoot with the nifty 50 and the 85mm prime lenses. Now I don't have the pro lenses, but these nice primes are my go to lenses.
I tried shooting again with the 18-55mm lens but I just wasn't happy with the clarity compared to the primes.

With these fixed lenses, you can't just zoom in or out to 'get that shot'. You have to move your feet. I've found that I enjoy the challenge and now have a hard time going back to any other type of lens. I do however lust after a nice zoom.  I bought the Tamron 18-200mm last year thinking I had the bomb. Nope cheap lens, ... it does the trick in bright light but should only be used in mid range. And it is heavy. --- Edit on 10 17 17...eeks gads I took it out today and was able to make the Tamron work very well! ... Samples later!]

All right, with all of that garbeldy gook out of the way. What did I do? I put the 40mm on my Nikon and packed up my little old backpack and decided to go enjoy the fall colors. I planned on just hiking the 'bowl' up to the pine trees. This means a bit of brush busting through some deer trails.

Now as the name of the lens implies, it is great for close up work. And yes, you have to get 'close' up. Not so great when or if you are trying to shoot a bee for example.
However, it is great for the following.

Water droplets, leaves, and fungi. All such tiny things. I did have to kneel on the ground for the maidenhair fern. I had to get down close to the maple leaf and I got close and personal for the coral fungi. [That was a pure bonus!]

I kept walking down the trail wondering if I was going to regret this self challenge.

The woods were so incredibly beautiful. The colors were popping in the subtle light. The skies were overcast and letting in just enough diffused light to make the yellow leaves appear to glow.

I decided to explore this stump on the trail. Wow, I am glad I did.

I got a few of these droplets. All shots were hand held. I did get damp from kneeling and scrunching down in the leaves or leaning against the stump itself.

The light kept changing as there were breaks in the clouds once in a while.
I kept walking.

I cursed myself for not having a 'landscape' lens and then thought. Well, here is the challenge.
Go for it.

And I did.

Did I do okay? I think so. Did I satisfy my challenge? Yes I believe so.

It was a beautiful day to challenge myself. No tripod, nothing extra. Just a backpack with extra water and a pair of gloves.

I ended the hike at the soybean field at the top of the 'bowl'. I thought I'd try a hand held panoramic shot of the trees below me. The lone red tree was blazing away.

Yes, this worked! I can say with confidence that I can get landscape and micro/macro out of the same lens with nothing fancy.
Color me happy.
Color me satisfied.

Oh. And for the rest of the week the sun will shine brightly so I look forward to some fall adventures with Morris on some well groomed trails as well as a visit to the winter ice cave.
Fall is glorious.

Hopefully you can go out and enjoy it.

Saturday, October 14, 2017


Well I heard that description somewhere once upon a time.
My memory isn't as good as it used to be.

I do recall though the time I peed on a lady's shoes under the table. The shoes were so inviting. I was just a little puppy and well, I didn't know it would make her mad. Hopping mad too. I was told not to come back to her house. The older guy laughed and laughed until the Lenise lady gave him a stern look.

Anyway. She decided to go look at fall colors at Jersey Valley. I saw her getting ready and started to be a bit of a nag. I stood by the door and looked at her anxiously. I don't jump around much anymore.
Jumping around is not as fun as it used to be.

However, I knew it was a 'GO' when she got the blue lead line out.
Thank goodness she brings that now. I am pretty sure she wouldn't know her way around if I wasn't on the other end of the lead line.
Seems she needs this blue line more and more. Well, it is good to know that she needs me around still.

Even if She says I see monsters where there are no monsters. However, I know that that flower pot was really a huge threatening raccoon moments before it turned into a flower pot again. Those wild animals certainly are getting creative.

We settled into the Subaru and headed out. I navigated for a while then went to sleep. I was hoping she could find her way to the park. There are some nice trails there that She can follow pretty easily and doesn't seem to need my help.
I guess She has some concerns when she lets me loose. I head back towards the way we came.

She clips the blue line to her belt ...and off we go.

We have seemed to work out a way of walking that works with this method.

I'm glad because I sure would hate to have Her wander off where I couldn't find her.
Then where would we be? I know I'd spend the night lost with her in the woods and it wouldn't be so bad really. But I don't think She brought any of that really nifty dog food I like.

She was kneeling on the side of the trail while I sniffed up a tree. I'm sure a gorilla had just climbed this tree and was waiting to pounce on us. Perhaps it was a really huge Giraffe.

Anyway I kind of woofed a bit and then tried to climb it.

She called me a name, I think. She said "Come here Old Man," in a quiet voice. I looked around and didn't see Rich anywhere. I knew she must have been seeing things.

A really big dog came along the trail dragging a man. I gave that big dog a wink and a nod. "Train your human right off the bat! I wish I could drag mine around!"

Big Dog and Dragging Man stumbled down the snowmobile trail and off they went crashing.

She took more photos as I sat and watched.

I am pretty sure if I hadn't been along, She would have missed some of these glorious colors and photos.
After all, we've been partners for a very long time.

We went to the top of the dam and looked around. I got pretty bored. There were no people or monsters around.
In fact I was pretty tired.

Thank goodness She noticed and started to pack things up. Besides, I knew it was going to rain again.

We paused on the way back to take in the trail and the colors once more.
I do want to come back. It is nice taking her on this new trail.

Besides, I want to see if Big Dog and Dragging Man ever made it out safely.

I hope we get more 'Walkies' in before the temperature gets cold. I don't think I like cold stuff any more. I think She is okay with that. 
I talked to Dixie the other day to see if she'd pick up the slack.

After all, I really don't want Her to go out on her own. She needs a good dog to keep an eye on Her. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Meanwhile Fall is Glorious!

A cool foggy morning. The sun begins to come over the horizon and the fog turns orange.

Fog and hills plus sunlight = amazing.

Sidie Hollow County Park on a rainy Saturday.

Under the sugar maples on a sunny afternoon.

Ridge road to the creek in *Van Gogh* style.

Even just walking up to get the mail is amazing.

The hickory tree has turned golden and will be brown in a few days.
We had over 2 inches of rain last night and everything is misty looking and very sodden.

The cloudy overcast light has a certain way of enhancing the colors. Perhaps I'll be able to get out and enjoy some more color before entering the 'brown' season.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Mr. Morris and CDS

Oh ... wait.
What is CDS?
Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.

For real? Veterinarians came up with this long convoluted bunch of words for Doggy Dementia? Or Doggy Old Timers Disease.

Whatever you want to call it, Mr. Morris has it. Do you all remember when I said he was acting a bit funny earlier this summer? He got upset when plants were moved or when we parked the Subaru in the 'wrong' place.

A while ago he started this strange new behavior. Pacing. He will walk endless circles in the house from room to room. At first I thought he was unable to figure out where I was so I would call and let him know.

Remember when he started 'refusing' to go on walks or hikes? It is worse but it really isn't a refusal. He and I start up the driveway together as we have done thousands of times in our past years together.
Morris stops and stares at some leaves or...the woods, or the grass. He stands and then turns around and walks towards home.
If I let him go, he returns to the porch and walks back and forth on the porch in seemingly mindless circles.

His lucid moments are full of sweet tail wags and he loves being held.

My good friend Amanda worked for years for a veterinarian and mentioned that this behavior was a thing older dogs sometimes did. She mentioned that it is like Doggy Alzheimer's or Dog Dementia.

Well Morris is being a good sport about it. Our group went hiking with him in the creek bottom yesterday and any time we let Morris go, unattended, he simply turned and started to walk towards home.
He didn't respond to his name or a whistle. He just slowly put one foot in front of the other and headed towards home. Period. That was that.

However, he does know his way home. He will always retrace his steps and walk the path he has taken over and over on countless hikes for the past 13 years. Same path, same way. Always home.

He dutifully wears his bell and my hiking/photography friends accommodate Morris.
Their dog Scout checks on Morris and I suppose he may wonder briefly why Morris is not chasing him around like he did last year.

My good friend and sidekick Morris is slowly fading away.

But I am pretty lucky. I get to dote on him and be at his side. He is not in pain right now and is eating well. It is hard enough to watch a loved one go through this when they are human, but for some odd reason, it seems to hurt much more when it is a pet.

I am lucky to have this time to spend with Morris. We've been best pals for years and my only regret is that he won't see me into my last years of life.
However he has added so much to our lives just by being his funny little self.

So we approach each day with a smile and a lap warming session.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Some fun with Photos...

I've tried just about every photo editing program out there. I tried Light Room and loved Photoshop 7.0 the program I learned on. I didn't have formal training but learned it by the seat of my pants.

I tried Light Room and even though it is a masterful program I didn't like the fact that Adobe had you rent that and rent Creative Cloud to stay 'up' with the program.

One day I ran across a program called ON1 Effects. I downloaded it and actually enjoyed the free version for about a year before I invested in purchasing the ON 1 Effects version. I found myself using it a bit more and more and withdrawing from the old Photoshop CS3 I had. I also drifted away from Corel PaintShopPro. 
Last year ON1 announced a RAW processing program that they were developing.
I dove in headfirst. If you look them up and find discussions regarding the program there will be comments about the glitches, the crashes, and the program issues.
Even with the problems I've encountered, I am loving this program. 
If I am to do some extensive edits, more creative art stuff, I sometimes go back to PS. 

I wanted to see how 'far' I could take a photo. The original is at the top, this was my 'vision' when I took the shot. Could I turn this into a vintage/sketch/artsy thing?
Well, perhaps I did. I would have gone to the old Creative Suite to do this, but I decided to pursue it in ON1.

I've found it the go to program for my IR shots too.
This is what the interface looks like.

This is the original Infrared shot.

This is the final outcome. I've worked out a workflow that really works well for me.
Some things I don't like. Using layers seems to crash the program often. Working on too many files seems to crash things. Some of it involves my RAM memory and my CPU and other technical things. My laptop is not the newest one out there.

Sometimes when you do extend beyond just the regular shots like adding filters and infrared, you do need a processing program to work with. IR would not look half this good if processed through an online program.

Here are a couple more I did that day ... while on a walk with Morris.

This shot of the cosmos is one I wanted to do in the same fashion as the Sumac leaves. I laid in the garden and shot upwards towards the cloudy dull sky to take the photo of the flower.

And I wanted and etching.
Or something like that.

This weekend, I hope to get out on some cloudy and rainy days to do some beautiful fall photography. Jersey Valley should be incredible.