Life is funny sometimes. I learned today that the black kitty that hangs out at our house a lot that we call Osric (we decided all black cats at our place should have Shakespeare names), is named Panther. I learned that because we hired Panther’s owner at our office today. She lives two properties north of us. Being true Corrales neighbors we know each other’s cats better than we know each other.
I got my car back today. It looks like new, and it was so nice to drive compared to the Cube and Captiva. The Cube was kind of fun, peppy and responsive compared to the Captive, but it was a real dog compared to our Mazdas. Laurie thought it felt like a dinosaur dragging it’s tail when it came to acceleration. There is nothing like the sport suspension systems and manual transmissions to enhance the responsiveness and speed of our Mazdas. Maybe I’m just really used to them, but the Mazdas are very ergonomic and have much better visibility than other cars I’ve driven. Not to mention they are fast.
When I got a rental car last week after my accident, the only car available was a Chevy Captiva SUV, which was nothing to write home about. My insurance is paying for the rental while my car is being repaired, but I got a call from Enterprise Rental this morning about charges I needed to cover on the rental car. They said that since I had an SUV I needed to pay the for the $6/day an SUV is over what the insurance pays. I told them the SUV was the only car they had when I got the car, that I didn’t like it, and that I’d be happy to return it for another car that fell in the price-range the insurance covered. I ended up with a Nissan Cube, which is much more to my taste and way more fun to drive.
Today’s photo is the result of image stacking and creating a fade to B&W effect. I’m happy with the results.
If you’ve never gone out and played with a porcupine at 4:00 in the morning, you haven’t lived. My not-so-well focusing camera gave me an interesting image of the stand-off between me and porky this morning. Porcupines are generally timid, but this one got tired of me following it around with the flashlight and began standing its ground. At least I had some fun with the porcupine since I didn’t get any irrigation water.
Puck stayed out until all hours last night. On one of my rounds calling for him, I took several exposures of the moon with Venus (I believe it’s Venus) and made an HDR out of them, then I just took a straight shot of the stars.
I photographed the peach blossoms in the low sun late this afternoon after I put down the gate to try irrigating again. The water is coming in, but it so dry it’s soaking into the ground so fast that it doesn’t seem to be moving.
My car is repairable, which I’m very happy about. The adjustor told me the other driver’s insurance should cover the camera. She said she has to replace cell phones all the time that have gone flying into dashboards and windshields.
It looks like one of the casualties from the car accident on Thursday is my trusty carry camera. That camera has been a constant companion for over two years now. I believe it was whacked against the steering wheel during the impact. When I tried to photograph the accident it wouldn’t focus, but I was immediately distracted by the police, then I called my insurance, the exchanged info with the other driver, etc. When I went to do a photo later, I noticed the camera was still having a hard time focusing, and the lens motor was making a grinding noise. Then I noticed the UV filter was missing, so it must have been knocked off the lens by the impact. It’s probably in my car somewhere.
I took photos at our gathering yesterday, and everyone on the edge of the frame is very distorted and there is even some distortion on the people in the center of the frame — one of the elements must have been knocked out of place. The last thing I noticed is that the lens does not click tightly onto the body now. I put on another lens tonight, and that lens doesn’t click on tightly either. The photos today were taken with the undamaged lens — even though they are pretty sharp, I know from the past that lens is extremely sharp, plus it has image stabilization, so the focus may be a little out of sync between the body and lenses from the impact.
This is the first butterfly of the season I was able to get close enough to photograph with a macro lens. It was sheltering itself from the wind in the black bamboo, but the bamboo was still getting whipped around by the wind. I bumped the ISO up to 1600 so I could have a 1/200 shutter speed at ƒ/11. I used 4 focal points hand held for today’s photo.
Tristan prepared Nigerian dishes for lunch and our friend from Nigeria, who is a visiting math student, came over and ate it with us. He had given us some ideas of food to prepare last week. He told Tristan that it came out very much like it is in his country. We asked him for suggestions for Nigerian dishes and if he would be willing to try them if we made them. Both he and Tristan were up for the challenge.
By using the macro stacking over a shorter focal range, but still taking focal points that are much deeper than what the normal depth of field would be so close, the photos today have more depth and look much more natural.
I downloaded Photoshop CS 6 beta this morning while I was taking the roof off the house at the other end of the property. I haven’t tested it other than saving these files, because the new camera raw allowed me to adjust blacks, whites, shadows and highlights separately, which gave me much more control over the images before I brought them into Photoshop. Actually, I didn’t make any adjustments on the photos in photoshop other than adding my name.
A baby from an amaryllis we got a couple of years ago bloomed today. I got interesting light patterns on the daffodils from the wind slightly moving them around while I went through the 30 focal points I used to create the image.
While in the shower this morning I noticed a daddy longlegs trying to keep from getting drenched. I quickly finished my shower, dried off, got dressed and grabbed my camera to try the multi-focus technique on the spider. I had to run the the various focal points very quickly because the spider didn’t want to hold still. Furthermore, I couldn’t set up the tripod, so I was only able to use it as a stick to help stabilize the camera. I think the results are really interesting. I made seven exposures, with seven focal points for each photo. I used a 100mm macro lens at ƒ/3.5, 1/100 second at ISO 100. I used a ring flash on the lens.
While I was on my way to meet with a tree trimmer to get an estimate for chipping up the trees I cut down in Tristan’s and David’s yard last Saturday, I was driving through the green light on 5th street and Tijeras when an on-coming car turned left into me. Needless to say I wasn’t able to meet the tree trimmer. The impact broke my front wheel and bent the front fender in such a way that the driver’s side door cannot be opened. The damage doesn’t look extensive, but if the drive-shaft is bent and the ball-joint is broken, they might total the car. I’ve learned from the last time I was hit, that what looks like a little damage can be too expensive for the insurance consider worth repairing.
I’m trying out a new technique that requires fine and accurate focus. All these close-ups are composite photos shot at ƒ/5.6 at 1/15 second using multiple frames for each composite — each frame has a different focal point from the background to the foreground. The frames are put together so the focused portions of each frame shows, resulting in composite photos that are sharp throughout the image. I took 15 frames to create the photo of the spider lilies above, and even with that, I missed the focus on part of one of the leaves. This technique definitely takes practice when doing it by hand.