Friday, August 26, 2016

Week 34 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 232

 Friday is the first day of my photographic week and the day I generally post the week previous. No, the photos are not necessarily taken each day of the week to post. I have bumper days out with the camera when I could manage a whole month of posts. Over the years I have done this I have developed a file system to separate off the photos I deem acceptable for my daily post and I am frequently a week ahead. But today when I went to week 35 there was only one photograph there to post.

It has been a busy time here at Twix. There are three signs for Black Lake as if someone could not decide exactly where it was. Some time ago a neighbor back up the road started calling her place Tween because it was between Angel Fire and the first Black Lake sign. I am at the first sign and ergo Twix as in between sign one and two. And then there is Beyond Black Lake. Suffice it to say rural dwellers describe their locations differently than city dwellers.

Day 233

 Day 233 was taken at Twix. It is a red tailed hawk on the sentinel tree across the road. She is either there or on the power pole on the property line in my backyard. She hunts the prairie dogs and rodents from these perches. We're old friends and my activities seldom make her fly.

Day 234

 I leave Twix to sit pets (my don't quit your day job activity) which opens different worlds to me and my camera. The seed pods of the split leaf palm above are in a green house in Angel Fire. A certain rural perspective has invaded this resort town. There is up basin and back basin. The lake and the mountain sides. I admit going through a tangle of residential roads to get to places where I know the pet's name but not the name of the road.

Day 235

 The photograph below was taken on the mountain side near the wetlands. The one above on the other side near the lake. My new camera has a GPS function. So did the one before. I have never used it because there is something about life in the mountains which screws it up. And Google maps doesn't help. The roads do not make right angle turns either left or right. Sort of look like the wind chime above.

Day 236

I think the weather vane and the raven had a spat. They do not seem to be talking.

Day 237

This velvet buck was in Tween. Just off the road to Twix. Deer are so common in this area I frequently don't even stop but I had a mission this summer to take a photograph of a buck in velvet. This ten pointer was worth pulling off the road.

Day 238
There is a day in August when the wind comes from a new direction and has a new smell to it. It means fall is really here regardless of when the calendar says it is so. Grass does not grow much after that date and here and there is a preview of the colors to come. It is a busy time when you know things must get done before winter (generally at Halloween). I swear the calendar is wrong. Winter Solstice is more the middle of winter not the beginning. By the first of March spring is creeping in.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Week 33 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 225

It has been a busy week. My day job is pet sitting. The camera always goes with me because it is when out and about I often catch a new angle on a subject. This week there were so many pet sitting jobs the camera sometimes just sat in its case on the seat beside me in the truck. Five of this week's photographs were taken in my yard. 

Day 226

The photograph above is one of two I took while running between pet homes. I actually took time out to walk down the hill a bit to get a better angle on the Sangre de Cristo mountains which are the major landmark of our valley.

Day 227

And feeding the hummingbirds has become a three time a day activity. Too bad I am not getting paid to watch after them. Going through ten pounds of sugar a week. I am told the end of August they should be taking off for southern climes but it seems they have stuck around for a lot longer than usual.

Day 228

I could argue that I have to have a garden and a flower bed for photography if nothing else. But to be honest I have not even taken the time to do much of that this year.

Day 229

Always thrilled when an animal poses for me. This chipmunk was very obliging. Actually he was waiting for the jays to leave so he could raid the birdseed. 

Day 230
Clouds are also good at posing.

Day 231

Friday, August 12, 2016

Week 32 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 218

Another great week with my new camera. And really pointing it at everything. How else am I suppose to find out what it can and cannot do.  I seriously don't know if there is anything it cannot do but some things it is really just going to do better than others. It is fantastic at closeups and love the definition even in long shots. But I find myself yearning for a new wide angle lens.

Day 219
 A raven hit a power line and died on my property. It was a great opportunity for a photographer. And I definitely could not pass it up as a test of the sharpness of the image I could capture.

Day 220
 But it also does great landscapes and I live in an area with great landscapes to capture.

Day 221

Day 222
 Dawn and dusk settings are great. 

Day 223

Day 224

Friday, August 5, 2016

Week 31 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 211

This week was about up close and personal. Oddly enough all these photographs were taken with my long lens. It really does some great macro photographs. The only problem is I have to be far enough away to be within the 55-300mm focal range. But my first exposure to SLR cameras was with just a 50mm lens which was standard equipment at the time. I frankly do not know if I still have one. Fixed lenses will give you a clearer image than a zoom I am told but It also means changing lenses more often. 

Or narrowing your subjects. I am more a photographer on the go even if go does not mean a foreign country. I want to be able to pivot from focusing on the Bristle Cone needles to the elk herd passing behind me across the meadow. But I do like picking up the details on a drive through the Valle Vidal.

Day 212

And I like zooming in on wildlife from a distance which does not spook them. Yes, I could have lured (and did) the chipmunks to within a few feet of my feet. Too close for the focal range of the long zoom lens. But they look far more natural in their choice of habitat which is not the picnic table.

I confess I snapped on a lot of ground squirrels to get the two photographs below but we are no longer paying per frame like the film days.

Day 213

Day 214

And so back to the Bristle Cone Pine. I love these slow growing trees which were once believed extinct because they grow high up and largely on the edges of alpine meadows. They do not like company. I have one in my yard which must have been planted there. For the longest time I thought it was going to die. It really did not grow. It is now almost four feet high with an offshoot just 18 inches like it was when I first met it.

The Shuree Lakes in the Valle Vidal has a nice grouping of them. And for the first time I got to see a pine cone open. And identify as to why they are called Bristle Cones.There are thorns on the end of each cone pedal.

Day 215

 And the long lens is great for butterflies. They are spookier than chipmunks and not to be wooed by a peanut or Bing Cherry. In a mountain meadow where the air is seldom still I often use the sports setting on my camera to capture flowers which wave in the breeze. It is also helpful with butterflies and bees on flowers. I am again grateful for not having to pay by the frame exposed.

Day 216

Mostly it is the 55-300mm on my camera because you never know when driving through a national forest or even into the neighboring town from my house when a photo opportunity will appear. I am considering writing a blog on using truck windows as tripods. And just recently heard about "sandbags" you can make to cushion your camera on windows or fenders or hoods. At least one with rice, lighter, would be nice to put in the camera bag.

Day 217

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Week 30 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 205

 This week is all about the Valle Vidal and the new camera. Yes, you are all probably tired of hearing about the new camera. But after putting up with a camera I did not like for two years I feel as if I have died and gone to photographer heaven.

As frequent readers of this blog know I love my reflections. One of my favorite subjects. And the Shuree Ponds on the Valle Vidal were perfect for it on a partly cloudy day.

Day 206

Day 207

The ponds are nestled in a valley surround by tall mountains. Man made they were once part of the Shuree Hunting and Fishing Lodge. Would be wonderful if funds appeared to restore the lodge to its pre 1950's glory.

Day 208

But the ponds are maintained and stocked by the Carson National Forest and enjoyed by a few fly fishermen. And photographers.

Day 209

Day 210

Day 204

I wrap this up with the first photograph I took with my new camera. Dawn from my studio door.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Week 29 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 197

The new camera arrived. At some point I should put it down so I can get the house cleaned up. I am so in love with this camera. Yes, I know, I am one of those who says that photography is about so much more than just a camera. And that is especially true in this day of digital darkrooms. But even with the best software it can take a lot of time to turn a passable image into a keeper. Yes, a great camera will not make you a great photographer, but good chef's need sharp knives and I just got mine. And so I have been chopping up everything in sight. 

Day 198

 I believe in testing the limits of my new tools. Ever since I got my first SLR camera I have devoted a week solid to every new lens. With a new camera I wanted to try it out on every subject I had been having problems with on my other camera. The one I should have never bought. Only the first and last photo in this blog were taken with other than my new camera. They are also the only two I used post processing tricks on.

Day 199

I had almost entirely stopped doing any macro photography. I was sure I was beyond holding the camera steady enough. I have friends who shifted to a point and shoot digital when they encountered that issue. I switched to a heavier camera and found it easier to hold steady. And since it focuses faster, shoots multiple images faster, and adjusts to dim light situations I am back to doing up close and personal shots.

Day 200

 Found I did not need the rapid fire shooting option; taking five photos quickly to get one in focus. The Nikon D7100 gave me the image I wanted with just one photograph. And a lot less time post processing.

Day 201

Days 200, 201, and 202 were shot within the same ten minute time frame. And standing at the same spot on the Cimarron River waiting for the butterflies to settle on the flowers. It was using my favorite long lens, the 55-300, which I mostly kept on the Nikon D90 because it gave me better pictures than the D3200.

Day 202

Day 203 was with the D3200 as I tried on the various lenses in my collection to see which had come with that camera kit and had the drive motor in the lens. I regained a couple lenses with the switch back to a camera with the focus drive motor in the camera. Some time had to be spent reintroducing those to my camera case. On the first day out with the new camera the trusty Nikon D90 came with us. Never get too far from home with just one camera. It is why I have two camera bags. One carries the lenses, filters, and two cameras. The day tripper carries one camera and my favorite lenses.

I am rehoming the D3200 to someone not as serious about photography as I am. The D90 will stay at home more often. And I will get faster at changing lenses again.

Day 203

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Week 28 - 2016 in Photgraphs

Day 196

 I was debating the new camera this week. And finally ordered it. So taking photos from this week inspired less than usual. But there were subjects I needed to capture so I used the equipment at hand to take them. Mostly the Nikon D90, which while only 12 mp, is the workhorse of my stable.

Day 193

But I still tried the Nikon D3200 from time to time. In part to prove I really needed a new and reliable camera with more pixels. The turkey feather above was taken with that camera. It is the one of a series of five I took of this subject. But clearly the camera was having focus issues. I, however, like this one. The first Americans see the turkey feathers as spiritual tools or symbols and the out of focus quality of this photograph imparts that.

Day 190

The rest of these are with the D90 and my long lens. And with the plumeria blossoms a certain athletic ability to perch on things to focus in the 10 foot high blooms.

Day 191

Day 192

Day 194

The salmon colored poppies just required being able to stoop down and get back up while still holding on to the camera. When people ask me what I do to stay in shape I say I take my camera for a walk. Just received my new Nikon D7100 so more of those walks in my future.

Day 195