Eye to eye with a Great Horned Owl.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Legacy lens on Sony NEX

One of the really attractive things about the Sony NEX cameras is their ability to work with just about any lens in the mighty lens firmament. That means all of the Nikon mount lenses I've been accumulating over the years are still fair game even though I've mostly abandoned my Nikon hardware and defected to the Sony side.

A few days ago I finally got around to dusting off a Nikon lens I hadn't used for many years. Not even sure why not, I just hadn't been using it. It was just collecting dust - never good for lenses - in the closet. The lens in question is the Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5. I've always known it was fabled for its sharpness, but I had forgotten just how wonderful its images can be. I slapped an adaptor on it and fixed it on the Sony and raided the wife's flower garden. I had been out earlier with another Macro lens and liked those images well enough, but the difference felt palpable. I really liked the images the Micro-Nikkor produced. 

I want to do some portrait shots with this lens. With the APS-C sensor factored in, the lens has an effective focal length of just under 85mm. Might make a really nice little portrait lens.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Monochrome without Black and White

Monochrome, of course, is not limited to Black and White, even though that is its most common application. Mono means one. And any image that employs what is essentially a single color palette is by definition a monochrome image. The nasturtium above is a case in point being made up almost entirely with varying hues of orange. In these cases, the monochrome nature of the image is determined not by choices in processing or shooting materials but by the coloration of the subject itself.

Below are a couple more monochromes with color -- in one case very, very subtle color.

This spring/summer has so far been very wet. Hence the world around us is very green. The first image emphasizes the greenness I am seeing around me -- and I like the business of the grass blades. The lower image is actually in color even though it reads as black and white because it is of water beaded on a black surface. The reflections in the water provide the only hint of color. Also a lesson in seeing images in simple things.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Moving parents up a notch

Forgive me for a slight redundancy, but I've been fascinated watching the progress of our temporary neighbors and put up an image of the mother of the group as my homepage photo this week. It went up on Saturday (still on schedule I would like to note) but I've waited until today to report it here - like who's watching anyway.

I did an earlier post (with photos, of course) regarding the nesting and feeding activities here.

Those activities have ended. The nest has been vacated and I would assume the little woodpeckers successfully fledged - though that is only an assumption as we did not see it happen. The weather was consistently crappy and I'm sorry to say that they probably took their maiden flights into wet, nasty weather. Maybe one of the many claps of thunder propelled them out of the nest. Ah well, probably an appropriate introduction to life in the world.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Saranac Lake's June Art Walk

Yesterday was an absolutely perfect day for the first Art Walk of the season. The weather cooperated beautifully after a decidedly unfriendly cool and wet spring. But yesterday the temps were finally getting into summer-like territory and there was nary a cloud to be seen -- as you can see above.

Nothing special to report about it except that it was very successful and it seemed to be enjoyed by all. I'll let the following pics speak for themselves and not belabor the issue with unnecessary verbiage.

Now we just hope that the promise of summer becomes more of a reality than we've been seeing and that remaining ArtWalks will be so blessed. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Museum Trip to Montreal

Went up to Montreal a few weeks back to view the Peruvian exhibit at Montreal's Museum of Art. Having been in Peru and the museum in Lima that provided many of the artifacts in the show, we found it an especially interesting collection - a chance to relive in a small way a memorable trip.

Got the shot above, this week's Homepage pic, while regrouping in the stairwell outside the museum cafe. I was drawn to the geometric shapes contrasted with the totally non-linear cloud.

Also got some shots in the museum. I was shooting, as is almost always the case these days, with the Sony NEX. One of the extra features of these cameras is a setting that fires off six quick shots in low light situations and then stacks them and produces a single image - it's a way to get shots in low light without having the effects of high noise levels. It's a feature perfectly suited for shooting in places like museums where flash is verboten.

Trips to Montreal are always fun and having a terrific museum nearby is great. NYC is not that far away, but Montreal is closer. You can browse the internet and look at lots of great art, but seeing it up-close and personal is so much better. Museum trips always provide wonderful inspiration and re-energize those sometimes reluctant creative juices.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bearded Irises - POTD on NCPR!

I have a photo doing "Photo of the Day" duty over at NCPR - today only.

And notice the little hitchhiker on the side of the blossom? I didn't see it when I took the shot, but noticed it when I was doing post-processing.

I was in the office doing some paying of the bills when I glanced out the window and saw this unusual phenomenon -- sunshine! And it was shining through the petals of these gorgeous irises. Grab camera. Slap on macro lens. Go shoot.

Here are some more images from that shoot - with proof that the sun can shine. Though around here lately, not so much. Plenty of rain though to keep these beauties growing.

And finally, the very O'keeffian...

Now is that sensual or what? Flowers are amazing. And the closer you look, the amazinger they get.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Busy Parents

Yesterday whilst enjoying an evening libation on the porch and the first manifestation of sun in awhile, I happened to visually follow the flight of a passing woodpecker and espied its destination -- a nest hole in a neighboring birch tree.

So today I attached my 300mm f/4 cannon to my diminutive Sony NEX 5n, put it on a tripod and setup to see if I could catch them in the act of parenting.

It worked!

Male Hairy Woodpecker with larva of somekind.

Male Hairy coming out of nest. They duck in occasionally to take out the garbage....

Female Hairy with large ant.

Now that I know where it is and know that I can get my pics without disturbing their duties, I'm going to have to keep an eye on things. Hopefully I'll be able to catch some shots of the wee ones poking their heads out as they prepare for their journey into the big world. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Corvettes Galore

As I was driving home yesterday afternoon, I came by a local restaurant at the edge of town -- the Red Fox. A Corvette Rally had obviously descended on the establishment for their evening meal. The parking lot was brimming with bright, shiny Corvettes. 

I was about a mile down the road before I realized, "I have to get a picture of that!" So I turned around, went back and did it.

I know it's probably heresy, but I don't even particularly like Corvettes. But having a collection like that all neatly parked and glistening in the dullness of a grey day, I could hardly resist. I couldn't resist taking pictures of them that is. I never did feel any desire to look inside one, get into one or even drive one. I guess that means I'm deficient in some basic, significant way. But what the hell. I'd much rather lust after a great new lens I can't afford.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Along the Shore

It's time for the weekly posting of a new homepage image on my website.

This one is titled "Roots, Rocks and Grass". I shot it last fall as I was paddling along the shore of the Saranac River. 

I find shorelines fascinating places. Being as they are the intersection of two dramatically different planes, places of friction and abrupt change. I'm not the only one who finds them so, or finds them awash with fodder for new art. The show currently featured at the Adirondack Artists' Guild Gallery displays a body of work by Guild member Suzanne Lebeda in which she explores the forms and textures that can be found at that juncture of land and water.

While this image focuses on the textures of the more land based elements, the presence of water always adds another layer of interest. The juxtaposition of the static, fixed solidity of the roots and rocks contrast with the fluidity of the grasses leading into the liquid, reflective movements on the water to create a wonderfully dynamic tableau. IMHO, a fine example of "found art". (And this seems a fine example of BS. Oh well.)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

An Unexpected Hit

You know how sometimes you just do things on a whim without really thinking about it and are surprised at the result? Well that's pretty much what happened earlier this week when I decided on the spur of a moment to change my profile picture in Facebook.

A few days ago I had taken a walk after another of our frequent rain showers and, as usual, took the camera along. As I walked, I got interested in the brimming puddles. These intriguing juxtapositions of light, texture etc. were begging to have some attention paid. I took a number of shots and when I processed them later found a couple I rather liked. I didn't really think of them being particularly good, but they were interesting and fun. So, as I said, on a whim I stuck on in as a profile picture. 

I was very surprised by the rapidity and enthusiasm of the responses. One of the amazing things, of course, was the reinforcement it provided about the level of involvement we have developed for and in the world of social media. There have been a number of people who have responded very strongly to this particular image. And it's always gratifying to get positive feedback about our work. The one I put up before this was a closeup of some apple blossoms. They were very pink. I liked the blossoms, but pink isn't really my color -- it works a lot better for my grand-daughter who's obsessed with it. So I changed for the above image. Better suited to my personal palette.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Season is Green

Looking around these days, the overwhelming impression is "Green". We're still pretty much in Spring mode here and there are still patches of the many-varied hues of green that come with the rebirth of the trees. The lighter, freshest greens are deepening into darker tones, but the variety is still notable.

That's it. Nothing more exciting than some images of my presently green world. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Out of Season

Summer hasn't arrived in the north country yet, in fact we're having some trouble establishing spring -- tonight's temps are being forecast in the mid-30s (brrrrr). And only two days ago, folks here were complaining about it being too hot (mid-80s). Never satisfied you know.

Before that little tidbit was announced, I posted a new homepage image for this week. 

Not that I'm advocating for more of this stuff at the moment. But it was the image that floated my boat over the weekend. I call this one "Caution: Snow Porn". You're welcome to do with that what you will. It's probably a personal thing. It's from the one cross-country ski outing I had this season at the Visitor's Interpretive Center outside of Saranac Lake. A very nice place to visit if you're in the area -- any time of the year.