Archive for the ‘nature’ Tag

It Should Be Springtime Here   Leave a comment


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Blasted cold!

I woke up this morning to single digit temperatures. The wind chill was below 0F.

Now, I know that doesn’t mean much to those from farther up north, but around here in North Carolina, this is rather unusual for this time of year. And it has been relentless.

Although I’m quite done with winter for now, I realize it’s only a matter of a few months before I’m slogging through the heat and humidity of a Carolina summer. Perhaps I’ll try to remember this popsicle in late August, finding some refreshment in the memory.

Early Morning Sunrise, Late September, Otter Rocks at Acadia NP, Maine   3 comments


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I’ve said it before: I’m not an early morning person… usually.

While in Acadia National Park last autumn, we got in the habit of waking up early — around 4:30AM — so that we could get a cup of coffee and transport down to the waterfront for sunrise shooting. During the two weeks we were there, most sunrises were rather mundane due to the clear weather, but on occasion… this. It was well worth the effort, and had the added benefit of putting us in a place where there were few other people, if any at all.

This was taken from a set of 9 frames, merged in Photoshop Merge to HDR Pro, finishing with a bit of Topaz Clean (for the rock foreground), and a slight radial filter in the clouds to accentuate some of the long exposures.

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Otter Cliffs at Acadia National Park, Maine   4 comments


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I never was much of one for waking up early, nor much for black & white photography. But, some places suggest pushing past those preferences into finding something new.

Crawling out of the sleeping bag (the nice… warm… sleeping bag, mind you) at about 4:30AM each day, we made a daily pilgrimage down to the cliffs to catch the sunrise. Due to the great weather we had during the trip, the sunrises were a bit droll because of few clouds, so I started playing around with long exposures, neutral density filters, and alternative views of the area.

During post-processing, I tried to conjure up some of Bob Lussier’s great B&W photography. Bob sets the bar quite high, but at least it’s something different to try out.

1/8sec at f/14, 36mm, ISO 100, way too early.

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I Gotta Right to Sing the Greens   7 comments


I Gotta Right to Sing the Greens

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During the dog days of summer here in the South, backyard critters will still find a way to keep cool, and to be cool.

This Carolina Anole seemed to be singing his heart out toward the end of a long day of catching bugs. We noticed him through the glass doors leading to the back deck, so I grabbed the new Sony NEX 7 with the an 18-55 lens and got right up against the glass.

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Where Food Comes From (3)   3 comments


Where Food Comes From (3)
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Continuing on the theme of Where Food Comes From, we have a new subject for you to identify. Can you guess what this is? (* Answer below.)

We had been concerned about this plant over the winter, as it looked a bit gangly. But as this year’s new growth flushed in, the plant became much larger and fluffier just before sending out these beautiful flowers laced with various purple tones.

We don’t harvest the leaves of this plant while it’s blooming, but otherwise, we clip off the leaves, rinse and dry them, and then sauté or pan-fry them in butter and olive oil. (Okay, more butter than oil for this treat!) Don’t make them too dark, or they’ll get bitter.

After about five minutes, you take the leaves out of the butter and cool them on a paper towel. IF there are any remaining after we snitch them, we put the leaves on pasta, on salads, or any other dish that could use a come-up. It always surprises us when the toasted leaves make it to the plate.

* Somewhere on the ‘net, a woman asked what to do with all the excess sage she had growing in her garden. Someone else responded with the above idea, and voila… no more excess sage.

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This is another macro-focus-stack image, derived from five separate images taken at various focus points along the plane. Using Auto-Align Layers and then Auto-Stack Layers commands in Photoshop CS6 produces a good result with few artifacts.

Guess What Happens Next?   Leave a comment


A bull moose and cow about to breed near Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire

Click on the image to see it larger in a new window on my Animals Gallery.

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Hint: Not what you think.

An amorous bull moose makes advances on a cow near Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire. This is a rather unusual sight, as the autumn rut & breeding usually take place deep in the woods, far away from populated areas.

We actually found this pair in the parking lot of the Pinkham Notch AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club.) I grabbed the camera out of the back of the truck, and followed the pair at a safe distance as they crossed the road into the Lost Pond area. The cow was feeding on the aquatic vegetation, but the bull had other things on his mind. Although he made several attempts, the cow spurned his initial advances, preferring to take him deeper into the woods before mating.  Can’t blame her… by that time, about a dozen vehicles had stopped, which is typical when moose are near the road.

Each of us were willing voyeurs to the event.  What struck me as odd was that right after the bull’s best attempt, a woman dressed in rather garish hiking garb said loudly, “Well! That isn’t the picture I wanted to get!”  Um, lady… If you’re reading this, just what did you expect to happen?

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This image is just about SOOC (straight out of the camera.) While I tried to do some tonemapping on it, nothing was better than the original RAW file. I did a little cropping, sharpening, and then used NIK’s Darken/Lighten Center filter to bring the eye towards the moose, then a bit of NIK’s Vignette Blur filter to knock back some of the foliage on the left.

It was kind of refreshing to stray away from HDR, actually.  I think I’ll try that more often. ;^)

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