New Tamron Macro

It's been a while since I've even been near a computer, much less got to do a blog post.  We put new flooring down at home and I had to move everything out of the house for a few days, then work up the nerve to move it back in.  I'm still tired...

I did get my hands on the newest Tamron 90mm Macro lens.  I got a quick second to try it out yesterday evening.

This thing is sharp!  Every macro lens I've gotten from Tamron has been incredibly sharp.  This one is no exception.  

I shot this coneflower image with my Sony A7R II and Metabones Adapter.  The Metabones doesn't allow me to control the electronic aperture of this Canon mount lens, which pretty much means I have to shoot wide open, at F/2.8.  I was ok with that for this image, because I wanted the background to disappear anyways.

I mentioned I took this really quickly yesterday evening.  Maybe next time I'll have time to wait on the bumble bee or ladybug to show up. :)

Sony A7R II, Metabones Adapter, Tamron 90mm Macro, Sirui W-2004 and K-20 Ballhead

Aperture Priority, F/2.8, 1/80th second, ISO 100

 

Spruce Flat Falls

Here's an image of Spruce Flat Falls located in the Tremont area of GSMNP.  This is a really nice waterfall with the upper section being about 30 feet tall.  It is about a mile hike to get to, however.  The trail for this fall begins at the Tremont Institute.  

I took this image using my Tamron 15-30mm lens and just got as close to the water as I could.  You can't shoot these waterfall scenes without a circular polarizer.  I used a special filter mounting system designed for the Tamron 15-30 by Vu Filters.  It allows me to have a polarizer on that lens.  I can also add additional filters if needed, like a neutral density or graduated filter.

Sony A7R II, Metabones Adapter, Tamron 15-30, VU Filters Polarizer, Sirui W-2204 Tripod and K-20 Ballhead.

Aperture Priority, F/16, ISO 100, 2 seconds, 16mm

 

Update on America's Favorite Bluebird Couple

I'll try to catch you up to speed as to what is going on in the world of Blondie and Dagwood.  I've been keeping a close watch on their nest.  The earliest I documented eggs in the nest was on April 2.  Then I noticed two eggs in the nest.  Well, those eggs are still there...not hatched.  Since then they have laid three more eggs, but I wasn't able to document at what time they showed up.  I am pretty sure the first two eggs are no good, based on all the information I have read.  Typically bluebird eggs hatch between 12-14 days after they are laid.  The first two have been in there for over a month.  I have hope that the last three are still good.  The bluebirds have been spending a lot of time with the eggs in the last few weeks, so I am holding out hope that the birds know better than I that at least some of those eggs are still good.  I'd like to see Blondie and Dagwood be successful parents.

On another note, they have been eating their tails off.  Mostly Dagwood at the feeders.  He usually grabs food and takes to the nest to Blondie.  She has been spending a lot of time in the nest box, which is why I am still holding out hope for a few of the eggs.

I've been putting out live meal worms for them over the last few weeks, too.  I usually just put them in one of the "holes" on the tree and as soon as Dagwood finds them, it's on like Donkey Kong.

Aperture Priority, F/6.3, ISO 2000, 1/1000th second, Exposure Compensation +0.7, 330mm

In the above image you can see Dagwood digging for worms.  I have placed a handful of live mealworms in the hollow cavity of this posing tree so he can find them.  He's got his head in that hollow area in this image digging them out.  Then when he does find them it allows for photographs like you see below.

Aperture Priority, F/6.3, ISO 1600, 1/1000th second, Exposure Compensation +0.7, 330mm

This is just one of the things I do to capture images of these birds in a more natural environment.

Both images were made using my Sony A6300, LA-EA3 Lens Adapter and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.  Of course I used my Sirui tripod and PH-20 Gimbal Head, too.

Pileated Woodpecker Nest

Last week sometime I heard there was an easily accessible Pileated Woodpecker Nest in Huntsville.  I was a little late to the party, which is usually the case, but I got to go check it out on Saturday morning.

It's a good thing I got there Saturday morning, too.  I heard later that afternoon all of the babies fledged the nest.  I could tell they were about to when I was there photographing them.  They were really big.  They were getting really brave with how far they were coming out of the nest on their own.  The parents weren't feeding them very frequently either.  I think it was their way of telling them it's time to get out of the house.

While I was there dad did come in and feed once.  I didn't get a shot of him feeding all the chicks, but I did get a shot of him feeding this one. 

The leaves were really grown and in the way.  You basically had to wait on the wind and the birds to cooperate enough to get a shot without the leaves blocking the scene.

Sony A6300, LA-EA3 Lens Adapter, Tamron 150-600mm Lens, Sirui tripod and PH-20 Gimbal Head.

Aperture Priority, F/6.3, ISO 6400, 1/500th second, Exposure Compensation +0.3

Smoky Mountain Sun Rays

While in the Smoky Mountains for our workshop we decided to go up to Clingman's Dome for sunset.  The idea was that the full moon was rising 15 minutes before sunset, so we were going to photograph both the moon rising and quickly adjust for sunset.  The weather had a different idea.  We stuck with our plans, though and waited it out at Clingman's Dome.  It's a good thing we did, too.  About thirty minutes before time for sunset, there was a small break in some clouds near the horizon that allowed these amazing sun rays to display.  They lasted for about 15 minutes or so.  There was no real sunset, but seeing these rays light up the mountain tops was a pretty decent trade off.

I shot this with my Sony A7RII, LA-EA3 Lens Adapter and Tamron 70-200mm Lens all resting on my Sirui W-2204 Tripod and G-20 Ballhead.  The 70-200 is my favorite lens for Clingman's Dome.  I use it to compress the scene and get that nice layering effect in the mountains.  

No real trick to processing this image, but I will tell you using the Dehaze slider in Lightroom CC helps enhance the rays a bit.

Aperture Priority, 1/60th second, F/11, ISO 100, Exposure Compensation -2

 

Stuff Happens @#$!%

So, I while I was out in Texas I got the opportunity to visit the state capital.  It was something I had been wanting to do for some time.  When I knew I might get the chance, I contacted some of local Texas friends and the plans were made.

Here's an image from the third floor (that's as high as the general public is allowed to go) looking down onto the floor.

That was the last shot I took with my Tamron 15-30mm lens.  A few moments after this, we were ready to leave.  I put my camera on my tripod and threw it over my shoulder, like always...and bam!  I hear the camera and lens drop to the floor.  Apparently it wasn't tightened into the ballhead good enough and when i picked up the tripod the camera went flying.  My own dumb fault!

The camera itself "looked" ok, but the lens was laying on the floor in 2 pieces.  The lens mount had separated from the lens itself.  I had backup bodies and other lenses I could shoot with, but this 15-30 was my baby.  My broken baby.

broken 15-30

We continued on shooting around Texas looking for wildflowers and what not.  The rest of that day and on my flight home I was weighing my options.  My gear is insured but I was trying to crunch numbers on repairing vs. replacing via insurance.    I decided to go the repair route.  Then I got in touch with the best repair team in the biz...The Tamron Repair guys.

I told them the situation and they said to me "There is nothing we cannot fix outside of your lens being full of liquid".  So, I send them the lens and pay them the repair fees since it was a non warranty repair. One week and one day after I had shipped my lens, it returns all fixed up.

fixed 15-30

Eight days...including the weekend and shipping times, I have my repaired lens back!  That's hard to beat.  I can't imagine how quick this would've gotten done if it were a warranty repair.  If you can't be without your gear very long investing in a product that can give you a 6 year warranty and that quick a turnaround on repairs (even out of warranty repairs) is a HUGE benefit!  Thanks again, Tamron for taking such good care of this.

By the way, I did decide to send my camera in for a check up since I have the Sony Pro Imaging Support.  They are still awaiting parts to fix my Sony A7R II, but they have sent me a loaner to use until it is repaired.

Providence Church

This is a scene I photographed a few years back, too.  Then it didn't have all these cool little wildflowers by the sign, however.

I tried to do some research on this place, but couldn't find much on Google except its location on a map.  I saw a church by the same name in the area, so I assume this is their old place.  The new(er) one is much nicer and larger.

These are the kinds of places you find when you take that dirt road. ;)

This little gem is somewhere in between Chappell Hill, TX and Brenham, TX on N. Meyersville Road.  That's pretty much all I know about it.  I can only assume that some classic, southern gospel tunes were belted out of here back in it's day.

Not much to the photo technically.  It was one of those F/8 and be there kinda things.  I did shoot it ultra wide with my Tamron 15-30mm lens at a real low angle.  

If anyone happens to know any info on this place, I'd be happy to hear more about it.

Bluebonnet Dance Tavern

After much consideration I have decided to have the Lasik Procedure done.  I've been in glasses or contacts since I was about 8 years old, so I am excited about not having to mess with either of those again.  I'll be having this done tomorrow morning, so you probably won't see any blog post tomorrow.  If things go wrong I may never see another one.  C'mon, that was a good joke.

Last week, whilst in Texas hunting their ever popular wildflowers, we stumbled upon this little abandoned building.  I could not have lived with myself if we didn't go back and at least snap off a few frames.  

ISO 400, 45mm, F/8 @ 1/400th

The Bluebonnet Dance Tavern.  This thing spoke to me in many ways.  First, we can't skip the name of the place, okay.  Awesome name!  Well played, person that named this place...well played.  Second, there are a lot of different textures going on here.  I love textures.  The bricks, the doors, the stucco wall and even the grass and asphalt all have different textures.  

I made this image using my new Sony A6300 camera, LA-EA3 adapter and Tamron 24-70mm Lens.  I must've been living on the edge here, because this image was handheld.

Regretfully, we didn't dance at the dance tavern, but hopefully if everything goes well tomorrow I can dance around the house...without my glasses.

Texas Wildflower Sunset

I spent last week in Texas.  While I was there, I wanted to make sure I tried my best to find a good field of the Texas state flower, the bluebonnet.  These flowers could be found most everywhere along the roadside, especially so the farther you drive away from a city, however for the area I was in finding a really large field full of flowers proved to be a challenge.  After doing a little research, I was able to locate one field that was the best of any I found in the short time I was out there.  

The only problem was it was not too far from the main highway, so when I got there, 40 of my closet friends were there already.  Many of them there to take children's portraits in the flowers, or family portraits in the flowers...one photographer had a couple pull their truck out in the field of flowers to pose with the truck for engagement photos.  So I spent a lot of time waiting on these people to move or working around them.

Now, I think a field of bluebonnets is a pretty awesome sight, but when making a photo I like to add something in the foreground as a bit of an anchor.  It doesn't have to be anything really special.  In this case I used the only handful of Indian Paintbrush Wildflowers that were in this field.  I thought the contrast of the red flowers helped to anchor the foreground a bit and also adds a bit of a leading line to the rest of the field of blue.

It was very windy during this particular sunset, so I had to bump my ISO up to get a high enough shutter speed to "freeze" the flowers, so I bumped it up to ISO 1600.  I shot this scene in aperture priority at F/16 in order to get the nice starburst.  That yielded me a shutter speed of 1/30th.  While that isn't a "fast" shutter speed, if I waited until the wind slowed a bit, it was fast enough. 

This image was made using my Sony A7R II, Metabones lens adapter and Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  I also used my Sirui W-2204 Tripod and K-20 Ballhead.  I took this tripod because it is super stable and small enough to fold up in my carry on luggage.  It worked out great!

I also processed this image using Lightroom and On1 Effects.  

Warning:  More flower images coming soon.

 

 

 

Sony A6300

My Sony A6300 arrived.  Yeah!

I haven't had much time to spend with it yet, but the day it got here I took it out to the bird blind in the backyard.  I wanted to see how it would handle higher ISOs and how quick it would auto focus with the LA-EA3 adapter.  

Well, the focusing with the adapter is not an issue.  It focuses very quickly with my A mount Tamron 150-600mm Lens.  I expected this based on how things work with the A7R II, but I was pretty excited to confirm this.  

Here's an image of a couple of House Finches kissing.  This was shot at ISO 3200.  Pretty impressive...I wonder how it does at higher ISOs than that?

The image of this sparrow was shot at ISO 12,800!  I'd say this thing does pretty well.  I'm excited about using this thing more!

These images were made using my Sony A6300, LA-EA3 Adapter and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.  Gear resting atop my Sirui Tripod and PH-20 Gimbal Head.