flowers

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

 

Showy Orchis

While in The Great Smoky Mountains last month, we were on the lookout for various wildflowers in the area.  One of my favorites is The Showy Orchis.  According to the US Forrest Service website, the showy orchis only gets between 4-8 inches tall.  The showy orchis also has to maintain a relationship with a certain type of fungi in order to grow.  They also prefer moist soil, like somewhere near streams...The Great Smoky Mountains is a prime spot for them.

Here's an image a I made using my Sony A7R II, Metabones Lens Adapter and Tamron 90mm Macro Lens.  I shot this in Aperture Priority at F/4.  I wanted a very shallow depth of field so the background would fall off quickly.  Macro photography is much easier with a tripod.  I used my Sirui W-2204 and K-20 Ballhead for this image.

Here's all the EXIF info:  Aperture Priority, F/4, ISO 100, 1/50th second, 90mm, Exposure Compensation 0. 

You Shot That With A What?

One of the days we were in the smokies my teaching partner, David Akoubian, was going to be using his NIkon system for the day, so I decided to borrow his Canon 5D III for the day.

That's right using a Canon.  If you have followed me for any amount of time you know I used to shoot Canon before I switched to the Sony MIrrorless system.  So, I'm no stranger to the system.  I decided to give it a whirl on some of the macro images of the pink lady slippers.

The conditions were great for shooting macro shots of these flowers on this day.  It had rained the evening before and everything was still wet causing the colors to look more saturated.  It was also still very overcast, so there was no harsh light falling on any areas, which made for great light.

This is another one of those macro instances where I wanted to totally isolate the subject from the background so I shot wide open at F/2.8.

I shot this using the Canon 5D Mk III and Tamron 90mm Maccro Lens.  I always use a tripod when shooting macro and this time was no exception.  I had my Sirui W-2004 and G-20 Ballhead combo and it worked great, like always.

Aperture Priority Mode, F/2.8, ISO 100, 1/50th second, 0 Exposure Compensation

Pink Lady Slippers

I returned home yesterday from our Spring workshop in The Great Smoky Mountains.  We had such an incredible group!  From the images I saw when working with some of them on processing, they got incredible shots, too!  I'm already looking forward to next year's workshop!

One area of focus when we visit the smokies in the spring is always the wildflowers.  There are so many lovely wildflowers there, but the "holy grail" of those is always The Pink Lady Slippers.  We've been fortunate enough to find a fairly large group of them the last few years and everyone has gotten great images of them.  This year was no exception.

Here's an image I took with the Tamron 90mm Macro Lens.  We counted over a hundred of these flowers in this area.  They usually grow in bunches, or groups of 4 or 5 in one spot, but I like singling one out when making images of them.  When photographing with a macro lens your depth of field is very shallow.  This usually results in you having to stop down your aperture in order to get everything you want in focus...and sometimes that isn't even enough!  However, this time I went with an aperture of F/2.8 because I wanted to make sure the background was a total blur.

Sony A7R II, Metabones Lens Adapter, Tamron 90mm Macro Lens, SIrui W-2004 Tripod and G-20 Ballhead.

 

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.

Bluebonnets, bluebonnets, bluebonnets

You were warned yesterday that more of these were coming. ;)

This image was made in the same field as the image I posted yesterday.  This time I focused only on bluebonnets...and it seemed they went on as far as you could see.  It is very hard to see in this image, but in the background right along the horizon on the right side is a very large field of indian paintbrush flowers.  I actually drove over to check those out, but the land owner had placed private property signs up and roped off everything at the road.  So, I headed back over to this bluebonnet field.

Tech talk...I shot this at 15mm on my Sony A7R II using the Metabones adapter and Tamron Lens.  So, basically, I set the lens to 15mm and put it right at the edge of these bluebonnets at a very low perspective.  I wanted to get low for this shot.  Not too low, though.  If I had gotten much lower than this you couldn't see that the field is full of flowers.  It would have looked more like a dozen flowers than thousands.  Since the sky wasn't very interesting at all, I knew I didn't want to include much of it.  So, using my Sirui W-2204 Tripod, I positioned my camera just a bit above the tops of these bluebonnets and angled it down to exclude much of the sky.

I shot this in aperture priority mode at F/16.  I had to raise my ISO up to 800 because it was so windy.  In order to keep the bluebonnets sharp, without blur from the wind, I raised my ISO so I could get a faster shutter speed.  Between bumping my ISO and waiting on times between wind gusts, I was able to capture a few frames where there was no blur.

I'll try to give you a break from wildflowers next time.  ;)

 

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.

 

 

 

Macro Monday

I spent a little time over the weekend making a few macro images.  I picked up a few of these Gerbera Daisies at the local supermarket and brought to the dining room table. 

ISO 100, 90mm, F/16 @ 1.6 seconds

I made this image, like I mentioned before, on my dining room table.  I use what little available window light I have, then I add light myself with a little on-camera LED video light that I just hold in my hand and places exactly where I want the light.

This image was made with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Lens Adapter and Tamron 90mm Macro Lens.  All this gear was resting atop my Sirui W-2204 Tripod and K-20 Ballhead.

Another Daisy Macro

Here's another macro shot of the same daisy as yesterday.  This time without a "dew drop" and in color.

ISO 400, 90mm, F/16 @ 0.8 seonds

Nothing real fancy here.  I did add an extension tube to my setup this time, however.  I sometimes add an extension tube to my macro lens just to give me a ratio that is greater than 1:1, or bigger than life size.  Extension tubes merely let your camera focus closer to your subject by moving the lens further away from the sensor.  Some people add extension tubes to regular lenses to give them a "poor man's" macro lens.  I use mine on a dedicated macro lens just to be able to get closer to my subject and allow it to look bigger.  

This image was made with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Adapter, Canon EF25 II Extension Tube and Tamron 90mm Macro Lens.  All held up by the Sirui W-2204 Tripod and K-20 Ballhead.

Mirrorless Lensbaby

I recently acquired a Lensbaby Composer Pro for my Sony FE Mount mirrorless system.  I was pretty excited to get it on the camera and give it a whirl.

I've had the Canon EOS mount Lensbaby Composer that I've used for a while, but I was super stoked to get the FE mount Composer Pro, as I could use it without an adapter.  For new Lensbaby Composer users, I believe there is a bit of a learning curve.  That curve is cut down quite a bit on the Sony mirrorless systems due to something called Focus Peaking.  Focus Peaking basically highlights whatever is in focus on the screen in whatever color you select in the camera's menu system.  And it works!  And works good...really good!  It really helps us blind ones. ;)

Here's an image I made with some of our newly bloomed wildflowers, the Sony A7R and the Lensbaby Composer Pro with the Single Glass Optic.

ISO 100, 50mm, F/4.0 @ 1/640th second

I processed this image in Adobe Lightroom and finished things off in On1's Perfect Effects 9.  I used a couple of my favorite presets in the On1 suite.  First I applied a preset called "Vecchio".  It applies a warming effect on the photo.  Then I finished it off with the "Big Softy" vignette preset.  

If you are interested in Lensbaby Optics, feel free to click the banner on the right to visit their page.