Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Breaking Down a Sunrise Photo

Sunrise over the Fish Creek Mountains

When I got home and looked at this photo on the computer I thought to myself how could the whole sky really look like that, full of deep rich orange color across the whole horizon...it can't be real, you must have Photoshop'd it. But I was there, I took the photograph, it was real. The magic comes from a 500mm zoom lens.

Here is a photo of the same sunrise with a 70mm lens
Sunrise over the fish creek Mountains

Here is a photo of the same sunrise with a 500mm lens

You can see in the photo with a 500mm lens the entire sky does seem to be filled with a deep rich orange color but in the 70mm photo you can see that really only a small portion of the sky above the mountains is filled with that wonderful color.

To achieve the panoramic sunrise photo I took 5 photographs with a 50% overlap with the 500mm lens and then stitched them together to get the final result. Zoom lenses can be fun with sunrises or sunsets.

Anza Borrego Misc Backpack Trip

Summer brings brutal heat and wonderful sunrises to the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. I have a favorite place up in the In-Ko-Pah mountains I like to backpack to and spend the night during the summer months. Desert floor temperatures can be in the triple digits while the sheltered boulder crevices of the In-Ko-Pah mountains can be much cooler with gentle breezes making you forget about the heat below.

Here is a wonderful sunrise photo looking at the Fish Creek Mountains this last weekend. It is a stitched panorama of 5 images at 500mm focal length. Click to view/download the original full size image.

Sunrise over the Fish Creek Mountains

A few minutes later the sun will rise showing it's size and intensity, the beginning of a 105+ degree day
Sunrise over the Fish Creek Mountains

On the opposite side of the sunrise is the sunset, here is the last breath of daylight on Carrizo Mountain, it was the last peak of the day with sunlight before the valley went dark
Carrizo Mountain at sunset

Lets not forget the moon....
Quarter moon over the In-Ko-Pah Mountains

Getting my pack ready I saw my reflection in the truck rear window...maybe the heat was getting to me
Self Portrait in the rear window of my truck. Just getting my stuff ready for the hike up into the boulders in 103 degrees

All my gear and camera crap strapped on
Me and all my gear

I brought it all this trip, extension tubes, flash, everything. I wanted to try some macro shots of the small critters that always seem to be with us in the desert

Small grasshopper, the kind that is the same color as the alluvial sand
Alluvial Grasshopper

Harvester Ant
Harvester Ant

No idea what this guy is. He was on my red shirt in the morning, look at the fibers of my shirt, he was small! He even has the compound eyes found on many insects.
Unknown insect

This little guy decided to crawl up under my sleeping bag during the night to get warm but I think I crushed him. The blue is my closed cell foam pad, macro small...
Scorpion on my sleeping pad

Pesky flies looking for water
Pesky flies looking for water

Very small moth feeding on some fresh scat
Very small moth feeding on some fresh scat

On my way back home I spotted the wind turbine with the broken blade. Because of this all the turbines are shut down and producing no energy. You figure it out, San Onofre closes and they claim we will have enough power with the Sunrise Powerlink and the new wind energy turbines.
Broken Wind Turbine in Ocotillo

Total Mylar Balloons this trip - 5 (sorry no photos)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My first attempt at Macro Photography

I think most everyone is fascinated by seeing macro photos of things up close, things you can't normally see with your regular eyes....at least I know I do. There are some amazing macro photos of arthropods out there, Thomas Shanan is a great example. I wanted to see if I could capture some close up photos without spending too much money so I ordered some inexpensive extension tubes for my camera and used an old Minolta 35-70mm lens to start out with. I was impressed with what I was able to do without any special expensive macro lenses or gear. If you too are fascinated by macro photos and want to try it out but are on a budget, get some extension tubes to start with, they really do work! Some things to keep in mind if you are using these inexpensive extension tubes, they are full manual mode only. Manual focus, aperture, speed, ISO, etc, you need to set everything manually. Manual focus really should not be an issue since at these close up distances the depth of field (DOF) is so razor thin the auto focus would be difficult to use anyway.

A quick walk around my front yard found some small fruit flies, a jumping spider and some kind of very small mite looking creatures.

A small fruit fly I believe

Some flavor of the Jumping Spider
Jumping Spider

Very, very small mites
Some kind of mite

A rose the mites seem to like

A couple close up shots of one the new gold colored "silver" dollars
Gold Silver Dollar
Gold Silver Dollar