Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Flower macro fun

I took the dog for a walk around the block the other day and I took my camera along for company.  No, I'm wrong.  I took the camera out for a walk and took the dog along for company.

Either way, I realized that I had not played with my macro lens recently and there is a lot of landscaping around the condo complexes in my neighborhood.  Mostly day lilies and hibiscus, which is okay because I find them both to be quite photogenic.

My favorite part of shooting with the macro lens is how close I can get to my subject.  My lens, a Tamron 90mm, has a reproduction ratio of 1:1, meaning that the image you are creating is the same size as your subject.  So I really am "this" close:

Of course, there are other types of flower in our neighborhood as well.  There's agapanthus:

and bird-of-paradise

and whatever this is

I think the hibiscus is my favorite, though.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Playing around

There's an office complex not too far from me that has some really pretty landscaping in the middle, with ponds, waterfalls, bridges, and so on.  I happened across it one day when I was attending a meeting in one of the buildings and swore that I would go back with my camera.  And so I did.

It turned out to be a terrific place to play with different camera settings.  The day was overcast, so light wasn't an issue.  I was playing mostly with my 24-70mm lens, but toward the end, I changed to my 50mm.  What I really wanted to do was practice with various shutter speeds to see if I could achieve that really smooth, flowing water effect.

24-70mm lens at 70mm, shutter speed 1/160, f/4.0, ISO 100

Same lens, same ISO.  But... f/16.0 and shutter speed 1/5
You may ask, how did I hold the camera so still at 1/5 of a second? Answer: I cheated, sort of.  I didn't have my tripod with me, so I braced the camera against the railing of a little bridge that crossed over the water.  But I got the effect I was looking for.

Later, I moved to the other end of the bridge and did the same thing.

24-70mm lens at 24mm, shutter speed 1/2 (!), f/22.0, ISO 100
This one, I think, was slightly overdone.  Yes, the water has that smooth, flowy feel, but it's not all that interesting when there's no definition to it, whatsoever.

Same lens, same ISO. But.... 1/13 of a second at f/16.0

I think I found my happy medium here.

Then I tried it in another part of the complex.

50mm lens at 1/800 of a second, f/2.8, ISO 100

Exactly the same settings as above, but changing the focal point of the image
What I discovered, is that you can get that flowy feel in two ways: slow down your shutter speed and close down your aperture (so that not so much light gets in), or change your focal point.  Either way, I think it works just fine.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Playing hooky

One of the nicer things about living in San Diego is that if you live in the city, you're never too far from the beach.  I've always been drawn to the ocean.  Its constant ebb and flow is soothing to me because it tends to put all my problems in perspective.  No matter how bad or crazy my world seems to be, the tide will always go out, and it will always come in again.

With that in mind, I headed to the beach on a recent Friday afternoon.

The surfing culture in San Diego often sound like a cliche, but at La Jolla Shores beach, it's totally real.  People are surfing here all. the. time.  I'm convinced that the normal work day in this town starts at 5am so that there's enough time after work to go surfing.

I took off my shoes and put on a pair of flip flops, grabbed a towel from the trunk and went to find a likely spot to sit.  There were couples, families, bunches of young girls, boys playing beach volleyball.

And lots of very curious seagulls, who all wanted to know what's for lunch.  Unfortunately for them, I arrived empty-handed.  It's probably just as well.  I would have ended up recreating a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock movie if I had started to feed them.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thar she blows!

We went on a whale-watching cruise a couple of weeks ago on a picture-perfect Sunday afternoon.  The only problem was, we didn't see any whales.  We did however see a whole bunch of dolphins, both common and Pacific bottle-nose, some sea lions, and a whole lotta birds.  On the plus side, because we didn't see any whales, we get to go back on another cruise and try again.

Mission Bay Marina

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Totally random

Well, not completely.  Just a collection of other images from my trip back home in May.

Planes parked at Palo Alto Airport

Wrought iron fence, Fort Point

Canadian geese, Crown Beach, Alameda

What the weekend was all about  :)

Alameda Farmers Market

Alameda beagle

Dad loves his scotch!

Beneath the Golden Gate Bridge

Coronado Bridge, San Diego

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy (belated) Anniversary, Golden Gate Bridge!

On Sunday, May 27, 2012 the Golden Gate Bridge celebrated its 75th anniversary.  Well, the Bridge didn't celebrate, but everyone else did!  I'm told that I "walked" across the bridge at the age of approximately two months old, and since in our family, everyone had a bridge that they associated themselves with, this one was mine.

Recently I was able to visit Fort Point, a Civil War era fort that is situated directly underneath the bridge.  When construction began in 1853, the fort's original purpose was to protect the bay against any naval attack, including any attack by the Confederacy.  Since it sits adjacent to the Presidio, it was later used as a barracks and detention center.

The fort was supposed to be torn down during the construction of the bridge during the thirties, but one of the designers recognized its architectural value and designed a special arch at the southern end of the bridge so that the fort would not be harmed.

The top level of the fort has 270-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, the San Francisco Bay, and the City.

It's kind of neat to see where the cannons once stood, as well as take a peek into the past where soldiers once lived, ate and slept.

You should go see it some time.