Thursday, April 30, 2009

In With The Old, Week Eighteen

Sparring Deer (September 2006)

One the same trip described in the In With The Old image for Week Nine we also visited the Grand Canyon. After we checked into our rooms, we stayed in the park, I went out for a walk around. And found these two less than fifty meters from the room. They were obviously preoccupied and paid no attention to me as I snapped away. I felt like I was in an episode of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I know, it's been done before. Three more lightning images (I took 107!) from the storm on the last night of the Delmarva Stargaze at Tuckahoe State Park in Maryland. There were actually two storms. One passed to the north of us and one to the south. All of my images are of the southern storm as it was still too light when the northern storm went by. At the star party camp site we had cloudy skies but no rain. 

As I mentioned in the comments for the Risky theme image my lightning images are 30 second exposures at f/10 at a variety of focal lengths using a Canon 24 - 105 mm L lens mounted on a Canon 50D on a fixed tripod. This technique only works if you are at a dark site (or if the power goes out!) thanks to the lack of ambient light.

Another serendipitous image. Again of the fellows in the field. If you look closely you can see the ghostly outline of a person between the lightning bolts. If you look closer still* you'll see that there are multiple images of said person. The lighting bolts acting as a strobe capturing multiple images as he walked to the right. Right place at the right time.

* As always, click on the image to see a larger version.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Standing in a big open field taking pictures of lightning. (No, that's not me silhouetted looking at the camera.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Frog Eyes (May 2006)

My friend Mary was doing a breeding bird survey as part of the NJAS Citizen Science program and she asked if I could accompany her on her initial scouting trip. The trip took us into the White Oak Branch WMA where we found a number of very large puddles which made the road impassable. But the frogs seemed pleased with the situation.

Monday, April 20, 2009

365 Theme 254: Recycled

This is the same nest as in the first image of my Sunday Six for March 22nd. It is about fifty feet from where I park my car at work. As I mentioned in the comments in the Sunday Six, great horned owls do not build nests. This nest was built by a pair of red-tailed hawks who had used it the previous two years. Clearly I was wrong about it just being a day roost for the owl.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Six: April 19th

                                    Pond, Close Up

I and two friends took a ride down Quaker Bridge Road in the New Jersey Pinelands. Our first stop was this pond. As you can see the trees have yet to leaf out,  and while the bottom of the frame looks calm and serene, the top looks very busy; a mass of tangled branches.

                                    Pond, Wide View

Zooming out a bit completely changes the character of the place, with the reflection of the blue sky now dominating the image. The tangled mess of branches becoming a gray band in the upper half of the image.

                                   Running Water

This is the front of the sluiceway shown in my Mirror 336 Theme image. The water was much higher this visit. I tried a number of times on this trip to shoot long exposures of running water. I wasn't really successful. The places where the water was running fastest had few if any stationary objects (rocks, plants, etc.) so the images just looked blurry. And where there were stationary elements in the image, like in this one, the water wasn't obviously moving. I do like the spider webby effect in the lower left of the image.

                                    Quaker Bridge

My traveling companions up on the new metal Quaker Bridge. The original Quaker Bridge was build in the 1700's by, you guested it, a group of Quakers. There was an annual Quaker meeting in Tuckerton, and a number of Quakers from West Jersey and Philadelphia had drowned crossing the Basto River making the trip.

This road was part of the Tuckerton Stage Road, one of the main routes from Philadelphia to the then major seaport of Tuckerton. Stage coaches would travel the road, and those who could afford the ride would spend several days doing what now takes a couple of hours, stopping at the taverns along the way for food, drink, news, and a place to spent the night.


I don't know exactly what species this is. The stalks are about the size of wooden match sticks. And for some reason, my camera didn't want to autofocus on them. Too many too closely packed together for the Digic 4 chip? 

                                   Golden Club

A solitary golden club flower. A bit further down the stream were bunches of them. But the terrain was much like that in the Shadows 365 Theme image. And this one is all I got. 

Continuing the trip down Quaker Bridge Road we upon this rather large puddle. The bownish color at the bottom of the image is called "cedar water" and is "tea colored as a result of humates and a lack of organisms to decompose them, as well as by tannic acid present in plants, especially Atlantic White Cedar, and also by naturally forming iron present in the streams" (quote lifted from here). The blue and green color at the top is reflected from the sky and trees respectively. I don't know where the purple comes from; do brown and blue make purple?

Now you may be wondering about the connection to the theme. Well, at the top right of the image is a reflection of my Ford Escape. I've been trying to think of how I could get an image of my Escape that wasn't just a straight up shot. You see, it is a Ford Escape Hybrid.
365 Theme 6: Abstract

No art historian I, perhaps more impressionist than abstract? Pine trees reflected in a pond along Quaker Bridge Road. Another image from my Saturday ride through the Pinelands.

Sphagnum moss growing along the Batsto River in the Wharton State Forest in the New Jersey Pinelands. We've a had a bit of rain of late, and the water level in the river is high, turning much of adjacent area into marshland. There were a number of shots I want to take, but I couldn't get to the spot to take them because of areas like the one shown here.

Trumpet lichen, (apparently also known as Pixie Cup lichen). Found in the New Jersey Pinelands. These are very small, less than a centimeter tall; the irregular shaped little white things are sand grains.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In With The Old, Week Sixteen

Dew Drops (August 2007)

Two macro images taken at the Brigantine Division of the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. It was early in the morning and I was waiting for some friends when I spotted these mushrooms behind the small visitor center. Here are links to larger versions of the top and bottom images. I liked the form of the drops and how they sparkled in the early light of dawn.

Another image of this set was accepted on Bug Guide, a site where you can post your North American insect images and have the little beasties identified. I've had six images accepted into the permanent collection on this site.
365 Theme 86: Environmental Portraits

Meet Pete

Pete Keeps Bees

Here he is Looking for a Queen

The Bees (some of them anyway)

Pete is a fellow member of the Pinelands Photography Group (aka PPG), a very informal photography club. One of Pete's other hobbies is beekeeping. The PPG meets at the Bishop Farmstead, the headquarters of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. And prior to our last meeting Pete was tending the hives there. So I wandered over form the parking area to take some pictures.

I spent approximately fifteen minutes moving about the bees taking pictures. All this time bees were flying into me, landing on me, and walking on me. Pete cautioned that if they started acting aggressive I should leave. But the bees were quite docile. 

After taking the shots I headed back to the parking area, a distance of about fifty meters or so. There I started taking to a couple of other members, including Pete's wife Elayne, who is also a photographer and member of the PPG. She was staying well away from the bees as she is allergic. Me I'm not. Good thing too, because a bee got lost in my jacket and when it came out it was upset. And I got stung. 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

White Fringed Orchid (July 2006)

I was a week behind in my In With The Old images, not posting while I was in Mexico. So a second flower. This image was made two days after the water lilly in the previous post. It was taken at Whitesbog in the New Jersey Pinelands. It wasn't quite as hot that day.

Water Lilly (July 2006)

I was a dreary rainy day today, and I spent most of it doing my taxes (good news, I'm getting a refund. Bad news, I already spent it (on my new camera, a Canon 50D, my 20D had an accident in Mexico)).  So I thought an image with a bit a color would be nice to take my mind off taxes and rain, and get me thinking of spring. So I picked (pun!) this one out of the archives. It was taken at Longwood Gardens on a very very hot summer day. 

If anyone knows what species this is please let me know in the comments. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sunday Six: April 5th

                       Night Sky over Finnisterra

This is an eight second exposure using s 50 mm f/1.4 lens at 1.4. The light reflecting off of the cliff sides is from the city of Cabo San Lucas. While it makes for a nice image, this light pollution ruins any chance of serious stargazing. Which is really disappointing because this is much farther south then my usual observing sites. And there are a number of southern sky objects that I can't observe at home that I could see here. Bummer.


Most places I travel to if I want sunrise pictures, I've got to get up very early and drive to the location. And it is usually very cold. Here I roll out of bed, open the sliding glass door, and step out on to the balcony. After firing up the coffee maker of course.

                                    The Morning Star

Venus in the crescent phase, coming out of conjunction with the sun.

                               Sunrise over the Sea of Cortez

A wide angle shot showing the view of the sea from the balcony of our suite. If you look really closely at the horizon you can see a little bump, a cruise ship on its way in.


Another shot of the kite from the Kite theme image. This was essentially a lucky shot, aim at the sun and shoot.

                                   Villa Del Arco

This is the resort where my sister has her timeshare. Our suite is the fourth floor down from the top, or the one just above the tall floor. You can see the grill on our balcony, with a collapsed umbrella next to it (it was very windy all week. Good for kite flying.)
365 Theme 341: Two

Humpbacked whales, mom and calf, along with an entourage of watchers. This image was taken on the balcony of our hotel in Cabo and the whales were quite a distance form us. Other then the whale shown in the Sunday Six set for March 29th, these are the only whales I've  ever seen. Last year we say none, but this year we saw plenty of spouts in the distance but these were the only ones close enough to really see. (Larger version here.)
365 Theme 283: Silhouette

A feeding brown pelican at dawn on the Sea of Cortez.
365 Theme 107: Footwear

Modeled by yours truly.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kite flying on the beach. This is a rare instance of the kite in the air. It had disappointing tendency to dive bomb into the sand.
365 Theme 25: Beverage Of Choice

Where'd I put those limes ...
365 Theme 40: Candy

Another day, another sunrise ... err wait, "candy"? My niece saw this image and called it a "candy corn sun". Works for me. 
365 Theme 185: Minimalism

At least when it comes to powered air travel. The airstrip was in a dirt field next to our hotel. And they would be flying below us as they came in for a landing. Me, I'm afraid of heights - flying in one of these things would be terrifying.

An early riser walking along the beach in Cabo in the golden light of dawn.

Last year the bay was full of yachts, this year this was the only one. And it was there for only one night. You can see a person at the from the of boat. They were apparently readying to leave, as the boat would be out of site before the sun had completely risen. I didn't notice it leave, as I was shooting the sun, and remember remarking about it disappearing to my nephew.

When we first saw the jumping rays we also saw these. And we figured this was the reason the rays were jumping. They were being pursued by sharks. We were wrong. The first clue is that the "dorsal" fins are always in pairs. They are actually the tips of the ray's lateral fins. This is a school of rays, some of which occasionally jump (as seen here).

This image was taken 46 seconds after the one in the prior post. You can see the sun has risen above the clouds. Note how the base of the sun seems to flow onto the horizon. And at the very top of the sun you can see a bit that seems to be floating above ball (click here for a larger version). And just maybe this is the very elusive blue flash (but I'm not really sure). 

Monday, April 6, 2009

The sun rising over the Sea of Cortez. And as can be seen in this larger version, a bit of the green flash as well.

Jupiter and three of it's sixty-three companions, the Galilean satellites Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto in order of increasing distance from Jupiter. The fourth Galilean satellite, Io, is behind the planet. 

2009 has been designated as the International Year of Astronomy in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo's use of a telescope to study the heavens.  

My nephew and photography companion.

On the beach in Cabo.

I don't know what they have against "E" 's in Mexico, but signs like this were everywhere.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday Six: March 29th

                              Sunrise over the Sea of Cortez

Our first morning in Mexico and I'm up with the sun taking pictures and watching the various creatures, including sea lions, whales, rays, pelicans, and humans start their day.

                               Adobe Meets Eastern Europe

That's how my brother described the architecture at the Westin resort in Cabo San Lucas. This where the cab in the 365 Rainbow theme image took us. My sister and her husband and my brother and his wife had to sit through a time share sales pitch, while the rest of our party, including yours truly, were free to wander the grounds. By sitting through the pitch we received free cab fare to and from the Westin, breakfast, two bottles of tequila, and vouchers for dinner and breakfast at our choice restaurants in Cabo. Neither couple bought a timeshare.

                               There be Whales Here!

You'll need to look at a larger version and I didn't have my long lens with me, but if you look past the far point of the open square, you can see the whale's tail as it heads out to sea.


Close up of the walls at the Westin.

                       Finnisterra, where the Desert meets the Sea

Finnisterra, or in English, Land's End, is the bottom of the Baja peninsula. And it is curious to see cactus, palm trees, and the sea in the same view. I find the desert often beautiful and adding the blue of the water just makes it that much better.

                           Literally, Desert meeting the Sea

Makes for a very nice image, even if there aren't any palm trees or cacti.