There are times when I look out the window of our rural home and think, “What a circus!” Birds are flying in every direction to take advantage of a free meal from one of our many feeders.
Of all the birds we see, the American Goldfinches are among the most active and consistent performers at our house. It can be quite entertaining to watch them zipping in and out; hither and yon.
When frozen by the camera, the Goldfinch’s quick, bouncy style of flight seems unnatural and awkward.
All of the birds in this photo are American Goldfinches – except the one Chipping Sparrow whose tail can bee seen as he perches on the back side of the feeder.
(Click the image for a larger version.)
This image was taken on a drab and drizzly day, so you’ll notice his feathers appear a bit damp.
There is no shortage of Goldfinches at our house – year round. (Might have something to do with the food we put out.) It’s nice to see them back in their bright yellow and black plumage for the spring and summer.
(Click on the main image for a larger view.)
The best part of waking up… The sky provided a blend of beautiful colors, layered from the red of the sun on the horizon to the blue, high in the early morning sky.
I made my way to the shore of Lake Michigan – to the Kewaunee, WI beach – to catch a 5:40 am sunrise on the morning of Saturday, April 30, 2011.
It’s interesting to see the different transformations that the sky goes through in the course of a half hour sunrise. For a different look of the same sunrise, see my previous post “Morning Beam.”
(Click the photo for a slightly larger view.)
I got up early last Saturday to take sunrise photos of the Kewaunee, WI lighthouse. This is a photo from the end of the shoot. The sun was up enough that it was out of the frame but you can’t miss it’s power by the prominent beam of light.
More from this shoot will be posted in the next few days. Keep checking back or simply subscribe to the RSS feed.
(Click on the image for a larger view.)
After an unseasonably cold spring, we were finally blessed with a sunny afternoon – it was Easter Sunday. We were ready to get outside and took a long walk through a wooded area.
Along the way we stumbled upon a few fresh flowers. These are the very first blooms of the season.
Just a few days ago, the area where we found these spring beauties was under a blanket of snow (nine inches) from a late winter storm.
(Click on either photo for a larger view.)
I’ve been working to get a good shot of the moon. My previous attempts have been OK, but not as sharp as I thought they should be. (See That’s Amore!) I figured out the problem and am fairly pleased with this one.
First I mount my Sony SLT-A55 on a tripod. To get a closer view I use a 300mm zoom lens. Even with the lens magnification, it requires quite a bit of cropping to enlarge the image. I switch the camera to manual focus. My camera also has a setting that allows me to enlarge the image in the viewfinder or LCD screen to really hone in on the focus. I also use the 2-second timer on the camera so that I’m not shaking the camera by pressing the shutter button.
I thought the problem was the inexpensive tripod I was using – that it wasn’t stable enough. I also thought it could be a limitation with the lens, since the one I own would fall under the “budget” category. One other possibility was the UV filter – a clear filter used mainly to protect the lens.
It turned out to be the UV filter. I took a couple of shots with a new, solid tripod and things looked the same as with the flimsy tripod. Then I removed the UV filter and saw an immediate difference. The photo above is the result. Looks like I’ll have to invest a little more in a better UV filter.
The smaller image gives you a perspective of the size of the moon in the actual image the camera captures. Then I enlarge the view by cropping it to fill more of the frame.
(Click on either photo to see a larger version.)
More great digital photos are spoiled by “blur” than anything else. It’s disheartening to have a wonderful composition ruined by blur. For clear, sharp images it takes a concerted effort to hold your camera steady and avoid “camera shake.” It requires practice and concentration to free-hand it, especially in low light conditions. Still, as difficult as it may be, nearly everyone can improve.
One common mistake is attempting to compose a shot using the LCD screen, holding the camera at arm’s length. It’s almost impossible to hold a camera steady at arm’s length. Instead, use your camera’s viewfinder, holding the camera firmly anchored to your cheek and forehead, using both hands.
For greater stability when free-handing it, keep your elbows firmly against your body. (Your best bet if your camera doesn’t have a viewfinder.) Often, I’ll steady a shot by holding my camera against a wall, a pole or setting it on a solid surface. If you’ve got them, use a tripod or monopod in true low light conditions.
Your trigger technique is also critical. When snapping the shot, relax – don’t tense up. Slowly and gently press the shutter, being careful not to jerk the camera when you depress the button.
Blur is the curse of digital photographers. Employ these techniques to steady your shots. I still fight blurred images, but I’m getting better at it.