Monthly Archives: December 2005

Monster Art Nouveau Lens Baby Orchid Macro

I’m just so in love with these orchids, as I’ve said it is a slippery slope. I don’t want to become like this couple who lived in the same building with us in New York. Their entire life was centered on an orchid room. Somehow they managed to grow a jungle in a place that was one step up from a tenement. I think I’ll stay obsessed with photography–and Phyllis and my kids and the mountains and writing and designing web sites and programming and and and. Orchids will just have to be one of those hidden passions on the side. So please don’t tell anyone. My orchids can be our secret, too!

Orchid Detail VI

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Posted in Bemusements, Flowers, Lensbaby, Photography

Fog Bank

A wider angle view of yesterday’s sunset and fog bank, also from upper Euclid in the Berkeley Hills.

Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Geometry of Sun, Fog, and Bridge

What I find most interesting about this photo is the way the water in the Bay and the fog bank blend together in one “solid” wall that the sun is sitting on top of. For a brief moment.

I think this one is really worth looking at in a larger size.

This photo is in my continuing study of sunsets, storms, and light on the San Francisco Bay.

Meta stuff: Nikon D70 Raw capture, AF-S VR-Zoom-Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED at 200mm (300mm if you were using a 35mm film camera); tripod with VR (vibration reduction) turned off.

Exif: ISO 200, 1/320 second, f/9.

Focus: Automatic, at infinity.

Post: The Raw file for the photo was processed twice (once for the setting sun area and once for the bridge and water) and combined using a layer mask and a radial gradient. Once the layers were combined, I added a dark blue gradient to the sky of this image and performed routine level adjustments and sharpening.

Posted in Bemusements, Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Poppy Central

“This stop poppy central! All aboard!”

I photographed this icelandic poppy in Julian’s garden. (Julian, my eight year old son, has his own garden that he designed and we planted together.)

What interests me is the selective depth of field, so that the center of the poppy is clear but the background is pleasantly unsharp.

Posted in Bemusements, Flowers, Lensbaby, Photography

The Orchid’s Moustache

This photo of an orchid reminds me of a man with a moustache and a big. colorful hat. I think he likes his moustache very much!

Posted in Bemusements, Flowers, Lensbaby, Photography

Orchid Angel

As I noted recently, orchids are a slipperly slope and tender trap. I went to Berkeley Hort with my Lens Baby macro setup, and had fun photographing orchids. These photos are all with my Lens Baby 2.0, various macro magnifications, the f/5.6 aperture ring, handheld at about 1/125 of a second. I used the f/5.6 aperture ring to get a reasonable sized sweet spot.

The photo above reminds me of an angel. In contrast, this one makes me think of alien eyeballs:

Orchid Detail IV

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This one is a heart, or maybe a little devil:

Orchid Detail I

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This one might be a tongue and mouth, or maybe it is just plain weird and beautiful:

Orchid Detail II

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Posted in Bemusements, Flowers, Lensbaby, Photography

The Orchid Trap



Cymbidium, photo by Harold Davis. View this photo larger.

In John Le Carre spy novels from the Cold War era, a Honey Trap meant an attractive snare. The original of this metaphor comes from the world of flowers. Do bees get stuck in honey traps? If I were a bee, I would be very intimidated by this orchid.

Another possible trap is to try to cultivate orchids. I bought this one. It is a cymbidium, supposedly pretty hardy here (they grow outdoors in Berkeley’s climate). It’s very beautiful–and I see myself going down a slippery slope of orchid cultivation!

Posted in Bemusements, Flowers, Photography

Reflections

The end of the year is a time for contemplation and reflection. And resolutions for the new year. (I will be the best photographer I can be! I will! I will!)

For digital photographers, it is also often a time to comb through hard drives, and see what “gems” one might have missed. These two photos of reflections in Lake Tenaya from my October trip to the mountains and desert were passed by the first time round.

Tenaya Reflections

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Posted in Bemusements, Landscape, Photography, Yosemite

Sunsets and the Bay

Lately I’ve been photographing sunsets over the San Francisco Bay from my various eyries in the Berkeley Hills (see Bay Sunset Silhouette, Sunset Over San Francisco, Lights of the City, and Brilliance of Venus).

This is really my first season photographing sunsets and the Bay, so I don’t know for sure. But I’m told the last month or so has been unusually spectacular. I’ve certainly enjoyed it.

Here are some more of my Bay sunset photos.

Bay Sunset Cloud:

Bay Sunset Cloud

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I’ve always felt Mt. Tamalpais is a very special, sacred place. It seems that way in this photo of Mount Tamalpais Sunset:

Mount Tamalpais Sunset

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A Cloudy, Golden Gate Sunset:

Cloudy Golden Gate Sunset

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Shipping Lanes was taken at 400mm (or 600mm in 35mm terms) with my Nikon D70 tripod mounted. The exposure was three seconds, which was long enough to see the freighter move compared to the bridge:

Shipping Lanes

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Here’s a gentler view of a Golden Gate Pastel Sunset:

Golden Gate Pastel Sunset

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Here are some more of my photos from around the San Francisco Bay area:




Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

As Images Go By

I’m not always that good at picking my best photos in real time. When I take a photo, I usually know what I’m hoping for. In other words, I have pre-visualized something in my mind’s eye. But I don’t really know whether I’ve achieved what I’m hoping for, and I certainly can’t tell from my Nikon D70’s LCD display.

When I copy the results of a shoot, also called a set, from my camera’s memory card onto my hard drive, and then go through the set, sometimes photos stick out for me. In my workflow, I use Adobe Bridge for this part of the process. I try to delete real dogs–images that are out of focus (not on purpose!), and that kind of thing. I go easy on the deleting though, because I know that I’m not always able to be a good editor so close to taking the photo!

Partially, soon after I’ve created a set I think I’m swayed by my intentions when taking the photos. This means that I do pick the obvious choices, and also that some good photos get away.

One mechanism I use to catch the good ones that get away is my screen saver. I have my screen saver set to display random photos from my computer. Sometimes I see something good that way that I missed on the first pass–like this orchid, photographed back in June.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Bay Sunset Silhouette

It’s hard to know how to frame the whole wide Bay. An extreme wide-angle, like this fish-eye shot, can be groovy. But it gives more of a sense of gimmick, or gadget, than of the wonder of the landscape.

There are five elements in the Bay landscape: the Bay, the sky, the city, the Golden Gate, and Mount Tam. A possibility is to stitch together a panormama. But single frame solutions can show the sky and water, and two of the remaining three (at least without obvious distortion). Even showing two of the three (San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Mount Tamalpais) there’s still a compositional question about integrating the elements.

That’s why I like this photo I took the other evening, with the silhouetted tree between the Golden Gate and Mount Tamalpais making these parts of the landscape function in a compositionally interesting way.

Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Sunset Over San Francisco

Julian and I went over to Indian Rock for sunset. Julian insisted we climb the rock that doesn’t have stairs, which means going through a cave, and up the face of the boulder. Quite a scramble with my backpack kit and tripod.

I read to Julian while we waited for the sunset, which comes early this time of year and was spectacular!

By the way, this is my 300th post in Photoblog 2.0.

Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Sniffing the Chocolate Cosmos

I picked Nicky up at pre-school on Friday, and asked him what he wanted to do with me. He wanted to go looking for plants at Berkeley Hort. I’m truly lucky to have kids who love gardening and the outdoors.

At Berkeley Hort, we found a perennial chocolate cosmos:

Chocolate Cosmos

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Of course, we had to buy this flowering plant, bring it home, and plant it. Danged if this flower doesn’t smell just like chocolate pudding!

Chocolate Cosmos Bud 1

Meta info (all tripod mounted on Nikon D70):

  • Top photo: 105mm macro Nikkor, 68mm extension tubes, ISO 200, 30 seconds, f/29, routine post-processing.
  • Middle photo: 105mm macro Nikkor, 12mm extension tube, ISO 200, 1/25 second, f/3, spot light and blue gradient added in Photoshop.
  • Bottom photo: LensBaby 2,0, +14 macro filter, f/8.0 aperture ring, 3 seconds, routine post-processing.
Posted in Bemusements, Flowers, Photography

Lights of the City

The lights of the bridge and city had come on, and it was getting cold. I stayed for a last photo of the sunset, knowing that using digital post-processing I could render a far greater exposure range than ever would have been possible with film!

Meta info: Nikon D70 Raw capture, AF-S VR-Zoom-Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED at 86mm (appx 129mm 35mm equivalence); tripod with VR (vibration reduction) turned off.

Exif: ISO 200, 0.3 second, f/2.8.

Focus: Automatic, at infinity.

Post: The Raw file for the photo was processed twice (once for the foreground lights and once for the bridge and sky) and combined using a layer mask and a gradient. Once the layers were combined, I added a dark blue gradient to the sky of this image and performed routine level adjustments and sharpening.

Posted in Photography, San Francisco Area

Brilliance of Venus

Venus is large and brilliant this month. Here in the Bay area, you can see Venus towards the SSW in the early evening sky. Venus is seen in this photo at the top of the tree. For your reference, the Golden Gate is on the lower right of the photo.

Venus may be easiest to see when the photo is viewed larger.

This photo is part of the same set as my recent Golden Gate sunset photo, taken from Euclid Ave in the Berkeley hills.

Meta info: Nikon D70, 18-70mm “kit” lens at 31mm (46mm equivalence for a 35mm camera), tripod, 1/10 second at f/4.0.

Posted in Digital Night, Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area