Star Trails from Tunnel View

Driving into Yosemite on a clear November evening, I stopped at Tunnel View for this 25 minute exposure from the classic Ansel Adams view spot.

With night photos, the color depends on your white balance setting (star light is not sun light). Night photography utterly baffles auto white balance settings, so the best bet is to correct the white balance in post-processing.

Posted in Digital Night, Landscape, Photography

Hidden Beach

Mark and I hiked out to Arch Rock. It was a crap shoot whether we’d be fogged out, but emerging from the four-mile tunnel of forest the sunset was clear.

Last time I’d hiked out to Arch Rock, by the time I got out to the ocean it was too dark to see more than the general contours of the landscape. This time we were earlier and the sky was bright with moon. By the light of the setting sun and almost-full moon I was able to make my way down a little path towards a hidden beach.

The path switch-backed down a small slot canyon to the banks of a creek. Making my way across a couple of fairly easy rock faces I made my way down beside the creek to where the splash of water met the ocean.

On this small, sandy spot I set up my tripod. In one direction, the high tide created a whirlpool beneath the arch in Arch Rock (photo below, captured at 2.5 seconds exposure, see my O’Reilly blog post for some technical discussion of the exposure and post-processing technique).

In the other direction (photo above, captured at 1/50 of a second), the moon shown through the end of the canyon and on the small hidden beach, also lit by the setting sun.

Through the Arch

View this image larger.

Posted in Landscape, Photography, Point Reyes

Mirror Worlds

The world of photomacrography is made up of immense–but tiny–worlds. Each inhabiting a drop of water, a blade of grass, or the realm of a miniscule portion of a flower.

Pointing my macro lens at these worlds give me the ability–and license–to explore with passion.

Day followed the night of camellias. In the first light of morning, raindrops on the flowers opened these worlds to me.

Wet Camellia

View this photo larger.

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Water Drops

Camellia Night

It was raining the other night, and very wet. The raindrops looked very pretty on the new camellia buds. I could photograph them despite the wetness because our front porch overhang provides some shelter.

The photo above was taken with direct flash. As Solitaire1 said on Flickr, “‘Camellia Night’ should be the name of an expensive lipstick.”

I took the photo below using available light, mostly from the street lamp at our corner. You can see this light, which uses some kind of weird mecury vapor bulb, behind the leaf in the upper left quadrant of the photo. This photo was exposed for about 3 seconds on a tripod.

Camellia by Streetlight

View this photo larger.

Posted in Bemusements, Flowers, Photography, Water Drops

Little Shop of Horrors

This wet poppy bud reminds me of the ominivorous plant Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. (“Feed me! Feed me now!”) A little more pruriently, as gladygirlca on Flickr delicately puts it, “I cannot look at this without seeing something else.

It rained over night. This morning early it was calm and still. I went out while the light was still indirect, before the sun was brash. Water drops on the flowers were great.

This Icelandic Poppy was in “Julian’s garden,” a patch in our backyard that our eight year old designed. It was hard fitting my tripod in the cramped space with other plants nearby; thanks to my wonderful Gitzo tripod that I can use almost anywhere I managed it.

ISO 200, 3 seconds at f/36, 105mm macro lens with 36mm of extension tubes.

Posted in Bemusements, Flowers, Photography, Water Drops

Penance in a Flower

This is the flower commonly known as a Lenten Rose. I photographed it in my garden this afternoon.

Of course, it is not a rose at all. It is a Helleborus. This one is Helleborus Orientalis.

I suppose the flower is named after Lent, a time of penitinence and fasting in the Christian faiths, because it blooms in many parts of the world around the time of Lent. But the word “Lent” itself comes from the Old English word for springtime, and its use should simply denote the changing season, not penance. And here in Berkeley, my Lenten Roses bloom now (at the end of January). Ash Wednesday is not even to be considered.

A flower as extravagantly beautiful as my Helleborus should not be paired with penitence and punishment, but rather the wild ravishment of the soul and happiness that unfettered nature can bring.

Here’s a close-up view of my un-Lent, un-penitent Lenten un-rose:

Lenten Rose

View this photo larger

Posted in Flowers, Photography