Fancy Feathers

Past the Golden Gate Bridge, Black Sands Beach lies along the straits between Point Diablo and Point Bonita. The beach faces the open Pacific towards the southwest. On a sullen, cloudy, windswept day I hiked down to the beach. My camera and tripod were on my back. It was bright, but drizzling slightly.

The dark beach was empty of people, and it was hard to believe that a great metropolitan area was hard by. A great flock of seagulls huddled togather at the western end of the beach.

Hard by where the trail ended on the beach there were great piles of bird feathers, caught and held by the wind. These were no fancy feathers. I placed my tripod legs in the mud, and began to photograph with my macro lens stopped all the way down.

Many Feathers

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Initially, I was most attracted to the contrast in textures between the feathers and the green grass (above). As I spent more time looking at the feathers, I became interested in the filagree and transparency of the feathers up close (below).

As I took these photos, the waves crashed on the dark beach and the spray mingled with the moisture in the wind. I hovered, protecting my camera as best I could, and wiping it dry from time-to-time with my shirt.


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[105mm f/2.8 macro, 157.5mm equivalent focal length if 35mm, 1/6 of a second (top exposure), 1/5 of a second (bottom), both at f/36 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Related story: Feathers.

Posted in Patterns, Photography

Suspended Animation

In the garden in the early morning I found rain drops suspended on a spider’s web. Nearby, pink Gerbera Daisies grew. These flowers were reflected and contained in the water drops. The technical challenge was to obtain high depth-of-field with subjects in constant motion from the wind, subjects so tiny that any motion was magnified.

Suspended Animation

I locked the camera’s mirror up to eliminate one possible source of vibration. As I waited for the moment of perfect calm to squeeze the remote release, I thought about the worlds inside each water drop, suspended animation waiting for a photographer to come along.

[200mm f/4 macro, 300mm 35mm equivalent focal length, 36mm extension tube, +4 diopters close-up filter, 1/8 of a second at f/40 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Photography, Water Drops