Friday, May 29, 2020

Red-Shouldered Hawks

A friend alerted me to a Red-Shouldered Hawk nest in Springfield, so I decided to check it out.
She said she was able to see possibly 3 chicks in the nest, so I was optimistic that it would be viewable and that I would be able to get some images. 
The angle was perfect, and I was able to watch mom and dad deliver meals to the chicks.  

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Olympus Live ND and an Great Blue Heron

Watching this Great Blue Heron standing in the waterfall at the CJ Brown Dam runoff, I decided to try a feature of he Olympus EM1M3 camera that I have not used....Live ND.
An ND filter can be applied to your lens as an attachment. The purpose is to control the amount of light reaching the camera sensor so that slow shutter speeds can be used....adding smoothness to moving objects, such as a stream or waterfall. 
The Olympus Live ND mode replicates that effect in the camera by taking multiple images at different exposures and combining them in the camera into a single image. The degree of ND can be selected in the menus, from ND2 to ND32. 
The Heron was a perfect subject, because he was completely still....I snapped a few standard images, and then, noting how nicely he was standing still, I decided to try the Live ND feature. 
I'm pleased with the result...and was able to hand hold this shot, even though using my Zuiko 300mm lens. Olympus has amazing in-body image stabilization which works with the lens stabilization to give up to 7.5 stops of image stabilization!
Here's the base image (without the Live ND activated) and the Live ND version (PS levels, saturation, and sharpening) with EXIF data for both. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Morning Conjuncture

This morning there was a conjuncture of Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon. 
I really wanted to capture an image with a nice foreground.....was thinking over downtown Springfield. 
In order to plan my shot, I used an app called Photo Pills. Using it, I was able to see that I would not be able to get the angle I wanted over the downtown area. I did see, though, that the conjuncture would be nicely composed with the Northridge water tower if I shot my images from the Northridge Bowling Alley parking lot....coincidentally just a couple of miles from us. 
Here's my result....

Friday, May 8, 2020

May Full Flower Moon

Well, the cloud cover moving in didn't allow for the best moon images....
While I like to see a clear and bright full moon, the clouds added interest and opportunities to capture something a bit different.
I was using the Olympus EM1 Mark3 in the Starry Sky mode.

Birds in Blooms...Our Version

 It's the time of the year for Birds in Blooms! Some of my favorites so far. 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Duranceau Park

We made the short trip to Columbus to visit a new park for us....Duranceau Park.
The park is on the banks of the Scioto River, making it a trap for migrating birds this time of year. 
Our bird-photographer friend, Arnie, met us there to show us some of the best spots. The best bird was the male Cerulean that pooped up in front of us right at the start of the road!
Here's a few images from Duranceau.

Male Cerulean Warbler

Blue-Headed Vireo

Northern Oriole

Northern Oriole

House Finch

Palm Warbler

Farmer's Moon

Last night's almost full moon from our upstairs window. A farmer was taking advantage by working the fields. 
I get a lot of questions on how to shoot an image like this one, so decided to relate my techniques.
You have two can shoot two images and combine in a composite, or one shot with some gradient editing. This shot is the later. The key for both techniques is to use spot metering on the moon. 
If doing two shots, you must use spot metering on the first shot of the moon, checking exposure to make sure that there's detail in the moon surface. Then, shoot a second image, metering the background. You can then combine in your editing program and adjust the layers to best show the moon. Note that this type of image works best at twilight rather than in full darkness. 
For a one-shot image like this one, I spot metered the moon. That, of course, underexposed the foreground. I pulled the image into Luminar 4, and using the adjustable gradient tool, I pulled up the exposure and saturation in the fields, and optimized the exposure of the moon. 

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Shawnee Lookout

We visited Shawnee Lookout yesterday. Beautiful weather with sun and reaching a high of almost 80 degrees. My goal was to photograph some Cerulean Warblers, as there's a large nesting population there. 
Photographing them posed a few problems....first off, they like to stay high in the treetops. On the first leg of the Miami Fort Trail, I waited patiently for about 45 minutes, hearing males on territory singing, but not coming down from the treetops. 
We moved on and about a quarter mile later we reached a point where the trail edge was a sharp drop-off. Here, the Ceruleans were almost at eye level. In addition to watching and protographing the male, we got good looks and a couple of images of the female as well. What a treat! 

A rare treat to watch interactions between a pair. 

Easy to see why the female Cerulean Warbler is hard to spot. They blend in with the spring foliage