It’s Mine! All Mine!

Did you ever wonder what goes on in a hummingbird’s mind when it approaches a full feeder and there’s no one else around?

This little one paused for a couple of seconds on approach to lunch and seemed to be pondering a nearly full feeder with no one else around when I made this image.

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Which caused me to think why it paused there and just what might be going through its’ mind…

Was it an It’s mine! All mine! moment?

Was it “gee – there’s no one else here – I wonder if the food in this joint is any good?”

Or, “Wow – I finally beat the crowd?”

Maybe it was “good, there’s no one else here – I can have seconds!”

Perhaps it was “he/she’s not here to see it, so I’ll just have one more for the road”

I think we all have those moments when we think It’s mine! All mine!

For me, it’s a brownie and about a quart of whole milk.

Did you know that since a batch of brownies is really just one big brownie before it’s cut into pieces, it’s technically just one brownie? 

Mrs. Frog doesn’t buy that logic – but think about it. Really think about it.

How can you argue against that logic? 

If they’re supposed to be called brownies, then they should be baked as brownies, not as a brownie.  But,

I digress….

It seems that the only time It’s Mine! All Mine really happens is when Mrs Frog just needs an anchovy or two out of a whole can…

The image can be found in the little winged things gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

For the photographers out there reading this, here’s a tech tip: 1/320 second shutter speed is not fast enough to freeze the wings of a hummingbird in flight.  It does, however, freeze the body and expression of the hummingbird while preserving the motion of the wings.  Which, in itself, can make for an interesting image as it did here.  Tamron 18-270mm VR zoom at 270mm, ISO 320 at 1/320 second, f6.3.


Heceta Head Sunset

While I was shooting the Heceta Head Lighthouse from an overlook on the Oregon Coast highway, it was ridiculously easy to turn to my left and shoot the sunset.

At least when the clouds were being fairly cooperative, that is.

When it got to time for the sun to drop that last 15 degrees, it finally dropped below the clouds and then it was time to consume some pixels.

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The Heceta Head sunset shots were interspersed with Heceta Head Lighthouse shots – the same conditions that made a beautiful sunset gave me the killer light on the lighthouse, shore and water.

Several different images from those few minutes have made it to the sundowns, sun ups and things in the sky gallery on Laughing Frog Images for your perusal, enjoyment, and purchase.

Is there a trick to getting sunset photos like this?  I wish I could say there was, and that I’ll tell it to you for a price, but there really isn’t.

There is, however, the need to be able to adjust your aperture (bigger numbers are better) or shutter speed (higher is better) or both, which isn’t always possible on a point & shoot or smartphone or tablet.

In a nutshell – shoot a bunch, and change your aperture and shutter speed as you shoot.  You’re changing your exposure (like I did), which gives you the same subject matter in a number of different images.  If your camera/device lets you pick a point in the image for it to adjust/expose to – pick a bunch of different points and fire away.  Then, pick what you like and delete the rest.

There.  Lesson over.

Now go shop Laughing Frog Images!

Remember, we’ve got a 25%+ off sale on things associated with consuming liquids for the rest of October.  Check the blog for full details.

It’s the filter, stupid!

So, when I packed the camera bag for vacation, I grabbed an old polarizing filter.  By old, I mean “linear”.  But it’s also 30+ years old. (Does that make it old old?

(Hint: if you’re buying a filter, buy the best filter you can afford.  They don’t go bad.  Indeed, they usually meet their maker by being dropped.  Or being sat on and bent.  Not that I know anything about that – I’ve just heard…  Seriously though, if a filter’s price seems too good to be true, it probably is.)

Anyway, what’s the big deal about a linear polarizing filter?  Well, linear filters were just fine back in the days when autofocus cameras were a fantasy and Kodachrome ruled.  You rotated the filter to get your desired effect, pressed the shutter release, and went on about your business.

These days, with autofocus cameras, one needs to think and buy a circular polarizing filters  Why?  Your contemporary autofocus – autoexposure camera’s meter likes circular polarizers.  It’s all about physics, and I’m not a physicist, so I’m not even going to try to explain it here.  However, Bob Atkins does a pretty good job of explaining things, so if my word isn’t good enough, you can click here and read his article about linear and circular polarizing filters.

So why am I talking about this and why are you reading this?  Well, there’s one other problem that you can have besides the meter producing bad exposures, and I encountered it.

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If this image looks fuzzy, it’s not you.

On the other hand, if this image looks in focus, it’s you!  Please visit your eye care professional immediately.

So… what’s going on here?

A linear polarizer can confuse a multi-point autofocus system, and this is proof positive of that.

I was shooting using the linear polarizing filter to remove glare on the water without a problem, perhaps because the sun was behind me.  However, I found my camera not focusing on two subjects the next day in situations where the sun was at a 60-90 degree angle to me.  Being totally relaxed on vacation, I didn’t think about the filter being the problem.  Instead, I was annoyed / mad / worried thinking my lens had decided to break. I tuned the camera off, removed the lens, put the lens back on, turned the camera on, and same problem….!  After repeating that twice (which usually resets everything), I’d given up on the lens for the rest of the trip.

The Frog was not laughing.

And then, later in the day, I looked at the lens.  And saw the filter.  And realized that I’d had that filter since the early 1980’s…

I took the filter off.  I turned the camera on.  It focused.

And, I said to myself, “it’s the filter, stupid…!”

If you’re interested in learning more about what a polarizing filter can do for you, click here and here to visit two prior posts on the subject.

Don’t forget to visit your local camera store when you go to get your polarizing filter!

Lightsphere: You should have one!

You’ve heard me mention the Lightsphere several times as a fantastic tool for diffusing the light from your external flash, and I’ve said once or twice (or more) that I’d tell you more about it.

Well, it’s time.

I don’t remember where I first read about the Lightsphere.

I just know that like many, I’ve had problems with my external flash being too bright, or too direct.  I don’t have those problems any more – at least as long as I don’t forget my Lightsphere.

The Lightsphere is a creation of a gentleman by the name of Gary Fong.  Gary’s website includes tutorials on lighting and cameras, as well as his broad line of lighting products and accessories.

By the way – I don’t know Gary Fong, I’ve never met Gary Fong, and I’m not getting anything for plugging this product.  I have a Lightsphere.  I use my Lightsphere.  I like my Lightsphere so much that I think it’s worthy of sharing with you to help you improve your own photographs.

I have the Lightsphere Universal, Cloud.  This produces warmer images than a regular flash, and diffuses and softens the light.  I thought about some other descriptive adjectives and words to throw at you to fill space, but I think you get the point.

gary fong lightsphereExcept when I forget it, I never use my flash without it.

If you have an external flash, and have problems with hot spots and uneven lighting – the Frog recommends you check out the Lightsphere and decide whether or not having some strange looking hunk of flexible plastic/acrylic in your camera bag that you have to explain to people is in your future…

Polarizing Filters, Part 2

A long time ago in the blog, and far, far away… we talked a bit about polarizing filters and the technical details of how they work.

Well, it might have only been a few months, but that sounded like a good opening!

Anyway, we talked about polarizing filters and how they can help with glare, but we didn’t show you anything about them in the blog.

The least we could have done was to have shown you how they work right here in the blog!  We’re going to fix that transgression compliments of back lighting and a koi pond.

First up, here’s what happens if you try to take the picture in these conditions without a polarizing filter:

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[Nikon D5100, 60mm f2.8 lens, ISO 400, 1/200 sec., f4.5, no filter.]

Not so hot, eh?

So, let’s see what happens when you use your polarizing filter – this is the next image I shot:

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[Nikon D5100, 60mm f2.8 lens, ISO 400, 1/200 sec., f2.8, polarizing filter – notice that I lost a stop on the exposure due to the polarizing filter.]

Impressive, isn’t it?  If you’ve never seen this demonstration before, you might say it’s amazing.  The technical details are found here.

I don’t claim to fully understand everything about the physics behind a polarizing filter – I just know that they work, and can help you get an image you couldn’t otherwise get.

If you can get your hands on one, they’re a great addition to your camera bag.