Tag: nature photography

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What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

Park Blvd. divides University Heights East and West—for reasons that make no sense to me. This San Diego community is about 12,000 people living in an area around 1.132 square miles. My hometown, Caribou, Maine, is residence to a little less than 8,000 folks in a city spanning 79.3 miles. Oh, Hell, I fuss. But you get the point?

Yesterday, as I walked West to East, down Monroe Ave. towards our recently rented apartment, a beautiful cluster of morning glories demanded that I stop with iPhone 7 Plus and honor them with a portrait. I shot the Featured Image—an auto-generated HDR composite—at 12:13 p.m. PDT. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 20, 1/474 sec, 3.99mm. 

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The Predator

While walking down Maryland Ave. late this afternoon to the grocery store, what looked like two birds locked together swooped by me. As I turned my gaze across the street, the one dropped the other before perching on a building. There waited the first hawk I ever recognize seeing. Had the Leica Q been with me, I could have manually focused in the moment and close-cropped later during post-production for detail. Instead, I made do with the iPhone 7 Plus second camera, which acts as a 2x optical zoom.

The smartphone poorly addressed the lighting, measuring from the brightly-lit background—something I could have compensated better for if not in a rush. The bird wouldn’t wait around long. The Featured Image, and its companion, are both heavily edited; in the first, I purposely blew out the sky’s highlights to contrast against the urban structure and to brighten bird and building. 

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Beetle Mania

The killer feature(s) of my beloved Leica Q: Manual focus and Macro mode, both of which are controlled by rings around the barrel of the lens. They’re best when used together, as the Featured Image […]

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Purple Passion Flower

While I attended a basic botany class in college, my familiarity with plant life is limited—unlike clouds and bugs, or even the stars. Walking down Cleveland Ave. the other day, purple flowers hanging from vast vines rapped my attention. I snapped some closeups using iPhone 7 Plus, which were okay. On the evening of July 27, 2017, I meandered back with the Leica Q in tow and, using the dedicated Macro mode and manual focus, captured satisfying shots.

They’re purple passion flowers, and new flora to me. Interestingly—no surprisingly—their presence is “absent/unreported” in California, according to USDA. Oh yeah?

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Hey, Spider

Six years ago in October, I photographed a stunning sunset spider using Google Nexus S smartphone. On July 17, 2017, at 7:16 p.m., another opportunity came—and I felt bad for the arachnid.The nighttime web attached to bush and parked car. If the owner(s) were to go out…

I shot several portraits with Leica Q, using dedicated Macro mode, and also iPhone 7 Plus. The digital camera delivered better than the smartphone—not that the Apple device did poorly. The Featured Image is a close crop from the original using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. I shoot in DNG (Leica’s chosen RAW format) and convert to JPEG. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm. 

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Sunday Slowpoke

Here’s one for you: Why did the snail cross the road? Splat! He didn’t.

The sidewalk is a dangerous place for a slow-moving mollusca on a Sunday morning, with pedestrians reveling the fresh breeze or walking dogs—and none looking down where the foot falls. I spotted this little slogger while walking with my wife to Trader Joe’s. I got down low with Leica Q, for a few fast closeups, before Annie moved the snail safely aside.

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Busy Bee

I am in process of completing a review of the Moto Z Force Droid, which is a Verizon Wireless exclusive. This afternoon, I shot some nectaring bee photos with the smartphone and iPhone 7 Plus for comparison. My wife and I went on a walk with both devices, stopping at what we affectionately call the Butterfly House. The residence is a mini-wildlife refuge for Monarchs, hummingbirds, and other flying things; oh, and chickens, too.

The Featured Image comes from the Droid, which packs a 21-megapixel camera. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/465 sec, 4.51mm; 3:01 p.m. PDT. However, the image is only 16MP because the default setting, which I neglected to check, is 16:9 rather than 4:3. No matter, focus is spot on, IQ high, bokeh beautiful, and color accurate. I’m pleasantly surprised. 

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The Camel

For one of her birthday activities, my wife Anne wanted to ride the Skyfari Aerial Tram across San Diego zoo. We walked back through the park to the exit, despite detours due to massive construction of new habitats. Among my favorite animals: Camels and llamas; if you have never read my absolutely true llama story from 1980, please do!

Norwegian designer and photographer Martin Fagerås inspired me to even attempt a camel shot because of this brilliantly captured moment using Leica Q, which I also carry. I came across his Flickr when looking for shooters using the amazing full-frame compact. Obviously, I couldn’t compose anything as compelling as he did, particularly at the zoo.