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Month: April 2015 (page 2 of 2)





This photo of a dime was shot with my NEX-7 and Venus/LAOWA 60mm macro lens. Twelve exposures were blended together to make this composite image. Exposure parameters were f/8, ISO 100, 3.2 seconds. (A fairly dim light over our kitchen table was used as the light source.) The gray background is actually a white index card.


This is the third shot from the leading edge. The very shallow depth of field makes it necessary to use a number of similar exposures which only differ in the slice that’s in focus.


Sunday Hike – Dixie Mine Trail

Marilyn and I hiked the Dixie Mine Trail on Sunday.

Most of these photos were taken using my Sony NEX-7 and a Venus 60mm Ultra-Macro lens.  I never got into the ultra range on this hike. For many of the photos, an ordinary 60mm would have worked just fine. The Venus lens is a fully manual lens – I had to set both aperture and focus via the rings on the lens.  Most of these were taken at f/8.0.






I had to process this one (and several others) a second time. I’ve gotten into the habit of using the H-K (Helmholtz-Kohlrasch effect) action from the PPW panel, but I’ve now learned that this does not produce pleasing looking flower photos. Dan Margulis says that it’s often not appropriate for portraits either as it can make skin look old. This is definitely what was happening in some of the flower shots.



A very young (and foolish) bunny. It let me get surprisingly close.




I’m happy with the way this one turned out. The cyclist was talking to Marilyn at the top of the hill. I walked a short ways up the hill and then prefocused to get the shot.





When I took this shot the sky looked very washed out even when viewed through polarized sunglasses. The peaks of Four Peaks looked bright white.


These photos, below, were taken with my Sony RX100 III. This first photo was taken midway on our way out. (We hiked to the road and back.)

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Moonlight Hike

Range Amy led a moonlight hike out to the pond on Friday night. I took several photos, but the dark conditions made framing and focusing the camera a challenge.  I only ended up with a few shots worth showing.



The hike was well attended…


I couldn’t quite the moon into this photo of some cacti off of the Pemberton Trail. There are a number of cholla, two saguaros, and a barrel cacti in this photo. (See my Lunar Eclipse post for a better photo of the full moon that night. There’s also a fuzzy photo of the moon in eclipse.)


Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike started from the Horse Staging Area. We made a loop utilizing a service road, Stoneman Wash, and the Pemberton, Scenic, Cinch, and Escondido trails. We hiked nearly nine miles with minimal elevation gain.

Marilyn and I arrived at the trailhead just in time to see the sunrise:


A view from the service road going through the competitive track area:


Views from Stoneman Wash:





Midway through our trek up Stoneman Wash, we hiked a short ways up to another service road which overlooks the wash. This provided us with a good view of the wash in the foreground and the McDowells in the background.


Bill, Gary, Eva, Mike, Patty, Marilyn, and Linda:


California Buckwheat:


Cholla blossom:


A view from the Scenic Trail:


A double saguaro on the Cinch Trail:


New Edits from June 3, 2013

I occasionally look at older photos that I’ve taken, either to process some that I hadn’t worked yet, or to see how my current workflow compares to results from an earlier workflow.

These shots were taken on June 3, 2013, during our trip to the Moab area.

Marie on the Hidden Valley Trail. [original edit]


Marilyn on the Hidden Valley Trail:


This is Balanced Rock in Arches National Park.


Another view of Balanced Rock in Arches National Park. [original edit]20130603-DSC08954-Edit-medium

Lunar Eclipse

I attempted to photograph the lunar eclipse on Saturday morning.  I was not entirely successful.

This is a photo of the moon taken at 2:16am on Saturday morning, well before the start of the eclipse. For this exposure, I used parameters from the Looney 11 rule, f/11, ISO 100, 1/100 sec.  (The Looney 11 rule says to use f/11 with the shutter speed set to the reciprocal of the ISO value.)

I went out again a little before 5:00am.  The sky was quite dark and I had trouble locating the moon at first.  It was definitely a lot darker than normal, though it was fairly bright near the top right of the moon as I was looking at it.  To my eyes, it did not appear to be that red; it looked more red in some of the photos I took.

The exposure parameters that I had used several hours before didn’t come anywhere close to working for this much darker moon.  The best photo of the lot is shown below.  For that photo, taken at 5:13am, I used f/9, ISO400, with a shutter speed of 3 seconds. If I’ve done the calculations correctly, these settings let in 1,600 times the amount of light as the earlier exposure using the Looney 11 rule. This is a difference of 12.6 stops!

I’m not happy with this exposure though.  It’s blurry – though I’m not entirely certain of the reason.  I went out roughly 3 hours earlier on purpose, so that I could manually focus the lens.  When I was finished, I brought the camera back inside, still on the tripod and took care not to touch the focusing ring on the lens.  To the best of my knowledge, I did not change the focus for the later shot during the eclipse.  It’s possible, however, that I may have bumped the focus in getting the camera set up.  Even a small bump could lead to blurry results.  I think it’s more likely that there’s a fair amount of motion blur going on.  I took even longer exposures, up to 10 seconds (or perhaps longer, I don’t remember now).  These longer exposures are even worse.  The moon is constantly in motion. I had to frequently adjust the framing of the moon.

Blurry shots can also occur from camera movement, but I don’t think that this is responsible for all of the blurry shots that I got.  I had turned off image stabilization – which can make long exposures blurry due to the stabilization mechanism trying to stabilize an image that’s not moving.  I was also using a very good tripod in non-windy conditions, with shutter activated by the 2-second self timer.

My best guess is that the blurry exposures I got were caused by motion blur.

This suggests that I need to use a faster shutter speed.  In order to compensate, this means that I would need to use a wider aperture – the best I can do with the Sigma 50-500 lens at 500mm is f/6.3, which is 1-2/3 stops away from f/11, almost a 4x increase in light gathering.  I don’t know what the maximal acceptable exposure time is for taking a sharp photo of the moon, but I’m guessing now that it’s well under one second. This means that I’d need to also adjust the ISO to much higher (and noisier) values.


Two more test shots…

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