And think of living as it was
Into the future we must cross (must cross)
"Genesis" by Jorma Kaukonen
A few days ago, the weather was fine and I had decided to play hooky from my job. Don't worry, I requested the time I grabbed by camera gear and set out for nearby Coopers Rock State Forest. Out near the trout pond, I came across a beautiful butterfly that I managed to shoot with my telephoto lens:
Meet the Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor).
The angle of this shot must have been just right, because the blue iridescence isn't always apparent, as noted in the following shot:
On my hike around Coopers Rock state park last weekend, I came across some interesting looking ferns. They had typical green fronds, top and bottom, but the middle was taken up by a dark green band of spores.
I've identified it as an Interrupted Fern (Claytosmunda claytoniana). According to Wikipedia,The Claytosmunda genus has only one species, Claytosmunda claytoniana . The interrupted fern is native to Eastern Asia, Eastern United States, and Eastern Canada.
Fragmentary foliage resembling Claytosmunda claytoniana has been found in the fossil record as far back as the Triassic. C. claytoniana is a paramount example of evolutionary stasis. Paleontological evidence indicates it has remained unchanged, even at the level of fossilized nuclei and chromosomes, for at least 180 million years.
Now I want to talk a little bit about the picture, itself. I had a bear of a time capturing a decent image. I was trying to take a hand-held shot in somewhat low light, and a slight breeze gave the image even more shake.
I wanted decent depth of field with my macro lens, so I tried to shoot at f/18. This was one of those rare times when I changed the ISO to 3200. I was able to use a shutter speed of 1/100 sec.
You can well imagine the amount of "noise" in the original picture. This was one of those time that I appreciated the image editing software from Topaz Labs. This was definitely a job for DeNoise AI. I followed up that process with Sharpen AI. The results up above really speak for themselves.
Here's what it looked like before the DeNoise and Sharpen:
This past weekend I took a drive to Coopers Rock state forest in search of the elusive Pink Lady's Slipper orchid. In previous years, I had found the orchids just below the handicap parking sign of off the large parking lot. I was disappointed that there wasn't a single one.
I drove on to the head of the trail that leads down to the Henry Clay iron furnace. It was here that I had hoped to catch the Rattlesnake Plantain orchid in flower. Go figure, I didn't see a single one this time of the year. What I did see, however, was a lovely stand of Pink Lady's Slippers. I had a field day with my camera there.
I've been exploring a little bit more of the bells and whistles on my Canon 77D. With few exceptions, I've been pretty muck locked into using the camera's Aperture Priority (Av) mode. Recently, I've tried shooting something with the Creative filters.
Here are some of the filter effects that you can use:
First a little background. Back in the summer of 2019, someone gave me a very unusual Polaroid SX-70 that was customized for scientific photography. Later, in September, I removed the customization hardware and gave the camera a new skin.
I then discovered that there was a problem with focus-to-infinity with this camera. You can see the problem with one of the shots that I posted on my Flickr account. Out to infinity, there has consistently been a bit of lens blur.
This brings me to a couple of weeks ago, when I searched for some repair solutions. Flickr came to my rescue with some basic instructions. All I had to do was remove the front housing rectangle around the lens opening. I was able to pry it off quite easily. Then I ran the focus out to infinity, where I could easily see the blur in the split screen focus. I depressed the "idler wheel" as described and with a very slight turn of the gear, I was able to regain the focus-to-infinity.
Although I have a fresh pack of film, I'm waiting until Spring, when there will be much more to photograph in color. I'm confident that I'll be able to achieve decent focus this time around.
I had no serious intentions when I was browsing on eBay a couple of week ago. Someone was selling a large number of used cases for $50 each. The Pelican 1520 Protector is a nice-sized case for my camera equipment. A new one is in the $150 range. In order to add my own equipment to this case, however, I needed to by a new foam insert. For $23, I was able to get Pick and Pluck Foam for a Pelican 1520 case on Amazon.
This all turned out to be a sweet deal. I have room for a little bit more, but I'm taking my time to decide on the final slot.
From the top, circling clockwise:
I got an early birthday present of a Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM "pancake" lens. A co-worker had gotten one a few years back and I've admired it since. It's small, lightweight and has a low profile, making it easy to carry around.
A Ken Rockwell review of this lens gives it good marks. He summarizes that
The optics of this lens are superb, and its size make it a complete winner. For $150, you can't go wrong.He's right.