Photography Quote — 20170904

Today’s Photography Quote


“If you are out there shooting, things will happen for you. If you’re not out there, you’ll only hear about it.”
– Jay Meisel
– Original Photograph ©Jeffrey B. Ross –

 

NOTE – As residents of the Sonoran Desert who like hiking, encountering snakes is nothing new for us. This photograph was taken in Cave Creek, AZ along one of the trails at the Jewel of the Creek preserve. shortly after this sighting, we came across another rattlesnake and turned back because we had young children with u.s

Jay Meisel’s quote reminds us that if you are interested in photography, you have to be out there taking pictures to find interesting subjects and events.

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Photo Meta Data

File Name: IMG_1960.CR2
Capture time: 3:13 PM
Capture date: March 30, 2015
Exposure: 1/500 @ f5.6
Focal Length: 83.27mm
ISO: 200
Canon Powershot SX50 HS

*Edited: Lightroom with text added in Preview (Apple Software)

 
See previous STATUS QUOtes Photography Quotes HERE


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All content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017


otographs

Fuji X T-2: Making the Lens Cap

Stay Put on the Kit Lens

Some say TO-MATE-TO and some say TOM-AT-TOE so I guess it is whatever one is accustomed to that really counts; at least to them. I do a lot of hiking photography. You know the type – mountains, lakes, waterfalls, paths, bridges, streams, animals, etc. Because I am on the move a lot and the trails can be very dusty, I keep my lens cap on the lens when I am not actually taking photographs.

There have been several times when I have had to backtrack on the trail to find my lens cap and one time, another hiker was kind enough to retrieve it for me when I didn’t realize right away that I had lost it. He had picked it up along the way and handed it to me!

Do you like a tethered lens cap or do you prefer to have it totally removable?

Since I want to take it off and replace it when done, I like to have it tethered because most lens caps/covers don’t stay on the lens that well. With all the technology and innovation taking place, one would figure this problem would have been solved by now.

My new Fuji X T-2 does not have a tethered lens cap AND the lens cap does not easily stay put on my 18-55mm kit lens. Add the lens hood (more about that later) and it is even harder to get that cap to hunker down. I decided to do what I did with my Nikon D3300 and create my own tether.


Fuji X T-2 lens cap

Fuji X T-2 lens cap

This is my procedure for attaching my lens cap so that it does not get lost:


Supplies needed to tether the lens cap
Supplies needed to tether the lens cap

  • Get some relatively thick black thread.
  • Take a piece of strong tape. I use tape that is designed to be put on metal chimney flues so you can understand that it has a rather strong adhesive and it can stand the heat! This is sometimes referred to as aluminum tape.


Thick black thread attached to lens cap
Thick black thread attached to lens cap with aluminum tape (silver)

  • I tape one end of the thread to the lens cap with the aluminum tape and then cover that silver tape with black electrical tape.


Black electrician's tape is used to cover the silver foil tape
Black electrician’s tape is used to cover the silver foil tape

  • I then tie the other end of the black thread to the strap loop.


Thread is tied to strap loop

NOTE – If you think you will want to remove the lens cap completely to attach a different sized filter, change lenses, etc., make a double strand (loop) with the thread and “loop it” through the strap. This way, the lens cap can easily be removed by backing it out of the loop when necessary.


Thread is tied to strap loop
Thread is tied to strap loop (red oval)

Now when the cap is unleashed, it can hang by the side of the camera. I often hold it in my hand to keep it from swinging or being a distraction.

X T-2 with tethered lens cap

Lets talk about the lens hood. The lens hood is a pretty typical “tulip” type lens hood. It appears to be made of plastic. One would think that a professional level camera, even if ordered with the kit lens, would have a more robust lens hood. I would have paid a few dollars more for a better lens hood; just sayin’!

My Nikon D3300 lens hood does not stay on the lens with much active use so I tethered that to the camera too. Here is what that looks like…


Nikon D3300 with tethered lens hood

So far the Fuji lens hood has remained relatively loyal to the lens and has not wiggled off errantly so I will leave it as is unless it becomes necessary to tether that as well.

I am very happy with the X T-2 so don’t get me wrong. I am just modifying it to suit my particular photography style. You might or might not like to work that way. This just keeps me from lens cap hunting and enables me to keep my lenses as clean as possible through a day of hiking.

I will talk about my first photographic experiments with the new Fuji X T-2, but since, in my previous post, I said I would share a picture, here is the first picture I took with the new X T-2; Explanation and discussion to follow in another post.


First photo with my new Fuji X T-2

UPDATE – Don’t be disappointed with your Fuji RAW files when imported into Lightroom. Read about the way to post process those images to bring out the color and detail Fuji X T-2: Improving LR Post Processing Process

Read more photography posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



Finding and Developing

Your Artistic Genius and Vision


“The Earth has a soul. I record the moments when it expresses itself in ways that move me.”
— Karen Hutton —
Photograph by Jeffrey B. Ross

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For those who have followed my photography posts, I have some information you may find of interest and motivational. In any creative endeavor there are several factors involved. I would like to quickly address just two of them.

Tools of the Trade – If you are a musician, sculptor, quilter, painter, stain glass artisan, etc., you understand that there are tools you will need to be successful. Having the correct tools, however is only a start.

You could place a piano in front of me, even the best, most expensive piano available, and I would not be able to play it. I might be able to learn to play it eventually, but I couldn’t do it on my own. I don’t know the difference between the white keys and the black keys. I am aware that there are pedals on the base of the instrument, but I don’t have the faintest idea of what they do.

You could cajole me, bribe me or threaten me, but no matter what, I just couldn’t do it. That is because I haven’t learned the tools of the trade. I haven’t learned how to apply and use the means of the craft.

The first essential element for any creator, therefore, is to completely understand the tools required and how to use each one of them to their fullest. That is perhaps why Malcom Gladwell in his book Outliers, suggested that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice would be necessary to achieve expertise. There is much argument about the number of hours and how Gladwell derived this theory, but suffice it to say that much practice and study would be needed to become an acknowledged expert in one of the arts. And much of those hours would be practicing to effectively use the tools and potentially even inventing new ways of applying them.

Vision – This, in my opinion, can be the more difficult part. Many art students begin by copying the drawings and paintings of the masters and after some time, they become proficient, almost perfect copiers. This, however, does not make them an artist.

To become an artist, one must develop their own unique vision of the world. Once that vision is understood and realized, then it is time to take the tools of the trade and apply them to create their style through their art so the world can appreciate, recognize and enjoy their craft and unique signature.

If this has piqued your curiosity and you are interested in photography or any creative endeavor, then let me suggest you follow Karen Hutton’s series “The Everyday Genius of Your Artist’s Voice.” I admire Karen and I have been following her blog for a while. I find her posts very motivating and insightful. Some of the concepts will be “fuzzy” at first until you have tried to apply them to your own creative universe. After you begin to apply them and really think hard about them, the clarity should evolve.

While Karen focuses on the vision and art of photography, the same advice can be applied to most creative undertakings. Once you get to her blog, you will realize how diverse her background is and why she is able to guide people through this process.

I will make it easy to get started. All you have to do is follow these links to the first set of articles in the series. Once at her site, subscribe and you will receive the rest.


The Everyday Genius of Your Artist’s Voice: Part 1


The Everyday Genius of Your Artist’s Voice: Part 2, Preparation


The Everyday Genius of Your Artist’s Voice: Part 3, Appearance


The Everyday Genius of Your Artistic Voice: Q&A


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017


Photography: What Was Old Is New Again

I have to confess that I am a bit of a hoarder. If you asked my wife perhaps she would snicker at the phrase “a bit.” This trend carries over to my digital life, but let me jump in here to profess that it isn’t all bad either.

In going through some of my old, make that ancient, photographs taken with cameras that were considered nearstate-of-the-art when four or five megapixels was considered good resolution, I came across photos that could be enhanced these many years later with the available technology. Yes, Lightroom (Lr) and Photoshop (Ps) can help breathe new life into old images.

Just examine this ho-hum photograph, for example, taken with a Canon PowerShot AS590 IS. There really is very little saturation and contrast. It is a nice scenes and the composition is fine, but it is rather flat and dull.



Bringing the same picture into Lr to add a bit of contrast, bring out the shadows, enhance some of the colors, etc. provided more of the feel I remembered from the experience.



One element in the photograph above that I find problematic is that big white cloud in the upper-right. It has a tendency to draw the eye away from the focal point of the river extending into the mountains.

Now understand I am not a Ps expert. As a matter of fact, I have only been using Ps for a couple of months. I gladly bought an online course from one of the photographers I follow and it covered everything from beginning to end. I realized that some of my photographs didn’t render the way I saw the scene and I also wanted to extend my creativity.

So…into Ps, the picture went and I reduced the size of the cloud to make it look as natural as possible with my current skill set. Is this an award winner? I don’t think so, but it is a way for me to present it at its best. I equate this to putting on the last touches before going out on an important date. Let’s all take opportunities to look our best.




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Metadata

File Name: 8673.jpg
Capture time: 10:19:27 AM
Capture date: August 16, 2012
Exposure: 1/500 sec @ f/4.0
Focal Length: 5.8mm
ISO: 80
Canon PowerShot AS590 IS


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Readers of JBRish probably enjoy my daily quotes and here is one that sums up the idea behind this post:

“Creativity is making marvelous out of the discarded.” – Unknown

Have you had this experience, i.e. making something good out of an item targeted be discarded? Why not share in the comment section?


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



Photography – Retrospectography


Leaf-footed Bug on Yucca

Retrospectography – The further appreciation of a photograph or picture which reveals insights into that image which were not recognized or appreciated at the time of original capture.

Originally coined by Jeffrey Ross on JBRish.com – as far as research reveals

One of the wonderful things about photography is that there are retrospective insights to be garnered after the initial experience. One of my favorite parts of being a photography enthusiast is arriving home after an excursion and reviewing the pictures. Every once in a while there is an interesting surprise!

My wife and I were hiking in the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico for several days and on one of the last days we were exploring an area near Fillmore Canyon when we passed a noteable yucca.

I was drawn to the plant by the interesting arrangement of leaves and tendrils dancing in the air. I stopped to admire and photograph the yucca.

I did notice the bug above the flowers at the time, but there was something that went unnoticed until I arrived home and reviewed the photographs.

During the moment of photographic capture, I did not appreciate the beautiful color of the antennae of the Leaf-footed Bug (Acanthocephala terminalis). Isn’t that an amazing orange color?

Leaf-footed Bug on Yucca

Not Only did I enjoy the contemporaneous photographic experience, I also appreciated learning more about, and further admiring this creature of the wild.

You can find more information about Leaf-footed bugs at this Austin Bug Collection page. This is a large family of insects.


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



Picture Quote — 20170726

Today’s Picture Quote — 20170726

You make me understand how wonderful it is for little lizards when they find that one special rock that's perfect for sunning themselves on. You make me lizard-happy. - Randy K. Milholland
“You make me understand how wonderful it is for little lizards when they find that one special rock that’s perfect for sunning themselves on. You make me lizard-happy.” – Randy K. Milholland
Original Photograph Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross – 2014 – 2017


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Photo Meta Data

File Name: IMG_2262.CR2
Capture time: 10:18:27 AM
Capture date: May 9, 2015
Exposure: 1/1250 @ f5.6
Focal Length: 89mm
ISO: 120
Canon Powershot SX50 HS
Location: Las Cruces, NM

*Edited: Lightroom with text added in Photoshop

 
See previous STATUS QUOtes HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017


Identification for the Birds

Here is a problem every novice or occasional birder is bound to face…

We were enjoying a beautiful hike through Zumwalt Meadow in Kings Canyon, CA observing all of the plants, scenery and wildlife we encountered.

Keep in mind that much of this trail has tree roots, rocks, boulders, fallen branches, etc. so keeping eyes ahead or up is not an option for those hiking along. We would stop when a sudden motion or noise caught our attention or we just wanted to gaze at the scenery. We are avid gazers and thus would probably be considered somewhat pokey when it comes to the more speedy hikers.

But I digress… We were climbing upward through a somewhat narrow corridor formed by boulders on either side and ahead, no more than twenty feet away, an attractive multi-colored bird landed in a tree. I was almost sure this was one that I hadn’t identified yet so of course I was very interested in photographing the bird for future identification.

NOTE – For those who want to know why I didn’t or more truthfully, couldn’t, identify the bird right there and then, read my earlier post – Photography and Birding: Good Photo, Bad Photo

The bird was mostly black, with orange-brown sides, a buff bottom and rump with white markings on black wings. The face also had some blotches of other colors as well. Immediately I thought this was an oriole of one type or another.


Black-headed grosbeak

By the time I was able to stop and take note, the bird was flitting from branch-to-branch and this (above) was the first photograph I was able to capture. Hmmmm – pretty hard to ID from that shot.

What was infuriating was that the bird would jump down closer to me, let’s say eight feet away, but would be among a mass of branches; drats!


Black-headed grosbeak

There was one instance, when the bird was just above my head and I got a good luck at its rump and underparts.


Black-headed grosbeak

Although the bird was skittish, it appeared to have a certain curiosity as it lingered in the area for a long time; in bird minutes!


Black-headed grosbeak

In the field it is hard to tell exactly how good the photographs are and whether or not there would be enough information to piece an identification together, but using all of the photos, I believe I was able to correctly ID the bird.

Let’s take a look….

Using the Internet, I was able to find a few reference photographs. This was one of the better shots


Black-headed grosbeak
Photograph By Alan Vernon – Male Black headed grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)Uploaded by Snowmanradio, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12140735

NOTE – Text added by JBRish


Looking at my less than stellar photos, I was able to locate most of the same markings. For those new to birding, keep in mind that males and females often have different markings and colorations. I knew this wasn’t an oriole as I originally suspected primarily because of the shape of the beak. An oriole would have a much more pointed beak.

NOTE – This is why I like to take multiple photographs and work the identification at my leisure.

What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comment section below.

To read more JBRish.com posts about birds or birding, click HERE.


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



Photography and Birding: Good Photo, Bad Photo

Introduction

We were recently visiting Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks on one of our bi-yearly hiking vacations where we take to America’s beautiful national parks and spend a week or so hiking up and down mountains and admiring as many beautiful and natural areas as possible during the time we have set aside.

As stated on this blog before, I am an occasional bird watcher. For those who are just chiming in, I enjoy locating and identifying birds especially when I am in a new area. Here’s my problem…I am not a very well educated birder. I am a rank novice, but I don’t let that discourage me.

How I Bird

Here is my approach. A couple of years ago, I purchased a bridge camera with a long zoom lens. It has the equivalent of a 24-1200mm lens on a 35mm camera. That is a long zoom and it allows me to photograph birds at quite a distance. Truth must be told here…I can’t say this is a great camera. It is a good camera and certainly good enough for me. When I chose the Canon SX50 HS, it was a “cost-benefit” decision. In other words, it was a camera that had what I wanted at a price I thought was reasonable and I was willing to compromise a bit on picture quality.

That being said, it has done most of what I asked of it. The one thing I now know that I didn’t know before is that it has a relatively slow autofocus and doesn’t always select the object of my photographic desire. Even the best cameras, costing ten times more than my selection, have misfires as well.

OK, so let’s get to the meat of this post. I have my bridge camera and we are hiking through Zumwalt Meadow near Road’s End, Kings Canyon. BTW when they say Road’s End, they mean it. That is where the road ends!

The meadow was beautiful. We had some concern that parts of the Zumwalt Meadow trail would be under water, but we got lucky and the water at receded enough that we could complete the loop.

During our walk, shortly after we crossed the boardwalk portion, I saw a quick moving bird a distance away. Surprisingly, it looked like a shore bird that I would see on the coastline. What was it doing here?

I quickly got my SX50 HS ready and began to focus on the moving subject. I fired away and, at the time, I knew I was missing some of the shots because the focus was “hunting” for the bird, but I also knew it was getting some pictures of the bird.

Lucky for me, I was able to capture three photos that, added together, enabled me to identify the avian mystery.

WARNINING *** These photos are not of great quality. They are what I call “good enough.” I generally take time to compose and double check focus, etc., but with moving birds it is a bit difficult.

The Evidence

Here is the worst picture of them all.


Sandpiper Photo number 1
Spotted Sandpiper moving across a fallen log

As you will note from the photograph, there is a lot of debris between me and the bird. Now remember the camera is zoomed in so it is difficult to keep the bird in the viewfinder. If you ever tried to follow a bird or even find a stationary bird using a binocular, I think you will understand the problem.

The camera had a hard time deciding what was the area of focus. It appears the camera locked on the branch or broken part of the log as the main subject. I really can’t find fault with that. The bird was scurrying so there was no way for me to change the focus options at that point. This is a small version of the photo so it may look sharp to you, but the bird is not in focus.

My main goal in this situation is to get the pictures of the bird and worry about the details later. It doesn’t always work, but more often than not I have success (check out Photography – When is good enough, good enough? A bird story).


Spotted sandpiper picture number two
A photo of the Spotted Sandpiper just as it started to move its wings

The photo above is a bit better because more if it is in focus and the movement of the wings still leaves the head relatively clear.


Spotted sandpiper photo number three
This was the last photo I took in the sequence before the bird was totally hidden by the nearby foliage

This is perhaps the sharpest overall photograph I was able to capture of this particular bird. It is a shame that the sandpiper was slightly out of frame and the beak is only partially visible, but that’s the way it goes sometimes!

Please understand…I am not blaming the camera. I am not as skilled in using this equipment as I should be, but I do the best I can. That being said, when I added all three pictures together, I have a good idea of what this bird looks like.

Solving the Mystery

My modus operandi is to review my photos when I get home and then gather my bird identification books and a good piece of birding software – iBird Ultimate – to identify the mystery bird.

Let me say one thing about iBird Ultimate. This is a great program for someone like me. One of the major benefits is that the user can enter a geographic location in the United States and it will show which birds may be visiting at that time of the year. This helps to narrow the search.

Additionally, if you find a bird that looks like the potential subject, there are usually several additional photos to view which enables users to see a variety of views and variations for that particular bird.

Once I queued up my resources, I was easily able to determine this bird was a Spotted sandpiper. The last thing I do, which is much fun, is I take out my ABA North America birding list and mark off the bird as “seen.” Now I have one less bird to worry about although I will continue to seek a better photograph if the opportunity presents itself.

Read more about the Spotted Sandpiper HERE.


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All content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross



STATUS QUOtes — Picture Quote — 20170714

Today’s Picture Quote

The Amen of nature is always a flower. -  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
“The Amen of nature is always a flower.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. –
– Photograph ©Jeffrey B. Ross –

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Photo Meta Data

File Name: DSC_0520.NEF
Capture time: 5:11 PM
Capture date: August 13, 2016
Exposure: 1/60 @ f5
Focal Length: 40 mm
ISO: 140
Nikon D3300
Location: Nature walk in Flagstaff, AZ

*Edited: Lightroom with text added in OS X Preview

NOTE – The picture above was submitted for sale to a stock photography site (just one) and it was rejected because it lacked “commercial interest.” and that may be. I still like the photo, however, and I want to share it with you. I hope you like it as much as I do.

I thought it was an exemplar of the Holmes quote!

 
See previous STATUS QUOtes HERE


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All content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross


Photography Quote — 20170711


Today’s Photography Quote

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
– Karl Lagerfeld –
– Photograph ©Jeffrey B. Ross –

 
NOTE – In the Sonoran Desert there is a Monsoon season starting mid-June and ending in the early Fall. During this time, storms can develop quickly often without notice. During those times the sky turns dark and may produce severe lightning and thunder. This photograph was taken during one of those events when the sun was peeking through the clouds.

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Photo Meta Data

File Name: stormy_desert_sky
Capture time: 5:15 PM
Capture date: November 11, 2011
Exposure: 1/125 @ f5.5
Focal Length: 23.2mm
ISO: 200
Canon Powershot A590 IS

*Edited: Lightroom with text added in OS X Preview

 
See previous STATUS QUOtes Photography Quotes HERE


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All content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross