Featherless

Greetings Intrigued fans.  This was a pretty busy weekend as we headed up north for a little fun in the sun and, of course, a bit of agility dog showing.  Linda decided she wanted to ignore the advice of her heart specialist and get a few agility runs in with Raven.  He needed one more successful standard run to move to the next competition level.  She promised to take it easy in the ring so I relented and agreed to it.  Should probably mentioned she did bribe me with the opportunity to get some trail running training in (their trails were not flooded out like our local ones are) and the cherry on top, a day of birding with Ron and his wife.  Raven ended up getting it done in the ring going 3 for 4 while Linda managed to keep her heart under control.  I managed to get a solid 13 miles in putting me in good position for next week’s 15K considered Illinois’ toughest, but reminded me just how hard the 50K is going to be a few weeks later.  Still a bit sore from yesterday’s run, was still able to get a solid day of birding in – think we came in at the high 30’s species mark for the day.  Once all that was out of the way, we had to race home to watch the St Louis Blues try to claim the Stanley Cup.  One frustrating element was the lack of Internet where we were camping arrrrrgggghhhh!  Had plans to get caught up on my running post – nope.  While sitting here watching the Blues (now down 2 goals) thought I’d jump on the computer and crank out a quick post.

It’s a bittersweet post today as this officially wraps up all the worthy shots from the Georgia birding trip back in May 2015.  With all the bird shots out of the way, it is time to give some time those non-feathered creatures hanging out in the region.  Before I begin though, if you are looking for good shots of dragons and butters you should leave this post immediately and head on over to see B’s work over at Butterflies to Dragsters (link here).  I’m a bit embarrassed to even put these out after seeing his work behind the macro.  So, if you are still here, let’s get to some non-birds shall we.

Georgia May 2015 finds

Hit the jump to see the last shots from the Georgia trip.

Continue reading Featherless

The Red Dragons

Welcome back everyone!  Still busy as hell around her at LifeIntrigued.  I have a half marathon race tomorrow in a creepy cemetery, Halloween is just around the corner and my basement is “finish me” shaming me every time I go down there.  Luckily almost all the materials have arrived to finish out the trim in the basement, so hoping to get through most of that this weekend barring any issues with the run tomorrow night.  Making some progress on the decorations but still a lot to do there .. not likely to get to everything I was hoping to have done, but it should be another good display with what appears to be in my means.  Of course, if that isn’t enough, I have blog quota demands to deal with as well – so far those have not been writing themselves, so let’s get to today’s feature.
Red Dragonflies from August 2013

When it comes to Dragonflies, they really do not get much cooler looking that the one above.  Well, except for the one below, but we’ll get to that in a second.  Decided it was time to get this post out there.  I’ve been sitting on these red dragons for a while now.  It occurred to me that they themed well together because they are both Dragons, and well… they both feature the color red – albeit the one above is more of an orange than a red.  One thing about them is they were shot in completely different locations.  The one above I believe is called a Flame Skimmer.  As with all posts on this site, corrections, confirmations, complaints are always welcome in the comments.  This particular Flame was located at Red Rocks Canyon near Las Vegas Nevada.  There have been a number of posts for this particular site on this blog due to its huge diversity in photography options.  Linda enjoys taking shots of the gorgeous red hues in the rock terrain and I spend my times hunting for anything that moves on the ground, in the air and guessing water if they actually had any water there.  I mention the latter because ironically, this particular dragonfly prefers hanging out near water supplies such as hot spring out in the Southwest.  Note as a unique trait, the Flamer doesn’t actually seek out prey.  They basically hang out around the house waiting for the food delivery guy to pull up and hand them dinner.  A good life if you can get it I guess.

Red Dragonfly from International Crane Foundation - July 2013

The dragon above has to be my favorite so far.  The deep red body accentuated by the orange tinted wings and the gorgeous red pattern on the lower abs and tail.  Going off of images my brother Ron sent me and some quick searches on the internet, this appears to be a Red Saddlebag.  The only thing that leaves a bit of question on that is this one has a very distinct red pattern on the back.  The reference images I see have a much  more blotchy red coloring – what do you think?

Hit the jump to see a couple more shots

Continue reading The Red Dragons

The Good and the Bad of Big Glass Depth of Field

Greetings all! I am finally getting back on my feet after the month from hell. Once all the adrenaline and excitement wore off from the race and party I started realizing what a toll it all took on my body. Even with my customary week off relaxing (yep, no running, and no work on Project Auuunoold) I still couldn’t shake the aches and pains. The next week started and I was beginning to get concerned. Figured I’d start the rebuilding process this week … back on the core to get the body fixed up and stretched and a little biking for cardio is starting to work their magic. Still not ready to run yet but due time, due time. In the meantime, thought I’d toss out a quick post.

Tonight’s topic is that very tricky subject of Depth of Field (DoF). To be honest, this is one of those photography topics I am trying to get a better understanding of – primarily because I’m constantly fighting it out in the field especially with the Beast. My quick and dirty definition of DoF is the measurement of how much distance will be in focus (sharp) for a given set of exposure, glass and camera specs. I still have a lot of learning to do on this subject so there will not be any expert advice here – I’ll certainly come back on this subject once I get read up on it some more. The good, or the bad depending on your point of view, is that you can see the effect pretty easily.

Take a look at some shots from a shoot Linda and I took back in July. We were out at Jubilee and due to lack of birds was spending my time on anything else I could find that had wings.

So there I was with my standard birding setup which consists of the Beast (200-400mm) coupled with the 1.4 Tele on the D7000 (1.5 crop sensor).  These shots were taken at around the 3.6 to 3.8 m range hand held… and people wonder why I continually workout.  These dragonflies were all over the place darting to and fro so I decided to get a little small subject focusing practice in.  When the subject is smaller than the central focus region, the glass tends to walk a lot, especially the long glass.  So there I stood happily shooting away.  That happiness lasted until I got home and started assessing the output.  Notice anything glaring wrong with the first shot?

The right wings are nice and crispy, but what the hell is up with the left side?  Was that particular wing moving at the time … doubtful, they tend to move both sets of wings in unison from what I have experienced and the 16oo ISO would have compensated for that anyway.  The problem is in the focus parameters.   My depth of field is not encompassing the full thickness of the subject.

I was fighting the glass to keep it on target and firing away on fast multi-shot so there were plenty of other examples to explore.  Hit the jump to see more examples of DoF.

Continue reading The Good and the Bad of Big Glass Depth of Field