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Old 03-25-2010, 03:24 PM   #81
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A scissor-tailed flycatcher yesterday at Pace Bend Park, near Austin.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:09 AM   #82
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Another from Pace Bend Park. We think he is a red-tail.
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Old 04-02-2010, 01:37 PM   #83
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Today's bird

I'm not the only old Coot with ugly feet!
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Old 04-02-2010, 05:42 PM   #84
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A scissor-tailed flycatcher yesterday at Pace Bend Park, near Austin.
Very nice!

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Old 04-02-2010, 05:45 PM   #85
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Another from Pace Bend Park. We think he is a red-tail.
Yes, that is a Red-tailed Hawk. The key characteristic is the "belly band" - that curved pattern across the lower breast.

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Old 04-02-2010, 06:00 PM   #86
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I'm having fun with panoramas again.

Here is the view from Cascade Head looking south. Oregon coast. That's the mouth of the Salmon River meeting the Pacific Ocean below. We hiked up almost 700 feet to this point.

Composite of 3 photos. Click on the attached thumbnail below to get the big picture.

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Old 04-02-2010, 06:16 PM   #87
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Spring is in the air, tra-la, tra-la.

I have no idea what today's visitor to our garden is. Somebody said immature Lesser Goldfinch and somebody else said rubbish.
Yep - Lesser Goldfinch.
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Old 04-02-2010, 06:19 PM   #88
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Woodpecker hawking up woodchips. Look closely, you can see the spray of itsy-bitsy chips.
Looks like you caught yourself a Golden-fronted Woodpecker there. I watched one working on a hole today - down here in way south TX.

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Old 04-02-2010, 07:38 PM   #89
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I'm having fun with panoramas again.

Here is the view from Cascade Head looking south. Oregon coast. That's the mouth of the Salmon River meeting the Pacific Ocean below. We hiked up almost 700 feet to this point.

Composite of 3 photos. Click on the attached thumbnail below to get the big picture.
Outstanding photograph!! I so envy what you went through to take it.

This may interest you: This morning, I watched a video on Photoshop Cs5. (I am ready to upgrade from Cs3.) This video is quite impressive -- the relevant "panoramic" feature is at 4:02. (In any event, the whole clip is "knock-your-socks-off.")

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Old 04-02-2010, 09:22 PM   #90
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Outstanding photograph!! I so envy what you went through to take it.

This may interest you: This morning, I watched a video on Photoshop Cs5. (I am ready to upgrade from Cs3.) This video is quite impressive -- the relevant "panoramic" feature is at 4:02. (In any event, the whole clip is "knock-your-socks-off.")
Thanks for the preview. Yes, that looks really good. I guess I'll be upgrading once it's out.

I upgraded to CS3 because they had really improved the photomerge capability. Before that, the tool was almost unusable. In fact, even in CS3 with this particular panorama I didn't have much hope, because working with the interactive tool, it looked like the background wasn't going to merge properly. But when I ran it, it came out almost flawless. I only had to clean up a couple of tiny spots. Amazing.

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Yet more panoramas!!!
Old 04-02-2010, 10:41 PM   #91
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Yet more panoramas!!!

One year we visited my Dad's farm in early summer. The wheat fields had been harvested and the straw cut and baled. The straw bales sat around in such interesting geometric patterns that my cousin wanted some photos. But due to the size of the subject, only panoramas could begin to capture the patterns.

Straw Bales:


Morning Sun turns Straw into Gold! : (click to see full size)


Straw Bales and a Stormy Sunset: (click to see full size)


Now these were done in Photoshop CS2 photomerge, and took a lot of work to clean up and make the sky appear seamless. I think the last image had 6 or 7 photos stitched together!!!!

I sure could have used the new CS5 "content aware" delete/healing functions in the top image, because my shadow fell across the foreground and it took a lot of careful work to soften it to the point where it wasn't really noticeable. I had to get real creative!

These photos were taken using a tripod and panning while keeping the camera perfectly level. Usually I just handhold my camera for panorama shot sequences unless I'm in low light conditions.

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Old 04-05-2010, 08:34 AM   #92
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Usually I just handhold my camera for panorama shot sequences unless I'm in low light conditions.
Yeah, with IS lenses, my tripods are gathering dust somewhere. (IS and tripods counteract each other.) Again, Photoshop CS5 comes to the rescue (the relevant panorama use is at 5:02):

#

I, particularly, found one comment apropos:


Quote:
aliasalpha1 The way things are going, Photoshop CS6 is just going to have a "Make Awesome" button
And I'll be clicking it regularly...
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:56 AM   #93
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Yeah, with IS lenses, my tripods are gathering dust somewhere. (IS and tripods counteract each other.)
Well - all you have to do is switch off IS when you put the camera on the tripod! Not always easy to remember though!

If I'm doing a late evening shot or a sunset shot - well tripod is required. You can do some lovely slow exposures. Here is one in soft sunset light - and losing light fast! It required a 1/5 sec exposure.

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Old 04-05-2010, 09:20 AM   #94
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That Puppet Warp was pretty neat too. I've often the Lens Correction filter to take care of some of the distortions in my photos, and it's useful for after photomerge too.

Yep - need that "make awesome" button.

It's taken me years to become proficient in Photoshop which always amazed me, because I'm such a techie - especially with software. But it is a very unique tool, and I didn't have a professional film photographer background. They've just added some incredibly powerful features over the years - and they keep improving!

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Old 04-05-2010, 11:04 AM   #95
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Well - all you have to do is switch off IS when you put the camera on the tripod! Not always easy to remember though!

If I'm doing a late evening shot or a sunset shot - well tripod is required. You can do some lovely slow exposures. Here is one in soft sunset light - and losing light fast! It required a 1/5 sec exposure.
Well, I, actually, use a Trek Pod when hiking. I bought an early model and was so impressed that I purchased a shorter version for DW. (I do notice that they have become somewhat expensive.) Anyway, the ability to quickly attach the camera to the top of your walking stick -- creating a tripod with the stick and your two legs -- is quite handy. (Note, that it does convert to an actual tripod, if desired.) It is particularly stable when you lean your body against something -- a tree, building, or cliffside, for instance.

Nevertheless, remembering the IS switch is definitely a problem.

Speaking of difficult conditions. A couple of weeks ago, we visited Mammoth Cave NP. Since it was a serendipitous thing, I wasn't really thinking and simply grabbed my camera and headed out on the tour. Duh! It is dark in a cave. Anyway, most of the tour was in complete darkness. This is a shot of the (60 to 100 ft) ceiling feature that the Park Ranger briefly shined his flashlight on. Using the built-in flash (Canon 20D) I had to not only remember where the subject was but focus in complete blackness. I am surprised at turned out at all:

IMG_5437.jpg
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Old 04-05-2010, 11:34 AM   #96
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DH and I hike together, and if he has his gear he is carrying his mono-pod. I've shot some amazing low speed stuff (small water falls in shade) with the monopod and had sharp results. Can't believe it - but it works.

I almost never hike with my tripod - even though it is carbon fiber. I'm usually hiking for fun and don't like to carry much. Now if the trail warrants it and lighting conditions are dark, I'll return with all my gear.

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Old 04-05-2010, 12:15 PM   #97
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I've had great luck in caves with flash. This is the "Lily Pad Room" in Onondaga Cave in Missouri. Handheld, and with a good sized camera mounted flash set to 1/200sec manual settings. I love taking cave photos!
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Old 04-05-2010, 12:41 PM   #98
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I've had great luck in caves with flash. This is the "Lily Pad Room" in Onondaga Cave in Missouri. Handheld, and with a good sized camera mounted flash set to 1/200sec manual settings. I love taking cave photos!
Mammoth is a dry cave and lacks this type of imagery. (I have been to Wind & Jewel caves in the Black Hills as well as Carlsbad Caverns, however.)

Yeah, camera-mounted flash is exactly what I was speaking of when I said I wasn't thinking. Everything other than the camera itself was back in the RV. Well, I did, out of habit, grab a back-up battery which turned out to be fortunate. Anyway, when I say in darkness, I mean everything was done by the Braille Method, including changing the battery. What lighting there was involved very dim spotlights about 10-15 feet from and pointing away from the pathway and provided no illumination beyond a foot or so.

Plan ahead is my new motto.
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Old 04-05-2010, 01:48 PM   #99
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Now if the trail warrants it and lighting conditions are dark, I'll return with all my gear.
A similar condition is what got me into RVing. (A long story that I may relate another time.) That is being at the right time and the right place -- namely "the Golden Hour." That hour after sunrise and the hour leading up to sunset.

When planning on visiting a specific location I always consult Photodoto's "Get sunset and sunrise times for any location on Earth" for a list of a week or so of Sunrise/Sunset times.

If I stumble across a place that warrants coming back the next day or waiting for the sunset, I use the "Golden Hour Calculator." In addition, I have a "Photographer's Sun Compass" that places me, physically, in exactly the right place at the right time -- so I am not, in a panic, running over boulders or across canyons to get the "perfect" shot before losing the light.
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Old 04-05-2010, 05:01 PM   #100
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When planning on visiting a specific location I always consult Photodoto's "Get sunset and sunrise times for any location on Earth" for a list of a week or so of Sunrise/Sunset times.

In addition, I have a "Photographer's Sun Compass" that places me, physically, in exactly the right place at the right time -- so I am not, in a panic, running over boulders or across canyons to get the "perfect" shot before losing the light.
Weather.com gives sunrise and sunset times by city/location for current and next day, so that is what I always use as I usually have it up anyway for weather predictions, cloud cover, etc.

That's interesting about the Photographer's Sun Compass. I usually just remember from the previous day - but the compass would be more reliable.

Now the moonrise predictions are what always get me. It can be tough to time the full moon.

Audrey
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