Sunday, April 22, 2018

Dawn in the Caribbean

DAWN IN THE CARIBBEAN, MAY 26, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax 18-135mm
1/500 sec. f8
ISO 200

When I swept open the curtains of our verandah cabin on the Holland America Line's Westerdam, bound out of Fort Lauderdale for the Panama Canal, this sight greeted me, and I rushed back inside for the camera. The ship is the Norwegian Cruise Line's Epic, an aptly named 4,100-passenger behemoth with twice the capacity of our ship.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Out of the past

DEBORAH ABBOTT KISOR, JACKSON SQUARE, NEW ORLEANS, MAY 1968. PENTAX SPOTMATIC, 50mm f1.4, KODACHROME 25

I have been converting 40-plus years' worth of slides into digital files, and came across this shot of Debby taken during a tourist trip to New Orleans just eight months after we were married in June, 1967. The Kodachrome has held up well over half a century—and so, for that matter, has she. For the conversion I used a Wolverine Titan optical converter, which does remarkably well for its $135 price. A flatbed scanner might give marginally better results, but takes much longer to use. Click on the photo to see its fine detail.




Saturday, September 2, 2017

Harbinger

MAPLE LEAVES, GREEN, MICHIGAN, SEPTEMBER 1, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5
1/400 f7.1
USO 400

The local prognosticators say that the unusually short summer in the Upper Peninsula means a harsher than usual winter, but the fall leaf colors seem to be right on time—spots of red here and there with slowly yellowing blankets.



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Solar eclipse

SOLAR ECLIPSE, GREEN, MICHIGAN, AUGUST 21, 2017

Canon PowerShot SX710HS
Canon Zoom 30x15 4.5-135mm lens at 135mm (760mm equivalent)
1/1250 sec. f6.5
ISO 160

I didn't want to use my go-to Pentax K-3 and 300mm lens for fear of burning out an eye gazing at the sun, so chose an inexpensive point-and-shoot camera, composing the image on its LCD screen. The result was not bad, thanks in great part to the camera's excellent shake reduction feature.

Latest red-bellied

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, GREEN, MICHIGAN, AUGUST 21, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5
1/250 sec. f4.5
ISO 1600

For some unknown reason scores of birds mobbed our feeders in the strange dusk at the height of the 71 percent solar eclipse yesterday. One of them was this male red-bellied woodpecker, a frequent visitor to our suet cages but a rare one at the seed feeders.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Hairy Woodpecker

MALE HAIRY WOODPECKER, GREEN, MICHIGAN, AUGUST 21, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5
1/320 sec. f4.5
ISO 1600

Telling a Hairy from a Downy isn't easy, but the two markers are the long and heavy bill on the former as well as completely white, not spotted, under tail feathers. This photo was taken midway during the 71 percent eclipse of the sun August 21, requiring high ISO and a wide-open aperture.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Today's nutch

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JULY 22, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax F* 300mm f4.5 with Pentax 1.4x converter (420mm)
1/400 sec. f7.1
ISO 1600

Usually seen at our feeders as loners, this species has taken to visiting in pairs, and perhaps because of that tends to perch on the feeders for a longer time instead of quickly grabbing a sunflower seed and dashing away. That makes it easier to compose and snap a picture of the quicksilver little creatures.



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Thimbleberry

THIMBLEBERRY (RUBUS PARVIFLORUS), HOONAH, ALASKA, JUNE 19, 2017

iPhone 6s
4.15mm lens
1/120 sec. f2.2
ISO 25

I'd thought the thimbleberry was limited to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but it's actually quite common from Alaska to the Great Lakes. Its soft, raspberry-like fruit doesn't keep well and hence is never seen in supermarkets, but makes excellent jam. The intricately veined leaves clearly are photogenic—and make excellent emergency TP.