Sunday, August 17, 2008

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

We had our hearts set on getting to the refuge today and then heading over to My Way seafood market to get some shrimp to have for dinner. The fact that it was drizzling and solid overcast when we left home did not deter us....much, anyway.

When we got there the skies had lightened somewhat and so there was hope that the day would not be lost. We started walking along the water. The pelicans and cormorants were in their usual spots on the pilings.

The sky was definitely clearing and the sun was coming out, a welcome sight. (Unfortunately, August sunshine after August rain leads to intense August humidity, but you can't have everything...) When we got to the picnic shelter we sat for a while. As the sky got clearer, I decided it was time for some more big-sky photos, although this time I decided not to go the HDR route, which requires taking five photos of each scene. One of each view was enough.


We walked down to the water to watch the sand crabs scatter and to do a little wading.

We circled the center pond. This little bird (I still do not have my sandpiper species sorted out) was all by itself, making for a photo singular here in its simplicity.

And then off to get shrimp and head back home. It's always a joy to visit the refuge, no matter what the season.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

I've been playing with scenics lately so I can tinker with HDR. I see why some people don't care for it, either to produce it or see it. I'm not sure yet whether I will do much of it--when it works, I like it a lot, but when it doesn't, your photo is far better off without it.

I spent a lot of time with this photo, taken on a road near my house and it always was better with HDR.

On the other hand, I could not get proper sky color with this one. I went back and made some changes to the settings and ended up with a sort of odd, quasi-HDR photo, but I like it.

I think the subject matter is very important if you want to play with this. It's useless with my bird photos, but has potential with some scenics.

Shell Point

We went to Shell Point recently, a town along the Gulf. A storm was threatening in the distance but the sun was shining and it was nice to sit by the water for a while.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Lafayette Park at Piney Z

DH and I had some errands to run in Tallahassee and decided to first take a short walk around the lake from Lafayette Park. I'm still testing out my new lens to see if I want to take it paddling, so I hoped for a chance to get some photos with it.

We walked out on one of the "Fishing Fingers" behind these folks with their fishing gear.

On the way back to the trail around the lake we spotted this egret.

We walked around the lake to the left from the parking lot. It was too hot to consider making the full circle around it, but we did get to the pretty little inlet area across from the parking lot.

This green heron was fishing nearby.

There was a fair amount of water in the lake, certainly enough for paddling, so we walked back to investigate the boat ramp. On our way there we encountered a couple with a wonderful dog--part cocker spaniel and part afghan. We used to have a purebred afghan hound and I have always had a soft spot in my heart for them, and I clearly saw the breed in this dog.

We ended up at the boat ramp together, where the dog was playing in the water and chasing sticks they were throwing.


This is, however, a VERY BAD IDEA at this lake. There are many gators in this lake, and gators are very fond of dogs as a meal; they are known to actively pursue them. We mentioned this to the couple, who continued to throw sticks into the water for their dog. A small gator head appeared some distance away. The guy seemed totally unconcerned, the woman only marginally less so. And then the guy threw a stick about 10 feet into the lake. The dog went after it and the gator began swimming toward the dog. This got the woman's attention (finally) and she went on full alert, frantically calling the dog and telling her companion to throw something at the gator. The dog made it back, they leashed it, and the woman announced that it would not be going in the water again. Crisis averted.

So far so good with the lens.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Lens Test

So I got this new camera lens today and I went out to test it, as one always should when one gets a new lens. Make sure there are no flaws--take the time to check all the corners of your photos on your computer screen. That seems to be a hot area for lens flaws.

It was raining a tiny bit, not enough to damage the camera or lens. I wandered around the yard, zooming in and out to test the whole range. I got this and that, and was returning to the house to check out the photos on the computer when I spotted this dragonfly on a plant. It just sat there so this seemed to be a good opportunity to test the close-up capability of the lens.

I intended to discard all the photos I took since they were just to test the lens. But I liked this one, so I am posting it here.

Not a bad lens; I think I'll keep it....