Cactus Flowers

The light was a little funny yesterday. Even with the sun high in the sky, there was a reddish quality to the light, as the sunlight was filtered through the smoke of the nearby wildfire. I went out back so see if I could get a good shot of the smoke to the east or to the west.

Side fact: to face the new fire to the east of here, an elite team parachuted in. Once on the ground, the decision was easy: get the hell out of there. Last I read, exactly zero people were fighting that fire. Just too dangerous.

Anyway, I failed to get any interesting smoke shots. But I did notice that some of the prickly pear was in bloom. When you’re a dude trying to get better at what he does, you take pictures of stuff like that. In fact you lie in the dirt and try not to roll over into cactus to practice the shot.

Here’s what I got (click to biggerize):

FR5A1903

cactus flower 2

cactus flower 1

cactus flower 4

The last one there, I had another shot that technically, by the numbers, was better-composed. But I like this one more. So there. I was throwing my aperture all over the place, trying to get the out-of-focus parts to be properly out of focus, and I got a wide range of results. But in the end, I got home covered in dirt, with a couple of nice pics on the chip.

And that’s what it’s all about.

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A Couple of Nature Shots

It is spring here in my little slice of heaven, and recently I’ve pointed my camera at flowers and stuff. Here is a shot or three of the results. There are things I’d like to change in each, but it’s a lazy Saturday and putting up pictures on a blog is easier than many of the other things I’m supposed to be getting done. For whatever reason, these look a lot better when you click on them to biggerize.

I forget what this flower is called, but it's nice.

I forget what this flower is called, but it’s nice.

I’m tempted to monkey with this photo more to make the flower pop better, but that’s really not how this plant rolls. It’s not a popper. I wish I’d stopped down a bit more to get the fungus on the log a little more in focus.

Apparently these are very bad to eat.

Apparently these are very bad to eat.

I really like this one, except for one frustration: the one point in the entire picture that the eye is first drawn, the little bit of grot on the mushroom cap, is just the tiniest bit out of focus (105mm lens very close to the mushroom means very shallow depth of field even at f/4). It’s hard to get the focus just right when you’re holding the camera at arm’s length. The focus is close enough that my eyes try to adjust, which of course doesn’t work and merely annoys them. Still and all, I’m pretty happy with it.

Not sure the tree, either.

Not sure the tree, either.

This is a cropped section of a set of pics I took this afternoon to feed a larger episode about photo composition, depth of focus, and bokeh (and when bokeh isn’t all it’s cracked up to be). That’s the episode I should be working on right now. There are a couple of nice bright-pink-on-deep-blue-sky shots in the batch I look forward to sharing.