Thursday, October 16, 2014

Weather Atop the Blue Ridge

Just two hours and a few miles of travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway can reveal dramatic changes in weather and the look of the landscape.

There was fog and haze, and most of the trees had not yet revealed their most intense autumn colors (this was October 7).  However, I briefly caught sight of a patch of color through a gap in the mid-ground foliage, and a long lens concentrated the view.

This fog bank followed the fence line for awhile.

My goal that afternoon was to hike to the Cascades in Jeffress Park, and I was rewarded with nice conditions at the upper and lower falls overlooks.  It was cloudy (and sometimes drizzly), which kept the contrast of the white water manageable.

I got my viewpoint very close to ground level at a feeder stream on the way back.

Here are views from inside and outside the Jesse Brown cabin in E. B. Jeffress Park.


At the Duke Lemur Center

I took my first tour of the Duke Lemur Center October 5, and was blown away by their inquisitive, sensitive nature.  A small group of photographers were permitted to venture into one of the forest areas (there are a number of large areas separated by fences) and interact with one species who were out there for the day.  In the course of an hour and a half, I saw so many fascinating expressions and "poses" that I have to show you a lengthy sample of the photos I caught.

They are quite used to visitors, but you could still see shyness that gradually diminished, or was overcome.

This ring formation of the tail is, I'm told, not uncommon, but the upside down glance was a lucky catch!

They are fearless leapers.

Lunch time!

Are there greens caught between my teeth?

Other varieties of lemur were indoors that day, but I managed a few shots through their wire enclosures.


We visited mouse-sized nocturnal lemurs in glass enclosures lit only by very dim red lights.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Autumn rose

Ahhh, beautiful, fall weather today...sunny but cool...and my neighbor has a few roses blooming!  No complaints, flowers are great to see and smell whenever you find them.  Of course the camera insisted on a chance to go out and play before work.  Usually a subject like this seems soft, delicate, and vulnerable to me, but this rose definitely evinced sturdiness and showiness.  (At least I didn't say it had "pluck"!)  I was content to work with the bare sunlight, rather than adding a diffuser or reflector.  Appropriate for a rose showing its stuff in autumn, right?

I used a 300 mm lens, and a 25 mm extension tube to allow focusing just a little closer.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fallen Leaf

This fallen leaf, drained of its chlorophyll, showed a variety of red and orange pigments, which stood out starkly against the still-bright greens of ivy and liriope.

[Canon EF 100/2.8 L IS macro, f/11, 0.6 sec., ISO 100]


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bi-chromatic sky

Usually, when the sky is the main focus of a photograph, or just an important element of a landscape or cityscape, one would use a wide angle lens to include much of it.  A couple of days ago, I was using telephoto lenses to capture soccer action.  I noticed unusual clouds and colors shortly before sunset.  The game wasn't going to pause for me, and I didn't have a "short" lens anyway, so I grabbed this shot of one small area (an angle of view of 6.9º, I don't have such statistics all memorized, but it was easy to look up given the focal length of the lens, which was 300 mm).  The color contrast was striking, along with the sharp demarcation between the small quasi-cumulus globs and the wispy stratus area.

With enough of a time out, I could grab a zoom that let me pull back to 100 mm and do this shot of a broader but still concentrated area (20.4º horizontally, in case you were dying to know).


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Chipmunk, Cardinal, Leaves

Five minutes in the yard today yielded lots of things to see, and I caught a few of them with the camera.  The chipmunk was in a tough, contrasty light situation, with a busy background, but his face was irresistible.

This lady cardinal looked inquisitive, and as you would expect, her movements were sudden and quick, but she tolerated me long enough for this sequence.

The leaves caught the light in a fantastic way against the shaded background.  One almost looks disconnected and falling (the very deep shadow on the stem has not been altered at all).

Moments later, as I moved no more than a few inches for a slightly different perspective, the balance of light on subject and background completely changed.