They’re Back!

I was sitting on the patio with a cup of coffee (as we often do every morning) when buzzzzz – the first hummer of the season stopped by for a sip of Salvia!

I went back inside to grab a camera and fired off a few shots of this handsome male. I was using a Fuji XT-3, a neat little mirrorless with whimsical controls that are like a throwback to my early days with film cameras. Only this little powerhouse can fire off 30 games per second.

Yikes, I can vouch that in 10 seconds I racked up nearly 300 images of this hummingbird! Depth of field is so shallow that you really can only see from the tip of his beak to his head, which is less than an inch. But I love the detail in the feathers along the gorget (throat) and the pollen on his head!

Doors, Gates, Nooks and Crannies

A walk off the beaten path through the nation’s oldest city yields some architectural delights. All images were taken with my Fuji XT-2, a mirrorless camera that is lightweight and a delight to use. The controls are a whimsical throwback to cameras of the 1960’s and the build quality is superb.

When working the streets, the small form factor of the Fuji helps keep everything discrete. I used no filters on the day, and worked with a 10-24mm wide-angle lens. I’d like to go back earlier in the morning, and especially would like to do this same walk in the rain!

The Gallery below contains more of my favorites from the day. Click any image to enlarge to full size:

New Photo Creativity Seminar

Stuck in a photography rut? Join me for “Structured Vision”, my new seminar for photographers with an emphasis on enhancing creativity. Offered in conjunction with my new friends at The Beaches Photography Club. May 1st, 2018, at the Neptune Beach Regional Library, 600 3rd St, Neptune Beach, FL.  I hope to see you there!

First Rookery Visit of 2018

We’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to visit an old local favorite, the rookery at the St Augustine Alligator Farm. So glad to be back!

This morning I decided to bring my Fuji X-T2 and give it a try for bird photography. This compact mirrorless camera features legendary sharp FujiFilm optics, old-school film-like controls, and advanced, lightweight design. I wanted to give it a workout against my traditional Canon DSLR.

FUJIFILM X-T2

I’m impressed with the clarity and depth of colors with the Fuji. It has a learning curve, very different from Canon or Nikon. The results look good but my keeper rate isn’t as high and I’m still working on my own quickness with the controls. Perched birds are not an issue, but for Birds-in-flight I’m going to need more practice and need to tweak my autofocus settings.

All-in-all, a good morning and we’ll be back to practice again very soon. Here’s a gallery of a few images from the Fuji X-T2 today. Click to see the larger size with detail.

Ancient City Lights: Photowalk

It was my pleasure to host a UNF/OLLI continuing education class trip through the historic city of St Augustine last night. After being postponed due to bad weather, we were blessed to finally have perfect conditions for a hike around town, looking for fun scenes and bright lights.

We were not disappointed! When shooting at night, I like to remind my students that a study tripod is just the beginning. Depending on the scene and the length of exposure, you may also want to use a remote or self-timer to avoid any possible movement of the camera.

Modern cameras do much better with high ISO settings. I often to preach to not be afraid to go up there and even shoot hand-held!  You never know what you might miss while waiting to set up the shot with a clunky tripod and related accessories.

We all had fun experimenting with different settings and techniques, followed by the compulsive debrief over beverages. Cheers!

Rainy Day Garage Fun

Today was a scheduled maintenance day for Wilma the MGA. To avoid the worst of the rain, I drove to the garage early and passed the time with my phone camera, stray cats, and some really cool cars. A little creative license can make even phone pics interesting!

 

Umbrella Fail Puddle Dunk

Sometimes inspiration comes from strange places. Last night I was sitting on the couch, disappointed that the UNF/OLLI class field trip I was leading had been postponed due to rainy weather in old town St Augustine.

While half-asleep, I imagined myself  braving the elements to capture deserted wet streets with reflections of the bright lights and saturated colors. Or something like that.

So off I went, into a total downpour.

Sunrise Re-discovered

Have you ever browsed through your older images only to discover something you overlooked? I found this one today from a photoshoot last June.  It’s from a road trip taken deep into the pine barrens of Southern New Jersey, my old stomping grounds. I was intrigued by the lush endless ferns and golden morning mist.

I normally keyword, grade, and organize my images right after uploading, but somehow this batch slipped through. Teachable moment from this story: Use those chilly or rainy days wisely and explore your old photos…you never know what you might discover!

Canon 5D IV, 1/80 sec, f/16, ISO 1250, 24mm.

Sunrise Rediscovered

New Bird Morning

I’m not the best bird watcher by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t keep a massively impressive list, but I love the challenge, particularly when photographing a new bird or tracking them down in a new place.

Yesterday we were thrilled to locally observe a flock of Sandhill Cranes, a Priority Species that the National Audubon Society says is vulnerable to loss of habitat. While overall they have rebounded in recent years, they are not terribly common here in North Florida.  Degradation of their habitat here and at major stopover points for migrants could have serious impact on the species in the future.

Anyone who pursues this hobby gets a little thrill when seeing a species for the first time, and today we saw Black Bellied Whistling Ducks and White-crowned Sparrows – new birds for our list! Both species are fairly uncommon in our location. Below are a few more results from a productive morning at our new little birding paradise. Click the preview for a full-sized image. For more information about bird photo outings in North Florida or for photography instruction, please contact me. Thanks for looking!

 

 

A St John’s River Sunset

I’m convinced that we live in a sunrise and sunset paradise, especially as the weather cools. One of my favorite locations for viewing sunsets is along the St John’s River near Rivertown, where the massive oak and cypress forest along the shoreline provides ample foreground opportunity.  In sunset or sunrise photography, foregrounds are critical to avoid creating a boring cliche image.

Here are some results followed by a fun video of my recent class outing to capture the perfect sunset!

Moonrise after the sunset.

Friends enjoying the event!