My Morning: Birds, Flowers, Coffee, and my Camera
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Morning Company sitting on the veranda with a cup of coffee and the camera -- Rootstown, OH, USA -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Morning Company
sitting on the veranda with a cup of coffee and the camera

I joined my mom on the veranda for coffee this cool, sunny, exceedingly-pleasant morning, but knowing we would be accosted by all manner of birds looking for their own breakfast, I of course had to bring the camera along.

As I mentioned in “A Few Japanese Swords of Note”, the Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 is challenging for me to work with in a close-up setting that's dynamic, because the focus pull is so long and the depth of field can be so very thin. The chickadees tend to come in an out pretty quickly, but sometimes just stand around for a few seconds, giving me a chance to get lucky with the focus. (One sat on my hand the other day for 20 seconds waiting for a worm, apparently not noticing the one sitting right at its feet. Sadly, I couldn't take a picture because, well, I was holding a chickadee.)

Anyway, I got an okay focus in the shot above, but he didn't have his head turned enough to get a good glint in his eye, so the result is pretty flat, but the white feathers under his eye are clear...

Full-Resolution Crop with the Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 -- Rootstown, OH, USA -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Full-Resolution Crop
with the Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5

This is at default sharpening in Lightroom, but something about these feathers look way oversharpened to me, but they retain that odd quality even when I turned sharpening off completely, so perhaps that's just the way they are.

I may as well take the moment to compare the shot above with a similar one I took yesterday (while my dad was clearing a fallen tree) with the Sigma Bigma 50-500mm zoom I was using at the time....

Waiting to be Served -- Rootstown, OH, USA -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 210 mm — 1/250 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Waiting to be Served

As illustrated the other day, some of the chickadees can be pretty unreserved about asking for a worm any time any place, so while Anthony and I were standing there by a tree, one came to a branch three feet from my face and waited. Unfortunately it moved to a higher branch when I swung the camera around, so I didn't get nearly the closeup I was hoping for, but the Sigma's autofocus, OS, and sharpness strut their stuff in this quick snapshot. Here's a full-resolution crop:

Full-Resolution Crop With the Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm @ 210mm -- Rootstown, OH, USA -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Full-Resolution Crop
With the Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm @ 210mm
Morning Glory This probably looks washed out unless you have a really good monitor -- Rootstown, OH, USA -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Morning
Glory
This probably looks washed out unless you have a really good monitor

The morning glories next to the veranda are a continual draw for me, but I'm surprised to see I've not posted them before, except one wide-angle shot last year. Flowers are, of course, the most quintessentially overdone cliché photographic subject, but pretty is pretty, so I don't mind acting as if I'm the first person to ever point a camera their way...

Source of Light -- Rootstown, OH, USA -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Source of Light

Also nearby, in the morning sunlight...

Rings of Dew Each empty “follicle” on this monarda is surrounded by a ring of exquisitely tiny beads of dew -- Rootstown, OH, USA -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/640 sec, f/4, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Rings of Dew
Each empty “follicle” on this monarda is surrounded by a ring of exquisitely tiny beads of dew

All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

Beautiful close-ups. ‘Source of Light’ is very dreamy. The details of the birds are stunning – it is surprising to see the very textile structure of their feathers.
I recently got myself a Canon 100 mm Macro, but I didn’t take enough time to really play with it yet. But watching these shots as well as your other Voigtländer shots makes me want to skip work and just go out in a park and shoot all day. I did find out, though, that getting the right focus is terribly difficult for a close-up macro shot with wide aperture. How large a ratio of your macro attempts do you scrap because of poor focus?

Scrap? Poor focus? Are you suggesting that not every photo I take is 100% perfect? I’m so very injured. 😉

I take a “carpet bombing” approach. Electrons are cheap, and I delete the obvious misses right away in post. I took five or six photos at that exact composition just trying to get focus, and picked the best and dumped the rest. It was easier here than normal, though, because there was a branch nearby I could rest one finger of the lens-holding hand against. It wasn’t exactly “bracing” the lens, but merely having something to touch as a frame of reference makes it much easier to hold steady. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jonas, Tokyo on July 28th, 2010 at 11:28am JST (7 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Sorry for hurting your feelings – I knew you are good but had no clue you are perfect 😉

I noticed some other cool features in the first bird shot: The beautiful, smooth halo around its head (sweet lens!) and the branch behind its beak. It’s a pity for the composition that the branch and bird collide, but on the other hand the diffraction makes it really hard to tell whether the branch is actually in front of or behind the beak. Cool.

This weekend I really have to go out and exercise my steady hand and trigger finger. Hope the camera will not break down in the heat…

— comment by Jonas, Tokyo on July 28th, 2010 at 1:39pm JST (7 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Those last two are great, especially the morning glory one.

— comment by Zachary Braverman on July 28th, 2010 at 1:43pm JST (7 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey,

your son is so much bigger than the last time i visited your site. I’ve had one of my own since then too. Turns out they are awesome.

Still think mastering regular expressions is the most accessible and helpful tech book i’ve yet read. And I’ve picked up quite a few since I last corresponded with you.

I somehow found my way into a job at an electrical engineering company and cannot believe, even though I am not exactly doing any coding, how much i use regex and how much I retained from your book.

Hope you and yours are well. Glad to see you are still shooting and blogging.

— comment by krister johnson on July 28th, 2010 at 2:13pm JST (7 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink
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