Square on

A few ‘incidental’ photos that came about while shooting with various cameras. The common denominator here is that they all looked better cropped square.

Bear out the window. (Nikon P610)
Young Pacific wren. Blurry because it was in the dark bush of the woods. (Nikon P610)
Yellow on yellow. Blurry because the Tamron lens isn’t that sharp. (Canon T100)
Dotted butterfly. (Pentax K100D)
Bee there in the square. (Olympus E-410)
Featuring yellow today I guess. (Olympus E-410)

The good news is we’ve had more rain and the fires are taking a beating from it, although it’s smoky today. Not long ’til September and the next thing you know …

Close up with the Nikon P610

About five weeks into the healing time for my eyesight. It is definitely better, but also definitely blurred. What is more, my ability to pick things out has decreased noticeably. For example I can see large/distinct objects near or far. I can see small objects up close. But spotting small objects that are not near, such as a song sparrow in a pine tree, is no longer possible. Since I like taking pictures of birds and they are often small and in trees this is something of a disadvantage. I have nabbed a few shots, all less than perfect, by virtue of triangulating on sound and spotting movement then pointing in the general direction and hoping the bird is somewhere in frame. All too often it isn’t.

So I am re-learning photography or learning to do it differently or learning to do different photography or all three and possibly more.

In this episode I’m exploring the fact that using a camera only one way is a mistake, so here I’m trying some close up shots. This not only exercises my ‘spotting ability’ but also my ‘in-focus guessing’ as well as ‘composition assumptions’ and even ‘exposure estimating’. These even though the camera automatically picks focus and exposure, albeit not always correctly as the Nikon has problems of its own.

Devil’s paintbrush. Reasonably sharp?
Black berry. I just like the tonal qualities.
Bubbles! (Lake froth.)
Young lingcod (aka burbot) sunning itself for some reason.
Spotted berries. No idea what they are.
Bumble bee on a thistle. This should be a demonstration of lens resolution.

I think I’m improving on most areas, except focus/sharpness. I simply can not tell even in the final image if things are a sharp as they should be. Whether there’s going to be further improvement in that area I don’t know.

Currently I’m toying with the idea of changing my camera arsenal. The lens is the thing, right? So instead of having four DSLRs and five lens systems, why not one camera with adapters as necessary to attache whatever best lenses I want? That way there’s only one set of controls to use and even though they’d mostly have to be operated manually – well I do that anyway. More on this plan later.

The best news of late is that we had some rain. Enough to make a difference on some of the fires including downgrading a couple and lifting some evac alerts/orders. But it is far from over and the weather is headed for hot and dry again.

Around the yard with the Nikon P610

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Thunderstorm threat

I’m told the weather is about to change from very hot to much cooler and rainy. I guess it figured out I was home and wanted to do that shed roof. Anyway, before it does I took some time to take some pictures. Nothing much; just getting back into it.

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Chipping sparrow

For some reason this little fellow got over 50 likes when I posted it in a bird group. It’s not even a good picture, frankly. But he is a cute little bird.

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It’s called a dark-eyed junco

With good reason. Note the detail in the feathers! This is a 640×480 crop of the full-size image taken at the P610’s maximum telephoto length of 1440mm equivalent.

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Get into yellow

Any more pollen on him and he’ll be yellow itself. Or maybe bee yellow.

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Berry good picture

I cropped this square to eliminate some overhead power lines that intruded. It changes the composition from the original, but it still ‘works’.

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Gossamer wings

There are many of these little helicopter bugs hovering around right now. I hope they are eating all the mosquitoes! I took several different shots of them, and liked this one the best.

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Devil’s flower

As in; I had a devil of a time getting this photo. The Nikon had fits trying to focus on this, without even any wind blowing. I changed zoom length, switched between normal and close-up AF, shot about three frames, and did not shoot about eight with ‘false’ focus lock. The camera is having problems.

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Bumble bee happy

Again multiple shots, this was the best, and it’s not very good. In all I took fourteen images on this jaunt (a simple “once around the yard”), only seven of which are any good at all. That’s a 50 percent failure rate. Most of the time it was the camera not focusing or saying it was in focus but the image was blurred afterwards. I rely on autofocus because my eyesight isn’t that good, and yet many times I could see the green ‘in focus’ square showing on what was a very obviously blurred image so I didn’t press the button.

But that’s not the worst of it. The ol’ Nikon developed a new problem on this shoot: at one point it failed to zoom. The controls just did nothing and I had to turn it off and on again. It’s bad enough the sensor contrast is going down, the EVF is getting dim, the focus lock is nearly random, and the battery doesn’t last long anymore. If it won’t zoom … well that’s the best thing about the camera; the incredible range and sharpness of the lens. Yes it’s several years old and has taken thousands of pictures. That doesn’t make me feel any better about it failing. Quite the opposite in fact.

There’s nothing else like it available now. The replacement versions are “over-the-top” in design and price. Especially price. When the P610 quits my photography will change as I adapt to using the Canon T100 for everything. I’d better get practicing with it I guess.