Sunday, April 28, 2013


After getting home from Bridgeport, Dania and her dad came over for dinner. This was good for many reasons (mainly that I wanted to see Dania while I was in town), one being that I could recruit Dania to help me out with some photos. She's the kind of person who is dedicated to figuring something out, never complaining she's tired or bored, so she's a great person to have around when you're not entirely sure what you're doing. With the help of her dad's fishing hat (it lights up, and I needed a portable light source that wasn't as beaming as a flashlight) and my mom's spray bottle, we were able to try several droplet photos around the back yard. I'll talk a bit about what I learned in between the photos.

First, though, I did take a few non-droplet photos that night, so they'll also be in this post. Bugs ahead!

These bugs seemed to like my mom's yellow roses, and they are so funny--I don't think I've ever noticed them before. For some reason I think of Jiminy Cricket when I see him, even though obviously he's not a cricket. But what is he?

Just enjoying the view.

I like the ruffly petal photos and had to try it with every color of rose.

Another interesting bug was on the lavender.

I can't resist ladybug photos, I guess.

Hey R, remember those bugs we always called "Little Red Bugs" growing up? Ron saw one on the wine bottle and asked me to take a picture. I never realized they were like little spiders.

Look at that--this bug is very tiny, but here you can see more detail. So fun!

Okay, here we go. So in the past I had seen photos online where a flower was showing up clearly in a droplet. When I first got the macro lens I was like, "Okay, after it rains I will just find natural droplets that happen to be reflecting a flower!" Well, that's not so easy, because so many factors have to be just right in order to get the type of scene I had come across online. For one thing, the flower has to be really close to the drop, because it shrinks it way down. Notice you can see a tiny yellow bud in the drops here, and it's the reflection of that fuzzy yellow bud in the background. Hm..not quite what I had in mind!

Droplets without clear reflections are still nice, and I didn't want to neglect them.

Our most successful reflection-in-droplet photos were with this little pinwheel my mom had in the yard. We could position it as we needed, and it's colors and pattern help it to be recognizable.

Even with a spray bottle, it was hard to create a droplet that was positioned correctly, didn't drop off too quickly, and large enough for me to focus not on the drop itself, but the reflection inside it. This was much more tiring than I had anticipated. Leaning to get in close to the perfect drop, at the perfect angle, and holding my body still to get the photo was pretty exhausting.

Here you can see the outer edges because the pinwheel is further away (and below the frame). Using a higher f-stop was necessary for clear images, but that meant I needed more light. Dania held the light for me, but it was not always easy to place it just right and keep it looking natural (you can see a bright dot in this one).

Just a little leaf detail.

Here's a crop of the previous one so you can see the [lack of] detail in the reflection.

Not quite, Jessica.

Break for a photo of a lazy poppy. Most of them wrap into a tighter scroll for the night, but I related more to this flower. He's like, "I'm going to open again tomorrow morning, why go to all the trouble of winding myself up?" I feel the same about making the bed.

And then we sprayed it, because it's fun.

Here's an opportunity to mention something else I didn't realize about droplet reflections: they're upside down. This is why it's handy to reflect symmetrical flowers, like daisies.

I flipped some of these pictures so you can see the image as it should look. Obviously there's a yellow rose, but it would've been better if it had been a bit closer.

A closer crop. These still aren't the type of images I had dreamed of creating, but it was exciting just to be able to recognize the flower in the droplet!

Hey, check out my parents' new fence.

So cute.

We had some luck with the jasmine because a) there were trillions to choose from and b) they are symmetrical! But by now I was pretty tired and it was getting darker. It smelled good, though!

Like a little starfish. Or "sea star" as we're supposed to call them now (whatevs).

Okay, thanks for looking! Going through these really made me miss the macro lens. With what I know now, I want to practice some more. Oh and I forgot to mention that it was breezy out this night, so that added one more challenging layer to the situation. I'd like to try this again when it's very still, earlier in the day, and I can move flowers around as I need. Although I think to get really great droplet reflection photos, you have to create a well-lit studio and put the camera on a tripod.

For the sake of comparison, the awesome images I've seen online look more like this and this and this. I didn't want to show you until the end, or my photos would've been extra disappointing! Oh and check this one out. I like that she explains that it's all natural--I did wonder.

Later I'll show you some bubble photos from the following day. Have a great Sunday!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Nature Walk

On a Sunday afternoon, my parents took me to a little nature trail up in Bridgeport. They had heard the wildflowers were in bloom, and though there weren't a ton of flowers yet, it was a nice time with lots of little things to photograph.

Bridgeport has this covered bridge (built in 1862) that crosses the Yuba river. Don't be confused by the welcoming chain link fence--you can't actually walk on it anymore. But according to Wikipedia, "The Bridgeport Covered Bridge has the longest clear span of any surviving covered bridge in the world."

These photos aren't the awesomest, sorry. The middle of a pleasant sunny day is perfect for getting outdoors, but not necessarily perfect for photography.

Our first small sighting was this chrysalis. My mom found it, and now I'm kind of kicking myself for not kidnapping it. She could've watched the lovely butterfly emerge a few days later! Or maybe it's a moth, in which case I'm glad I left it intact.

At first we were just noticing a few flowers and I wasn't getting many photos. We began to see several butterflies, but they wouldn't land anywhere within photographable distance. Then finally we had some luck!

I'm cropping some of my photos in close so you can see the detail. Also, I have about a million butterfly photos, so I'm sorry if these are a bit repetitive.

These Pipevine Swallowtails were all over, but this was one of maybe two that I actually was able to photograph.

Meanwhile I was also catching photos of pretty much any bug that would sit still, even if it was normally a bug I'd want to leave my presence.

My dad spotted this, and I was surprised it sat still long enough for me to get a photo.


Look closer--striped antennae! God was all, "Let there be pizzazz."

Okay, back to Pipey.

Now you can see better how blue they are when the light hits them a certain way.

And their furry wings? I'm a little confused, since this doesn't always show up.

An accident that looks like a scary movie butterfly. Butterflyman Prophecies.

That stick is unfortunately blocking him, but I kept this picture because of of the detail. Look...

Butterfly foot! I never knew they had little claws.

We came across a few lizards as well (I was hoping for snake sightings, but there were none). Oh hey lizard, are your toes long enough?

A close crop so you can see the pretty dark blue coloring on his neck and stomach.

Cute plant!

A smaller lizard.

Up close!

Thanks for looking, and thanks to my parents for pointing out stuff to me and patiently letting me take pictures! :) And for the Subway sandwich on the way up. :D

Droplet photos are coming next. Have a great weekend!


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