I paid another visit to Pineland farms flower garden this past weekend. I only took a few photos because the sun ended up coming out and the wind picked up. Anyone who shoots macro, wind is the macro photographers biggest enemy and I also don’t like photographing flowers in bright sunshine.
Sometimes plans don’t go according to plan. I originally had the idea of taking photos of the milky way with black eyed susans as a foreground subject. Well, the lights of Freeport and clouds washed that idea out. Instead I just pointed the camera to a darker section of sky (the west) and got this photo instead. This image is a focus stack of two photos, one focused on the sky, the other on the foreground flowers and blended in Photoshop. The sky exposure was 25 seconds at f2.8, ISO 1600 and the flowers, 30 secs @ f2.8 and the same ISO but for the flowers I used my headlamp to skim light onto them. The lens was the Canon 16-35 2.8L on my 7D Mark II. After shooting the daisys I learned not much light is needed, I just move the light across the flowers for about a second or two. I discovered if you shine the light for too long on one area you tend to get a too bright, spotlight effect. I like the way the long sky exposure cause the clouds to streak adding a little something extra to the photo.
Back in 2012 I went to Machias Seal Island to photograph puffins, I really enjoyed it so I decided to go back again this year, this actually made the seventh time I’ve been on the islad, the first time being back in the 80’s. The downeast area has a lot to offer in the way of photography so puffins are not the only attraction. The birds were still incubating the eggs so if I do this trip again I’ll go later in the season. The puffins will be feeding the young and there’s a better chance of getting photos of the adults with fish in their bills.
This was taken last week during vacation. It was a very beautiful sunset and of course there were tourists there taking photos and selfies with the sun setting in the background. In typical tourist fashion though, as soon as the sun set below the horizon, everyone left. The best colors of sunset usually happen 20 minutes to a half hour after the sun disappears. As you can see here, waiting it out paid off.
The other night the northern lights were visible in Maine. I wasn’t out with my camera that night but I read some Facebook chatter the lights were going to make another appearance on Wednesday night. When I got out of work I grabbed my camera and took a drive to Sabattus River, the aurora was a no show but I did get this image of a batch of daisys. There was a half moon out so the milky way didn’t show up as brilliantly as it did last Friday. This time of year and the time of night I was out, the milky way shows up best looking south, I was looking north hoping to spot the northern lights. As for the daisys, I used my headlamp to skim a little light onto the blossoms.
The internet has been inundated with Milky Way photos lately but I had to try my hand at it. Last night I took a ride to Reid State Park at midnight and the sky couldn’t be clearer. I’ve actually been planning this binocular shot for a few months but since then, I’ve seen a similar one taken by someone else. I assure you I didn’t copy the idea.
Every year I have birds nesting in the nest box I built. I’ve had tree swallows nesting in it but most of the time it’s chickadees. This year a pair of titmice took up residence. Right now they are actively feeding their young. I took this photo about an hour ago as the adult paused before going into the box to feed the little ones. I’m loving the 7D Mark II.
Last evening I went outside to test the 7D Mark II on how it would do with some night sky photography. This is across the street from my house and the trees are lit up by a street lamp about a hundred feet away. I think the quality is pretty good compared to my 60D. Now that I know the 7D does a pretty good job I need to get to a more scenic location, with no clouds, and try photographing the milky way. I think the big star just above the trees is planet Jupiter.
Here is the back of the blind I built. It’s about four feet tall and the back wall section is about three feet wide, the walls come apart, so if I wanted to move it I could easily disassemble it, they’re held together by carriage bolts and wingnuts. I decided to not put a roof on it, right now it’s just a piece of plywood temporarily set on top. The only reason the concrete blocks are on it is because the plywood was warped so I use the blocks to weigh it down and keep it flat. I stapled some tarpaper to the top plywood to keep it waterproof. The sides also have been watersealed so they’ll stay water resistant.
This is the front to show the opening where I stick the lens through. I put some camo screening over the opening so it makes it easy to see through, because it’s brighter outside, it hides my movements somewhat. I just cut slits in the screen to allow the lens to get through. The first day I was sitting in the blind a chickadee landed on the end of the lens but it saw me through the screen and quickly flew off.
Here’s what it looks like looking through the door with the camera set up and ready to shoot.
The first part of this post was written two years ago when I first built the blind, it’s been in my draft folder since and I had forgotten about it, so it’s been two years since I set it outside. The blind has worked well for me and a lot of the photos I’ve taken from inside have been posted on here. The only problem I’ve had is the siding did not fair well with the weather. I used luan plywood, luan is actually used as a floor underlayment, I used it because it was thin and light and I wanted to keep the weight down in case I needed to move it. I thought by waterproofing it, it would help with the weather but over time that didn’t prove to be true. After two years, there are things I realize I could do to improve the blind, so this summer I plan on building another and applying the modifications. This version cost less than 50 dollars to construct, I’m sure the next one will cost more since lumber has gone up in price and I plan on making it a little larger and using a more durable plywood. I’ll take photos of the construction process.