Archive for the ‘Aperture’ Category

Panasonic DMC-FZ300 macro kit

October 14, 2019

The last two posts in my photoblog feature sample photos taken using a small, lightweight camera kit for macro photography that I’m more likely to carry in the field than any of my larger, heavier “studio” macro camera kits.

The macro rig features the following gear: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom digital camera; Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter; and Godox X2To/p wireless flash trigger for Olympus and Panasonic. The Raynox close-up filter screws onto the front of the camera lens using a 52-43mm step-down ring.

Raynox DCR-250 not mounted on the camera lens.

The Godox flash trigger is optional. The Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter comes with its own lens cap. The lens hood can be mounted on the lens barrel when the close-up filter is mounted on the camera lens.

Raynox DCR-250 shown mounted on the camera lens.

It’s amazing how adding a relatively inexpensive close-up filter to the camera makes such a big difference in its capability.

Related Resource: Panasonic Bridge Cameras – Basic Photography Part 4, Close Up & Macro, by Graham Houghton (23:35).

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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Nickel (coin)

October 11, 2019

A nickel — an American five-cent coin — was photographed at BoG Photo Studio. The subject was chosen for scale, since most people are familiar with the size of a nickel (~0.84 in, or 2.12 cm in diameter).

The purpose of this blog post is simply to show sample photos taken using a small, lightweight camera kit for macro photography that I’m more likely to carry in the field than any of my larger, heavier “studio” macro camera kits. As you can see, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300/Raynox DCR-250 rig is capable of taking fairly high-quality macro photos.

Tech Tips

The macro photographs in this post were taken using my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom digital camera, Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter, Godox X2To/p wireless flash trigger for Olympus and Panasonic (New!), and Godox TT685o/p Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (manual mode). The external flash unit was fitted with Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier. The Raynox close-up filter screws onto the front of the camera lens using a 52-43mm step-down ring.

1-Area Focusing and Spot Metering were used for all photos. f/4.0 to f/4.5 is the sweet spot for this zoom lens.

I like to carry a few nickels in my photo backpack since they are about the right thickness for tightening/loosening tripod plate screws. Also since the coin has a smooth edge it is less likely to make scratches than a coin with a grooved edge, such as a quarter (an American 25-cent coin that is 1/4 dollar).

300mm

300mm is 12x zoom. Some zoom is necessary when the Raynox close-up filter is attached to the camera lens since some vignetting is caused by mounting a 43mm filter on a 52mm lens.

~54mm (300mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/80 s | 0.33 ev

~54mm (300mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/80 s | 0.33 ev

~54mm (300mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/80 s | 0.33 ev

600mm

600mm is 24x zoom. That’s a lot of magnification!

108mm (600mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/100 s | 0.33 ev

Related Resource: Panasonic Bridge Cameras – Basic Photography Part 4, Close Up & Macro, by Graham Houghton (23:35).

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Toy dinosaur-lizard

October 9, 2019

A small toy dinosaur-lizard (~2.25 in, or ~5.72 cm long) was photographed at BoG Photo Studio.

I named the toy “Lizzie.” Clever, huh? She’s a “rescue toy” who is quite happy in her new home. (I found her on the sidewalk outside the apartment building where I live.) Lizzie enjoys working part-time as a model at BoG Photo Studio.

Tech Tips

The macro photographs in this post were taken using my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom digital camera, Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter, Godox X2To/p wireless flash trigger for Olympus and Panasonic (New!), Godox TT685o/p Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (manual mode), and Godox TT685F Thinklite Flash for Fujifilm Cameras. Both external flash units were fitted with Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifiers. The Raynox close-up filter screws onto the front of the camera lens using a 52-43mm step-down ring.

1-Area Focusing and Spot Metering were used for all photos. f/4.0 to f/4.5 is the sweet spot for this zoom lens.

With Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter

300mm is 12x zoom. Some zoom is necessary when the Raynox close-up filter is attached to the camera lens since some vignetting is caused by mounting a 43mm filter on a 52mm lens.

~54mm (300mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/100 s | 0 ev

Without Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter

300mm is 12x zoom. Notice the magnification isn’t close to what it is using the same camera settings with the close-up filter. Plus it’s worth noting the following image was cropped slightly for better composition. One external flash was used.

~54mm (300mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/80 s | 0.33 ev

600mm is 24x zoom, maximum telephoto magnification. One external flash was used.

108mm (600mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/100 s | 0.33 ev

108mm (600mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/100 s | 0.33 ev

Related Resource: Panasonic Bridge Cameras – Basic Photography Part 4, Close Up & Macro, by Graham Houghton (23:35).

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Final Fine-lined Emerald

October 7, 2019

Several Fine-lined Emerald dragonflies (Somatochlora filosa) were spotted during a photowalk with Michael Powell at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. At least six S. filosa were spotted along two dirt/gravel roads at the refuge; this is the last one we saw.

This individual is a male, as indicated by his “indented” hind wings and terminal appendages.

Decisions, decisions!

I shot 37 photographs of the following dragonfly perched in several places: two photos are out of focus; most of the rest are flawed in some way (in my opinion), for example I don’t like the background, or the composition, etc.

As it turns out, the last group of photos is my favorite. Within that group, I selected a subset of three photos that I like. Although the photos are similar, they are subtly different. I think one of the images is the clear winner, but I suffer from decision paralysis sometimes. The photos are shown in the order in which they were taken. Which one is your favorite?

No.1

No. 2

No. 3

Sidestory

I think I might have figured out the habitat/breeding habitat for Fine-lined Emerald dragonflies. As Mike Powell and I were walking along one of several roads at Occoquan Bay NWR that lead to hotspots for hunting Fine-lined Emerald, I noticed shallow pools of “black water” in the forest, beginning about halfway down one of the dirt/gravel roads at the park. I mentioned to Mike that I think the black water pools are habitat for S. filosa.

Sure enough, that’s exactly where we spotted the male featured in this post — the last one we saw as we were walking back to Mike’s car. It’s worth noting we have never seen a Fine-lined Emerald that far from the main hotspots. Mike saw several more S. filosa in the same area a few days later. Hey, I might be onto something!

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Great Blue Skimmer (old female)

October 4, 2019

A Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) was spotted during a photowalk at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA.

This individual is an old female, as indicated by her tattered wings, gray coloration, and terminal appendages. The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be but she must have been a Betty back in the day — just look at those beautiful blue eyes!

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Common Buckeye butterfly

October 2, 2019

(Common) Buckeye butterflies (Junonia coenia) are relatively common at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. I notice them when I’m hunting for dragonflies and damselflies. They’re skittish usually, but if they cooperate I always stop for a few shots, especially when they pose against a background of complementary colors.

The Common Buckeye color palette is unusual, yet it just works. Who knew brown butterflies could be so beautiful? Definitely one of my favorites.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Yet another male Fine-lined Emerald

September 30, 2019

The following images show the third Fine-lined Emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora filosa) that I photographed during a photowalk on 18 September 2019 at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA.

This individual is a male, as indicated by his “indented” hind wings and terminal appendages. The following photo shows both field marks clearly.

Personality

Do dragonflies have personality? Who knows? I’ll say this: Some individuals within the same species seem to behave in ways that are distinctly observable and slightly atypical.

For example, this guy was hyperactive. He flew from perch-to-perch as though he were searching for the perfect perch. After brief stops at several spots, he disappeared into the tree canopy.

Before Mike Powell and I spotted the male featured in this post, we watched another male patrol back-and-forth between us for more than 30 minutes without landing! Mike and I were standing along a dirt/gravel road, about 20-30 yards apart. We had a lot of fun “redirecting” the dragonfly in the opposite direction toward each other. Several times the dragonfly “pulled up” in front of me and appeared to be thinking about landing on my head, but we were never so lucky. Eventually, the male must have tired of the game because he simply vanished!

Perhaps I’m guilty of personification of dragonflies, but I think they have lots of personality!

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Common Green Darner dragonfly (young male)

September 27, 2019

A mini-swarm of Common Green Darner dragonflies (Anax junius) was spotted at a dry vernal pool, Old Colchester Park and Preserve (OCPP), Fairfax County, Virginia USA. A few Black Saddlebags dragonflies were mixed in with the swarm of A. junius.

Some of the dragonflies were hawking smaller insects; others were resting on vegetation. It’s probable members of the swarm had stopped to rest and refuel before continuing their southward migration.

The following Common Green Darner dragonfly was perched in a bed of dried cattails.

18 SEP 2019 | OCPP | Common Green Darner (young male)

This individual is a young male, as indicated by his terminal appendages. Notice there are points on the tips of his cerci, as shown in the full-size version of the preceding photo. Female cerci are pointless, both literally and figuratively.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Another male Fine-lined Emerald

September 25, 2019

The following gallery shows the second Fine-lined Emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora filosa) that I photographed during a photowalk on 18 September 2019 at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA.

This individual is a male, as indicated by his “indented” hind wings and terminal appendages. The following photo shows both field marks clearly.

Male Fine-lined Emerald dragonflies typically patrol back-and-forth along relatively short segments, about waist high; in this case, they were patrolling along dirt/gravel roads in the forest. They perch about head high on tall grasses or bare tree branches.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Viceroy butterfly

September 23, 2019

A Viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus) was spotted during a photowalk at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA.

Viceroy butterflies look similar to Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus).

It can be distinguished from the Monarch by its smaller size and the post-median black line that runs across the veins on the hindwing. Source Credit: Viceroy (butterfly), Wikipedia.

The Backstory

I noticed the Viceroy butterfly as I was searching intensively for Fine-lined Emerald dragonflies (S. filosa). The juxtaposition of complementary colors was too perfect to pass up, so I stopped to shoot a couple of photos. The photo “feels like” a harbinger of fall, despite the persistence of late-summer in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States of America.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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