Truland Photography

Friday, March 30, 2012

Bald Eagle Web Stream

I've been spending a lot of time lately watching a live stream of a Bald Eagle nest in Decorah, Iowa. The Raptor Research Project runs the stream which is hosted on ustream.

It's not your usual static cam. There are humans panning and zooming depending on the scene. The quality is amazing.

Here is the link to the stream:

And here some screen captures I made from full screen mode on my 13" MacBook Pro. Command, Shift, "3" for those of you with Macs. Converted from png files with Aperture.

Note: These are not my pictures. The copyright for these images would be owned by Raptor Research Project and/or ustream, I suppose, and are used here for editorial comment and to publicize their web stream. Any further use would be at your own risk.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Peebles Island Trail Scenics Project

I started a new project this week. I'll be taking scenic photos of the trails on Peebles Island over the course of the next year. Early Spring seems like a good time to start a project like this.

By this time next year I hope to have a wide variety of seasons, weather conditions, etc. Below are two examples from my first 16 shots. You can watch a slide show of the trail scenics here.

And, you can download a trail map of the island in PDF format here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

This Year's First Blossoms of Spring

Last year I posted photos of the Blue-eyed Grass which were the first blossoms, appearing in the second week of April. You can read that blog entry here.

This year, for the first time, I noticed some Crocus which appeared even before Spring. These photos were taken on the last day of Winter, 2011-2012, the Winter that never was.

The first two photos were made with a Canon EOS 5D and EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens. The third photo is a real world example of the reversing lens technique I described in my post of March 17th, using the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Getting Up Close the Cheap Way

There are lots of different ways to make lenses focus closer without purchasing a true macro lens. Extension tubes and auxiliary lenses that screw on to filter threads are two ways.

One way to get really, really close is to turn a lens around and attach it to the camera backward. All it takes is a simple adapter that screws on to the lens' filter threads and has the male connecter to attach to the camera. Here is the one I use with my EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens.

This method is easier and more effective with some camera brands and types than others. The Canon EOS system I use happens to be one of the more difficult systems with which to use this technique. By reversing the lens you lose all electrical contact between the lens and the camera and all lens functions in EF lenses are electrical.

In order to use the lens reversed you have to first select the aperture you want to use with the lens mounted normally and the camera turned on. Then, while pressing the depth of field preview button, remove the lens from the camera. The diaphragm will stay at the aperture you selected. For closeup work, you will want to use at least f/8 or smaller.

After you attach the reversed lens to the camera, use manual mode and adjust the shutter speed as suggested by the camera's metering system. You can adjust the ISO setting to help get a shutter speed you're looking for. If you're using flash, set the shutter speed to 1/60 sec. and let the flash metering adjust the exposure.Your only means of focusing is by moving the camera.

The first picture below shows the closest focus possible with the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens mounted normally, a distance of 18 inches. The second picture shows how close it focuses reversed.

Canon EOS 5D, EF 50mm f/1.4 USM at f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO 100, Speedlite 270EX
EOS 5D, EF 50mm f/1.4 USM reversed at f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO 100, Speedlite 270EX
You can check out the reverse adapter for EF lenses at Adorama here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Photography as a Social Policy Tool

I ran across a video of Photographer Garth Lenz giving a presentation on Canada's Alberta Tar Sands mining project using photos he made in the area. Lenz (isn't that a great name for a photographer?) uses his photographic talent to raise awareness of the dangers posed by this devastating oil extraction process.

The United States becomes complicit in the devastation by means of the proposed Keystone Pipeline project which would move the proceeds of the tar sands to refineries in the U.S. The Natural Resources Defense Council claims that the pipeline "undermines the U.S. commitment to a clean energy economy [by] delivering dirty fuel at high costs."