Monday, April 13, 2015

Photo Challenge #18: Get Up Close

After playing along with Erin's 30 Word Thursday weekly challenge on her Treasures Found Blog for the past year I have finally taken the plunge and started taking photography more seriously.  Starting with my iPhone, I soon found that the limitations of that device were getting to me.  Upgrading to a Canon Eos Digital Rebel SL1 camera, I've started experimenting more with technique.  I have also invested in Photoshop Elements 12 and most of my post-production on photos will be from that program.  As a way to force myself to try new things, I'm doing a weekly photo challenge--each week focusing on a different photography or editing technique.  Some of these may be simple and others more difficult.  I encourage any of my readers to take part in the challenge!

Photo Challenge #18: Get Up Close

Last week I messed around with solarization, taking photo manipulation to extremes.  This week I finally got to take out my new Tamron telephoto lens for a spin.  I seriously thought about buying one of the more expensive professional (gray bodied) Canon lenses, but I balked at the cost, size, and my lack of experience with that type of lens.  I ended up going with a middle of the road lens that was on sale and had two rebates, so I ended up getting a decent lens for a good price--enough to get some experience with and decide later if I need to upgrade.  

With Spring finally upon us (despite snow last week) I took a trip to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum this past Sunday for a photo shoot.  The wind was up and I think this kept the birds from flying around much.  I got there a little later than I hoped for, around 10 AM, so much of the wildlife was already well away from the paths by then.  I really need to go back right at 8 AM, but it is difficult to get myself up that early on a day off!  Still, I found a few things to take pictures of, and test out the specs of my new lens.  The biggest thing I discovered is that even with the auto-stabilization feature camera blur from increased shake is hard to avoid when hand held.  I'm unclear how professional photographers get wildlife to hold still while they set up their tripod...I should as Jim Stroner and Rick Spaulding about this.

So there I was "quietly" rampaging about several trails in search of wildlife to photograph, and who should I see but the cutest little chipmunk?  This guy was very photogenic and let me take a lot of pictures over about 10 minutes before a family with a couple of young children walked by.  I did get some practice with taking pictures of a rapidly moving subject...

Moving on I found a couple of small squirrels, but they were far enough away that none of my photo's were fantastic.  I found very few birds, and scared up a bunch of wood ducks at one point was wasn't ready to try to catch them in flight.  I swear I was being stealthy.

This female cardinal didn't sit still long enough for me to get my settings right, so all I got was this silhouette.  I went for black and white since the blue background made it look strange.  Not too bad once I did this.

This is not a great picture, but I like it anyway!  I'm assuming this male goose was "marking his territory" by trumpeting every minute or so.  There was another (probably male) goose nearby and I think this guy was trying to intimidate him.  He would also look at me from time to time and give me a good honking as well.  I should have turned my camera to video, but didn't even think of it.  This is why I'm an amateur photographer.

So there you go, some shots from my new lens.  I'm excited about the ability to get closer up to things, but it is significantly longer and heavier than my kit lens or even my Macro lens.  This is not the lens I'm going to carry around when wandering around a new city.

If you have some good telephoto shots and want to share, please link your page/blog below and share with us!

Next week's photo challenge will be using the silk screen effect.  My mom used to be a photographer when I was younger and I remember helping her develop film in our dark and centipede filled basement lit only by one dangling creepy red light.  She would often use silk screen to make prints and shirts, and I remember helping out with that process as well.  I still have a couple of these now rare prints hanging up in my home, and one of my partners at work actually discovered one of these classics in her stash!  So next week I want to use Photoshop Elements to mimic the look of silk screen...without all the messy ink!

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