Plainsboro Preserve Lake

5 image Panorama of 50-acre McCormack Lake at Plainsboro Preserve. The Plainsboro Preserve is a collaboration with the Township of Plainsboro, the County of Middlesex,
and New Jersey Audubon.  Close to 1,000 acres of lands were preserved by the County of Middlesex and the Township of Plainsboro that supports a diversity of habitats and wildlife, with one of the largest lakes in the area. The featured image is a 5 image panorama, each section shot @ 14mm on a m43 Olympus Camera. Then assembled in Photoshop. When doing panoramas with a m43 Camera, I tend to overlap each image more because of the smaller format. It just seems to lineup better and give better “blending” of the individual frames. On full frame cameras I do not have to shoot as many sections to get a “Smooth” overlap.

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Bench view of McCormack Lake, 14mm m43 Format

Buckeye Butterfly @ Plainsbore Preserve

While we were looking for photo subjects at Plainsboro Preserve, I spotted this Buckeye Butterfly working this flower. The Butterflies and Dragonflies all seem to have a look of wear & tear now this time of year. But it is still fun to get some photos. I was using a Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens with an extension tube for closer focusing. This Buckeye had quite a bit of wing damage.

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Recent Dragonfly Images

Here are a few images of Dragonflies and a Damselfly from a few local parks in our area. Most were shot with a close focusing 300mm f/4 lens with either extension tubes to get closer or 1.4X or 2X teleconverter. A few I used a Canon 400mm f/4 DO with Extension tubes and 1.4X teleconverter. The featured image is a female Eastern Pondhawk that was quite cooperative for extreme closeups. Image taken with Canon 7D, handheld, 300mm @ f/8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400.

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Blue Dasher extreme closeup – 2 image focus stack Canon 7D, Canon 300mm f/4 IS, 1.4X teleconverter, w/extension tubes

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Blue Dasher extreme closeup – 2 image focus stack Canon 7D, Canon 300mm f/4 IS, 1.4X teleconverter, w/extension tubes (f/11, 1/200 sec, ISO 400)

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Damselfly – multi image stack, 400mm f/4 DO with extension tubes, f/8, 1/50 sec, 1600 ISO, camera on tripod

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Female Eastern Pondhawk- f/11, 1/320 sec, 300mm f/4 w/ 1.4X teleconverter

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Slaty Blue Dragonfly, f/11, 1/160 sec, +1/3 exp. comp, 300mm w/ 2X teleconverter, Single image, flew off before focus stacking images

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Slaty Blue Dragonfly, f/10, 1/320 sec, 300mm w/1.4X teleconverter, effective 420mm

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly

While we were looking for Dragonflies at Plainsboro Preserve I noticed this Red-Spotted Purple butterfly warming on the ground. I was using a close focusing 300mm f/4 lens with a 2X teleconverter so I could get closer images of distant insect subjects (usually Dragonflies) so I manually focused on 3 different areas to blend them into 1 sharp image in Photoshop. Using f/4 for my f/stop (with a 2X teleconverter it is actually f/8 then with the 2X teleconverter giving a 600mm focal length) and focused on middle body, then antennas and lastly rear wing edge. I used to mainly use a 1.4X teleconverter for this type of shooting but the Canon R files are extremely clean even at much higher ISO’s so the 2X gives me more working distance. Then used Photoshop to blend the sharpest areas automatically into 1 merged image. Photoshop usually does a good job on this, but here in there I might also do some manual editing to what Photoshop does. To bad it is getting late in the season for butterflies & insects. They are beginning to show signs of wear. Especially the Dragonflies!

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Another on a leaf still at f/4 (actual f/8 with 2X teleconverter but it flew off before I could do my near & far focus points. That is why I sometimes shoot center, then the near & far points.

Different Panoramas

We were photographing at Plainsboro Preserve, looking for Dragonflies and birds a couple of days ago. Plainsboro Preserve includes over 1,000 acres of undisturbed open space with nature trails and 50-acre McCormack Lake.  The New Jersey Audubon Society  manages the preserve on behalf of Plainsboro and Middlesex County. We did find a few Birds & Dragonflies, but there were quite a few Deer grazing in the fields. This is the first time we saw Male Deer there. I was shooting @ 600mm so closeup images were 2 or 3 image panos. The featured Doe and the images of the fawn, I photographed next to the road on our drive out. For the featured image I shot 3 images @ 600mm because she was so close to the road. The Fawn images were also 2 or 3 multi-image panoramas to get the whole Fawn in. Because they were moving I had to manually blend the panoramas with soft edge masks. Since we were going to a local park, mainly looking for Dragonflies, I only had the one lens with me so I had to make do with what I had.

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Fawn, 2 image pano @600mm

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Doe, 3 img pano @600mm

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Doe, 3 img pano @600mm

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Fawn, 2 img pano @600mm (with Practice you can shoot Panoramas of moving subjects)

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Fawn, 3 image pano @600mm

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Fawn, 3 image pano @ 600mm

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Single image @ 600mm

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Males- grazing in a distant field

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Female Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly

I have not photographed as many Dragonflies this year as I have in other years. Maybe because I have been working on a few personal projects. I found these female Great Blue Skimmers at Plainsboro Preserve which is a Preserve and Nature Center along with an Audubon Center. It is about 1,000 acres, with a 50 acre lake and miles of nature trails. So it is a fun place to wander around and look for photo subjects, especially Dragonflies! On this day we mostly saw Great Blue Skimmers. Lately I use a 300mm f/4 Canon lens with a 1.4X Teleconverter for photographing Dragonflies. It allows me to get close images and seems to work well @ f/11 for getting detail, but still have a somewhat soft background. Sometimes I will go to f/8 for the series if the background is busier and shoot a series with more focus points. I then blend the images in Photoshop, to keep a softer background for my Dragonfly images but still get more of the dragonfly in focus.

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Head-On View, 300mm w/ 1.4X Teleconverter

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Female Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly – 3/4 view from behind

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Female Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly – Side view, Single image

Plainsboro Preserve Fall Color 2 Image 400mm Panorama

We went to Plainsboro Preserve to see what we could find for photo subjects. I had a 400mm lens hoping to find some Wildlife on Lake McCormack. There were lots of Canada Geese and a few ducks. But nothing to get excited about. So I switched to shooting the colorful landscapes and colorful leaves. With the 400mm lens I had to shoot my subjects with multiple images to combine them later for my final images in Photoshop. My multi-image pano images are from 2 images up to 35 images for a very long panorama of Lake McCormack with the colorful trees on the far shore with about 100 Canada Geese in the water. For this post it is a 2 Image pano through the trees looking across the lake on the far end of Lake McCormack.

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3 horizontal images @400mm combined for a vertical pano image

 

 

 

 

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