Plainsboro Preserve Landscapes @ 12mm & 24mm

We went to Plainsboro Preserve to take a walk and to see what we could find to photograph. Looking outside before we left we saw the clouds were amazing. So I decided to travel light and only brought a 12-24mm lens on a Canon R, thinking I would concentrate on landscapes with the clouds. And if I saw something else interesting I also had my iPhone 11 Pro. The Plainsboro Preserve includes over 1,000 acres of undisturbed open space with nature trails and the 50-acre McCormack Lake. The New Jersey Audubon Society manages the preserve on behalf of Plainsboro and Middlesex County County, NJ.

Path Into Woods, 12mm, Canon R
Path Along Woods, 2 images stacked @12mm for Taller Image to get more of the clouds
On Path & Looking at Lake, 12mm Canon R
Far End Of Lake McCormack
4 images @ 12mm, 2 overlapping images top half, 2 images overlapping bottom half, Canon R
Path On The Way Out Of The Woods, Horizontal Image, 24mm, Canon R
Path On The Way Out Of The Woods, Vertical Image, 24mm, Canon R
Path On The Way Out The Woods, Horizontal Image, 12mm, Canon R
Plainsboro Preserve Path, 12mm, Canon R
Clouds Over Parking Lot, 12mm, Canon R

Bleeding Heart Panorama & Focus-Stacking For Smoother Backgrounds

After a heavy rain the other day I went out to see if I could find some interesting subjects with water drops to photograph. I wanted to use Image Stacking for more detail in the water drops and main subjects, but still have softer backgrounds. This is one of the first subjects I came upon. I was using a Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro lens on a Canon R. These are all handheld because it was difficult to get the view I wanted using a tripod. The featured image is 13 images shot from left to right @ f/2.8.  Each image in the panorama series is manually focused for the area needed in focus as I shot along the subject to keep a softer cleaner looking background.

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8 image handheld panorama focused stacked stopping down to  f/11  – giving a much busier looking background

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18 image stack @ f/8


8 image Focus Stack – f/16

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12 Image Focus Stack @ f/8

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9 Image Focus Stack f/5.6

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7 Image Stack @ f/8

RainDrops_18img f_8_v2_150mm stack

18 image stack @ f/8 for a much wider focus range.

Meeting House Series In B&W Infrared

I believe we have had a stay at home order in NJ now for 34 days! We can not even go to a park to walk. But we can walk outside in our Condo Community (with a mask). So I thought I would go to the Meeting House on the Commons in our community. It is used for meetings, concerts and various church services. It is an interesting building & Commons for photography, some of which I have posted before. So I thought I would practice some B&W Infrared Photography.  I shot a mix of multi-image panoramas along with single shot images. For this I was using a Canon R camera with a Hoya R72 Infrared Filter on with a Canon 17-40mm lens. All images were shot with the lens at 17mm. With the Canon R Mirrorless Camera Body I can actually see what I am composing/framing in the viewfinder with the R72 Infrared filter attached on the lens. On a standard DSLR all you see is BLACK in the viewfinder. So you would compose/frame your shot, then put the filter back on. Then you would manually adjust your focus point to the IR focus mark on the lens. (See images detailing this procedure below in this post). Since with the lens set to 17mm and shooting buildings my focus for all was set manually at infinity focus on the IR Focus marker. Also for shooting with this R72 filter it is necessary to photograph a white piece of paper for adjusting the White Balance when Editing your IR images.

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Image showing R72 filter used and small white paper you need to photograph out in the field for preparing proper white balance for adjusting your files

When you Open your IR Image it has a Reddish Orange Cast from the R72 Filter. Use the steps below to convert to B+W Grayscale Image.

IR Image Steps

Since you are using long exposures because of the R72 filter, clouds seem to get an even smoother feathery look. I chose an f/stop to get a ~14 second exposure. If you go too long the clouds have even less detail which looks a little bland and gray.

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17mm,  f/14, 13 seconds

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7 image panorama, @ 17mm

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2 image panorama, @ 17mm, 14 seconds each

Below are a series of images showing the manual setting for infinity focus for InfraRed shooting. If shooting closer than infinity, take filter off, manual focus and adjust that spot to the IR Red line on focus area of your lens. Hopefully by seeing the 3 images below you will understand how to set the focus manually to the correct IR focus point.

Infinity focus mark v2

Infinity Focus mark B

Lens Manually Set for IR Focus @ infinity

Infinity Focus wText v2




More CloseUp American Alligator Images From Florida


An assortment of close-up images of Alligators from 2 Florida locations, along the paths at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm’s Rookery. Featured image taken at Ding Darling NWR with 300mm f/4 Lens, Canon R.


Alligator Teeth 560mm, Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel, Florida.  Canon 1D mkIV, 400mm DO lens, 1.4X Teleconverter


Alligator @ 400mm, Tamron 150-600mm lens, Canon R, St. Augustine Alligator Farm

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Alligator @ 226mm, Tamron 150-600mm lens, Canon R, , St. Augustine Alligator Farm

Following is information on Alligators from Ding Darling NWR’s website.

One of only two alligator species in the world, the American Alligator is a large reptile found in freshwater habitats throughout the southeastern United States. Adult male alligators can grow up to 4.6 meters long and weigh over 500 pounds while females are generally smaller and average only 3 meters long with a weight of 200 pounds. Commonly portrayed as green, the skin of an American alligator is actually a dark grey color with pale yellow on the underside, and the juveniles have bright yellow stripes along their backs until they mature and the striped fade. The dark coloration allows this predator to better blend into the swamps, marshes, and wetlands it inhabits and camouflages the animal while it hunts at night. Another adaptation that allows the alligator to better hunt within its watery habitat is a double set of eyelids. One set of eyelids is much like a humans, they close up and down and protect the eye from debris and light. A second set of translucent eyelids, called a nictitating membrane, close front to back and are used to protect the eyes while the alligator is underwater. Like other reptiles, American alligators are cold blooded and need heat from the sun or other sources such as warm water to be active or even to digest their food. Special bone plates called scutes grow between layers of skin along the back of the alligator, giving the animal an armored appearance and acting as a solar plate. The scutes collect heat from the sun when the alligator sunbathes and warms the blood that runs through the vessels of the skin, transferring the heat throughout the body. Despite their appearance as slow, lazy, or unresponsive which sunbathing as alligator is capable of running up to 11 miles per hour on land in short bursts. This species is much better built for water travel, where it is able to utilize its tail as a paddle and rudder to guide the torpedo-shaped body through the water at speeds up to 20 miles per hour.


Big Cloud, Little Bird

It is always fun to photograph Belted Kingfishers. But they are very small birds that are usually very skittish. So it is hard to get closeups of them. But I noticed this Kingfisher way off in the distance when we were at J.N. Ding Darling NWR. I liked the large cloud background accenting the small Kingfisher. The featured image was captured with a 400mm DO lens on a Canon 7D (Full Frame FOV ~ 640mm)

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Slightly cropped for closer view


More Extreme crop of above images


Another view. Liked the raised wing. Extreme crop


Great Egret Landing

When we were photographing the Otters at Lake Woodruff NWR, this Great Egret flew in by the Otters. I liked the sunlight highlighting the feathers in the wing as it was landing. I was using a Canon R with a 300mm lens. The Canon R holds the highlight details much better than my other Canon cameras and has better shadow detail also.


Anhinga Panorama

We saw quite a few Anhingas when we were at the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. Most were females and easy to identify with their brownish neck. After fishing in and under the water they like to dry their wings in the pose above and below. They will stay with their wings stretched out for quite a while. The featured image is a 2 image panorama taken with a Tamron 150-600mm lens @ 600mm. Anhingas swim with their bodies partly or mostly submerged and their long, snakelike neck held partially out of the water. After a swim they perch on branches or logs to dry out, holding their wings out and spreading their tails. They frequently soar high in the sky, riding on thermals much like raptors and vultures.


Panoramas Are Not Just For Landscapes

I am still going through images I photographed earlier in the Summer. The featured image is a panorama of a Praying Mantis in our garden at home. Using 3 images and assembled in Photoshop. It was a windy day so the flower it was on was blowing wildly in the wind. I had no way to stabilize the flower, so I was shooting bursts at a high shutter speed to hopefully get a sharp enough image and have the frames needed to blend together. I was shooting with a Sigma 150mm macro lens so the movement of the subject Mantis was all over in the frames. I was shooting bursts to hopefully get some in the frame and in focus and have enough to work with.

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Single Image Closeup – 150mm Sigma Macro, Canon R, f/11, 1/400sec, 1600 ISO


RainDrops After The Storm

Sometimes it is fun to look for raindrops after a heavy rain storm. I tried during a light drizzle, but the camera was getting too wet. So I waited til the next morning after the heavy rain storm was over and the sun was out. I was using a Sigma 150mm macro lens for all images here. Also the images here are just single shots, except for two listed as a 2 image stacked panorama. It also helped there were webs in the bushes for the raindrops to land on.



2 image stacked panorama 


Raindrops_v1_2img pano 2

2 image panorama, 150mm


Bombay Hook NWR Landscapes

Here are a series of landscape & cloudscape images from a recent visit to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware. The featured image was shot @ 14mm along the Wildlife Drive.


Bombay Hook Landscape along Wildlife Drive – Shearness Pool @ 12mm, Canon R


Bombay Hook Landscape along Wildlife Drive @ 158mm, Canon R, Tamron 150-600mm

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Bombay Hook Landscape along Wildlife Drive – Shearness Pool @12mm, 2 img pano, Canon R


Bombay Hook Landscape, Shearness Pool along Wildlife Drive @ 14mm, Olympus OM-D


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