Panoramas From Davidsons Mill Pond Park

We went to Davidsons Mill Pond Park to photograph a few panoramas, mostly for cloud formations. The Featured Image is of the small pond near the main parking area. Photographed from the wooded back area showing the pond from a different vantage point. This is 5 images, handheld @ 14mm, Panasonic 14-140mm, Olympus OM-D E-M1. When doing panoramas with the m43 format I tend to overlap the images much more than when using my standard Canon equipment.

4 Image Landscape Panorama, @ 14mm, OM-D mk 1
4 Image Cloud Panorama (with moon to left of cloud formation), @ 48mm, OM-D mk 1
4 Image Cloud Panorama, @ 14mm, OM-D mk 1
3 Image Milkweed Bugs on Milkweed Panorama, 140mm, OM-D mk1

Milkweed PodS @ Davidsons Mill Pond Park

We went to Davidsons Mill Pond Park to see what we could find to photograph in the fields and to get in a walk on a nice sunny day. In one area there there is a field with a lot of Milkweed Plants along with other plants & flowers. They are past their prime now, but still had an interesting look to them. I was using an Olympus OM-D mk 1 with a Panasonic 14-140mm lens. The featured image is a 9 image handheld panorama taken @ 140mm, f/8. When shooting a multi-image Panorama handheld, I shoot many more images than if I was using a tripod. It just seems to blend better with more images when hand holding for some reason. I was looking online about Milkweed plants and found an interesting fact about Milkweed plants. The milkweed offers crucial habitat to the monarch butterfly. But in 1944 military planners used the plant as a raw material in the war against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Milkweed seeds have white, wispy hairs know as floss. Before the use of synthetic fibers, the value of milkweed floss was its buoyancy. The armed forces used it in the manufacture of life preservers for the soldiers, airman & sailors. Life preservers were critical, since so much of the war was fought on & over the seas. Milkweed was not the first choice for life preservers. During World War II, the Japanese gained control of the Dutch East Indies, cutting off the U.S. supply of floss. Milkweed proved an acceptable substitute. Schoolchildren spent the hours walking roadsides and railroad right of ways gathering milkweed. Before the war it was considered a weed. Bags were supplied to carry the collected pods, and children received 15 cents per bag. You needed 2 bags of Milkweed pod floss for one life jacket. The U.S. military called for the collection of 2 million pounds of floss which was enough to fill 1.2 million life jackets.

Milkweed Pod with Milkweed Bugs – 140mm, m43 OM-D, f/8
Milkweed Pod with Milkweed Bug – 140mm, m43 OM-D, f/8

Mating Dragonflies

Over a week ago we went to Davidsons Mill Pond Park to see if we could find some dragonflies to photograph before the end of Dragonfly season here. I was surprised to see so many Slaty Skimmers along with a variety of others still here. As I was setting up on the back area of the first small pond these two flew in and landed right in front of me. I was surprised since it was so late in the season. Also they were in the “wheel” position for mating. After my first few shots I moved in a little closer to photograph a 2 image pano for a more square image. The featured image is a single shot. The image below are 2 images, stacked for the final closeup image. I was using a 300mm lens with a 1.4X teleconverter. I was on the edge of the pond so could not get any closer.

2 image Pano, 300mm, f/11, blended in Photoshop.

Straw Flowers @ Davidsons Mill Pond

When we were photographing dragonflies at Davidsons Mill Pond Park, I also photographed some flowers & plants in their fields & gardens that looked interesting. Because of Covid restrictions the main gardens were locked, but there were lots of flowers and plants in the fields. We mostly went to take a walk, so I was traveling light with an m43 Olympus OM-D mk1 Camera with a Panasonic 100-300mm lens. The featured image is 4 images @214mm and blended in Photoshop for the final image panorama.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Straw Flower, 300mm, m43 Olympus

Praying Mantis With Prey

I was looking for dragonflies in our gardens when I found this praying mantis with it’s bug meal. I was setup for dragonflies with a Canon 300mm f/4 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter. So I shot a series of images, handheld, to do a stacked multi-row panorama. I ended up with 7 images for my pano. 2 rows of 3 images and an extra shot for the center. The centered shot sometimes helps for a smoother blended area in the center of the composite layered Photoshop file. I loaded all files into 1 layered PSD file and let Photoshop align the files. Then I use auto-blend to blend all the layers and combine elements for the final file which goes to the top layer. I also save the Master Layered file (just in case I need to go back for a tweak here or there). I then flatten the file for the final image. At this point if I wanted, I would run the flattened file through Nik’s Detail Extractor, then use dFine to smooth out any added noise from the Detail Extactor.

Praying Mantis_v3_300mm_1_4X_300mm_7D_MG_1225Praying Mantis_v1_300mm_1_4x_7D_MG_1244

 

 

Steamtown National Historic Site (part 2)

Another post on Steamtown National Historic Site. This one is concentrating on the Railyard with Trains & Rail Cars in storage, waiting to be restored or maybe for parts. This area was actually more interesting to see and photograph. A lot textures and rust! And a lot of photo subjects.

_Maps - Steamtown National Historic Site

Steamtown Map showing facilities

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Pano Tender

I put this image in again to explain how I did this multi-image Handheld panorama. This was different because I was very close to my large subject.  Usually my Panorama subjects or landscapes are way off in the distance. I just shoot a series of images, shooting from a somewhat center position, panning left to right. But because I was so close and not a lot of room to back up, I did a Foot Pano. I just shot an image at certain overlapping sections as I walked down the length of the long tender. This way I would not get more distortions on the ends of the pano from shooting with a wide angle lens shooting centered to the tender.

Dragons & Damsels Panoramas

Panoramas are not just for landscapes! I enjoy shooting panoramas for a variety of subjects. Plus they look interesting when you print them very large! Here are a series of multi-image Dragonfly & Damselfly Panoramas. I was using Canon & Panasonic Cameras, with a variety of lenses. The featured Blue Dasher Dragonfly image was 5 handheld images taken with a Canon 300mm lens, with extension tubes @ f/9, 1/250th sec. Then assembled and blended in Photoshop. When shooting panoramas handheld, I tend to overlap even more just to be safe & that I got enough overlap to blend nicely. I may not need them, but it helps if you do need more images when assembling them. The images below have some details on exposure & images shot per panorama.

Damselfly_3img_pano_1110038 pano

Eastern Forktail Damselfly, 4 image panorama, Panasonic GH2 with adapted Canon FD 200mm Manual Focus Macro lens, blended in Photoshop.

Blue_Dasher Pano_43G3758 crp v3

Blue Dasher, Female – 400mm DO lens with extension tubes, Canon 1D mkIV,  3 image panorama, f/11, 1/250 

Eastern Forktail FM_DAMSELFLY STACK V1_43G0245

Eastern Forktail Damselfly, 3 image panorama, Panasonic GH2 with adapted Canon FD 200mm Manual Focus Macro lens

 

Night Photos with iPhone 11Pro

We were taking an evening walk in our community to get a few more steps in before settling in for the evening. It was a pleasant evening and the sidewalks were well lit. As we were going by the Meeting House, I decided to try a few night images with my iPhone 11Pro. It is supposed to be pretty good in low light, but have not really tried it at night. Here it was actually dark and I was surprised how good the images were straight out of the iPhone. It seemed to automatically somewhat balance nicely the highlights & darkness. Especially since there was a wide mix of darkness, spotlights and ambient lights along the sidewalk. I have tried shooting Raw files on the iPhone 11 Pro, but did not see that much difference so I just shoot jpegs with it. But I do have my Photoshop setup to open jpegs as raw files so I can pull even more detail and have more adjustments from the jpeg file before I actually  open them in Photoshop. I have not seen a significant difference on the jpeg files in image quality doing this and have printed these kind of files quite large. It goes against my normal work flow of shooting Raw files on all my other cameras. I was using the iPhone 11 Pro’s 4.3mm lens (Full Frame FOV equivalent ~26mm). The featured image is also 2 vertical 16×9 images blended, side by side to get a little bit wider view. When I am photographing with the iPhone I usually always use the 16×9 format. The image below is basically from the same spot but I just turned around from photographing the featured image. I was pleasantly surprised at the images because the exposures were 1/30 sec. on the Meeting House and 1/8 sec. for the image below. The exposure actually seemed much much longer and you could see some blurry movement during the beginning of capture on the phone’s screen. But I guess the phone was doing a lot of processing & adjusting of the image as it was saving the final file.

Commons_2img_pano_16x9_iP11_4_3mm FF26mm

180 degree Opposite View from where I was standing

Spring Clouds Panorama

A cloud panorama taken last year in the Spring at a local park. I liked the stacked clouds floating above the bare trees in the landscape and the small pop of red on the building in the background. I wanted the main center higher clouds to be in the center of the image. For this image, because of the area I wanted to capture, I would usually only need 2 rows of 2 images each if I was using a full frame camera. But because I was using a m43 camera with a smaller sensor, I used a 5th shot for the center area of the handheld panorama. I have found that if I shoot the 4 corners than 1 image for the center, the images align easier & looks better in the final panorama when using the m43 format cameras. Images taken @ 14mm with a Panasonic 14-140mm lens on a m43 Olympus Camera. I put each image in a layered Photoshop file & auto aligned the images in the layered Photoshop file. Then let Photoshop blend those layers for final image. I saw on the town web site notification that this park will be open again today! But only allowing ~ 10 cars in at a time and must use social distancing guidelines. Seems strange since it is a huge area and if one car leaves does that mean 1 car can go in?

Wood Stork Sunset Panoramas

I am going through images from previous trips to some of our trips to Florida. Here are a few panoramas of Wood Storks I photographed from the Wildlife Drive at J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. I was using a Sigma 300-800mm f/ 5.6 lens, all @ 800mm. The Wood Storks did not move around to much, but the ducks were constantly  moving about.

I first tried a 5 image panorama which is the featured image. Because they were moving around somewhat I manually aligned the images and used soft-edge masks to blend the images for the final image. Then I photographed a 3 image version again at 800mm.

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Single image from 5 img panorama, Wood Storks @ 800mm

WoodStorkPano_3img_sundown_800mm_3-8mm_1D_mkIII_80I9249

3 images panorama @ 800mm

Wood_Storks_Sunset_318mm_DD_3-8mm_1DmkIII

Single image shot @ 318mm showing group of Wood Storks. Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 lens

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