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.

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2 image stacked panorama 

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2 image panorama, 150mm

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Praying Mantis Garden Close-ups

We seem to have had a lot of Praying Mantises in our Gardens this year. We also saw quite a few in local parks. This series shows some closeups shot with a 150mm Macro. Some I concentrated more on the head, others just overall shots. When you get really close it is interesting to see their eyes and you feel they are really looking at you as you photograph them. To keep softer non-distracting backgrounds I shot @ f/8 or f/11 and smoothed backgrounds as I was working on the files. I liked the Featured image best because it seemed to say “Who you looking at!”

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Same location, Different Angle for lighter background

Praying Mantis On Cosmos Flower

When we got home we noticed this Praying Mantis on a Cosmos Flower in our front gardens. I shot a few with my cell phone, then went and got my camera to get better images. I used a 150mm macro on a Canon R. I tried a few versions but the featured image is a 4 shot panorama assembled in Photoshop.

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CloseUp Image of the Praying Mantis – 150mm

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Even Closer – 150mm @ f/11

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Praying Mantis Shot @ f/18 for more depth of field

Early Morning Hoar Frost

We went to a local park early in the morning because it was perfect conditions for Hoar Frost. Hoar Frost is a deposit of ice crystals on objects exposed to the free air, such as grass blades, tree branches, or leaves. It is formed by direct condensation of water vapour to ice at temperatures below freezing and occurs when air is brought to its frost point by cooling. We had to get there before the sun hit those areas with the frost which makes it more difficult to photograph because there is not much light, meaning much slower shutter speeds. I did not have a tripod so I raised my ISO higher than I usually use. I was using a 150mm Sigma macro lens so I was shooting bursts hoping 1 or 2 frames might be a little sharper than others. With some of the handheld series, I loaded them into a layered Photoshop file and aligned them. Then I let Photoshop merge the sharpest areas of each into one file. It was fun searching for subjects out in the fields and you never know what you will find. Once the sun melted the Hoar Frost I noticed there were some amazing cloud formations. Since I only had the 150mm macro lens with me, I switched to my iPhone to capture some cloud panoramas for a future blog.

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Monarch Butterfly Portraits

It is interesting to see and photograph Monarchs feeding on a plant. But after photographing them for years I never realized their amazing full life cycle. You know they go through the different stages, caterpillars thru to butterflies, but I did not realize how many stages they have.

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The following info is from www.learnaboutnature.com

The Photos are PhotoArtFlight Images.

The Life  Cycle(s) of a Monarch Butterfly

Monarch butterflies go through four stages during one life cycle, and through four generations in one year. It’s a little confusing but keep reading and you will understand. The four stages of the monarch butterfly life cyclebutterfly are the egg, the larvae (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult butterfly. The four generations are actually four different butterflies going through these four stages during one year until it is time to start over again with stage one and generation one.

In February and March, the final generation of hibernating monarch butterflies comes out of hibernation to find a mate. They then migrate north and east in order to find a place to lay their eggs. This starts stage one and generation one of the new year for the monarch butterfly.

In March and April the eggs are laid on milkweed plants. They hatch into baby caterpillars, also called the larvae. It takes about four days for the eggs to hatch. Then the baby caterpillar doesn’t do much more than eat the milkweed in order to grow. After about two weeks, the caterpillar will be fully-grown and find a place to attach itself so that it can start the process of metamorphosis. It will attach itself to a stem or a leaf using silk and transform into a chrysalis. Although, from the outside, the 10 days of the chrysalis phase seems to be a time when nothing is happening, it is really a time of rapid change. Within the chrysalis the old body parts of the caterpillar are undergoing a remarkable transformation, called metamorphosis, to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge. The monarch butterfly will emerge from the pupa and fly away, feeding on flowers and just enjoying the short life it has left, which is only about two to six weeks. This first generation monarch butterfly will then die after laying eggs for generation number two.

The second generation of monarch butterflies is born in May and June, and then the third generation will be born in July and August. These monarch butterflies will go through exactly the same four stage life cycle as the first generation did, dying two to six weeks after it becomes a beautiful monarch butterfly.

The fourth generation of monarch butterflies is a little bit different than the first three generations. The fourth generation is born in September and October and goes through exactly the same process as the first, second and third generations except for one part. The fourth generation of monarch butterflies does not die after two to six weeks. Instead, this generation of monarchs migrates to warmer climates like Mexico and California and will live for six to eight months until it is time to start the whole process over again.

It is amazing how the four generations of monarch butterflies works out so that the monarch population can continue to live on throughout the years, but not become overpopulated. Mother Nature sure has some cool ways of doing things, doesn’t she?

First Bluebird Of The Season

We had gone to the Plainsboro Preserve in Cranbury, NJ to see what we could find to photograph and to take a walk. I was using a 150mm macro lens with a 1.4x teleconverter thinking I would look for macro subjects. Plainsboro Preserve is 1,000 acres with 5 miles of trails. Also has McCormack Lake which is 50 acres. So it is a nice location to walk through and see what you can find. We saw lots of Beaver activity, trees chewed at the base & downed trees along the path. We were surprised to see Bluebirds along the paths, but they were high in the trees. I tried quite a few shots but with the lens I had, limited me to what I could get. Plus they did not stay on a branch long and kept moving between the branches. I finally got a few somewhat clear shots, but the Bluebird was not very large in the frame. I have made my own actions in Photoshop for uprezzing files for large prints, but it also works well for extreme cropping of images.

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