Thursday, April 26, 2018

More About Macros

I had an idea, not out of the blue, but spurred by a video on macros that I watched on YT. Namely, to put my macro lens on a crop sensor camera.

I normally shoot with my newer full frame camera, but I have an older crop sensor (which just means smaller sensor) camera that still yields decent photos.

Without digressing into the whys and wherefores, from the same distance a crop sensor (technically call an APS sensor) will result in 50% more magnification than a full frame sensor. (Note: a full frame sensor is the size of a 35mm negative in the film days of yore.)

So, I tried it out, and I could get closer with the crop sensor: not that I necessarily want to in most cases, but it's good to have the option.

Here is the result on 2 chrysanthemum photos.

In the first photo (above) I chose smaller blooms: the one on the right actually being about 3/4" with the left being about 1/4". On my screen as I type this the right is approx 4" and the left 1.25", depending on where exactly one measure, but you get the idea.

Below, the whole actual bloom in ~2" but I have cropped off some of it. In the photo, it's about 7.75". The centre is really about 3/4" but almost 4.75" in the photo (on my monitor although it will likely be different on yours.)

I have probably, quite pedantically, explained this before, but a macro lens results in the same proportions as the actual subject. So if the subject is 1" it will also be 1" on the sensor. Of course, the sensor is small, so as soon as you develop an actual photo, the subject becomes much larger than an inch. It could stretch all of the way across a very large image. For example, if I printed the above photo at 20" inches it would still cover the canvas. (The above numbers are what we experience if the camera is at its closest to the subject. As you pull back, of course, a 1" subject won't be 1" on the sensor.)

Here are two more photos of grape hyacinths. Keep in mind that the blooms actually measure ~1/8", but even in the more zoomed out photo, the one that I measured is ~3/4". In the second image the bloom in most focus is almost 2".

I know, if you are still with me with eyes slightly glazed over, this is only of passing interest (if that), but I thought I would put the information out there.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Discussing Macro Photos

I continue to experiment with flower macros.

One would tend to think that it would be an easy task. I mean, the flowers are static, and there's no wind to contend with for indoor photos. You can take your time setting up the photo, supposedly getting the composition right, but then when you see the image on the screen, you realize that your composition isn't so wonderful after all.

In these two photos of chrysanthemums, I had to crop quite a bit because I just didn't like what I was seeing on the edges; they added nothing to the photo and actually distracted the viewer. And I still don't like the first one because it's a cluster with nothing standing out very well. The second one I like better because the main subject is very clear and well separated from the background — but it still required cropping.

And here's another one that doesn't work. I thought that since blue and yellow are so complementary I would place some blue grape hyacinths against a yellow daffodil background. But I don't like it. Besides the colour and saturation, you will notice that nothing is particularly sharp.

Sharpness and depth of field (how much is in focus) can be difficult. In macro work, depth of field is very narrow, and then if you stop the lens down (smaller aperture) to get more of the subject in focus, you tend to lose sharpness.

Here's a grape hyacinth photo that I like, but even then you can see that the top part of the flower is not in focus. That isn't always a problem because it's not so bad to have a blurrier background, but it does show how limited we can be.

To work around this, one can practice focus stacking. That means that you take several photos of the same subject, but you focus on a different part of the subject. You then use Photoshop to blend the various images together. For example, both of the chrysanthemum photos up top were focus stacked: 4 shots for the first image and 3 for the second one.

I lucked out a bit with this next chrysanthemum shot at least compositionally (in my mind at least) because I like the arc of the flowers. But that was more luck than anything because I didn't necessarily see it when I was composing the photo because I was concentrating on getting the group of 3 in the centre.

Oddly  enough, I am finding that photo of flowers in bud or decay are sometimes more interesting than those in their full blooms.

Many of these are a fairly long exposure because they were taken indoors (even though near a window), and a tripod was certainly a necessity. I also use manual focus where I zoom in on a particular part of the flower in magnified mode. Still, I don't always nail the focus. I also use black foam core as the background because having my kitchen or whatever back there wouldn't be a great idea.

I probably should acquire a ring flash to mount on my lens to add a little bit of light and to reduce exposure times.

But I am enjoying the learning process.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

JJ's Double Sleepover, Part 2

Once again, as has been the case quite a lot lately, the main raison d'etre of this post is for family records with Sunday being the second day of Jonathan's sleepover.

The weather was wonderful, so we took him to the park to play with his new basketball, purchased on the previous day.

He shot a lot. I shot a few, and I was not very good.

Sue took some video and photos, and I really like this one. Both JJ and I are in action; there is anticipation about whether the ball will drop; and the two of us along with the ball form a triangle which is a strong photographic element.

And a video.

Once he was done with BBall, he performed some feats of strength on the playground apparatus.

And then, he thought he deserved a Day 2 Sleepover Treat. Yikes! Another one? He settled on a hat. Thankfully, both weekend treats turned out to be relatively inexpensive.

With the day being very nice, and it being Earth Day, and also our lawn litter pickup beginning its two-week run on the next day, we all pitched in to do some yard cleanup before it was time to take him home.

But on the way home, we stopped at yet another park (this one near his house) for him to shoot some more hoops.

TThen we dropped him off and Buppa and Amma went home very tired grandparents indeed.

Monday, April 23, 2018

JJ's Double Sleepover, Part 1

With Danica having a birthday party, we all decided that Jonathan could spend two nights with us. Since Danica had had three consecutive sleepovers, he figured we owed him, and it seemed like a good way to get everybody through the weekend.

So, after our birthday dinner with Mom and Danica followed by our trip to DQ, the boy came home with us. It had been awhile since his last sleepover, and he hadn't amde it through his last two sleepover with friends, so we were all a bit apprehensive.

He was up late and still had trouble getting to sleep, but he braved it out, and we were all ready for a good time on Saturday.

He likes to indulge himself in the morning, and especially at our house it would seem, so he spent a few hours doing this in bed.

He probably could have done it for many more hours, but it was time to make paper airplanes.

And then it was time to fly them, which didn't go too great in the wind, but we had fun. (Never take a vertical video, folks.)

Then, we took him and his new bike over to the dirt bike hills,

But that wasn't enough, so it was off for donuts next and then a trip to WM for his sleepover treat.

The treat turned out to be a basketball, and so he played a version of basketbin in the garage.

We were thoroughly exhausted by now, but his day kept going. Dad picked him up for his year end hockey party, and just look at this. In case you can't tell, the kids got to play video games in a special truck. JJ said he won on his NHL17 game.

But we still have a story at bedtime. On both nights, we found James Herriot stories that we hadn't yet read.

I think I'll have to do day two later.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Birthday

For the record, a few shots from Danica's birthday celebrations.

Part 1

We picked her up at school, took her to our place to open a few gifts before heading out for lunch.

Part 2

She had dinner and cake at her dad's: a taco shaped cake. (She chose to have tacos for both birthday dinners -- ours and the steps.)

Part 3

After dinner, mom met up with Danica and dad at WM, and a bike was purchased.

Part 4

We had a birthday dinner at Mom's place, opened a few more gifts and headed to DQ for a treat. This is what she wanted instead of cake. At DQ she set up her new combo tripod and selfie stick. This was quite a hit and very appropriate as she is forever making little videos and also taking selfies. It even has a bluetooth connection for her to fire her iThing remotely.

Part 5

On day three of the ongoing fete, she had friends over for a slime and pizza party, followed by a traditional cake and a sleepover with a favoured one, which was all mom was prepared to handle. (Making slime is a major area of interest these days. Go figure. I wasn't there but Mom posted photos on FB.)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Happy 11th

Today, a sweet girl celebrates 11 years on this planet. I was in the waiting room when I heard Danica come roaring her way into this world, and she's been a life force ever since. She's smart, sunny, kind and beautiful. And she's my very own granddaughter.

It's a tradition that I create and print a birthday card; this is this years versions with the front (cover) to the left and the inside to the right.

In what has become another tradition, this is her birthday collage: all photos from the past year.

Today, we will take her out of school for lunch and let her take the afternoon off. Later, she'll have dinner with her dad and the step family. Tomorrow, we'll have a little party on our side of the family. Then on Saturday, there will be a pizza party with a number of her friends followed by a sleepover with some of them. Over the weekend, we will have JJ for a night or two while these festivities are proceeding. There is a very small chance (maybe large) that I just may possibly perhaps post some pics of her lunch out with us and our little family dinner in due course.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Witless Wednesday

It's 11AM, and I find myself in the tire shop getting those dang snow tires off and the all seasons on. It's late in the season but a little early this year because we are expecting snow tomorrow. But that's life.

I have brought my ipad along so that I can read and while away the time whilst I wait. I already know that the library app on my tablet doesn't give me a large font, but I have recently found a bold font at least, so I am willing to try again. But man a'livin, that's awfully small for these aging eyes. The following page grab is not much smaller than my ipad screen, so you can see what I'm up against.

This library reading app is obviously buggy. Whether I view small text, medium text or large text, the size remains constant. The only change is that the lines get farther apart. Big flippin deal.

But for a good book I just might be willing to persist. But then I come to this paragraph, which is hopefully enlarged enough for you to read. It's awful. The rest of the page is just as bad. I cannot continue. (You can click to enlarge the image if you need to, but just read a bit of this if you will.)

So, I look around for an alternative use of my time and spot a magazine, the current April 2018, special edition on Race of National Geographic. I am interested in what I am able to read before the car is ready and decide that I will go the the pharmacy to purchase copy on my way home. I know they have a magazine section and that they display NG .

But no, not this edition. There are 2 different NG mags on the rack, but not this one.

But I have a prescription to pick up, so it's not a wasted trip. I know that it's ready because they emailed me. The pickup line is interminable, so I walk over to the grocery section for coffee cream. They were all out of creamer yesterday, but I'll pick up a quart today. Still out. That's three strikes. So I'm out too.

Back at the house, I open the trunk to unload the tires.

I can hardly believe the hodgepodge mess. I mean, I stacked them so neatly when I dropped them off. It's simple, you stack 3 tires, flat on top of each other which allows you enough space to roll the 4th one neatly in beside them because there's not enough space to stack 4 in one pile. I said neatly. This is not neat.

One presumes that the same fellows who took out the summer tires, and therefore saw how a sane person might stack them, were the ones who put back the winter tires. And even if not, like man, you're doing this for a living, and surely to goodness this is not the first set that you've ever changed. Surely. To. Goodness.

On top of that, I had already paid $10 more than last years fee for this very same service and $20 than I used to pay about a decade ago. Sigh: price up, service down.

Back at home we have lunch, Sue and I. With our lunch we have tea, which is our usual thing. We do this even though tea affects me. You've heard of that grocery store, A&P? My bod reacts to tea ... well let's just say that it's T&P. Seriously, I seem to eliminate about the equivalent of that one mug about 4 times within about an hour and a half of consuming it. I am not exaggerating, or at least not so very dang much. I don't understand why this is so, but it's the way that my bod works. Or doesn't work. Yeah, that's it: doesn't work.

So, needless to say, when I feel the afternoon drowsies coming on, I try to go with the figurative flow and have a little siesta. But that's the problem. The literal flow keeps forcing me to visit the commode. In the end, I give up and get up and write up this post.

I am calling this post Witless Wednesday. For rather obvious reasons.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Solitary Canada Goose

Last week, in my Bleak Walk Around post, among other photos, there was a solitary Canada Goose in one of the pics (repeated below).

You  don't see that very often. If they're not in actual gaggles, they are usually at least in pairs.

But when I returned on the next day, he or she (gander or goose) was still there. Alone. Which made me feel a little sad. But I'm a bit of a sentimental slob.

They are very wary creatures, and even though I wasn't all that close, he still began to paddle off.

I went back a few days later, but it was a foul day: too foul for fowl. Nary a bird either. Has it found a flock or a partner, I wonder.

It was awful out. Very windy. Brutal. Then the weather got worse.
(as previously posted)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Me Shovelling and Talking to You

We had a late snow storm on Saturday night, so I went out to shovel on Sunday morning. Being a strange sort of fellow, I decided to record myself shovelling while occasionally stopping to talk to you, or at least to the camera. I guess this sort of thing is called a vlog.

I was pretty much just in the nick of time for clearing the snow because we were soon getting ice.

It's still that way (although thicker, so it's almost totally opaque) this morning and school buses aren't running, but the storm could have been worse, and it looks like main streets are navigable. The power didn't go out, and we spent much of the day rewatching Scott & Bailey on Netflix, which was quite a pleasant way to pass the time.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Humboldt Tragdey

I think most people in North America, even non-Canadians, are aware of the bus tragedy in Saskatchewan last week where a truck and bus crashed at an intersection. The bus was carrying a team of hockey players in their late teens. The latest count that I have is 16 fatalities with many of the survivors still in hospital.

From Wikipedia
The tandem truck was travelling westbound on Highway 335, while the bus was travelling northbound on Highway 35. At the time of the collision, the roads were clear on a sunny afternoon.[8] Photos of the scene shown in a video released by a news agency reveal that the front of the bus was obliterated, while the front of the truck was undamaged.[5] One of the survivors described how the bus broadsided the semi, which was consistent with the photographic account of the incident.[9] The father of one deceased victim claims police told him the truck ran a stop sign.[10] The force of the impact caused both vehicles to come to rest off the highway in the northwest corner lying on their sides.[5] According to the RCMP, the bus carried 29 people, including the driver, with 14 being killed initially and 15 suffering injuries (three of them critically).[8][11][12][13] Two of the critically injured later died in the hospital.[14][15]

Hearts were touched and over 10 million dollars has been raised in support of the community of Humboldt.

There were other tributes. People across the country placed hockey sticks outside their doors because "the boys might need them ... wherever they are." It was a touching tribute of solidarity. Lacking a hockey stick, we posted a sign on the front door.

Then, we were able to borrow a hockey stick

On the 12th, people who had them wore hockey sweaters. The kids wore their sweaters to school. I had a sweater in the closet, and Sue was able to borrow one.

The pink bow was added for Dayna, the female trainer who
also passed away. (We weren't thinking clearly but smiling
for the camera is kind of an automatic response.)


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Vintage Clothing Sale

Yesterday, our little museum opened a 3-day vintage clothing sale. We had company that drove out from the city to be here for the opening to get first dibs and were quite surprised by the crowd first thing on the first morning.

Sue had no intention of purchasing anything, but then there was a certain kimono. .

Which, well you know ...

She also managed to bag a little bag or purse, which I didn't capture, but I think she was in line in this photo to purchase.

There was a small rack of men's things, but very small and mostly dress jackets in which I had absolutely no interest. But I did wander into the adjacent room which still had some of the lingerie display of which which I posted in the past but hadn't posted from this room.