Sunday, August 31, 2014

Great Spangled Fritillary

I am seeing a good number of Great Spangled Fritillaries this year. This one was hanging around in the yard taking advantage of wild and cultivated flowers.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

This is our Ruby-throated Hummingbird coming in to see who is feeding in her flowerbed this time. She’s one tough cookie and doesn’t take kindly to strangers. This is the only photo I’ve managed to get of her. She is constantly on the move and does not pass up an opportunity to harass the Titmice that stop for a rest in her favorite tree.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Be sure to visit today’s flowers this week.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Eagleville Covered Bridge

Heading out of Vermont along Rt 313 from Arlington you will see a little sign pointing to a covered bridge on Eagleville Rd. The bridge spans the Batten Kill river between the towns of Salem and Jackson, New York.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

This bridge was rehabilitated in 2007.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Forgotten Photo Friday, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

Last April down by the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, I was playing peekaboo with a small family of Black-tailed Gnatcatchers in some dense bushes. 

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

I got the money shot and then they went back into the bushes.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

You haven’t lived until you’ve tried to photograph one of these

This is a Giant Swallowtail. The challenge with this bug is that they seem to be on coffee overload. It’s the most jittery, hyperactive butterfly that I have ever shot. Add to the mix that the butterfly bush sways in the breeze and you’ve got a photographic adventure.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Blue-gray Gnatcatchers

It’s not often that I get an opportunity to photograph Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. They are usually high up in the trees. As it so often goes, when it rains, it pours. I found a flock of about five working the lower branches. 

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Why this one was interested in this dead vine materials puzzles me. Certainly, it is too late for nesting.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Two juveniles.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Be sure to visit Wild Bird Wednesday this week.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Least Skipper

I found the tiny skipper enjoying the tiniest of flowers by a hay field last Saturday Morning. It’s a Least Skipper. 

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

This is a very unusual pose for a skipper. I’m rather pleased with the image. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out what the plant is.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Butterflies on Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed is enjoyed by many bugs here in Massachusetts. Today I have two butterflies for you on Joe Pye Weed, a Monarch Butterfly and a Great Spangled Fritillary.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Be sure to visit Today’s Flowers this week.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Regatta

On a lake in upstate New York, Sunfish and Lightning class sail boats enjoy an afternoon breeze.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tell your camera what to do

I have a saying, “Tell your camera what to do. Don’t let it tell you what it is going to do.” Today I hope to inspire you to take control of your photographic destiny.

I primarily shoot Aperture Priority. That means that I control the aperture and let the camera figure out the rest. This gives me artistic control over depth of field and loosely the shutter speed. But there is a little button that I keep my finger on. It’s the exposure compensation button, that little +/- button.

The important concept is that your camera is going to give you scene based on 18% gray. It assumes that all images are supposed to be exposed as if you were photographing a 18% gray card, and it would do that perfectly.

Now that is hunky dory if you go around shooting gray cards, but you don’t. What I’m going to show you below are all images from my D7100 + 300mm f/4, straight out of the camera.

This Pearl Crescent was shot with no exposure compensation. It’s okay, but a little washed out. Why? Because the camera is trying to make this look like a gray card and has over exposed a dark scene.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

What to do, what to do? Well, it’s time to do a little thinking on your feet. After all, this bug is probably not going to put up with my nonsense and take off. Here is what you need to remember: When shooting a black scene, decrease the exposure time. When you are shooting white sheets in the sun, increase the exposure time.

Now if you’re not used to thinking in these terms, it is okay. If you poke someone with a stick in the middle of the night and ask them how to shoot a primarily black scene, many would want to increase the exposure time if the scene to let in more light to catch the scene, right? Negatory. If you do that, you will get a gray scene. Likewise with a white scene, if you decrease the scene because it is too bright, you will get another gray image.

Here, check this out. I decreased this exposure by –2/3EV because of the dark background.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Here I decreased the exposure by –1 1/3 EV. The joy here is looking at the way the colors are starting to punch. Look at the blade of grass and compare it to the first photo.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

This is what I want the image to look like and this bug is being cooperative, so I snuck in a little closer and took another shot. Again this is straight out of the camera.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

The final image with minimal post processing.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Just to show you that this isn’t a fluke, here is Blue Dasher on a grass stalk, straight out of the camera with no exposure compensation.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

This is the next frame with –1EV exposure compensation. Better, but not quite right.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Here the first frame I took in the series. It has –1 2/3 EV compensation. (Did I say first frame? Yes! When I saw this Blue Dasher, I knew exactly what I needed to do with this dark scene to properly expose the dasher and the grass spray. The previous two frames were to taken for this post.)

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

My post processing on this image was about 15 seconds because I got it right in the camera.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Now I shoot images in my camera’s RAW file format. This gives me the ability to tweak my images’ exposures and do other fun stuff that you cannot do with jpg files. I took the image with no exposure compensation and corrected it below. It took me three minutes.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Now here is something that you won’t see in the above images, but there is an added benefit to decreasing the exposure value and getting it right in the camera. The image on the left is the same 0EV image shown above. The one on the right is the –1 2/3EV image. The shorter shutter speed gave me a better chance at freezing the image. Also an image will degrade with all the extra tweaking.

©2014 Steve Borichevsky©2014 Steve Borichevsky

Now if you have time in the studio, you can shoot in Manual mode, set the aperture, set the shutter speed. But I find that with practice I can get what I want in seconds with the exposure compensation button. And for us outdoor shooters, seconds can mean the difference between getting an image of a bird on a branch or just getting a branch.

Note that if you’re a sports photographer and you shoot Shutter (speed) Priority, meaning set the speed you want and let the camera figure out the aperture, these principles will work too!

And if you missed them, check out this same lesson based on white birds in an overcast sky and how to shoot birds in the snow.

I hope that this helps you and inspires you to override your camera’s meter. Free advice and worth every damned penny spent.

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