Missed It by THAT much!

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One of the predictable quips of Don Adams as Maxwell Smart can probably describe the effort below to capture a scurrying lady beetle with a reversed 28mm lens. I put it here anyway since it gives a nice view of the undercarriage of this member of the order coleoptera. That word means “sheath winged” since its translucent wings are encased below the hard covers made of chitin. There’s a word for them, but my low thyroid output makes me confused and uncertain as to what it is. So, I cheated and looked on WKP. Just as the page opened, as if by magic, the word “elytra” swam into my stew of neurons. When I was a kid (funny how long lost memories are returning more and more every day now) I undertook to memorize all 27 insect orders with examples of each one. The Latin speakers (when it was still alive and well) had vivid ways of describing each insect. Too bad they had to have dipterans back then buzzing around in their agoras.

Oh well, this is supposed to be photography and not lunatic ravings.

Here it is:

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Again, far from perfect, but maybe I’ll improve.

Thanks for looking.

Crab Spider

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This was a first for me, reversing a lens for close up. I used a Nikon D7100 with a 50 f1.4 manual focus Nikkor reversed on it. Shot on manual, and why not since you can check result immediately! Not spectacular at all as a nature shot, or as a reversed lens capture. Many great ones are out there.

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Some Tough Negs!

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I recently had a physical and discovered that my thyroid functioning is somewhat sub par. One result of that can be difficulty concentrating (I would say staying focused, but being a photographer and all…), and perhaps some memory lapses. I prefer to think of it as the absent-mindedness of a genius. In any case, the fix is in, the drugs are being taken each morning, and all will be peachy in short order, I’m assured.

So, I will blame what happened to me in the darkroom a few days ago (I think, or was it this morning?) on this totally biological abnormality and not on my being deficient in general intelligence. I walked in to develop the film that contained four of these images and grabbed the paper developer, Ilford Multigrade Developer instead of the Kodak D-76 that had been my original goal. I had put the paper dev into collapsible plastic containers to keep out air with its deleterious properties and had the D-76 on the floor in a gallon container by the refrigerator.

Normally, for paper, the paper dev is diluted 1:9. I used it on the poor rolls of film at 1:1 for one of the rolls, and at FULL STOCK STRENGTH for the other. That is the roll you see here. Needless to say, result was catastrophic. They were what we called in the olden days, “Bullet proof” in the highlights. So, I had to use grade 00 contrast filtration and do a lot of tricky burning and dodging to get what you see here from the scanned prints. The face particularly required a full minute of burning in. The overall exposure times ran into 2 – 3 minutes at f4 on the enlarging lens.

I hope I don’t do this again.

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This, by the way, is my lovely wife, Christy. Camera was Nikon FM2/T with good old 105 f1.8 manual focus Nikkor lens on it. Film was Fuji Neopan Acros 100 shot at that rated ISO.

 

More Primroses

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This has a darker than necessary interpretation, at least according to the LR histogram. I hope it works out. My screen is set at max brightness on the iMac. Otherwise it goes black and is a pain to wake up again!

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The camera was Hasselblad HD 5 with 200mm f4 lens and Canon close up lens attached, hand held. Aperture fairly wide, don’t recall exactly and don’t really care.

Some Creatures at Dallas’s White Rock Lake

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On a cycling outing at White Rock Lake on Friday, Christy and I noticed some wood ducks, a lot of drakes, near where we parked. We had no telephotos with us, so we returned Sunday to try to get some decent photos. She had a Canon 60D with a Sigma 150 – 500 zoom; I, a Nikon D7100 with a Sigma 150 – 600 sports lens. We saw some drakes while cycling without our proper equipment due to its size and weight that might make an unbalanced situation on a bicycle. When we got back to parking lot after the two laps around the lake, we found this hen and her brood and took several photos.

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Then we drove around to Sunset Bay area of the lake where we saw the drakes earlier.They tended to stay farther out than the hens, so what I got even with a 900mm effective focal length was with a fairly small drake and it wasn’t very sharp. Maybe next time.

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We did find some slider turtles that were fairly calm for that species, allowing several shots. Father and son?

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Finally, the common egret. Christy got some really nice shots of this specimen in flight; I’m really bad at BIF!

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Christy’s shots!

Overall, an enjoyable day.

Nice Portrait, Bad Photo

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This is a scan of a fiber-based print I made yesterday in my man-cave/darkroom. This subject is the granddaughter ¬†of my former college roommate and long time best friend ….yes, granddaughter. (He was commenting recently how could it be forty years since graduation?)

I was at his house assisting in a building project and had my trusty old Nikon F4 with me in case there was a home invasion attempt, the camera being the ultimate tool for applying a concussion to an assailant. I had attached to it a 35 – 105 zoom Nikkor and was using Fuji Neopan 400 as film, rated at the published ASA (for old times’ sake). It was developed in D-76 in a Jobo processor, and the paper was Ilford FB glossy.

I almost trashed this one because of the obvious mushiness. I think focus fell around her knees. Nice shot of the child, true, but technically worthy of the bin.

Then I began to think. Maybe I should give this to the grandparents anyway. She’s still recognizable, after all. This photo does have a sort of charm to it as being taken by an amateur clumsily wielding his 35mm. There is the grain so sought after these days in Lightroom. It is an archival print and will be around in this condition for decades and decades.

Now, who, if they found a photo of their great-grandmother when a three year old cheerfully holding a book at great-great grandmother’s house, would look at it and say, “Oh, look, that inept photographer mucked up the focus on this one. To the bin it goes!”

I believe that so many pictures we have now of people and simply consign to the mundane if not awful are the treasures of the distant future and will be much appreciated by the descendants of the subjects of the snapshots.

So I think I will give this to my friends, even though my reputation as a competent photographer will suffer. But, no harm; I’m not trying to make a living off of it, am I?

Primroses

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They are also called buttercups, I believe. These are in morning light, but also known as Texas evening primroses. I crawled around this morning with a heavy Hasselblad and 120mm macro lens. Two ladies walked by on the pathway and said they were concerned that something was wrong with me as a was shooting from below flower level to get the first shot you see here.

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