I had some free time this past Sunday afternoon so I decided to try something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I headed to one of the marshlands nearby and tried to do some telephoto wildlife photography. First off, I do not have the right equipment to do this properly. I will get there before too long, but I did have an old Nikon mount Tokina 80-400mm lens adapted to fit on my Olympus OM-D EM-5 that I had to manually focus and manually set the aperture. Not an easy thing to do for wildlife photography, but I tried to put myself in the mindset of the photographers of yesteryear and do my best with what I had. Fortunately, the birds I was photographing, weren't moving around too much so I was able to setup on the tripod, focus and get some shots off. There were about 11 Great White Egrets in the marsh, but I spent most my time focusing on just one that was nearby. One of the challenges of this marsh area is that it is fenced off so, without breaking the rules and disturbing the habitat, you have to stay outside the fenced area. This one egret that you will see in the photo above and in the gallery below spent a lot of time within range of 600-800mm lens. Later on I decided to play around with handholding and taking some photos of some other birds in the area. Catching a flying hawk or a running bird is virtually impossible with a manual focused lens. Out of many, many shots I did get one that was only "adequate". I went ahead and created a gallery of the images from this excursion below.
The same day I made all these recent flower shots, I was able to get out to Kadena Marina to do some sunset shooting. Fortunately we had a decent sky, but more importantly the location I chose had very calm waters. This led to a nice reflection of the clouds adding a nice touch to the scene. I picked two photos from this session and have struggled to pick which one is best. I'm putting them both up here on this post, let me know which one you like.
I was about to sell my Olympus 60mm Macro lens because I didn't think I was going to like macro photography, but lately I've come to really enjoy this lens and this style of photography. This lens is not only good for getting real close and capturing worlds we can barely see with the naked eye, but it is a fantastic portrait lens as well. Very sharp and superb quality images. You'll probably see more from me with this lens in the future.
I indirectly learned a valuable lesson with this photo. Bottom-line is don't rush to post-process a photo I took the same day for posting. The other day, I posted a HDR panorama photo from a cliff-side, actually nearly the same spot as this photo. That photo was a very challenging post-processing project, and I tried to rush out a version taken the same day. The other problem is I didn't work on it until after 10pm, so I was working very fast, but the result was not very appealing. The next day after I posted that photo I was very disappointed with it. Trying to combine multiple images sequences into a good pano is hard enough, I then added the complexity of blending 5 images for each section. In the future, I've decided I will not rush out a photo from the same day, especially one that was so complicated as that one. If I want to post an image that day, then I have plenty of others sitting in an already edited queue I can use. I need to take the proper time for the photos to sink in and zero in on the "right" images to work on. That day when I got done shooting, I was excited about the pano and was going to do it whether I should've or not.
Now let me talk about today's image a bit vs. focusing on one that's not even in this post. As I stated, this was taken at the same area, but the light was better, and I took my time to see what I wanted to accomplish with this photo. This is from one image with some post-processing in Lightroom and Perfect Effects 8. I also brought it into Photoshop to remove a fence that went along the edge of the cliff in the flat area to the left (call me a cheater, I don't care. I didn't like the fence so I waved my magic "content aware" wand and made it go away). I really like this photo, in fact, it may be my favorite so far of this new year. The sky is more natural, and I gave it a soft look to match the windy day that was blowing the grass all over the place.
I was very tempted to start deleting all the posts with the HDR pano, but I decided to leave it alone. It is a record of a valuable lesson learned for the future.
Went out for a sunset photoshoot, but the sunset was a bust. So I decided to try something a little bit different.
I decided to head out toward Maeda Point to get some sunset shots this past Sunday evening. I had a specific idea in mind, but unfortunately nothing was working in my favor this time around. I was hoping there would be a bird or something on this outcropping in the middle of this dock and it would line up nicely with the setting sun. Well no bird, and basically and very mediocre sunset. I went ahead and tried some different compositions, but it became clear this was not going to work out. Before the sun fully set, I started walking around the dock area to see if there were any other opportunities of shooting and saw these bushes with some fruit on them with Maeda Point in the background. I decided I would try some bokeh shots and see what I could get. As I was walking back to the car, I noticed these small pine trees and that Id give it a try and well. These are by no means portfolio worthy, but it's good to try different things every now and then.
I saw we were going to have a great sunset today so I headed over to the Gala area and hiked up to one of the cliffs and waited for the magic. Enjoy.
I have not been very productive in my photography lately. So it was nice to grab an opportunity to go shooting yesterday evening. I decided to see what the sunset would look like from White Beach, a Navy base on the eastern side of the island and not too far from where I live. I like this location because of the numerous small sea stacks grouped together just off shore. While in these photos they look like one continuous small island, these are actually many small rocks outcroppings sticking out of the water. Fortunately, I arrived about 30 minutes before sunset so I was able to do some scouting ahead of time. Another bit of good luck was that the water was at a low mark so I was able to easily get to an area that is usually covered in water. I found two locations that I thought would be a good composition and setup the tripod.
The photo above was from my initial location. Planning is the key to getting the final result; it is not a matter of racking off a bunch of shots then trying to make something work when you get back to the computer. Sometimes there are lucky breaks (the puddle on the bottom right reflecting the clouds in the sky is an example of this; it wasn't there when I setup but with the tides coming in it filled and I got lucky to get a reflection), but to get what you're looking for it requires a vision ahead of time. Now as you probably know about me now, I'm not afraid of post-processing, but what you may not know is that most of that post-processing is considered before I've taken a single shot. I understand what the limitations of the camera are and while I try to do as much as I can on location and in the camera, I have a good idea of what I'll need to do back at the computer. I used an ND filter to smooth out the waters and aligned the sun just left of the large point on the rock on the right.
Headed out on a road trip on this New Years Day with my wife, two daughters and sister-in-law. While driving out near Kaishu Doro Bridge, we saw these paragliders getting ready to take off. I immediately pulled over, hit the hazards and grabbed the camera.
I had bypassed this photo during my first time going through the photos from this location last summer. Recently as I was doing a quick scull through my library I came across this photo again and decided to take another look at it. I worked on this in Lightroom enhancing the setting sun color in the sky and slightly increasing the exposure of the bird to stand out a little more. A little contrast and clarity and it was done.
This is Azaka Falls here in Okinawa. They're very easy to get too, but I really struggled on how to compose this area. The hanging roots with the water flowing through them intrigued me, and I tried some closeups focused on just that spot. They were alright and may post them again, but in the end I felt the wider look gave it more depth and sense of what was going on there. I decided to go B&W because of those roots. I think it gives it a more moody feel than what color can do.
As I was driving home after an early sunrise shoot, I caught a glimpse of this beautiful sun ray sky. I knew there would be a good rock outcropping not too far away that would be a great foreground subject. I was hoping this would continue until I got there and fortunately it was. I pulled off to the side of the road, grabbed my camera from the back seat (it was already attached to my tripod) and started shooting. I started off doing a number of bracketed shots, but I decided it wasn't necessary and took the camera off the tripod and ran through a bunch of different compositions without the bracketing. These are two images I liked from this shoot.