Surprise – there’s more there

I’m continuing to learn the capabilities of my 300mm lens, specifically how to capitalize on the sharpness.  A long lens take practice to “dial-in” as far as technique to use it at the limits of its design.  I know a few things to look out for and am learning more about set-up and handling.  Still, even with my novice skills I get surprised.

While sitting in a marsh recently waiting for waterfowl to come by I practiced focusing on this guy:

Red-winged Blackbird

Seemed like the image turned out pretty good so while in Lightroom I zoomed in to see how much detail I could find in the bird.  That’s when I noticed this:

What are all those spots?  I thought, “Oh no, the lens has something inside it” before realizing anything in the lens wouldn’t show up for the most part.  I zoomed in a little closer and discovered these are small flies hanging around this tree.  Which is probably why the bird was hanging around as well.

This is one of the aspects I really enjoy with telephoto lenses.  You get your image downloaded and starting looking it over only to discover there are elements in the picture you didn’t see.  Lots of fun.  Especially when things are sharp enough to make sense of them.

So I discovered the lens is sharper than I expected, something to keep in mind while reaching out to pull in a subject in the distance.

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Urban planning

In your past did you take things apart just to see what’s inside?

LG Cosmos cellphone

This is the guts of a small cellphone, a slider version with a real keyboard.  All these electronics packed into a space about the size of a deck of cards.  Enabling near-instant communication with the world.  What will this look like in 20 years?

Is it a coincidence we build at the micro scale much as the macro scale?  Is there some most efficient form of construction that we are biased toward?  I noticed how this cellphone is laid out very similar to the industrial section of many cities.

Flying into cities and viewing the assortment of buildings and roads has always fascinated me.  Is there a plan, a pattern, a model that drives us to assemble areas in that fashion?  And do we mimic that in the tiny world of personal electronics.  I look at the image above, ignoring the obvious signs of microelectronics, and I see warehouses, roads, parking lots.

Fly into Silicon Valley and you’ll see names on the roofs of office buildings and distribution centers, proclaiming proudly the companies they house.  Surrounding them are acres of cars, surrounded by even more buildings and roadways.

Large buildings connected to smaller buildings, all in service to the people who own the cars surrounding them.  Communication paths for people and vehicles, mirrored in the infrastructure of fiber cables and wireless towers.I’m speculating in 20 years science and technology will have discovered means of creating personal electronics at an even smaller level, reducing what is seen here to the size seen in the structure of microprocessors.  I’m also speculating that will good microscopes (or the cameras of the day!) viewing these incredibly tiny creations will reveal they continue to mimic what we see around us in the urban landscape.

Idealistic planners press for more greenspace, more walking paths, less reliance on automobiles and crowded housing structures.  Yet the developers who drive urban construction continue to default with this layout.

Are we as a race so organized?  Or is there some other force prodding our thinking and planning to this end?

What would a more organic approach look like?

Marsh scenes – summer

Continuing to learn how to get best results from a 300mm lens I recently bought.  The Horicon marsh north of us is one of the best places around to see a variety of birds and scenery so I wandered around a bit to see what I could practice on.  Most of the images below are cropped from a larger composition.  Where I used it best, the lens is sharp enough to allow significant cropping and still render detail.  Great when the subjects you want simply refuse to get any closer.

Great Egret

This bird appears to have been resting from a feeding session in the marsh just below the tree.  I was able to get closer by creeping up behind other trees and shooting through open spots in the leaves.

Sandhill crane and red-winged blackbird

Earlier I was walking a dike with a small cloud of red-winged blackbirds around me, all screaming warnings to everything within hearing distance.  Experiencing that I realized they are pretty bold but didn’t realize what they would take on.  A pair of sandhill cranes were slowly feeding across a shallow marsh when they wandered into the nesting area of a group of blackbirds.  At least a half-dozen of the blackbirds were swooping around them, driving them away.  The most effective method seemed to be landing on the crane’s butt and screaming at it, like the one above.

Swallows

The swallow on the left was patiently waiting on the right one for something.  As the cleaning proceeded past the limit of the left one’s patience it reached out and grabbed the other’s wing.  That got attention.

Mallard family

Families are growing this spring, as parents have just a few months to train the kids on survival and migration.

Lily still life

Before the wind gets up there are nice opportunities for some quiet scenes.

Egret hunting party

This group of egrets slowing moved across this small marsh, vacuuming up fish, frogs and other aquatic life.

Muskrat

He appears to be gathering moss or reeds since he’s carrying a clump in his mouth as he makes his way back to a small island of cattails.

Great egret

Always good in a portrait session to have shots from both sides.