Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

December 13, 2013

A Trip to the Library

Filed under: Non Birds — richditch @ 2:24 pm
Mexican Beads

Mexican Beads

I’m a big fan of the Phoenix Public Library, and we use their services on a regular basis. Of course we go for the occasional book (usually we just buy books), especially when I want to learn the details of  a complicated application for the computer. More often we go to pick up DVDs to watch at home, and by borrowing from the library we have seen a lot of stuff we’d likely not risk money on in a blind purchase.

Mexican Comb

Mexican Comb

What is also nice about the Phoenix Library system is what we get to see there, like this small collection of Mexican folk art items at our local branch. There are two small display windows with interior light and black background, and they often contain small items as seen here.

Mexican Figurines

Mexican Figurines

Mexican Figurines

Mexican Figurine

In the past I would just glance at there displays on the way to the shelves, but now that I usually have an iPhone with me I have discovered that I can get a decent photo of some of the items. All I need to do is press the phone against the glass (it helps stabilize the camera and blocks many reflections), tap on the screen image to set the focus/exposure point to fine tune the brightness, and take a photo. With a little bit of cleanup of the images in Photoshop (background cleanup, minor exposure adjustment, a bit of cropping) I can get a nice result and share with my wife who couldn’t come along on the visit.

 

December 3, 2013

Abstracts – Cat Fur

Filed under: Cats, curiosities, Non Birds — richditch @ 7:07 pm
Ernie Fur Abstract

Ernie Fur Abstract

Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 105/2.8 Macro, ISO 800, 1/60th second @ f/5, 11/17/13

Ernie is one of our two indoor-only cats, and I’ve featured him in a number of previous posts on this blog. Ernie likes to be close, except when anyone visits or rings the doorbell. When he was so close the other day that I couldn’t do anything productive I grabbed an iPhone and turned on the camera just to examine his messy fur. It was a revelation for me, and I took a couple quick photos to see what I could do. I liked the results enough that I soon got out my old 105/2.8 Micro-Nikkor and mounted it on a D300 body, then waited for a good opportunity to try for higher quality images.

Ernie has enough variation in the color of his fur to make this a fun exercise – just focus on different sections for a variety of patterns. Light and shadow are also important for any results as they provide contrast and define the third dimension of the image.

Ernie Fur Abstract

Ernie Fur Abstract

The original shot: 11/14/13, iPhone 3GS, ISO 320, 1/15th second @ f/2.8

There’s also a lot of opportunity to make any image more abstract with some simple processing – just play around with contrast and color balance as I did on the original shot with my iPhone.

Ernie Fur Abstract

Ernie Fur Abstract

iPhone 4, ISO 200, 1/15th second @ f/2.8, 12/01/13

I must point out that I find it a lot easier to work with the iPhone than the D300 and 105 macro. The phone is always handy and it is easier to position close to the subject. As long as you don’t need the higher quality of fist-rate optics and a large sensor you can turn out a lot more images in a shorter period. The D300 got the colors spot-on, but with these being abstracts I don’t mind the blue or cyan that crept into the iPhone photos.

Ernie Portrait

Ernie Portrait

Nikon D300, Nikkor 105/2.8, ISO 800, 1/25th second at f/5.6

As long as I had the D300 and 105 at hand it was easy to get another portrait of Ernie for my files. Note: I’ve got a lot of shots of Ernie in my files already, like this shot from October 19, 2013.

Ernie under shirt

Ernie under shirt

Nikon D300, Nikkor 50/1.8, ISO 1600, 1/80th second @ f/2.8

November 20, 2013

Yet Another Handicapped Violation

Filed under: behavior, Non Birds — richditch @ 3:15 pm
Handicapped Violation

Handicapped Violation

I’ve got a short fuse when it comes to selfish inconsiderate idiots who will not respect designated handicapped parking spots. And since my wife Carol’s health has made walking difficult and we got a handicapped hangtag to use for her I’ve gotten a lot more confrontational when I see a violation.

Today’s violation occurred at one of our favorite restaurants, located in Chandler, AZ near the mall. I visit about once a week for lunch. Since there are only two handicapped slots in front of the restaurant we get there early when Carol comes along.

Handicapped Violation

Handicapped Violation

I was alone today so I parked in a normal slot, but when I came out I watched this BMW take a handicapped space in front of the door. The woman who got out had no trouble walking about on her stiletto heals, so I checked for a handicapped plate or hangtag. Of course, there wasn’t one.

When I confronted this lazy selfish inconsiderate jerk her response was exactly like I’ve heard so many times before: “I’m only going in for a minute to pick up something.” Hey lady: even a brief time is too long. While you ares else. inside and your car is in the handicapped slot any person arriving who actually needs it can’t park there and either has to walk from a spot farther away, or go somewhere else.

Handicapped Violation

Handicapped Violation

So, if you know who this person is, or who owns a 328i BMW with Arizona vanity plate ADAZE, please let me know.

November 3, 2013

I’d Rather Be Somewhere Else

Filed under: curiosities, New Jersey, Non Birds — richditch @ 2:37 pm
BRKLYYN AZ

BRKLYYN AZ

Are these examples of The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side? Or are these people who are proud of where they came from? Or just people unhappy with where they are at the moment who’d like to be someplace else? Maybe a mix of all of these?

Regular readers of this irregular blog know I look at license plates, primarily in my search for those relating to birding. And visitors to my web site should be familiar with my complete collection of birder vanity plates. But I never pass up a plate that catches my eye even if it isn’t about birding.

I recently realized that I have another theme showing up in my collection of license plate shots, and here it is.

AZ RDRNR VA

AZ RDRNR VA

 

GCANYON Manitoba

GCANYON Manitoba

 

 

JRZ GRL AZ

JRZ GRL AZ

 

 

AR12ONA NV

AR12ONA NV

 

Bayonne AZ

Bayonne AZ

 

There’s nothing special about the gear used here – just whatever camera and lens happens to be in the car at the time I find an interesting plate. So there’s a mix of Nikon D70, D200, and D300. And one from the days of film that could be any Nikon film camera from the FE to the N90.

August 30, 2013

Harris’s Antelope Squirrel

Filed under: backyard, Non Birds — richditch @ 7:20 pm
Harris's Antelope Squirrel

Harris’s Antelope Squirrel

Since it remains too hot to spend much time out hiking about for my usual bird subjects I continue to spend time watching the back yard. I’ve recently written about some of the birds and lizards and rabbit activity we’ve been seeing, but I didn’t get to talk about another of our warm weather guests.

We usually see one or two Harris’s Antelope Squirrels in the warmer weather. This year it has been one, and we think it is a female. It pops up on the wall around our place, chases off some doves, gets some sun, and then scampers off in search of mesquite pods for a snack.

Harris's Antelope Squirrel

Harris’s Antelope Squirrel

Taking a break on top of the wall.

Harris's Antelope Squirrel

Harris’s Antelope Squirrel

 

Harris's Antelope Squirrel

Harris’s Antelope Squirrel

The first four images were taken on 8/29/20103, with a Nikon D300 and 70-300 VR lens hand held. ISO 1250 and wide open at f/5.6, through a very dirty window,

Harris's Antelope Squirrel

Harris’s Antelope Squirrel

7/21/2007, with Nikon D200, AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC20E (2x), ISO 200, 1/250th second at f/8, tripod.

Harris's Antelope Squirrel

Harris’s Antelope Squirrel

Two days later (7/23/207), the squirrel climbs down the edge of a numb-out on the wall.

Harris's Antelope Squirrel

Harris’s Antelope Squirrel

The final image is from October 1, 2007, while the squirrel pays a visit to a stone just off the patio on its way for a drink at the water feature.

 

 

 

 

 

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