It’s a fun challenge for me to go hiking and try to find things that could make a good photo. Most of the time it’s just a bunch of plants and trees, which, here in western Washington State, provide a lush, green environment to walk in. But a big mess of greenery does not make for an interesting photo. It takes a trained eye to find and isolate pleasing compositions, and I am still in training. Practice makes perfect, right? So this is me practicing on a trail in the Capitol Forest near Olympia, Washington.
I used to think in terms of aperture and shutter speed. Now I use ISO as a third component of exposure to make sure my shutter speed is fast enough to prevent motion blur at my selected aperture. I am pushing my luck at 1/30th of a sec, but I’m using an IS lens on a static subject, so I can get away with it. If I could do it again, I’d probably use ISO800 and stop down more to get a little more of the snail’s shell in focus.
This photo was taken with my 70-200mm f/4L at 200mm, so 1/250 is the slowest shutter speed I’d want for this type of shot, to make sure there is no motion blur. This lens doesn’t have IS, so I have to watch it.
This is an attempt to simulate infrared in Lightroom. A little more work to make the tree trunks dark would make it look more authentic. I manipulated the luminance on the greens and yellows to be very bright, which is how IR radiation appears when it bounces off foliage.
This is another shot with the 70-200mm f/4L. If it focuses correctly, it’s good at longer range macro-type photos. I had a rear focusing issue with it for years and resorted to focusing manually when it was wide open. But the EOS 7D has a micro-focus adjustment setting, like many of the newer EOS dSLRs. I have to set it to -18 for this lens, which is near the limit of how much the micro-focus adjustment can compensate. But many more of my shots are sharp where I was aiming at now. If I had realized after I purchased it 10 years ago, I should have returned it for a better copy. But I have to say the optical quality is very good for a telephoto zoom, especially for one under $1,000.
This 35mm f/2 IS lens is something else, and I am pushing the IS just past the limits here. You’ll see what I mean if you look closely at the logs. There is just a tiny bit of camera shake blur at an incredibly slow hand-held 1/6 of a second. I know for sure I could never get a usable image with a non-IS lens at that speed! I suppose it helped that I squatted down, braced my arms on my knees, breathed out and held my breath while slowly squeezing the shutter button. As far as I can tell, IS corrects camera shake, but not subject motion blur, which is why I can get blurred water and sharp (almost) logs and moss.
This photo is also very typical of western Washington woodlands, and that’s one of the big reasons I love living here.