Trailside Photography (again)

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.


Snail – 35mm, 1/30, f/5.6, ISO400

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.

Wood Duck - 1/250, f/5.6, ISO400

Wood Duck – 1/250, f/5.6, ISO400

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.

Footbridge, Fake IR - 35mm, 1/60, f/5.6, ISO400

Footbridge, Fake IR – 35mm, 1/60, f/5.6, ISO400

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.

Skunk Cabbage Drops - 135mm, 1/1000, f/8.0

Skunk Cabbage Drops – 135mm, 1/1000, f/8.0

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.

Creek Logs - 35mm, 1/6, f/11, ISO100

Creek Logs – 35mm, 1/6, f/11, ISO100

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.


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