Friday, February 19, 2016

In the Garden with my Camera. . .

























I have loved being part of a rich conversation about how much energy to expend -- and how best to expend it -- in retirement, but also, perhaps, in life overall. Thank you for all the thoughtful comments, even those that slanted acerbic. But much as I have loved inspiring and receiving and responding to your contributions on the topic, I've found it fatiguing. A good kind of fatigue, to be sure, like going for a good long run. But whenever I up my mileage for the week, I try to give myself a catch-up week, as most of the training programs recommend.

So today's post is a quiet one, no controversy at all in the first snowy flowers of Ribes sanguineum 'White Icicle' shaking themselves open, cluster by delicate cluster. . .

At least, no controversy about their beauty, or their simplicity, or the grace they bestow on a rainy, grey, February day. But I did have to stretch my camera skills to get the lens clearly focusing on those few open blossoms rather on the distractions of the many tight buds in the background. And there was wind enough to demand a faster shutter speed. Which then meant I needed a more sensitive film ISO....Played with Aperture, Played with Shutter Speed. Got some blurry, ill-focussed shots (see below) but I'm quite pleased with the one above.


While I can work out what needs to be done with my Nikon DSLR, as above, eventually getting the depth of field and light balance and shutter speed than I need, I'm not there yet with the camera on my iPhone6+.  Below, you can see the result of three attempts to get the camera lens to focus on those blossoms by tapping them on the screen. But only when I gave the lens the more solid background of my hand did it settle down to what I wanted it to do. If any of you have suggestions about other tools for adjusting depth of field on the iPhone, I'd love to know, and I've registered for a smartphone photography class at Vancouver's VanDusen Gardens next month.

Oh, there are so many delightful things to learn and do yet, aren't there?  And thankfully, many of them are wonderfully restorative...I'm not sure whether the math works out to 20% less, but I know a tour 'round the garden slows the pulse quite nicely.

Comments always welcome, but I think I'll leave their direction to you. No questions for you today.

27 comments:

  1. The discussion about lens and speed leaves me in the dust - I'm not there yet, and my photos show it. You are, and your photos show it. Gorgeous shot of the blossom.
    I am conscious, every morning, of how my blood pressure lowers as I walk by the water. Sometimes I breath in time with the waves, and sometimes I simply drink it in. There's certainly something about the rhythm of the surf that works for me.

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    1. Water does it, absolutely, just as well as gardens, for me at least. In fact, there have been studies that show the same results even just looking at natural scenes on a screen. I prefer the real thing, myself. . . (and thanks for the kind words re the photo)

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  2. Oh, that's a great trick for the iphone! I do like that top photo; it's moody kind of lovely. I splurged a few weeks ago on a 50mm/f1.4 lens and can hardly wait for my garden to perk up a be "ready for its closeup, Mr. DeMille."

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    1. It's an okay trick, thanks Sue, except that I'm stuck with my hand in the photo.
      Oh, you'll have so much fun with your new lens. I came out of that Photog. weekend last spring determined to pick up a 50mm, but then decided I should wait until I really got comfortable with the 18-55 I already have. I'm almost there... so I'll be watching to see what you do with yours.

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  3. We are far, far away from blossom time but are having a warm spell of just above 0 (Celsius) temperatures. The bite is gone from the air for a few days at least, and we will lose some of the snow, but it is very icy underfoot. It's nice to think spring might be just around the corner, and your lovely photos add to that hopeful feeling!

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    1. I'll cross my fingers for you that spring is just around the corner, and I'll pretend we don't both know that corner could elude you until, say, May. . . meanwhile, I'll try to keep showing you blooms so you'll recognise them when they finally blossom out your way. . .

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  4. Like Pondside, I know little about photography but the new green and the fresh buds are a beautiful part of our late winter. There has not been any rain here since November so the flora is very different.

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    1. Is it hot, as well, in Oaxaca right now? That drought must be quite a contrast from our soggy climate, which I suspect you aren't missing too much.

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  5. Unlike Madame La-bas,we have a lot of rain,my snowdrops and primroses are swimming in mud and grass need trimming (unusual for the winter and impossible because of the rain).
    Hard to say what's going on in orchard/ former wineyard,roads through the wood are too slippery,even for my car
    Your first photo is very beautiful (I always learn something new about flora in your garden) a little bit shakespearean,I do not know anything about photography except looking at.
    You will be real expert with all your photo-tools!
    Dottoressa

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    1. We, too, have so much rain right now, day after day after day of it. Still, I must admit I prefer it to snow, so much easier to get around in it.
      So interesting that you see something Shakespearean in that photo -- what do you think it is?

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    2. Beauty and the stormish threat,drama... (association in a blink,subconscious," When I consider everything that grows........"sonnets...)
      D.

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    3. Or maybe Macbeth!:-)!
      D

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  6. A purchase that I found extremely helpful was that of a Prime lens, which I now use almost exclusively. It gives a very shallow depth of field, and can helpfully blur out the background. Very handy when you want the bud, but not the twigs. I would love to give more technical advice, however I have now passed the sum total of my knowledge to you! The smartphone photography class sounds interesting. X

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    1. Yes, I've been wanting to get a Prime lens -- something like the one Sue (Une Femme, above) has just splurged on. But I can generally manage macro without too much trouble with my Nikon DSLR -- it's the iPhone camera that doesn't want to blur the background for me (unless I trick it, as above)...
      I've just had a quick peek at your blog -- and will be back for a longer visit when I get a minute -- and I can see that you manage some very nice photographs with your lens. Convincing argument in favour of pushing a Prime lens to the top of my Want list . . ;-)

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  7. A white-blooded sanguineum -- there's some irony to start your weekend off. Lovely photo at the top, though I actually like how the blurrier photos match your description of the buds "shaking themselves open."

    I love the idea of a smartphone photography class! I may have to look into something like that. My husband is the real photographer in our family. Mostly I content myself with: this image more or less illustrates what I'm talking about. But it would be great to improve a bit, especially with my ever-present smartphone.

    Wanted to thank you for your post and the subsequent discussion about retirement. That's not my phase of life but it gave some good food for thought especially during a recent visit with my parents, who are 10 years in to their own retirement now. Not sure my thoughts can quite be shaped into a comment at this point, but thought I would let you know that I appreciated the discussion.

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    1. I know! I found myself resisting including "Sanguineum" in the shrubs name, trying to get away with just Ribes 'White Icicle' -- it seems quite wrong to retain the blood implication in a plant that is only slightly tinged pink, only at the base of new buds...
      I have grand hopes of the smartphone photog. class -- I figure that since it's what I always have with me, I should really be trying to maximise my understanding of what it offers.
      I'm pleased to hear that you found the retirement post/discussion worthwhile; thanks so much for taking time to say so.

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  8. Beautiful photos as always and looking forward to seeing more as you experiment further. Must confess that every time I approach the whole depth of field, F stops, exposures and the like, I find that even the most patient teacher or the clearest manual turns to double Dutch when they begin to explain it all. (Double entry book keeping - no problem for me, photography - Noooo) Kudos to you for taking the classes and getting to grips with the eternal mysteries of the mechanical reproduction.
    So while I absolutely love my iPhone and the automatic settings on my dslr, I leave the little pixies who live within to do all the work. And the wonderfully artistic results to those with the talents

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    1. I'll admit that the technical stuff is not my forte, but I think I have a decent eye for composition, and it seems worth investing some time in sorting out some of the mysteries. Still, I'd welcome any pixie help with the pixels... ;-)

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    2. You have a more than decent eye for composition for sure.

      I meant to add how much I appreciate your taking the time to respond to every commenter - even he who you kindly call acerbic - but this must indeed be fatiguing. So please take 20% off here from time to time too. Like now. To this comment.

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  9. Beautiful photo of the White Icicle blossom. I confess that I have minimal technical knowledge about my camera settings. I read a little bit, then I play and it seems to work most of the time. I'm enjoying learning how to use my new macro lens - sometimes it's difficult to "grab" the focus, but persistence pays off.

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    1. You get beautiful results!
      Isn't it wonderful that we can experiment at no cost? I remember so well adding up the potential cost of taking a second shot in case the first didn't work....buying film and having it developed . . . Digital for the Win!! ;-)

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  10. I hope that Ribes has a lovely scent - but there is no way to capture that ... yet
    Wendy in York

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    1. I do often wish I could share the scent. But when I think of scent and Ribes, I instantly conjure the scent of the leaves, which often suggests that a tomcat has been around . . .

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    2. Yes , our pink Ribes smells just like that - so I did wonder , very pretty though
      Wendy

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  11. We're starting to move into that phase where blog friends post spring pics. Though I know it's a bad quality, I do get so envious because things here are crappy. Usually we're still in a deep freeze. This year we've vacillated between 16 degrees (yes, you did read that correctly) and -25 degrees. In the span of 3 days. It's messing with everything, including my attitude! How I wish I could feel the spring right now. At least your gorgeous photo is reminding me that this cannot last that much longer!

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  12. You remind me that I still have not taken time to learn to use my camera. I will, I will, I must, I must....

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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