Monday, July 28, 2014

Hummingbirds & Arches

Calliope Hummingbird
In my yard I have planted several red autumn sage flower bushes to attract hummingbirds. The flowers appear to enjoy ample water and a flowering fertilizer especially in summer when it's so hot especially like it is here in Las Vegas. The hummers are attracted to the red of the sage and of course the nectar. I also have some feeders set up for them. They are a great little bird to practice your photography on. They move extremely fast so you need to set your shutter speed above 1/800th of a second if you expect to freeze their wings in motion. My photo is not that sharp. It can be a challenge to focus on these little guys. Center point focusing may be pretty difficult. If you own a Canon or Nikon DSLR they offer multi-point focusing which may make the task much easier. Wearing a red hat or shirt will help to attract some hummingbirds to you, it may also help not to scare them away. If you have a place where you can sit comfortably and just wait for them to come to the flowers then practice taking your shot. Keep practicing, raise up the shutter speed if need be above 1/800th. Remember the more you practice the better you will become.

Hummingbird shadow in Alabama Hills near Lone Pine
I thought this shadow looked much like a hummingbird!
Mobius Arch in Alabama Hills & Hummingbird Shadow
Now you see what caused the Hummingbird shadow. This is Mobius Arch located in Alabama Hills Recreational Area, California. There are 12 or so arches in this area and it is probably one of the best known. It's an easy hike on an unmarked trail of about 1/4 mile from the parking lot. The arch itself is about 17 feet wide by 6 feet high and is about 2.5 miles west from the stoplight in the town of Lone Pine on Whitney Portal Road. Make sure you bring plenty of water to drink and sunscreen to protect your skin, oh yeah and don't forget your camera!

Mobius Arch with Mt. Whitney visible through the arch

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ho'okipa Beach

Sea turtles resting

Near the town of Paia, Maui is Ho'okipa Beach. This is quite the beach for entertainment. All the way to the right every night at sunset fifteen to thirty plus large green Hawksbill sea turtles haul themselves out of the pacific ocean and crawl up onto the beach for their nights rest. There is a roped off area to keep people at a distance from these beautiful creatures. A volunteer is usually there to assist with questions about the turtles, hand out pamphlets and makes sure that the crowd of people stay back to prevent any harm to them. You can get some pretty decent photographs if you are using a 75-200 mm lens as I did in this shot. I found it to be a lot of fun to watch as these guys just came up and plopped themselves down for the night. A great place to take your kids and the price is right, "free".

Sunset on Ho'okipa Beach
Towards the left of the beach you can see windsurfers and surfers alike besides taking in another beautiful Maui sunset! If that's not enough there are BBQ pits and picnic tables, you can walk your dog or just people watch. Just one of the places I enjoyed spending an afternoon while in Maui.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Keihei Sunset

Keihei Sunset
Three weeks before Serena's birthday someone at my work wanted to rent out their one week time share in Maui. 

As luck would have it the first day of the rental was on her birthday so I jumped at the opportunity to take her. I have been to Maui a couple of times before and this would be Serena's first.

Just behind the timeshare was this small beach to which we were treated to this beautiful sunset. This capture is from the town of Keihei looking towards Lahaina and the western portion of Maui. If you look closely you can just see the windmills going up the edge of the landmass jutting out, these are on the Pali trail.

Here's a better view of the windmills. I took this photograph from the aircraft window as we approached the airport in Kahului.

 Thanks for stopping by!
Pali Trail

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cabin Fever

Rock Creek near Bishop, CA
"They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming."
~Hermann Hesse, Siddartha

Well it's fully summer here in Las Vegas. Next weeks highs from Tuesday through Friday are expected to be 110-111F or 43.33-43.88C. I am having cabin fever as I want so badly to get out and take photographs. With the heat like this all it really makes me want to do is stay in the air conditioning. Soon though the monsoon season will be upon us, thunder and lightning storms, lots of beautiful light, great sunrises and sunsets. Nothing will keep me in the house then!

As for coming trips I hope to get to a favorite place soon and see if I can catch some lupine flowers in a beautiful field. My timing will have to be right, they should be in full bloom within the next week. Also planning a trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the Eastern Sierras and Zion for fall colors. Then hopefully will be in Yosemite for a good snowfall and to meet up with some friends of ours. I am continually trying to get to the Wave but have had no luck so far on the lottery. I plan to go to White Pockets in December to at least photograph there. I have three or four other places I would like to shoot at but it all depends on the weather.

Thanks for looking and come back soon!

Rock Creek near Bishop, CA

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sensor Cleaning Part II

A nice metal tin holder inside of the box
How it comes in the mail

What's inside the tin
What's inside the mail pouch

As promised I wanted to give you a review on the eyelead Sensor Cleaning Kit. First, I must warn you that you can cause damage to your sensor if you scratch it. Clean your sensor at your own risk. I assume no responsibility, this is for informational purposes only. I might add cleaning your own sensor will probably void your warranty.

I found out about this cleaning kit from my local camera store and ordered it in March of this year at the price of $54.98 USD including shipping.

 Inside the metal tin:

           Special sensor dust-sticking-bar
           Viscous cleaning paper to clean the dust sticking bar (10 pcs)
            Incl. aluminum storage and transport box (tin)
            Instruction sheet

This kit is intended for dry cleaning of the low pass filter or sensor ( if no filter) of your DSLR. The sticky bar is used to pick up dust particles and oil pollution located on your sensor. I found this to be an effective and quick way to clean the sensor of my Nikon D-800. It's an effective and quick way but I would not use nor depend on it to clean the entire sensor. Even the instructions suggest just to clean the dirt spots instead of the whole sensor.

The instruction sheet is quite thorough and I believe this product will last through quite a few sensor cleanings, that's to be determined. One word of caution I might add is while using the dust sticking bar DO NOT hold it on your sensor for more than 5 seconds. Even for 3-4 seconds and I didn't think the sticky bar was going to come back off of my sensor. Talk about getting your heart rate up...

Wet clean your sensor for those really tuff dust and oil spots. I still recommend Visible Dust products. See my blog post from April 2013. Of the Visible Dust products I specifically recommend the Sensor Clean fluid and the Vswab MXD-100 are what I use to clean our Nikon's. Visible Dust products are a bit pricey but cheaper than taking it to your local camera store or shipping it off to Nikon, not to mention the wait time. Speaking of which as you remember my Nikon D-800 had problems with oil spots on the sensor caused by the mirror mechanism splattering oil on it. Well at 9,645 shutter actuations it is still splattering oil. I counted eight oil spots from our recent trip in April to Maui. Because of these great products I've cleaned the sensor and am ready for the next trip.

I hope this helps someone out there. If you have any questions please contact me, I'd be glad to help.