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Steep Ravine Matt Davis Loop

This is the third year in a row visiting Stinson for this hike in the last week of April. It was awesome to see the impact of the rain we got this winter. The waterfalls were rushing and plant life was thriving, almost overtaking the trails in places. We missed the “super bloom” by a couple of weeks, but there were plenty of impressive patches of wildflowers. To experience the following pictures, imagine the sound of rushing water and the ocean crashing on the beach in the distance, accompanied by many birds singing in the rustling trees.

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250mm

Up until now, my longest available zoom has been 135mm. Then I was poking around on Amazon and I noticed that I could grab a 55-250mm discontinued Canon kit lens for less than $120. I felt I would be stupid not to get this, so I did.

Camera gear enthusiasts are an interesting bunch. I’ve been reading more blogs and videos about camera gear and photography this year and I can see how one could easily get sucked into a never-ending crusade to acquire the ultimate camera/lens combinations. I must remind myself that there is no real reason for me to do this, from time to time. I don’t aspire to be a professional photographer. (But if someone is offering some awesome job I may reconsider!)

Photography serves several purposes for me:

  1. It’s an art you can do outside! It entices me to go outside and walk around. Drawing and painting are my real artistic passions, but you must sit still to accomplish them. One cannot sit still all the time.
  2. Reference photos for my art. I only draw from my own reference photos when I draw realistically and since I learned more about photography it has really improved all of my painting. Taking pictures that capture interesting and beautiful light is the key.
  3. Documenting the things around me. I live in an amazing place with great weather almost year round (rain excluded) and an incredible array of plants, especially flowers. No matter what lens I use, I’m going to take more pictures of flowers and hiking trails than anything else because that’s what interests me most.
  4. Messing around with abstract photography. I get composition and color ideas from my abstract photos, and can see whatever the thing is that is “my style” in them.

None of these purposes require me to buy the most expensive gear.

Here are some photos from the new lens. It’s definitely going to be fun to use to capture more bird photos. And I was impressed with how great the flowers look at 250mm.

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Sunlight Through Trees

Today I went for a hike in Wunderlich park and I took my wide angle lens.

I was thinking of my post from the other day about the photos that give me the feeling of hiking, and I observed that light is really the thing. I especially like the light when the sun is directly in front of me, somewhat low in the sky either morning or afternoon, and casting long shadows over the trails. The photos of this light scenario tend to have a lot of contrast, with the sun blasting out the foreground. Or if I adjust for the foreground, the sky and background becomes enveloped to be in a fog of light.

The impressionists had it right.

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Hiking Feeling

I’ve been looking back over my photos for art subject reference materials, and I notice that I react to photos that aren’t the ones I initially chose as my favorites from the batch. For example, the following photos, which I  included neither in my first post about this hike in Wunderlich park nor in my second, seem to capture the essence and the feeling of hiking. They stir up solid memories of being in these places, the smell of the air, the sound of the breeze ruffling the leaves, the smell of unknown herbs and flowers.

 

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Sunrise on the Grid

Beautiful red sunrise this morning. I showed some of these to a friend and he said “great sunrise, too bad those power lines are there.” But I don’t know, I kind of like them. They have a personality and add contrast to the photos between nature that grew itself and the nature that humans have built.

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Miniature Moss Forest

Finally, after a solid week of rain, I was able to go out and take some pictures after work yesterday. And of course, now it is just gorgeous everywhere. So green. New flowers blooming. I took lots of pictures of those things.

But today I want to share these photos of moss growing on a curb in the late afternoon light as I was headed back to my car. Moss is so intriguing. When you look at it closely you can see another world. And there are so many different types of Moss Forests to see. I love that the macro lens can capture things I can’t see with my naked eye.

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Rain Rain Rain

It rained so much that we are no longer in a drought. It rained so much, water rolled down the hill, at the bottom of which I live, and through our basement garage leaving waves of mud and leaves in its wake. It rained so much my local Starbucks flooded and I had to go elsewhere for my 6 am coffee.

For about 15 minutes this afternoon, it stopped raining and I took some pictures. Then it started raining again.