March 24, 2018

Sunny, 32 Degrees, East Winds 5 – 10 mph.

This morning is yet another in a string of perfectly sunny early spring days. Temperatures are still chilly in the morning, but it no longer feels like winter has any hold on us. We’re not out of the woods yet as far as snow—that will be a couple of weeks or more off yet—but spring is unavoidable now.

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I love the characteristic shapes that each kind of tree branches take. This is a maple. 

After several intensive days of creativity and absorption in photography, I needed a day off today. But I took the Sony NEX-7 and my new long lens and played with it as my break. I shot a lot of the branches atop the trees, my eyes drawn to the sunshine on them. I also focused on all of the tiny buds coming out on the branches. I love seeing these early signs that most people might miss.

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This is a decorative tree, very common in Milford. Its buds are opening already. 

The Sand Hill Cranes were calling raucously from the marsh, though I couldn’t see them. That’s been a real plus to going to Island Lake. The cranes have been visible both on the ground and in flight. I imagine they must be on their nests by now.

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This shot was a nice surprise. A pair of Mourning Doves were sitting on a nearby branch. As I began to photograph them, they suddenly flew away. I love the way the wings are almost vertical on the one bird. 

I also played around a little bit with the new extension tubes I bought for the NEX-7. They make it possible to get really tight shots even with a long lens like the 55-210mm. With the multiplier of 1.5 on the Sony, that’s a really long lens. I was able to reach out and get fairly close shots of buds on treetops across the street and, with the extension tube, shoot closeups of pine branches from three feet away.

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Not a great shot, but striking how a lens that can pull in branches from across a street and still take a closeup like this, with the help of an extension tube. 

Fun is the key to keeping this thing fresh and having new tools to play with and two very different cameras to play with is a help. I’m not a gear collector, as some photographers are, but I have my share and I enjoy most all of it.

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I include this shot because of the unusual buds, which appear as little balls. It looks like they will open into flowers. 

I am developing a real affection for the NEX-7 as I get the right lenses for it. The all-in-one I had before was way too heavy and unwieldy, and the primes were too limiting for me. The new wide and long zooms are much more my cup of tea and they match the camera nicely in size and weight.

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I love the delicacy of these branches. Also, the characteristic shapes that they take. 

They are cheap lenses, bought used off of ebay. I can’t really afford good lenses at this point. Maybe if I start selling some art, I’ll buy some later on. I like good equipment, but I’ll compromise if I have to. These lenses will take perfectly fine pictures for my purposes. I have good L-series lenses for the Canon. It needs them with the very high resolution of the camera.

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Again, very delicate, but different shapes. This is a Maple. 

So, maybe no portfolio pieces today, but a handful of pretty shots that tell of the season. It was a refreshing morning back on my old trail with Jamie.

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