Thursday, December 5, 2013

Seasonal Transition

We've been enjoying some balmy weather in the Midwest.  Normally in the space between Thanksgiving and Christmas you can get some good accumulations of snow, but instead, we've had foggy, misty skies with temps mostly in the 40s, reaching an unseasonable upper 50s yesterday (all temps in Fahrenheit!).  Since we're not likely to see those temps again until March in Illinois, even though it was raining yesterday, it was a good day to grab an umbrella and the macro lens to shoot some more closeups like I did our last visit, and another a few days later.  First up is the only one well above ground level of a twig on a juniper tree a few feet from the house.  I've never paid much attention to their form, and it is interesting enough by itself, but the drop of water collecting before it drops was cool too.  This is the only of these shots where the on-camera flash was used to help illuminate it on a dreary day.  The 100mm Canon macro lens was used for all, shooting from 50cm or so from a tripod...

I'm still really impressed by the image quality of the 100mm F/2.8 Canon macro.  I rarely use it wide open as the depth of field is quite shallow.  I normally shoot at F/8 to F/12 for reasonable depth of field - any smaller on aperture and diffraction starts degrading the sharpness.  The image at left shows a single blade of grass with a line of rain droplets gathered along it.  This image is cropped considerably from the full frame, but is still degraded in image downsizing for display here.  At right the center of the frame is shown at the full camera resolution.  Clicking on it and taking a close look and you can start to make out cell structure, or at least fine details in the blade of grass - pretty cool!

Out in our yard is evidence of some of the storms that pass through and bring down branches from the variety of trees here.  Mostly they are branches that are already dead, and this one had a growth of interesting lichens and fungus on it.  It seems like a wet year with all the variations of mushrooms and fungus I've spotted on the downed trees in the woods...

While it wasn't raining hard while I was out shooting, it was a slow, steady drizzle.  I had spotted this fuzzy-leaved plant and figured it would look interesting in close-up.  I believe it is a Great Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus), though missing the flower stalk of a mature plant.  Sure enough, the mat of fibers in the leaf surface seemed soaked with drops of rain, some of them acting as magnifying lenses to enlarge the appearance of the fibers.

Before going in to dry off myself and the camera, I shot a couple more frames of leaf litter where individual raindrops could be seen acting as little magnifiers.  It appears that the balmy weather ended, as a cold front passed through last night and we woke to temps in the 20 and even at the warmest today, wind chills were in the teens.  As we leave tomorrow highs are to stay in the 20s and won't look to get above freezing for the foreseeable future.  We're looking for warmer temps in AZ where they are below normal in temps too, barely reaching the 50s.  What the heck, we'll take whatever we get handed, what else can you do!?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

beautiful photos and updates in recent weeks. love the changing seasons. send love and blessings to melinda in her ongoing recovery.