Archive for the ‘Photos’ category
Just recently got back from a trip to Seattle. I’m usually lazy about posting photos these days, but here are a couple shots of the airshow for ya from Seafair. The first is some crazy guy in a red biplane trying to stall his aircraft. The last three are the Blue Angels, and if you don’t know who they are then you’ve had your head buried under a rock.
If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that the first three photos (at 300mm) aren’t quite as sharp as the fourth one (at 96mm). The Tamron 70-300mm lens is really cheap, a fantastic bargain for the price, but it noticeably loses sharpness at the far end. Thing is, that’s where I want to use it, especially for stuff like this. It’s bad form to blame equipment, but in this case I actually did outshoot my lens. Looks like it’s time for an upgrade.
The city of Albuquerque hosts a hot air balloon festival every year in October. Balloonists from all over the world bring their equipment and set off from a field every morning for a full week. The best part: you can walk around among them right on the field as they prepare and lift off.
There’s something both ridiculous and amazing about watching six hundred pilots simultaneously fill up their contraptions and take to the sky in droves.
Most of the pilots launch right at dawn, but there is a small set that go up earlier to test the winds and make sure it’s safe enough for everyone else. I woke up at 4am to get to the field on time to photograph them as they set up and launched. I even bought a new lens specifically for the occasion, a Canon 10-22mm ultrawide, and used the tripod Annie gave me before I left. Be sure to click on each of the crops to view the full images. I’ll post the daylight images later, but for now enjoy the early bird set.
These were all taken last Friday, which was the last day of the butterfly exhibit at the local botanical gardens.
If you can identify any of these species, please do so. Unfortunately, there are about 175,000 known species of butterflies and moths, so if you have a field guide you might be looking for a while.
Someone had set their blue jacket down, and this guy landed on it. Because the upper part of its wings are bright blue, these butterflies are attracted to bright blue objects (it’s a mating adaptation). I first thought this was a Ulysses, but the underside wing markings don’t match. Update: This is a Morpho peleides. Thanks Heather!
Quite a few of the butterflies had tattered wings, showing just how fragile they really are. I was told this is a Postman butterfly, named because in the wild it travels the same route between flowers every day.
Probably Heliconius erato but might be Heliconius melpomene
Heather originally wanted to spend all her time at the Grand Canyon, but since she’s interested in all sorts of snakes, lizards, amphibians, insects, arachnids, and other things that crawl and slither, I insisted that she visit the Desert Museum in Tucson. I hadn’t been since before I left for Japan to study abroad, and the museum has undergone many changes since then. The most noticeable difference is how many of the enclosures have switched from using walls to using wire fences. It opens the area up and makes it look more like the real desert. The museum also features a new hummingbird exhibit, a honeybee display, and some more hands-on presentations dealing with fossils and the local strata. There are plenty of large animal exhibits, and of course the entire area is a xeriscape garden.
I popped my el-cheapo 70-300mm Tamron on, and went to town. About halfway through I remembered the thing had a macro mode, so I grabbed a couple quick shots of some flowers as well. I’m quite happy with the results.
Plenty of solitary honeybees buzzed around collecting pollen, and I was able to snap off a few photos. One of the nicer things about solitary bees is that they avoid stinging people unless trapped or threatened, so you can get quite close. I snapped the switch on my lens into macro and got to it.
The red ball attached to this bee’s rear leg is a pollen basket:
Around the time we got to the hummingbird exhibit, Heather wanted to try out the Tamron, so I gave her that and put the 60mm macro on.
This little guy parked himself on a branch in the hummingbird exhibit. I waited while others got their shots, and he kept flying out to the feeder and back to the same spot. I started about 3 feet away, set the camera to continuous drive, and kept moving closer. When I finally stopped (because I had fewer than 30 shots left on my card) I was literally inches away, well within macro range. I’d taken 200 photos just of this one bird.
Apparently the 60 macro is a pretty good general-purpose lens too. Who knew.