Sunday, July 1, 2012


 Belatedly, I have been going to the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center to take advantage of my membership before it expires (which I have since renewed for another year).  One of the paths in the center take me past "Mystery Pond."  Not sure what the mystery is, but the pond is full of frogs.  Some of the frogs were very reluctant to have their pictures taken and would leap into the depths of the pond as soon as I approached with my camera (and tripod).  Others seemed to be content to float a few feet offshore.  To make sure I got at least some photos, I would take shots at a reasonable distance from a frog, in case it got skittish as I approached.  The first day I came in the evening and the light was great.  Unfortunately, I only had my 24-120 mm lens, so the shots, even at maximum focal length, required quite a bit of cropping.  I was fortunate that the frog in the shot above was looking directly at the camera (assuming frogs can be said to be looking in a particular direction, given that their eyes are basically on the sides of their heads).  Here are a couple more shots of this same frog.

I cropped these shots to show the entire frog, including the portion underwater.  And here is a shot of another frog on that evening.

I'm not sure why I shot this photo with the aperture set at a wide open f/4, but at least I focused on the frog's eye.

Because of the attractive light, I wanted to see if I could  get some interesting shots of the pond lilies.

I think i would have been better served by my telephoto zoom for the lily shots also, as both of these shots are fairly highly cropped.  I was doing some shutter speed bracketing, over- and underexposing some shots, so I decided to try my hand at converting one bracketed set into a high dynamic range blend.  Here is the result.

It probably would have been better if I had spread out further the over- and underexposed shots.  I like the color that the blend created, but a close look reveals some chromatic aberration.  Still, this shot seems to have done a better job of capturing the warm color of the evening sun on the surface of the pond.

I went back the next morning and this time brought my 70-300 mm telephoto.  That helped quite a bit, even though the light was not as interesting.  In this first shot I included all of the frog.

The resolution on these shots is excellent.  Here is another shot of this same frog.

This was taken at an aperture of f/10.

And here is another frog along with two bugs,  one in the middle of its back and on top of its left eyeball.  I would have preferred that the insects not be there, but I didn't have the patience to out-wait the bugs.

Here is another shot of this same frog.

In both of these shots, there is a bright spot at the base of the frog's right eye.  A close look reveals that the spot is actually where sunlight has entered the frog's eye and been focused by the eye's lens to a spot at the base of the inside of the eye.  The resolution in these shots is very good.

I also took a few more lily shots.  Pleasant but nothing special.