Japanese Maple Tree

 Maple Tree Leaves

Japanese maple tree is one of my favorite potted plants in the garden.

The tree’s delicate  leaves start out green and then turn into most incredible shades of purple-red;  the transformation is  a joy to admire and, of course, to photograph.

Trees. Image of Japanese maple tree.

I’m currently trying to conquer my new Canon 70-200 mm F/2.8 lens and, for the first time, I feel the equipment fighting back which took me completely by surprise.  After waiting for over a year to get this monster, I got completely intimidated the very first time I picked it up.  It is HEAVY!  3.28 pound in weight seemed like a bit much for me at first but, after seriously considering returning it,  I decided to suck it up, toughen up and find a way to make it work.

This maple tree image is  the product of my efforts and I have a feeling that it’s just the beginning of a very special relationship.

 

Macro Photography

Close enough but not too close:  a simple macro photography hack

 

Photographer or not, it’s difficult not to pause when viewing a really good macro image.

Oftentimes,the first questions that comes to mind when viewing a product of macro photography is: “what is it?”. For me, it’s almost always followed by the “wow!!!”, “that’s incredible!!!”, “amazing!!!” and, moments later, by “how do they do that???”, “I want to do that!!!”and, of course, a random “he-he-he” at the end.

I see macro photography as it’s own entity within the photo world; as with all specialties, it requires years of practice and commitment, love for the subject and the usual amount of pain that comes with dedication. Therefore, I almost feel bad writing how I cheat with macro, but,  I honestly disclose it as a hack; this approach to macro photography is purely experimental and the results are perfectly acceptable to me for their intended purposes (with allowable room for disagreements.)

Flower image. White apple blossom flower image.

All (99%) of my flower/fauna images are shot with my Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens.  But, there IS a catch.  It has a Hoya X 4 Macro filter attached! The filter reduces focal distance, allowing you to get much closer to the subject and capture small things with greater detail as well a whole new perspective.

I find the my Hoya X 4 Macro filter combined with a Canon 50mm f/1.4 a perfect companion for flower photography. These give me  just enough distance to isolate distractions and the f/1.4 of my lens allows  the added flexibility with light as well as creativity.
In no way do I think that a macro filter is an all-out alternative to dedicated macro lenses, but it is a very inexpensive and effective way to experience the world in a different way: the macro way.   Beware though – macro photography is EXTREMELY addictive. And after my macro photography adventures I will be looking for a macro lens soon since the world of small things has a very firm grip on me that in my usual struggles against my photography gear wants, I find my fighting efforts more and more futile with every shot I take.

Haleakala volcano

Haleakala Volcano Summit

Haleakala National Park – the Volcano Adventure

The drive to Haleakala Volcano Summit is one of the most unforgettable drives my family has ever had. The trip took place during our second visit to Hawaii, when we obediently followed a friend’s firm order of “ABSOLUTELY MUST SEE THIS PLACE”.

After spending some time on the island and enjoying our usual “get away from reality activities” for a couple of days, we decided to see what all the fuss was about; semi-skeptical and risking a lost day of the perfect paradise experience, we set off on our volcano adventure, mostly, I think, because it sounded cool. Vol-ca-nooooooooo.

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Motion Blur, Merced River

Yosemite

Visiting Yosemite

W

when visiting a visual icon like Yosemite National Park, one is automatically drawn to the views  which are familiar. After years of looking at images created by the masters who, at one time or another, also  witnessed  the same grand vision through a lens of their camera or measured scales with their paintbrush, carefully composing  their gems on canvas,  it is practically  impossible to look away because you suddenly find yourself inside a masterpiece.

Views like  Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Yosemite  Meadows and a ridiculous number of other astonishing sights  are pretty hard to keep the lens away from. My seconds, third, fourth, fifth (I have lost track of the number of times I have been utterly overwhelmed by these views to a stupor )  I’ve often joked that Yosemite is a place where one can set a camera on automatic, put auto-focus on, close one’s eyes and start pressing the shutter button…and still get beautiful  images. I have to try it one day.

I love Yosemite_ Uncommon Photography Spots by Milieux Photography

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Clouds and mountain image.

Cloud Formation and things to do in Geneva

Lake Annecy, France: Cloud Formation

 

A trip to lake Annecy was a complete accident but an unforgettable one; it is a MUST for anyone visiting the Rhône-Alpes region and also one of the  places to visit near the city of  Geneva.

We literally got stuck in Geneva for 4 days without doing the “things to do in Geneva” preparation before the trip and then the most wonderful thing happened: we went back to the airport, rented a car and spent 4 days exploring the Alps, getting lost in little mountain villages and seeing things no “things to do” list could ever prepare us for.

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Two birds at Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

Changing Guards at  Golden Gate Bridge

Our trips to San Francisco are never complete without a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Golden Gate National Park.  It’s an amazingly fascinating and beautiful place which is never quite the same; this place it’s ever changing and captivating to the extreme.  Man-made marvel and pure beauty of nature all in one place, all at once is simply magical. These two sea gulls  seem to share my appreciation for it’s appeal  and took on the visual role of it’s  guards.  Maybe it was the play of a  whimsical mind or simply a result of exhaustion after a seven hour drive at the time but here I am, several month later, still seeing the same thing.  Interesting. Well,  after all, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see” per Mr. Henry David Thoreau.  I could not agree more.

Two birds at Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

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