Plop!

There is a drain in our driveway that I step over every morning. I’ve never paid any attention to it until one recent morning when, as I walked over it, I heard the ‘plop’ of something falling into the water.

I thought I had dropped something into the drain. I looked in but didn’t see anything other than a mess of leaves, twigs and some water, so I walked away hoping it wasn’t anything important.

The following morning and almost every morning afterwards I would hear that ‘plop’ every time I walked over the drain and, so, of course I knew that there was something – likely a frog – living in there.

I tried several times, unsuccessfully, to sneak up on it. No matter how stealthily I approached, trying not to cast any shadows, whenever I got near enough to look in: Plop!

Today I decided to give something different a try.

Using my phone as a remote shutter release for my Olympus, I rested the camera face-down on the grate, covering it with a plastic bag because of the light rain falling

Then I walked a few feet away and waited, using the phone as a view-finder.

I waited a good fifteen minutes without any guarantee that the frog – or whatever it was – would be so obliging as to place himself where my lens was pointing. But I was rewarded for my patience with two halfway decent shots of my new neighbour.

Crop #1 of Mister Plopper
Crop #2 of Mister Plopper

The photos of the drain and setup were all taken with my iPhone X-R

The photos of the frog and interior of the drain were taken with my Olympus OM-D E-M5III using a 14-42mm lens (set on auto at 14mm)

Plastic bag courtesy The Greenwich Time. Probably the most useful thing I’ve gotten out of our local paper in some time.

I’ve Got Sunflowers on a Rainy Day

Rainy, humid morning. My initial thought was I’d slip on some waterproof shoes, a rain jacket and go stomping through Pomerance Nature Preserve but, when I opened the door and felt the oppressive, 95% humidity, I said ‘no thanks. I’ll just go early to the coffee shop.

Getting out of the car at Aux Delices I spotted the sunflowers next door at Porcelanosa and decided I could make them my subject for the day.

2021.08.19: First picture – lens fogs up just as I’m about to press the shutter release and suddenly I lose not only a clear shot, but also a bit of the focus

I ran into an unexpected problem early on: the humidity and relative heat outside the car caused my lens to fog up almost immediately when I removed the cap. The first pictures I tried to take (the one above being the first) didn’t come out so good. Patience, however, is not only a virtue but allowed me to wait until the temperatures of camera and outside evened out. Then, I was able wipe and keep the condensation off the lens and proceed.

2021.08.19: Sunflower seen from behind – after the lens cleared

Last year I had taken pictures of the sunflowers growing here using my iPhone. Today I had my Olympus with a 14-42mm lens which allowed me to get some decent shots from fairly close (about 7 inches), so I concentrated on trying to get some detail shots.

I know nothing, really, about sunflowers – or flowers in general – and, so, every time I take a close look at them I’m amazed by how otherworldly they seem…

… and by seeing something I’d never noticed before, like disk florets: the center of the sunflower pictured below is a field of flowers inside a flower! Maybe nothing new to anyone who knows anything about them, but it’s been all I can think about since I took these pictures, just adding to that otherworldly feel for me.

So, though I didn’t get to go on my usual morning walk, it wasn’t a water morning: I not only got to take some nice pictures, I got to learn something new as well!

Equipment: All pictures taken with an Olympus OM-D E-M5III (mostly set on auto) using an Olympus M.14-42mm lens at various focal lengths and edited using Snapseed on my tablet while drinking coffee.

Ordinarily I like to use aperture priority so that I can get some depth of field – for example, I would have liked to capture the church in the background in a couple of shots – but it was a bit breezy and the flowers just wouldn’t stand still for a longer exposure.

Palm of the Hand Story: A Tale of Birth and Death

With fall arriving in a little over a month, I thought I’d tell you a story about leaves. No words, just pictures – all taken this morning with my iPhone outside a coffee shop in Riverside, CT

What Do You Do When it’s Too Cold to Go Out to Shoot?

At 29°F, I thought yesterday was cold. I was wrong, this morning I woke up to 14°and the promise of a high of 19. So, yesterday I was too much of a wimp, but today I’m too pragmatic to go walking around taking pictures. (I know, I know: 19 is practically balmy in certain parts of the world during winter, but if I don’t need to be out there…)

Still, the need to take pictures won’t go away simply because I can’t get out, so I carry my camera around with me when I go for coffee, across the street to get lunch or to meet a friend in a warm bar for a drink (we can still do that here, in Connecticut, for now). If the camera’s forgotten, there’s the phone.

2021.01.28: Aux Delices (iPhone XR, back camera 4.25mm f/1.8, 1/60 sec)

Yesterday morning, finding myself alone in the upstairs dining area of my local coffee stop, I found it a great opportunity to take a few indoor shots.

One thing I’m always curious about is how light affects a picture taken with the same settings – I often see examples of these in photography magazines, but to me it seems obvious that, often, they use the same photograph edited to simulate the difference in lighting or settings. The two pictures below are actually different, taken with my camera on manual, and using the same settings: 18mm lens, f/22, 6.0 second exposure, ISO 200.

2021.01.28: Lights On – Unedited (Canon T2i, 18mm, f/22, 6.0 sec, ISO 200)
2021.01.28: Lights Off – Unedited (Canon T2i, 18mm, f/22, 6.0 sec, ISO 200)

I usually like to play around with my pictures using either Snapseed (on my iPad) or GIMP (on the desktop or MacBook). Don’t know why… to me, the picture never seems complete until I’ve done something to it, whether to enhance the colors, the texture or just go to town messing with it using all sorts of filters and effects.

2021.01.28: Lights Off, Edited (Canon T2i, 18mm, f/22, 6.0 sec, ISO 200)

It’s the rare picture I post on Instagram or ViewBug that hasn’t had something done to it.

2021.01.28: Reading Material (Canon T2i, 18mm, f/3.5, 1/30 sec, ISO 400)
2021.01.28: Table Leg (Canon T2i, 18mm, f/3.5, 1/30 sec, ISO 2500)

What looks like dust on and around the lens in the images below is actually fallout from my croissant. A good reminder to keep my lens cap on while eating.

2021.01.28: Camera at Rest (iPhone XR, Back Camera, 4.25mm, f/1.8, 1/30 sec, ISO 320)
2021.01.28: Camera at Rest (iPhone XR, Back Camera, 4.25mm, f/1.8, 1/24 sec, ISO 640)