Plants

The Rose

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The Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden offers a delightful eyeful of fall flowers, particularly for those resigned to drought-parched gardens at home. While I enjoy walking through the gardens, I must confess that I love looking at the flowers more…at home. In the quiet hours of the night, I can admire the curves and colors of the rose petals and gasp at the details not visible to the naked eye.

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Nikon D800, Micro-Nikkor AF-S 105mm f/2.8G, ISO 100, f/8.0, 1/320s

When viewing flowers at 100%, I often find small hidden insects or, in this case, a faint dusting of morning dew clinging to the innermost petals of the rose. Absolutely lovely.

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Stanford Dish

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I headed up to the Stanford Dish for a July 4th hike. I brought along the 28-300mm lens for fun. The side facing the mountains had clear blue skies. Along the bay, it was hazy and overcast.

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Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 100, 180mm, -0.3 EV, f/5.6, 1/1,000s

The last time I was up at the Dish was a year ago. I took a photo of this same tree. Retina version is a lot more detailed.

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Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 140, 48mm, -0.3 EV, f/8, 1/1,000s

Experimented with shooting into the sun, and trying to bring back the shadow details. Wasn’t in an HDR mood, I guess.

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Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 100, 50mm, 0 EV, f/16, 1/60s

If good fences make good neighbors, what about bad fences?

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Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 100, 230mm, 0 EV, f/5.6, 1/800s

The real treat of the hike was encountering this deer. It started on the other side of the fence, but easily ducked under and headed off across our path.

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Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 100, 300mm, 0 EV, f/8, 1/250s

Nikon 105mm Macro Lens at the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden Center

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I recently returned to the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden Center. I wasn’t sure what to expect at an outdoor garden in mid-November, even in California. This being the tail end of autumn, most of the vegetable beds were empty. I did enjoy the fragrance from the few remaining flowers on the sweet osmanthus tree. I would love to plant one of those trees in the backyard.

I love chrysanthemums, as well as a cup of chrysanthemum tea. This yellow chrysanthemum was in bloom.

Yellow Chrysanthemum

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 560, 105mm, f/8, 1/400s

This chrysanthemum had a spiral pattern to it.

Chrysanthemum Spiral Pattern

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 4000, 105mm, f/8, 1/400s

This pink chrysanthemum reminds me of a sea anemone.

Pink Chrysanthemum

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 2500, 105mm, f/8, 1/400s

I also met some of the residents of the garden.

Macro Bug

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/8, 1/400s

A friendlier-looking bumblebee.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/8, 1/400s

I’m not sure if the droplets were from a recent rain, the sprinklers or just morning dew, but they added an interesting dimension to the morning walk.

Water Drops on Leaf

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 4000, 105mm, f/8, 1/400s

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 400, 105mm, f/8, 1/400s

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 560, -0.3 EV, 105mm, f/8, 1/200s

Float Like a Western Tiger Swallowtail

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Bees are easy. They are not skittish. And, even when I get too close, they just buzz around and move on to another nearby flower.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm, f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/8, 1/160s

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm, f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/8, 1/160s

Butterflies are different. You look at one wrong and it just might fly far, far away. This one is a Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) that I found along the Stevens Creek trail.

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm, f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/8, 1/160s

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm, f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/8, 1/200s

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm, f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/8, 1/250s

Flower Walk

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During the lunch hour, I sometimes head out for a walk. After I purchased the macro lens, I’ve taken my camera out with me more often. I encountered this white flower along the way.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/16, 1/160s

One thing I’ve discovered is that with the macro lens in hand, I am more cognizant of my surroundings. I take time to look at all the flowers and search for any bees or other insects nearby. The macro lens also slows down the photographic process. Because of the narrow depth of field, I often end up in manual focus mode. So, I have to select which part of the flower I want to keep in focus. I’m also aware of flowers that have dropped after a previous encounter. No flowers = no bees = boring green plant.

The same photo as above, but cropped more closely.

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Even a routine roadside weed can be intriguing.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/16, 1/160s

Squirrel and Red Spider

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I was shooting in manual mode a few days ago and forgot to reset my settings. Last night, I spotted a small red dot roaming around the calla lily, and grabbed the camera. So, the aperture and shutter speed were for an entirely different event, but the exposure was not far off fortunately.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/4, 1/100s

Later, I spotted this guy climbing up the telephone pole. I’m pretty sure that telephone lines are the equivalent of highways for squirrels–basically, paths that offer unfettered access to the entire neighborhood. The squirrels are free from ground-based predators, like cats, but probably have to watch out for hawks and other raptors. I wonder what would happen to the squirrels if the telephone and electrical lines ever transitioned underground.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/4, 1/100s

D800 Battery Cover

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I’ve owned a succession of Nikon cameras. The D800 was the first one to lose its battery cover. I’m not even sure when and where it occurred. I was just reaching to change the battery when I realized that it was a bit exposed. I re-traced my steps during the previous 24 hours but the cover did not show up. Nothing was at the bottom of the camera bag either.

So, I ended up ordering a cover from Nikon’s web site. The cover was only $3.90, which didn’t sound too bad to me. But, shipping and handling was $11.00. A local camera store did not have the part in stock. A third party was selling the same part for $11.99 with free shipping.

Considering how easily this part fell off, I decided to pick up 3 battery door covers directly from Nikon. Excluding taxes, that’s $7.57 per door. The part shipped from Torrance, CA and took a week to reach Northern California by ground UPS.

Green Onion

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Played around with the macro lens and tripod this morning.

Green Onion

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 800, 105mm, f/16, 1/80s

Most of the spring flowers are gone from the garden. So, the lone target was a green onion. Unlike “regular” photos, using a tripod for macro photos is a hassle. Adjusting the height of the tripod and getting the camera in the right position just takes time. The trade-off is a more precise focus, though using live view outdoors isn’t the best experience. Had to drape a jacket over my head, like those old photographers, just to see the screen clearly on a sunny day.

Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden Center

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Got tired of the same bumblebee and poppy photo, so I headed down to the local community garden for some exploration.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 1600, 105mm, f/16, 1/125

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 1600, 105mm, f/16, 1/160

This one reminds me of a fried egg.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 400, 105mm, 0.3EV, f/16, 1/60

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 400, 105mm, f/8, 1/60

One leg out of focus. 🙁

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 400, 105mm, f/8, 1/125

I think I need to revisit this site while shooting on manual mode. On aperture priority, sometimes the shutter gets too slow. Unless you are shooting macro indoors, the slightest breeze can easily knock a flower out of focus.

After I bought my macro lens, it seems that every day has been a windy day. Or maybe it has always been windy and I just haven’t noticed until now.

Nikon 105mm Micro Lens at f/45

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I’m still searching for the optimum settings when using the Nikon macro lens. At f/6.3, barely anything is in focus, which isn’t a problem if the subject is flat.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 400, 105mm, f/6.3, 1/125

At f/45, more of the flower is in focus. However, the original image was quite dark, even with a macro flash. Had to spend a few seconds in Photoshop to fix the image.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 400, 105mm, f/45, 1/125

Here is how it looked out of the camera.

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