Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just a dandy lion

The past few mornings have brought temperatures below freezing and, as I hinted before, the little flowers that were still blooming out in the vineyard are dying back now. They're almost as beautiful in death as they were in life.

Not a dandelion but a flower from the same family. This one got frozen just as it was about to open.

Susan reminded me (thanks!) that I have a mono-pod (as opposed to a tripod) for the camera, so I took it out with me on Tuesday morning's sunrise walk. It helped me keep steady in the low light and my pictures are better. I'm still having problems with the focus in macro (close up) mode. My camera's manual focus doesn't function all that well. First off, it's electronic and not truly manual and the buttons are a pain to manipulate, especially when I'm wearing gloves in below-freezing temperatures. Second, the range of focus is very limited so I'm often not pleased with the result.

This is the same photo, just cropped differently.

The other issue is that the automatic focus has a handful of options that go from a wide general focus to a point focus, with several in-between settings. Navigating the menus to change that for each image is hard enough to do without gloves. As a result, I often end up with depth-of-field problems: a photo where the background is crisp and clear and my subject is blurry, or a portion of the subject is in focus while another portion is not.

This is one of the reasons I want to upgrade to a reflex camera with lenses I can manipulate manually, like I used to do with my film camera.


  1. Walt, Pauline bought me a pair of mits that have flip off ends that leave fingerless gloves underneath. Just the think for manipulating fiddle camera buttons without frosted fingers. They came from the UK... but if they aren't available here, somewhere, you could probably find them online. Failing that, one of our friendly 'commuters'might be able to get hold of some.

  2. I'm a big fan of fingerless gloves too. I bought mine at an outdoors shop in London. Decathalon might sell them here, while the ski stuff is in. Mine don't have flip up mitts though.

    The depth of field issue with macro is an endless challenge. My cameras manual operation is so complicated I gave up and never use it. I find that swaying back and forth can help find focus when auto is not obliging. Also drawing back a little, so you take a picture of a larger area that you subsequently crop. Fine small flowers or damselflies in surrounding grass is the thing I often can't get at all. Convincing the camera to focus on the one vertical stem I want instead of the one to the left or just behind it often proves impossible.

    Glad to have helped by reminding you of the monopod.

  3. I can't remember the last time I saw a dandelion.

  4. The pictures you posted are beautiful...sorry about the frozen fingers.

  5. Those fingerless gloves with the flip-off mitten-style finger cover are really great things!

  6. tim, sounds like a good idea.

    susan, I'm glad it's not just me...

    starman, we get 'em all the time.

    anon, thanks!

    will, it sounds like it. I'm going to investigate.


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