I like to get action pictures of wildlife. That was difficult until recently. I bought a Tamron 150-600 mm lens and replaced my 9-year-old Tamron 28-300 mm lens with a Tamron 18-300 mm. The 18-300 is my daily walkaround lens although the 150-600 is always in the trunk of the car. The 18-300 is best for outdoor spontaneous action because it is lighter and focuses faster. The 150-600 is best for getting through wire fences such as those which surround many enclosures at the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, SeaWorld, Lions Tigers & Bears, Discovery Nature Center, and others.
Following is one of my best action pictures ever, taken at the San Diego Jetty while I was visiting the Jetty Cats feral colony.
Run! He wants to put us on Facebook! Run!
Many decades ago I was reading an interview with a photographer from National Geographic magazine. One of the questions concerned how he got such great shots of wildlife. His answer was that he always focused on the eyes. If he did that, everything else would fall into place.
I focused on the eyes of that first seagull, but by the time I pushed the shutter button, the birds had moved so that it looks like I focused on the eye of the second seagull because it’s just ever so slightly more in focus. I was about 50 feet from these birds and the picture metadata shows a shutter speed of 1/250, which is why I got such good motion in the wings and legs. It was taken with the 150-600 lens but the focal length was 150 and the f/stop was 5.0.
I will have more pictures in the next few days of wildlife from the San Diego Jetty, including, of course, the Jetty Cats.
Many decades ago I bought a brick. Not just any brick, though. The durn thing cost me $1,000. It was to support the construction of the new center for the Former Students Association at Texas A&M University.
So whenever I see named bricks, I tend to spend some time reading the names. Quite often the names will have an explanatory note below them. With my $1,000 brick, it had my class year below my name. Class year is a vital statistic at Texas A&M University. Many explanatory notes often say something like, “In Memory of.”
In the picture below you can see two bricks,
one in loving memory of John Mason, who died at the age of 45,
and one for Susan Schartzwald, who apparently had an affair in 1984.
I thought Schwartzwald might be sufficiently unique that a Google search would uncover something. Nope.
Then I thought maybe “Affair” was a movie that came out in 1984 and Susan Schwartzwald was in it. Nope.
Perhaps a big but local political or teacher/student scandal? Not that I could find.
Maybe the person with whom Susan had the affair wanted to memorialize it for all time? Maybe Susan wanted to memorialize her affair and this spot is where she met her paramour?
I’m at a loss here. Leave a comment if you think of something.
Although I have a lot of books and online resources concerning everything in Southern California, last week I discovered an online resource that lists places of which I was not aware, and which aren’t in my books.
I suspect it’s because my books are ca. 1989-1998, and some of the places I discovered at this new online resource were built or created later than 1998.
After browsing online, I picked a site that’s not too far from me to check it out last weekend.
On my leisurely drive, leisurely because I’m always on the lookout for things to photograph, I saw this huge sign on a residential fence:
That reminded me of my time at Texas A&M University when I was looking for a Greek organization to pledge. One of the organizations I was considering was Sigma Chi.
Fraternities at Texas A&M University in the mid-1970s were a new thing because previously they were prohibited as recognized student organizations. As fraternities and sororities started establishing chapters at A&M, they had to do so off campus without all the benefits that recognized student organizations got. Thus there are some huge fraternity and sorority houses in College Station, off campus. One of the largest was the Sigma Chi house. If I remember correctly, a rich Sigma Chi alumnus had lent the money to build the house on several acres of land.
Shortly after I had decided to pledge Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity instead of Sigma Chi, they discovered oil under the Sigma Chi land. Rumors at the time were that the oil company which obtained the drilling rights had paid the Sigma Chi chapter $1.2 million, as well as 10% ongoing royalties. Oil companies probably still pay a large sum initially for drilling rights, so the people who own this house are hoping for that initial large sum.
I wonder if drilling rights include fracking rights….
I was going through my flower pictures choosing some for today’s Friday Flower Fiesta when I came across this picture:
It’s a pretty accurate picture of new flowers on a sea lavender (Limonium californicum). As they age, the flowers become a deeper purple. A little Adobe bird was chirping, telling me to play around with that picture in Photoshop or Lightroom. After heeding the chirp of the Adobe bird, this is what I got:
I used Lightroom and, in order, made the following changes:
increased Point Curve to Strong Contrast
changed Contrast to +50
changed Clarity to +50
changed Blacks to -100
changed Shadows to -100
changed Vibrance to +100
changed Saturation to +100
I usually don’t use such extremes but the more I played around with that picture, the more fun I was having and the more extreme I got. I like the end result, though.