CedarMossThis is just showing off a few more pics from the Savannah et al trip, ones that didn’t fit into the text of the previous posts too well (I know – this implies I actually do some editing, which is startling in itself.) The problem is, all of them are vertical orientation, which is much harder to fit among the text, so the format is going to go wonky, or even wonkier than normal (since monitor resolutions are so variable, I just aim my layout for 1024 pixels wide and to hell with everyone else. Seriously, there’s no easy way to accommodate all the different formats out there and no reason to try.)

Anyway, a quick shot from the parking area of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, because I liked it and occasionally get fartsy. While complicated, I think the selective focus brings out the details nicely, but then again, I would think that of my own work.

[That’s not perfectly true – I throw out lots of stuff that didn’t work as intended. But this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be throwing more out, either.]

PondOspreyOn two mornings, an osprey (Pandion haliaetus) paid a visit to Our Hosts’ pond, perching for a short while in one of the taller trees overlooking the water before deciding that the human activity beneath was too unsettling. Here, I was getting my shots through gaps in the trees before coming out into the open, knowing how likely it was that the raptor would take flight when I did so. I’m fairly certain this is still a juvenile, from body shape and coloration not immediately apparent in this image – it’s likely this year’s brood. Shooting like this is tricky – it’s very important to at least keep the face and eyes clear of any obscuring vegetation, because even out of focus, it’ll produce a hazy patch that detracts from the sharpness of the eyes. You can see I just barely managed this in a small gap, with lots of places where the foliage blur can be seen. And it’s obvious that even in my position beneath the canopy, the osprey knows full well I’m down there, and took flight as soon as I came into the open. But I don’t think I could have asked for a better light angle.

EarlyMorningPairStill too cool in the morning for the insects to get started. The backlighting produces a nice outlining effect, but there’s another subtle thing at work too: notice how the background colors work to offset the dragonfly and butterfly, dark against the bright transparent wings and light against the near-silhouette of the butterfly. This is how a subtle change in position can help your subject stand out better.

SparkleGatorAnother alligator because, you know, gators. This was one of my attempts at throwing a little creativity at it (another can be seen in the rotating header images if you wait long enough.) If you want a good idea of scale, know that I could cover both eyes by cupping my hand across his head – well, if I was stupid. As small as this, he’d still have some serious teeth in that snout. My days working with wildlife occurred in North Carolina, not while I lived in Florida, though I wouldn’t have been averse to handling gators, with the right equipment of course. That, however, would only have been for rehabilitation and nuisance control reasons – healthy wild specimens not bothering anyone, like this one, need to be left alone. As do snakes, and bats, and groundhogs… they all live on this planet too. We can share.

CemeteryStackAnd finally, another image from Colonial Park Cemetery in downtown Savannah, this one being a ‘stacked’ or ‘HDR’ edit, blending the foreground in with the sky colors and the only clouds I had to work with throughout most of the trip. I made two exposures – one for the foreground details, one for the sky – and cut them together with no small amount of Photoshop work. Part of this was because I did not do what one should always do when intending such things, which is to take both exposures from exactly the same vantage with the camera locked onto a tripod – both exposures were handheld, and from slightly different camera positions. This meant, especially because I was using a wide-angle lens not terribly well corrected for distortion, that I needed to do a fair amount of stretching and distorting one of the images to get it to match the other in the areas of overlap. You can get some idea of the difference in exposure by looking at the lamps; the closest was taken from the sky exposure, but the others were from the ground exposure and are noticeably brighter, a bit blown out. I’m still pleased with the results, especially because the clouds have now imprinted the word “miasma” in my mind, but there’s a couple little detractors from the overall effect visible. Can you spot them?

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