Archive for February, 2009


For an upcoming photo contest at the Arundel Camera Club with the theme of Still Life, I created my own rendition of the traditional wine and cheese still life.

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I used a Metz48 behind and under the table to light the wine bottle and glasses by aiming it at a black background with white boarders on each end. I used a SB800 to light the cheese and grapes with a gobo to keep from lighting the wine bottle and glasses. Since I used Nikon CLS to remotely trigger the Metz and SB800 I also used another gobo to keep the on camera flash from lighting the wine bottle and glasses. Then I used colored gels to change the background color and thus the color of the wine bottle and glasses. I don’t like the red. The blue has an interesting effect of making the wine bottle nearly black.

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For a recent Camera Club Contest with the theme of Still Life, I created this photo.

I used a SB800 Camera right high though white umbrella with black backdrop triggered remotely via Nikon CLS.

I shot five shots focusing on first the teacup, then the flower, then the marmalade jar, then the top left and right corners of the frame. I used Helicon Focus to put all of these photos together into one phot where everything was in focus. This gave me much better depth of field.

I did have a minor problem where the top right of the frame was crooked. I used Photoshop to correct by Transform->skew.

Finally I converted to monochrome using Lightroom 2.

Here is the setup Shot.

Dundee Marmalade and Tea

I entered this in the Arundel Camera Club Unlimited Monochrome Still Life Competition on 02/11/2009 and won Fourth Place.

ACC 4th

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Viera Wetlands

Northern Harrier, originally uploaded by bmthomas.

Again based on a tip from Middleton Evans, we included a visit to the Viera Wetlands  during our vacation to Florida. We spent three hours in the morning and a couple hours at sunset at the Viera Wetlands.
The layout is great. You can drive around a number of man-made ponds.

We saw lots of Common Moorhens and Coots, a number of hawks that I think were Northern Harriers, Snowy Egrets, Anhigas were on every stump and tree, Great White Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Great Blue Herons, Greem Herons, White Ibis, Tricolored Herons, Black Vultures, Osprey, a few Ring-necked ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Blue winged Teal, a pair of Sandhill Cranes, Belted Kingfishers, Wood Stork. There were even a few alligators and armadillos.

We enjoyed Viera Wetlands much more than Merritt Island NWR. We would defeintely go back and would recommend a visit.

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Originally uploaded by bmthomas

Middleton Evans told me we should visit Gatorland this week while in Florida. Sure enough they had a “Dawn to Dusk” pass for around $30 that allowed entrance at 0730 in the morning well before the park opens at 0900 and we were able to stay until sunset well after the park closes. We spent most of the day in their rookery which is in the aligator breeding swamp area. Mike Godwin showed us around and really made us feel welcome. You can find his blog here. Turned out there are what seems like hundreds of Great White Egrets nesting there. At sunset thousands more fly in to roost including Little Blue Herons, Tricolored Herons, White Ibis, and Snowy Egrets. Well worth a day and the money. There were also lots of aligators and a couple of endagered American Crocodiles. We got to photograph the crocodiles mating which is a farely rare site.  This was definitely worth a visit.


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Great Horned Owl

Originally uploaded by bmthomas

Here are some photos from today’s photo shoot at Carrie Murray Nature Center. There were aa nummber of folks from the Arundel Camera Club and one from the Bowie-Crofton Camera Club. They started out with a couple of great horned owls, then a barred owl, followed by a barn owl. I had to leave before they brought out the screech owls, the red tailed hawk, or the turkey vulture. They always move the birds to photogenic perches based on suggestions from the photographers. They also strive to hide the leashes used to secure them to the trees. All of these birds are rescued.

Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl

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Peppers, originally uploaded by bmthomas.

To light the peppers I used a SB800 Camera right high though white umbrella full power. To light the background and turn it green I used a green gel on a Metz 48 at 1/2 power aimed at a black backdrop. Black backdrops seem to work better at reflecting the gel color. I sat the peppers on a sheet of black Plexiglas. Black plexi seems to work much better than glass on a black cloth. See the following photo for the setup shot.


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