Friday, October 03, 2008

A close-up on autumn

Color me lazy or slow on the uptake. However, after more than a year, I think I finally have the macro setting on my little Canon figured out and under control. If you had seen the pocket-sized "manual" that came with the camera, dense with pithy explanations of all manner of bells and whistles, you might have floundered as I did over recent months. More likely not. Anyhow, I tested the new insight on a short neighborhood walk on Tuesday and am reasonably pleased with the results. Especially the blurred out backgrounds, which certainly set off the in-focus subject.

This is my annual picture of a squaw bush leaf, taken to prove that yes, Virginia, we do have fall colors in Arizona. What's neat about this particular plant is that the leaves appear to have been hand-painted individually. And, of course, it's one of our few autumn sources of flaming red.

Little round seed heads are a good challenge for the camera; I think that it passed this test, thank you. Seed pods are among my favorite photographic subjects; it's easy to see the reason. My only problem: the archives are so full of pod pix that it's hard to pare down the likelies for a blog post.

Other round forms: an oak gall (above) and developing datura seedpod (below). Just today I became aware that rosy oak apples are suddenly "ablossom" in local scrub oaks; they are another type of insect gall. For some reason, gall-forming wasps are particularly fond of oak; of course, it might well be that the oak galls are simply more visible.

I don't know quite what's up with the mistletoe above; are those tiny yellow thingies a different form of flower for a late season bloom?

These flowers are all business, foregoing pretty petals. Even so, the clusters of tassels are quite pretty in themselves.

OK, not a macro shot, but I was mesmerized by the pattern of the overlapping pine needles and decided to share the vision. A developing cone is nestled in the center of the cluster of needles below. The cone looks as if it had been painted green.

Grasses are as inviting as those round white seed pods at the top of the page. A big frustration is that as one finds a likely sprig and begins to focus in, the gods immediately whip up a breeze or even a wind. Thank goodness for the digital camera which makes it possible to keep shooting until one sneaks an exposure in between the little bursts of moving air.

Linkage: Check out Mindbird for a fine collection of books, maps and field manuals; for Arizona, the Grand Canyon and the Mojave Desert; you'll also find an excellent photo collection of Mojave (and Arizona) wildflowers by Mindbird here. And I thank Avus for turning me on to the imaginative corpus clock with its grasshopper claw; at Utube. BTW, if you like, Avus will take you on a 50-mile bicycle trip through beautiful English countryside.


Lucy said...

Yes! You can really get your Georgia O'Keefe hat on now!

I love those white seed heads.

-I liked the dogs too. Not too many really shaggy ones, I guess they get a bit hot in the Arizona summers?

Anonymous said...

Lovely colors. We always seem to learn more about our cameras, the more pictures we take. For some reason I couldn't log in.

Steve in Germany

Catalyst said...

Very nice macro discoveries, GJ! I especially like those last two . . of the grasses.

Granny J said...

lucy -- you can preserve some of those round white seed heads by spraying them with fixative or hair spray... As for the dogs, nor did I see any Australian herding dogs, which are very popular in Northern AZ.

steve -- I think my problem is that at my age, I'm just rather cautious with new things (tho I love them!)

cat-A -- I can't get enough of the grasses -- there are so many different forms.

kimmus122 said...

Love the pictures--especially the grasses. They are my favorite.

I thought I was the only one who the gods/or God (whichever you prefer) decided to taunt with wind just as soon as I pointed my lens. It happens every time!

pb said...

The Canons are like Easter Egg hunts: we find a few and settle in to enjoy them.

Then later, we may find more. By then the discovery stinks (all those ruined, wasted shots without it...)LOL

This summer I discovered the Program functions and finally got the sort of bright colors I've been experiencing in the early mornings.

BTW, the macro is only good for macro. Everything else goes out of focus. Same with portrait.

Damn. And I used to think that the ISO and F stop was inconvenient.

Nice shots. Enjoy.

Granny J said...

kim -- I think the god of the wind must be Loki. bent on making mischief.

pb -- oh, you are so right. Now you've got me intrigued-- what program functions?

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