>Day 40 – 02092011

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Detail of the feathers of a male wild duck, also known as a mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos).

I have always liked the different colors that the males in this species shows off, particularly around their breeding season.

Technical data: f/4.5, 1/400th sec, ISO 100.

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>Day 037 – 02062011

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We made our biannual pilgrimage to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg, CA, and we couldn’t have picked a better day to visit. The weather was a balmy 70 degrees F with a light ocean breeze. And, as it is usual during our visit, we were greeted with a variety of plants in full bloom.

I found this calla lily plant (Zantedeschia aethiopica) growing under the shade of a pine tree and almost hidden from view. As I took the photo, this helped me out for two reasons:
1) I use the trunk of the pine tree to steady myself and my camera (I wasn’t carrying my tripod).
2) I deliberately exposed for the white of the flower, which in turn made the background quite dark, helping the flowers to stand out.

The raw file was processed in Adobe Camera Raw where the yellows and greens were enhanced using the Adjustment Brush.

Technical data: spot-metering at f/8.0, 1/125th sec, ISO 100.

>Day 035 – 02042011

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A young specimen of snowy egret (Egretta thula) hunting for food at the Santa Rosa Creek reservoir. This bird looked mature enough to be hunting by itself, however it was smaller in size than the other specimens we’ve seen around the reservoir.

Cropping and sharpening of the original raw file were performed in Adobe Camera Raw.

Technical data: f/4.5, 1/250th sec, ISO 100.

>Day 034 – 02032011

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Up until today I have only seen closeup photos of ice crystal taken by someone else.

This morning the temperatures dropped to 32 degrees F and we had some areas of light frost. I wanted to capture some of it with my macro lens before the sun came up and melt it away. This is one of the shots I got of a grass blade, where the ice actually shows the crystal formations in sharp detail.

I set my camera to manual setting and I braced my arms against my knees as I crouched down to prevent motion blur because I had no tripod with me.

Technical data: f/5.6, 1/60th sec, ISO 100.

>Day 032 – 02012011

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I do not understand the dynamics behind this phenomenon, but I found it fascinating to watch how the water spray formed and flew backwards as the waves crashed before reaching the shore. The ocean was restless because a rainstorm had just passed by this area a few hours before and the wind was gusting.

The photo was taken at a safe distance from the water using a 70-200mm zoom lens extended to its maximum focal length.

Technical data: f/5.6, 1/1250th sec, ISO 100.

>Day 031 – 01312011

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Another one of my forays into HDR territory. This photo was taken during out latest hike along the beautiful Sonoma Coast while the rain clouds broke for a while. I do not know who the hiker is, however it caught my attention when I saw him all alone walking on the plain.

Using Adobe Camera Raw, I created six copies of the original raw file, changing the exposure value on each copy and saving them as a 16-bit TIFF. Subsequently I combined all the resulting TIFF in Photomatix Pro and chose the Fusion Enhanced preset. Lastly, the file was processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5 to improve the detail and to add the frame.

Note: I finally had the chance to use my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM zoom lens and I absolutely LOVE it! It is a heavy lens, but used on bright light I was able to hand-hold the camera with this lens mounted on it and the Image Stabilization feature did a great job helping to eliminate movement blur.

Technical data: f/8.0, 1/500th sec, ISO 100.