Little Red Mushroom

I almost blew over this little red mushroom while clearing off the driveway and yard with the leaf-blower: This Red Mushroom Was Hiding In The Yard

I'm glad I didn't because I think I got a good image of it, although what you see is slightly "manufactured". Let me explain.

Inspiration and Information

I found this fungus (I think it's a mushroom but then again I'm no expert) while using the leaf blower to clear off all the pine straw that was covering the driveway. It was hiding under some leaves/pine straw and I nearly blew it apart but caught myself before I caused any damage. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to photograph it because the color caught my eye. I put down the leaf blower and went into the house to get the T3i, the 50-250 kit zoom lens and the tripod. My plan was to do as much of a Macro shot as I could given the equipment I had. I was also interested in creating some bokeh if at all possible.

When I got back to the mushroom I quickly figured out that in order to get a decent shot I'd have to adjust things a bit. I had to trim some of the grass in front of the mushroom as well as clean up the area around it so that there wouldn't be as much stray stuff in the shot. I also had to place the pine cone in the background in order to get some detail that could be "bokeh-ized". I set up the camera on the tripod and zoomed all the way in to the 250mm setting. At this zoom the minimum focusing distance was around 3 feet so I had to play around with the tripod location to get things in focus. When I got things lined up I took about 10 shots at different focal lengths and meter settings and ended up with what you see. The focal length of 214mm with the "wide open" aperture of 5.6 gave a decent bokeh of the pine cone in the background. I also got some decent detail in the mushroom itself.

While this image isn't a true Macro shot, it is decent. I've been considering the purchase of a real Macro lens because I'm interested in photographing smaller items. I'm considering the Tamron 90mm version as I've heard it has good reviews.

Ice Photography- Frozen Holly Berries

Living here in the South I don't get too many opportunities to practice my ice photography skills. Well, today was the second "major" winter storm here in Atlanta/Georgia in just two weeks. This is a pretty rare occurrence for us. As a result, our office was closed and we all telecommuted as we watched the freezing rain/sleet/snow fall. The upside to this was that the ice made for some interesting ice photography opportunities. I stepped out into the driveway during my lunch break with the goal of getting some shots of the ice on one of our Holly bushes. This was one instance that I wished I had the Tamron 90mm Macro Lens but I haven't purchased it (yet). So I used my 15-85mm lens on full zoom and tried to get the best shot possible of the few "frozen berries" that were on the bush. Here's the best result I got out of about 15 images:


Berries On Ice

Focusing on the small berries was a challenge, especially since there was a fair amount of wind. I wanted to get closer to the berries but the 15-85mm doesn't allow super-close focusing distance. Even with that, I was able to capture some of the crystal-like detail in the frozen droplet.

A Three Year Old's View Of The World

Sometimes you need to get down real low to capture the shot. This past week we spent some time visiting family. My Brother has a three year old son who sees "Uncle Mark" as the perfect plaything. I spent a lot of time with him, playing with everything from puzzles to toy trains. Here's a shot of his train set that I tried to capture at his level:

A Three year Old's View

For my 49 year old body, getting down to three inches off the floor was a bit of an effort but it gave me a more interesting perspective on my Nephew's train set.

We really enjoyed the family time. Our Niece and nephew are changing so fast that each time we see them they are completely different people. I'm glad I'm able to capture their progress whenever we see them.

Project 365 Day 237: Pork Loin With Cherry, Blueberry And Bacon Sauce

Dinner tonight was some pork loin from Costco that I grilled up on the Big Green Egg. I had some Blueberries and Cherries in the fridge along with some bacon, so I made a sauce with that to go over the Pork (see recipe below). I served it with some grilled Asparagus (also from Costco). The sauce went perfect with the Pork and the Asparagus was just tender enough. An excellent Dinner! Here's the recipe for the sauce:

  • one cup pitted cherries
  • 1-2 cups blueberries
  • 2-4 strips of bacon cooked until done
  • one small yellow onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Truvia sweetner
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the bacon in a frying pan, adding the chopped onions for the last few minutes
  2. Remove the bacon from the pan and then pour the bacon drippings and cooked onions into a medium saucepan
  3. Chop the bacon up into small pieces
  4. Add the cherries, blueberries and chopped bacon to the pan and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the fruit is very tender.
  5. Add the Truvia, salt and pepper to the sauce to taste.
  6. Serve over the cooked pork loin (medium rare is best).
  7. Enjoy!


Tomato Macro

Here's some Tomatoes: I wanted to play around with the macro capabilities of my 18-55mm lens. While it isn't "officially" a macro lens it does pretty well. I think at some point this year I'd like to get a proper macro lens, maybe something in the 60-100mm range. I have a lot to learn about this style of photography but I think it will be fun.

What Dogs Do

For day 48 of my project 365 I  thought I'd have a little fun with the photographs title. The answer to the title is the subject of the photograph: The answer is pretty easy, It's bark on a tree (I think an Oak). The thing that is interesting about this photo is the tiny amount of green moss that's on the bark(near the center). I barely saw it at 1st but now that I noticed it I can't NOT see it :-)

Ivy Leaf and Pine Cone

If you live in the South there are two things you will see a lot of, Ivy and Pine Cones: The perimeter of our yard is covered with Ivy and many of the trees in the yard are Pine. So, the combination of the two is inevitable. I spend a lot of time trimming the ivy from the edges of the yard and peeling it off the trees. It's a never ending battle. I took this with the Canon S95 as I got out of the car, just before sunset.

Project 365 Day 8-Holly Berries

Sorry guys, the title of the post isn't Halle Berry, but rather Holly Berries, although I wouldn't complain at all if I was asked to photograph her for my project 365. :-) OK, back to reality...

I woke up a little late this morning and saw that it was foggy outside so I grabbed my camera and wandered out into the yard to see if I could find anything interesting to shoot for day 8 of my project 65:

Dew drips off some Holly Berries

I took a few images of the trees shrouded in mist that came out OK but then I took a look at the Holly bushes at the end of our drive and noticed that they were covered in the dew/fog. That's all I needed to switch my attention. I decided to use my Canon EF-S 55-250 mm lens to try and get a decent close-up/macro shot of them.

I took about 20 shots of a couple different clusters of berries, varying the aperture to see how it affected the depth of field. At 250mm the lens has a close focus distance of 3.8 feet. It's not a true macro lens but it did a fairly good job and as a cheap/affordable macro lens I'm happy with the results overall.

This shot was the best of the bunch, partly because I got the focus pretty good but mostly because I managed to capture some of the dew dripping off one of the berries. I haven't done much close-up photography so any shots I take will be a learning experience.