Tag Archives: blue

Blue Iris

Blue Iris

Because there can be only one …. Does anybody remember that show or am I dating myself … again? In this case, there was only a single blue iris growing in my sister and bro-in-law’s yard. At the time I didn’t think much beyond how beautiful it was (and how lonely it must have been), but later on, I realized it was summer and this iris was apparently trying to be a rebel, because iris usually just bloom in the spring, don’t they? Here it was in July.

This image was captured with a 100-400mm telephoto on my Canon 1DX. I left the macro lens at home (despite my “kitchen sink” attitude where I like to try and pack every bit of gear I have with me). The 1DX was set to track and focus on movement (flowers swaying in the breeze) and it has a fast enough fps speed that I applied the burst method (aka “spray and pray” to get clear shots of the flowers, not only in a Yakima neighborhood but also in Mount Rainier National Park.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 1DX, Canon, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, Canon Lens, flowers

Evening On The Boardwalk at Brazoria NWR

Evening On The Boardwalk At The Brazoria NWR Center

I had published a post of my morning at this place and figured that was pretty much it. But as the afternoon then early evening progressed, I saw the day was still sunny and dry, the skies clear, and the clouds were amazing. So I hopped in the car and arrived back at the refuge by 5PM and proceeded to spend a couple of hours there.

The neat thing about this place is that it’s a bit out of the way for the Houston metro area, so there were very few people there, both during the morning the day previous, and especially this evening the day after. I saw a couple bicycling down the gravel road, and one other birder couple out with their binocs. And that was it.

This image was captured back at the refuge center. I was essentially looking directly at the sun. I had a circular polarizer on my 16-35mm lens, and also used a 4×6 Lee 4-stop grad filter which I handheld in front of the lens (rather than use a square filter holder, which I don’t own, I just put the filter flush with the lens and move it up and down accordingly. Works for me.)

This is a view of Big Slough, looking toward the Big Slough Trail. *This* time, I remembered to use some bug wipes and I had absolutely no problem with the mosquitoes at all.

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Filed under Brazoria NWR, Photography, Wildlife Refuge

Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

Although I have a full plate of things to do around the home during the 2012 three-day Memorial Day weekend, I still tend to get a little stir crazy if I can’t go out and photograph something during my time off.

While I may bitch about living in southeast Texas (being a gal from the mountains, I’ll always be doing that), I readily admit that it’s rather nice to have two very interesting photographic ops right at my back door:  Brazos Bend State Park, and the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge.

Right after visiting with my mother on Saturday morning, I grabbed my cameras, loaded them, tripod, and myself into the car, and drove the 20 miles south-southeast to check out the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge.

Map

I’ve been there before, but that was back in 2007 (if I remember correctly).  At that time, the road to the refuge center was only paved for maybe 2 miles, and the remainder was all gravel.  So I was pleasantly surprised to find that now, in 2012, the entire road to the refuge center is paved.

For the photos you see here, I used my Canon 5D Mark II cameras and my 16-35mm and 70-200mm lenses.  I carried everything in my new Lowepro Fastpack 350, which, btw, is AWESOME!  I am going to Mesa Verde NP and Arches NP later this year, and wanted something that would carry a camera and long lens, as well as water, snacks, etc.  Ok, sorry, I went off on a tangent.  The 16-35 lens was attached to the tripod for landscape shots, and I hand held the 70-200 lens (with IS turned “on”) for the wildlife and more close-in images. I find I hand hold this lens more often as not, eschewing the tripod ring.  I was pleasantly surprised upon post processing that I really only had to do a very little editing for light/brightness and a teeny bit for sharpness details on some (but not all) of the photos.  The light was just right that day – very sunny but with some interesting clouds.  So I kept the ISO at 200 and the aperture around 7.1.  Oh, and I gotta tell ya, a long lens is a must-have for this area.  Unlike Brazos Bend State Park, there are not many places to comfortably get up close and personal to the birdlife, and there is slim-to-no parking alongside the one-lane gravel road past the refuge center.   My 70-200mm was ok, but what I really needed was a lens 400mm or more.  But….one makes do with what one has.

Next to the refuge center is a boardwalk across Big Slough (pronounced “slew”), leading to  a plowed path called Big Slough Trail.  I didn’t go very far down the path because:

1)  The mosquitoes were horrible (they must have been as large as egrets!) and I forgot to wear bug repellent (I was in too much of a hurry to leave the apartment and that is one of the things I forgot, although I did remember to apply sunscreen and grab a hat).

2) As  far as I can tell from my walk and the map, this trail doesn’t  lead down to the water’s edge, which is where you really want to be to get those bird shots.

So I did some landscape and flower photography along the boardwalk before heading out along the gravel-road auto tour.

Note:  the Texas wildflower book I own is total crap and didn’t list half of the flowers I photographed.  I ran some searches online and couldn’t come up with much either, so many of these flowers won’t have captions to them.  If you think you know what the un-captioned flowers are, do let me know.

Sea Oxeye

6983_Sea Oxeye

Tropical Sage

6992_Tropical Sage

Unknown seed pods.

6996_Seed Pods

Unknown yellow flower.  There were a number of “look-alikes” in my useless wildflower book, but none of them really fit this image.  So I don’t know what these flowers are called.

7067_Unknown Yellow Flower

Unknown little white flowers.

7099_Unknown White Flower

Unknown red flowers.

7115_Texas Flowers

7122_Unknown Red Flower

Basketflower (at least my wildflower book has something).

7151_Basketflower ORIG

7182_Basketflower Hiding

7204-2_Basketflower

Unknown white flowers.

7165_Unknown White Flower

Unknown little purple flower.

7191_Unknown Purple Flower

Big Slough views from the boardwalk.

7632-2_Big Slough View3

7635_Big Slough View2

7638_Big Slough View REV

Big Slew inhabitant

7000-2_Dragonfly CROP

7034-2_Dragonfly On Branch

7107_Dragonfly and Blue Ripples

Nope, I didn’t see any American alligators.  It was hot already and I’m pretty sure they wanted to stay in the water to remain cool, rather than sun themselves in the growing heat.

After my visit to the refuge center boardwalk area, I climbed back into the car (followed by hoards of mosquitoes) and started along the gravel road auto tour.  It’s basically one-way, although they don’t have arrows – instead they have signs with numbered stops (which means there is probably a tour guide within the center  that I should have gone in get).  It’s practically impossible for one car to pull over to allow a car from the opposite way to pass you….as I can attest….

7220_Path To My Car

7662_The Trail

Texas coastal marshland and wetlands as far as the eye can see.

7654_TX Coastal Marshland

7667_Reflections

7675_TX Wetland

Gull-billed tern taking flight.

7358_Gull Billed Tern in flight

Ibis in the water.

7419_Ibis In The Water

Red-wing blackbird.  You can’t  see its red markings in these photos but I did when it spread its wings out.

7421_Red WingBlackbird ORIG

7421-2_Red Wing Blackbird

Ahhhh…..Progress (??)

7352-2_Progress

If any of you are interested, I just published to my Blurb Bookstore a 150-page journal titled Texas Coastal Images.  Half of the journal is filled with totally awesome photos taken in such places as Brazos Bend State Park, Port Aransas, Padre Island, and the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge and the other half is nothing but blank lined pages for writing/artwork.  It would make a great gift for yourself or someone who is a fan of coastal Texas landscapes, flowers, and wildlife (mainly birdlife).  Click on the book link on the left side of this blog and it will take you directly to that particular book in my bookstore.  You can preview the pages of this journal and see for yourself the Masterpiece that I have created.

Hey, it’s all about marketing! Winking smile

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Filed under birds, flowers, nature, Photography

Erect Dayflower with Bokeh’d Coneflower

Erect Dayflower with Conflower in background

Yup, that’s its name: Erect Dayflower. If you like images of the Texas coastal area, then stay tuned for my next Blurb photo journal. Many of the photos you have seen on my WordPress site of Brazos Bend State Park, the Port Aransas area, and Padre Island, will be in this book, along with an equal number of blank, lined pages for one’s doodles, musings, artwork, and other writings. Stay tuned!

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Filed under Brazos Bend State Park, flowers, Photography

Blue Face, Green “Hair”

Blue Face, Green "Hair"

I was walking around Creekfield Lake at Brazos Bend State Park, this past Saturday (5/19/12). I stopped at the viewing/fishing pier stretching out into the lake, and pointed my camera down toward the water just as this blue-faced turtle was surfacing. The green stuff on his shell gracefully waved like hair underwater. Just as quickly as this guy (or gal) surfaced, it dove back beneath the water and I was lucky enough to have captured this image before it disappeared.

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Filed under Brazos Bend State Park, nature, Parks, Photography, Texas

Dragonfly Season

6495_Intricate

When I was little and living in Montana, I remember a certain time of year when there were multitudes of dragonflies flitting through the clear, dry, sunshiny air, in metallic colors of red, blue, and green.  I called that time of year Dragonfly Season.

I visited Brazos Bend State Park the other day.  It was a lovely, sunny, non-humid day in southeast Texas, where egrets and herons populated the sky and dragonflies of all hues skimmed the air.

Must be Dragonfly Season.

6480_Beautiful Dragonfly

6577_Blue Dragonfly

6581_Big Blue

6513_Something Blue

6517_Blue Dragonfly

6646_I Spy Something Blue

6651_I Spy Something Blue

None of these photos were taken with a dedicated macro lens (I don’t own a macro lens).  For this day, I just took a single lens, the Canon 70-200 L USM II f2.8 attached to my Canon 5D Mark II body.  The nice thing about a full-frame camera is that you can really crop those babies and still get a nice image with decent resolution.

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Filed under Brazos Bend State Park, insects, nature, Parks, Photography

Evening On Elliott Bay, Seattle WA

I’ve been pretty darned prolific with the posts, I readily admit.  Probably because next weekend I doubt I will have a chance to post anything at all.  I’m photographing a wedding on the 29th and so will be readying myself and my cameras for that awesome event.  Hence, the reason for my prolific-ness (is that even a word??)

After publishing an earlier post about my Seattle 2012 stay, I found some more photos I took during that first wonderful afternoon gazing out my hotel window onto the ever-changing scenery of Elliott Bay.

So, here they are.

94C0003_Ferry and Evening Stormcloud - IMAGENOMIC

94C0008_Ferry and Evening Stormcloud

94C0022_Sun Storm Ferry IMAGENOMIC

94C0049-2_Storm Cloud Cargo Ship Sunlight

94C0169_Tugboat At Sunset

94C0113_Elliott Bay Sunset

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Filed under Landscape, Photography, Seattle, Travel, Vacation, Washington State

A Seattle Morning As Seen From My Hotel Window And A Visit To The Waterfront Aquarium

94C1024_The Ferry and The Mountain

My previous post was getting a little long – not so much with words as with images.  So I knew I needed to break my visit to Seattle into two separate posts.

I am not a lazy person at all, but I must tell you that most of the photos you see of the waterfront in both the previous post and this post, were taken from my hotel room window!  I managed to stay in the comfort of my own room, complete with bed, desk, TV, and fridge –  and look out the window to capture some wonderful, quintessentially-Seattle images.  All I had to do was aim my 70-200mm lens (handheld) either straight ahead, to the right, or to the left (sometimes hanging out of the sill a little bit).

As I mentioned in my previous post, the view window of my room was such that I could open it up and literally drop a line and fish out of it if I wished!  No screen and only a very short railing protecting me from the elements.  The bellman told me that on occasion, they still had to drag people out of the bay because they’d fallen overboard…..usually, that incident involved alcohol.  Big surprise.

Since I had just arrived in Washington the day prior, my body clock still operated on Texas time.  Needless to say, I was up at about 3AM Seattle time (5AM according to my body clock – time to get up for work).  So I dressed, made coffee (yes, I brought my own coffee and purchased real cream up at Pike Place Market Creamery the afternoon prior), opened the windows to let in the fresh, crisp, salt air, and sat down to my laptop to process photos.  Occasionally, I would get up to look out the window.   The scenes that greeted me that morning made me realize just how lucky I was to be there right at that moment.

At dark-thirty, when the ferries begin their day.

94C0276_Evening Ferry Ride

The blue hour, as the morning progressed.

94C0361_Moon Over Elliott Bay

The Mountain was out on that day.

94C0379_Seattle Waterfront Morning

A low bank of heavy, cottony clouds partially obscured the Olympic Mountains.

94C0465-2_Morning Ferry Run PANO

Clouds, Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains peeking out, and Shilshole Marina.

94C0494_Mountains-Clouds-Shilshole Marina PANO

A quintessential Seattle day.

94C0549_Olympic Kind of Day

I’d decided earlier that morning to visit the Seattle Aquarium.  I needed more practice taking fish photos and wanted to test my brand new lens. But first, I wanted to take a walk along the waterfront.  For this day, I used my own Canon 5D Mark II and 24-105mm lens plus the rented Canon 5D Mark III and the 50mm f1.2 lens.  I wanted that 50mm lens for aquarium shots because it’s a fast, sharp prime.

4725_Waterfront Harbor

4741_View of the Needle

4784_Seagull and Skyscraper

The Seattle Aquarium opens at 9:30AM.  It costs $19 and some-odd cents for a ticket (why they just don’t make it an even $20, I don’t know).  On this particular day (the Saturday before Easter), the place was jam-packed with kids and parents.  Try battling that combo to get a particular photo.

The first sight to greet the visitor is this scene.  The docent (just outside of this view) is chatting with the diver feeding the fish, educating and entertaining the audience at the same time.  The really little kids are the most fun to watch.

94C0589_Feeding The Fish

From there, one passes on through various exhibits including a number of petting tanks, where kids (and grown-ups like moi) can touch the anemones and star fish.  After touching wet, soft, squishy sealife, one looks up toward this very cool circular aquarium, a portion of which is hidden beneath the floor.  They call that the Moon Jelly exhibit.

94C0642_Moon Jellies

94C0647_Aqua Neon Jellyfish

94C0677_NeonBlue Jellyfish

94C0682_Neon Jellyfish

94C0668_Jellyfish

Next are the exhibits for the giant Pacific octopus, then a number of other fish that I can’t identify; and the frustrating thing about the gift shop is that it’s geared toward kids – I never saw a decent fish identification guide in the shop….oh well, that’s what Amazon.com is for.

94C0692_Giant Octopus

94C0694_Suction Cups

94C0784_Pink Spines ORIG

94C0794_Scorpionfish

Although I used a fast lens, I kept the ISO pretty high in order to allow for a relatively fast shutter speed to try and get a clear image of the fish, which are constantly on the move.  I think I maybe used my 24-105mm lens once or twice.  It’s not a fast lens, but I needed the wide angle view for a couple of shots.

94C0896_Inside the Aquarium

94C0912_Otter

After the aquarium visit, I realized I was tired and my shoulder hurt from the cameras and lenses (and souvenirs and food I’d purchased at the Market earlier that morning – no more hotel re$taurant for me).

I was not going to kill myself trying to do everything on this visit to Washington.  I simply could not do it all and still enjoy the scene and the moment.  So, I took my goodies, camera, and self back to the hotel to process images and photograph more wonderful Elliott Bay water scenes from my room window.

94C0988_Plying The Waters

94C0997_A Nice Day To Be Outside

It was definitely a great day to be in Seattle Open-mouthed smile

Note:  If you have the opportunity to travel to Washington, by all means, stay in Seattle a night or two.  And, if you can afford to splurge a little, stay either at the Inn At The Market (located smack dab in the midst of Pike Place Market), or at the Edgewater Hotel – and get a water view room.  Both hotels have discounts during various times of the year.  A discount based upon a reservation 7 days ahead of time with no refund was how I snagged my room.  Worth every penny to me.  Their restaurant is lovely, with wonderful views, outdoor dining, and awesome food.  However, it’s on the pricey side.  Thankfully there are a bunch of neat places to dine up in Pike Place Market, with prices ranging from $2 to $$$, depending upon your food budget.  My room was clean and comfortable, which is all I really ever require of any room in which I stay.  I don’t need many amenities, although an in-room fridge and coffee maker are nice (I actually packed a small 4-cup coffee maker and a package of ground coffee in my luggage, since I tend to wake up very early in the morning to review and edit my photos – during this WA trip, I took around 3000).

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Filed under Photography, Seattle, Travel, Vacation

Ferry and Full Moon

This is the scene that greeted me very early this morning, as I looked out of my Seattle hotel window.

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Filed under Photography, Seattle, Travel, Travel and Photography, Vacation

Happy First Day of Spring!

Little Blue Flowers

An interesting little image of some lovely blue flowers taken while wandering around Brazos Bend State Park, Texas.

Sometimes, an image doesn’t have to be “tac sharp” to evoke a mood or a feeling.

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Filed under flowers, Photography, Spring