Last Page

     This is the last page for this first volume of Photos and Musings. Hopefully you have found the pages interesting and I haven't delayed too long on this one. I have certainly enjoyed putting them together and really appreciate the positive comments I have received.Of course, bringing this volume to conclusion doesn't mean I am going to stop taking photos. Even as I write this last page, I am planning a second volume of Photos and Musings. If I am successful in what I hope to accomplish, it will be familiar but at the same time quite different. When it is online I will put a link on the pages of this site. Please keep checking. I will also continue posting photos on my pbase website as always although I expect they will be fewer due to the cost of travel growing ever higher.
    Another project I have been thinking about is putting these pages on a CD. They could be opened and viewed in a browser without going online. I actually know people who still don't have a broadband connection and at least one that isn't connected to the internet at all. Also, a CD would allow the preservation of these pages when I and this website are no longer around. I would make it available for a small amount to cover costs, probably between $5 and $10. Any interest or comment on this would be welcome.
    Now then, continuing on with this last page; it seems like I no sooner posted the page on flight than I got two two more outstanding photos I have to show and comment on. The other four are also photos I feel especially good about for reasons I'll mention in the comments.


     On page twenty-three I had a photo that was the best of 500 or so I had taken trying for a good picture in flight. I wasn't totally pleased with it and mentioned why. Well, this one is what I was striving for. The lighting, the focus and depth of field (sharpness front to back) are good, detail is good with the wings being fully visible with just a little motion blur. I have cropped it so the flower is fully in the picture here but when I crop tighter, (make bee larger) the detail holds up very well.
    To accomplish this, I used a lens I hadn't thought about during my previous attempt. It's a 24-105mm lens I use mostly for scenery. I had forgotten that it is also a 'macro' lens, allowing even closer focus than the 100mm macro lens I used before. I am really impressed with this lens. It does a number of things and does them well.
    This is another instance that emphasizes the importance of having the right tools. Not always the latest and most advanced (read expensive), but in this case even so. I say this because there is a number of people that like to say 'it's the photographer not the equipment that counts, a good photographer can take good pictures with a Brownie'. Maybe so but they wouldn't get this one!
Common Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk

     I don't live where I get a lot of chances to photograph this bird, the Common Nighthawk. But whenever I see them in my travels, I try to take a few shots before they are out of range. Usually, I don't even get the camera out of the car before they are gone. This time was different, as you can see.
    The story goes like this; I was approaching a bluff overlooking a lake below. Rounding a curve, the lake became visible and there were about ten of these birds flying back and forth over the lake and hillside below me, occasionally lifting into the sky above. I quickly set up the camera and lens on the tripod and began trying to track them. I tried different speed and other settings but took over fifty shots all very blurry. Finally, out of desperation, I removed the camera and lens (a 10+ pound package) from the tripod and began tracking handheld. I could only follow for maybe 15 seconds at a time before having to rest. However in the next dozen or so tries, I got two usable pictures and this sharp top-side photo.
Purple Martin

Purple Martin

     I would like to have a picture of this bird in flight and I did try. But as you can tell, the sun was high and bright and my position relative to the bird would have to be almost perfect, besides all the other problems with flight shots. That same brightness and my position with the sun mostly to my back worked well for this shot though, bringing out the detail in the dark plumage and still leaving the sky a nice saturated blue as it was that day.
    What makes this picture especially pleasing to me is getting it , as well as a rather nice one of the female, on the first time I had taken time to stop and observe them. I have seen them many times of course, but always had 'bigger fish to fry' and hadn't taken the time to concentrate on them only. I'll have to be careful not to let too much time pass before giving them my full attention again.
Wilson's Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

     A quote from somewhere, "f8 and be there" says a lot about what it takes to get good pictures. Of course f8 can be f4 or f16 with different speed settings and you may still get a picture. But if you're not there, you won't! And that's the point. We photographers love our equipment. Our publications are filled with all the latest cameras, lenses, etc., and reviews of all that the bells and whistles can do. And the comparisons go on and on, sometimes in great detail about things that are measurable only by some other piece of equipment. And we'll read it all and think and discuss how this or that will do a better job of what we do. And as I said above, having the right tool does make a difference.
    But even more important is 'being in the right place at the right time' with something that will work. This picture was taken at Nisqually NWR where I sometimes go. I wasn't looking for any particular thing, just enjoying a day observing whatever came to hand. But as always, I did have a camera with me. In this instance it was the big lens but even had it been the smaller telephoto, I still would have a nice photo. So 'f8' if you will. But if I hadn't gone at all, nothing! So I, like many others, find that a little forethought, a little preparation, a little equipment and a whole lot of getting out and working the area produces good results. Or simply put, "f8 and be there"!
Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

     Ever notice how hummingbirds can look at you as if you're really messing with them? Like, what are you doing here? Why don't you get out of my space? Go play with your toys someplace else, man! They can even look like that when they are eating the sugar water you've put out for them. A Rufous is the worst that way but this Calliope has to come a close second.
     This particular bird may be more justified however. My wife and I, and of course the camera, lens and tripod, were the only things around that didn't obviously belong there. And this branch near the top of a small tree was used often as he rested from his nectar-gathering activities. Still, he could have been more sociable. I know I would be more welcoming if he were to visit my home.
juvenile Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird juvenile

     This juvenile Rufous has just finished a very important musing session and is now alert and contemplating how to proceed. Notice how mellow he appears. So different from the adults and even other youngsters. I think it's because he is a muser. Musers have a tendency to be somewhat laid-back, probably because of their spending so much time in concentrated contemplation of some of the deeper things in life. But here he has returned to everyday matters and is alertly considering what function to tackle first, poop or eat. Whichever one he decides, it is certain the other will closely follow because after all, these are really fast moving little birds. Somewhat unlike we human musers who accomplish the same things but at a much slower pace.
     I know he has just finished the musing because I caught him at it and took a picture of that also. I have already posted that, along with some musings on my pbase site.
     Here is a link to it: A Born Muser
     Well, that about does it for now. If I have started the second volume you will see a link to it right under this next to the other buttons. When, and if, I have a CD available, I will also put a link to info concerning it below.
     Thank you for visiting,

                              Joseph V Higbee
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