Do you have a good camera and don't know how to use it?
I can teach you all the buttons, dials and menus you can handle.
Start taking photographs that you like!
Hands on instruction: 1 person-$60/hour and a half; 2 persons-$100/hour and a half
Contact me: klmilstein@aol.com

Sunday, August 28, 2011

UC San Diego's Birch Aquarium - La Jolla, CA

Don't miss this aquarium!  The Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  What a view!  It is full of species and habitats from the colder waters of the Pacific Northwest to the warmer waters of Mexico.  It is an interactive museum with an outdoor explorable tide pool.
So how do you take pictures inside a darkened museum with glass fronted exhibits?  This was a first for me too!  And I didn't have a tripod with me.  The first thing I did was to up my ISO to 640.  As I found out later, I could have even used up to 2000 with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II.  I used an f stop of 4.5 and a shutter speed of 1/30 of a second.  I'm pretty good at leaning against a wall, tucking in my elbows and holding my breath at that speed.  But not always.  Next time I will bring a monopod at least! And no flash to eliminate reflections.
Here are a few of the better results:

If you have a small point and shoot camera turn off your flash and/or try some of your scene modes like fireworks or candlelight or indoors.  If you use your flash stand to the side so there is no reflection in the glass.  Experiment!
This ugly boy is a wolf eel.  Friendly, but fierce-looking, he is really a fish.  They live all along the western states in rocky reef-type habitats.  They form pairs and sometimes mate for life!
There's Something About Seahorses is a wonderful exhibit, which teaches about many species and how the aquarium is helping to conserve this threatened creature.  The leafy sea dragon above is a relative of the seahorse.  Breeding seahorses in the tank is below:
Kids love to watch a starfish turn itself right-side-up without breaking the surface of the water outside by the interactive tide pools.

So much fun to see, learn and photograph!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Garden in the Woods - Framingham, MA

A wonderful place to take pictures!  To quote their brochure: "In New England Wild Flower Society's renowned botanic garden, you'll discover an unrivaled collection of both rare and common native plants offering a changing tapestry of flowers and foliage through the spring, summer and fall seasons."
I wandered on the paths through wet and dry landscapes, beside ponds and meandering streams, shaded by trees of every kind marveling at the beauty all around me.

It was a slightly overcast day just after a night of gentle spring rain.  Perfect!  These lovely, airy things are Tiarella or Foamflower.  The website for Garden in the Woods offers a Bloom Board, which lists what is blooming in the garden at the present.
There is a native plant nursery on the premises as well as a garden shop.  Several classes are offered each season in horticulture, gardening, design trips, botany and conservation.
 The paths offer many places to just sit, relax and feast your eyes!

Trillium come in several colors and absolutely carpeted the ground!  Another violet-like ground cover is in the photograph below.  If you know the name of this one, let me know.  The droplets of rain on everything adds to the feeling of a wet spring and gives us an extra clue as to how big the flowers are.

This is an interrupted fern - one of the strangest plants I saw.  It is named for the blackened leafs that "interrupt" the green leaves right in the middle of the stem.  Green towards the bottom and again at the top.
And the best find of the day were these beautiful lady slippers!  I did not bring a tripod with me and in this low light situation I used the wider apertures available with my Canon 24-70mm macro lens.  That gave me a smaller depth of field with less in focus - a great way to photograph flowers.
The day I spent at Garden in the Woods was such a rich photographic experience.  I hope I can do a field trip with some of my students in the future!