Nature Notes

July 30, 2010

Ochre Spot Pororo, Hamadryas fornax

Filed under: Argentina,Scenic — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am
Ochre Spot Pororo, Hamadryas fornax

Ochre Spot Pororo, Hamadryas fornax

One of the most beautiful butterflies in the world is the Ochre Spot Pororo, Hamadryas fornax . This one was seen at Iguazzu Falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil. This area has an astonishing amount of butterflies.

Ochre Spot Pororo, Hamadryas fornax

Ochre Spot Pororo, Hamadryas fornax

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July 26, 2010

American Bison twin calves

Filed under: Animals — Tags: — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

American Bison twin calves

American Bison twin calves

One of my neighbors has a captive herd of American Bison,Bison bison. I often have a look at them as they are kept in a large pasture. It was interesting to see that they had three new calves. Two stuck together with one cow and I assume they are twins. They are considerably lighter in color than the adults and I see they have beginnings of horns. In reading various accounts of the species, it seems that twins are a rare occurrence.

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July 22, 2010

Common Cat’s Ear, Hypochaeris radicata

Filed under: Flowers,Orkney Isles — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

Common Cat's Ear, Hypochaeris radicata

Common Cat's Ear, Hypochaeris radicata

The Common Cat’s Ear, Hypochaeris radicata , is native to Europe, parts of Asia and North Africa. It has been introduced in other parts of the world where it is often considered a noxious weed. It is often mistaken for the Common Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, but usually flowers later.

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July 16, 2010

Toronto Skyline from the Ferry

Filed under: Cityscape,Toronto — Tags: — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

Toronto Skyline

Toronto Skyline

There are three Ferrys which make the short trip to the Toronto Islands and they are an excellent platform to photograph the Toronto Skyline as they pull away. This view shows the CN Tower on the left and the financial towers of the city center near the right. Most of the front buildings lining the shore are condominiums.

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July 14, 2010

Night in Lisbon

Filed under: Portugal,Scenic — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am
Night in Lisbon

Night in Lisbon

The Castle of St. George dominates the skyline of Lisbon, Portugal. The original fortress on this hilltop goes back to Roman times. The Moors became dominate here in the 8th century and built much of the structure. It was abandoned after the Great Earthquake of 1755 but was restored in the 1940s and presently serves as museum complex and tourist attraction.

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July 13, 2010

Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa

Filed under: Flowers — Tags: — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa

I think that birds should never have “Common” as part of their name just as flowers should never have “Weed” included. Nevertheless, this is the the Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa, a member of the Milkweed Family. It does go by many other English names, including Canada Root, Chigger Flower, Chiggerflower, Fluxroot, Indian Paintbrush, Indian Posy, Orange Milkweed, Orange Swallow-wort, Pleurisy Root, Silky Swallow-wort, Tuber Root, Yellow Milkweed, White-root, and Windroot according to Wikipedia. I think the Yellow flower mixed in the orange in the top image is a Sow-Thistle, Sonchus arvensis.

Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa

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July 7, 2010

Roadside flora in Black and White

Filed under: Flowers — Tags: — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

I wanted to process this image in a very graphical manner, almost like a block print. It was harder than I thought and eventually I made two layers, one light and one dark, and blended them

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July 2, 2010

How to photograph fireworks

Filed under: Equipment,Landscape,Photography Tips — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 10:31 am

How to photograph fireworks

I have made a few half hearted previous attempts to photograph fireworks, but with the arrival of Canada Day, I decided to sort out some good methods. Here is what I found:

Scope out your best place to shoot ahead of time. Arrive while there is still enough light to see, make sure there are no obstructions and that you have a nicely composed view to frame your shot.

Use a tripod, you need to have a rock solid base to eliminate camera shake.This is especially true when using long exposures.

Use a remote shutter. Although you can get by without it, it will make life much easier. Not only does it reduce camera shake, but it lets you work from a comfortable position, perhaps sitting on your comfy chair.

Camera settings. You want to look at long exposures times in order to get long colorful light streamers, anywhere from 6 to 10 seconds. You also want to keep the background dark to set them off. If you shoot in Bulb mode, you will be able to easily control the length of the shot. Open your shutter at the beginning of the fireworks explosion and close it when the trails begin to fade. A good depth of field and low ISO will give you clean focused shots, as well as keeping the background dark. I started with f/11 and ISO100 and was prepared to adjust from there but found that suited.

How to photograph fireworks

I think I have the general idea now and next time perhaps I can get some more creative shots. Following is my favorite fireworks image from Trey Ratcliff  (Stuck in Customs)

Trey Ratcliff (Stuck in Customs)

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