I love it. Just to go out there, be surrounded by wildlife (read: mosquitoes, and occasionally the persistent horse- or moosefly), take pictures without being disturbed (except by mosquitoes, and occasionally the persistent horse- or moosefly)… πŸ˜€
But I’m persistent, too. And that leads to some interesting pictures every now and again. This’ll go into a few posts, since I can’t really stuff all those images into one post.

So here goes. It all started after a good rain shower…

Drops on the leaves of a plant

D800, ISO100, 1/500 sec @ f/3.8, Tamron 90mm

Of course us human beings (with cameras) are the only ones nagging about a bit of water (while it’s coming down, it’s all fine and dandy when it’s done and dry outside… πŸ˜‰ ). These critters don’t really give a toss.

Bumblebee

D800, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/3.8, Tamron 90mm

Bumblebee collecting honey from the flower of a yellow aster

D800, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/3.8, Tamron 90mm

Bumbebee sitting on a water hemlock collecting honey

D800, ISO100, 1/320 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm, on-camera flash

Bumblebee flying to a fireweed collecting honey

D800, ISO1600, 1/4000 sec @ f/4, Tamron 90mm

 

I got a lot of stuff done in the past week.

A year and a half or so ago I wrote about Photoshelter vs PhotoDeck. I quit Photoshelter in favor of PhotoDeck for the simple reason that PhotoDeck had better and more simple features and it was cheaper. Not too long ago I got a mail from Photoshelter inviting me to reacquaint myself with them for 30 days for free. I did. And I swung right back to Photoshelter. Their features have become so much better compared to what it was, and their prices so much more attractive than they were before that I just couldn’t let it go.
I’m still with PhotoDeck, but my subscription is ending in a few months. I haven’t decided yet if I will keep it up. Compared to Photoshelter they all of a sudden have become a lot more expensive, actually, for the storage space I get with Photoshelter now I would pay double the price with PhotoDeck. That’s too bad, because I really like them. But it’s business. And if I have to pay twice as much for a similar service, it simply is a no-go; that’s too big a difference.
So I’ve been editing and uploading and tweaking my new website with commercial back-end. You can find it at www.stockphotography.nu and it looks like this:

www.stockphotography.nu store-front

www.stockphotography.nu store-front

You can order prints, canvases, mugs, mouse pads or just the plain digital file. The whole nine yards. You can contact me for special prices if you find something you would like. You can do a search for pictures with the search box at the top right of the blog.

The other thing I’ve been collecting stuff for is the One Life photo competition from PDN. If my pictures are deemed good enough, I could win a nice prize. My page there looks like this:

Arno Enzerink portfolio for the One Life competition

Portfolio for the One Life competition

You are free to “Collect Me“, if you have the time and think the images are worth it. The images you see are crops, they are all links to the full size pictures. If you click the link Collect Me you are requested to either sign up or sign in with your Facebook or Twitter username. Do that, then click the image and in the window that opens then at the top right “Collect Me”. Or just leave a comment with the pictures and tell me what you think, that’s fine for me too :)
Thanks in any case!

Yeah, pun intended…
Sometimes it happens that you’re driving around somewhere and all of a sudden your eye sees something (that isn’t there), and you need to stop. You need to stop and get out (if you happen -for a change- to have your camera with you) to take a picture of that something that isn’t there.
My mind’s eye is ruthless like that. To me it’s a blessed curse, I say. I haven’t had a problem with it, but I’ve had people in the past whom I knew to roll their eyes if I would pull over again and drag the camera out to take pictures of something that just isn’t visible to their eyes.
Usually people get it when they see someone take pictures of a beautiful landscape, but when they see someone sitting on their knees in the knee-high grass taking (close-up) pictures of an old weathered hinge of a gate… That may not receive such understanding.
But of course they haven’t seen what I do with it.
My cross-processing baby, my little bastard child, misunderstood, misnamed, confused with much less artistic things… *grins*

Anyway… Here’s another one. If you’re new here, type it in the search box to find more of them :)
I find this one actually quite appealing. It’s not as colorful as the rest, but there’s something funky with it :)

Hinge of an old weathered gate

D800, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/4.8, Nikkor 50mm

The layer palette from Photoshop showing the steps in the process to the end result

The layer palette from Photoshop showing the steps in the process to the end result

Old weathered hinge of a gate

The end result after all the work is done

He’s got a baby brother now, who looks just like him when he was that age.
But my godson didn’t stay that age. It’s been awhile since I took some pictures of him, but last Saturday, when we were out with the whole family, I got and took the chance. It was an excellent setting. In the middle of one of those typical Finnish scenes: a field full of blooming, bright yellow oilseed. We were on our way back to the car and he was just walking there with mom and dad, fussing with the flowers. The light was beautiful, and right in his face. So I looked at mom and dad and they were okay with it, and even helped the little guy pose. I’d say he’s a natural.
And he’s the cutest! Ever! Period! <3

Boy

D800, ISO1600, 1/1000 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm

Boy

D800, ISO1600, 1/1000 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm

(also love the little bug flying toward him in the second picture πŸ˜€ )

 

You don’t find rainbows on and under the leaves. Other colorful and not so colorful stuff you do.
This little bug(ger) was very patient and let me do my thing for about 10 minutes, before taking of. I guess it thought that after turning left, right and face front I must’ve got all there was to shoot of it. And I did.

Fly sitting on a leaf

D800, ISO1600, 1/350 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 105mm

Fly sitting on a leaf

D800, ISO400, 1/180 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 105mm

And then this weird thing… We were heading out of the woods and I happened to spot it crawling around on a leaf. Funky stuff going on in those tentacles/antennas (whatever you call them). I thought it was some sort of thing to lure or keep away other animals. It really looked like there was a maggot inside of them moving up and down. When I was keywording for stock and searched for the snail with maggot like antennas I came across the Wikipedia page where it was explained that this snail was infected with a parasite. It’s originally in bird poop, where the snail eats from and ingests the parasite. The parasite then starts to consume the snail slowly and it nestles in the tentacles, basically switching off the snails ability to determine whether it’s light or dark, so it doesn’t know whether to hide or not, thus being a nice little prey for birds, who then consume the snail including parasite, which returns to the digestive system of the bird and ends up in the bird poop, where another snail east from and ingests the parasite. Etc. etc. etc. Amazing how nature does its thing, isn’t it?

Snail infected with a parasite in its tentacles

D800, ISO400, 1/350 sec @ f/4.8, Nikkor 105mm

Another parasite, or pest, plague, if you like, is this one.

Sack of the tent caterpillar hanging under a tree trunk

D800, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/5.6, Tamron 90mm, on-camera flash

The caterpillar makes some sort of web around the entire tree and eats it completely empty. The web is funny stuff. It feels like plastic, the kind of plastic they vacuum-wrap food and other products in, and it’s super strong. It doesn’t feel at all sticky like a spider’s web. This image doesn’t really do it justice, but the light was beautiful, especially reflecting off of the webs. Destructive as it is, it does look really pretty.

Webs of the tent caterpillar in the branches of a tree

D800, ISO200, 1/750 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm

And then there was still this little fellow, who at first I thought was dead, but then regained consciousness and took off. I did get my pictures, though :)

Bumble bee on a thistle

D800, ISO800, 1/350 sec @ f/4, Tamron 90mm

The bee photo is a focus stack of 10 images. I wanted the whole flower and the bee in focus and since the little guy played dead for awhile, it gave me all the time to get enough images to do the focus stacking.

My friend was kind enough to lend me his new Nikkor 105mm macro with VR. I have a Tamron 90mm (it’s about 8 years old, I think, and my only non-Nikkor lens) and I’ve been considering for awhile already to switch. I never got to try it out, though, even if a couple of my photographer-buddies have offered to lend it to me. This day I did give it a go, and I must honestly admit that, with the images that I shot, there’s not much difference in quality and sharpness. One clear difference is that the Nikkor focuses at least twice as fast. The Tamron really needs a clear contrast in the image for the autofocus to properly lock on. If there isn’t enough contrast, the lens keeps on searching and you get the annoying buzz of the lens zooming in and out to try to find something to focus on (and your object/subject/target will probably have left by the time you decide to switch to manual). So in terms of quality I would stick with my Tamron. The massive price of the Nikkor doesn’t justify the switch for me. I know when to autofocus and when to manually focus, so that’s no issue for me. However… If someone would have a (good as new) Nikkor for a good price up for sale, I would probably still get rid of the Tamron and buy the Nikkor.

Finland is not known for its lovely summers and great weather. If you’re a tropical person, you have no business in this country, really. But it’s good for photography. There are four actual seasons here. Fall is by far the most colorful. Summer typically is actually quite boring, except if you’re a bug person and you like to “shoot” mosquitoes. Then you’re going to have a 3-month field day.
Anyway… summer here comes with a good amount of rain and a bit of sun every now and again. And that every now and again makes for a good opportunity, provided you’re in the right place at the right time. Fortune (coincidence?) wills that there were two days in a row that I was in the right place at the right time.

The first day I was at home (which is definitely the right place πŸ˜‰ ). I’d been working on pictures for the whole afternoon and the whole afternoon the sky had been ominous and near-black. Rain had come down on and off and around 6pm the sky really ripped open (let out a fart, actually, too) and water came down like I’ve seen only a few times before. But as the saying goes “After rain comes sunshine”, it also did here. The sunshine actually came already during the rain, which made for this stunning urban scene:

Rainbow over Helsinki

D800, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 14-24mm

This image was stitched from three wide-angle images, so what you see is about… 140 degrees I’d say.
Funny detail in this image… Another saying / myth tells us there’s a pot of gold to be found at the end of the rainbow. The building on the left, where the rainbow crashes into… it’s the recycling center πŸ˜€

The next day I had agreed to go shoot with a friend of mine, if the weather was right. I drove to him, virtually in the middle of nowhere, straight after work. A really beautiful part of the larger capital Helsinki area. Also this day it had been raining on and off, and when I was almost at his place, I stopped on the side of the road to take this picture.

Stormy sky

D800, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 50mm

This is also a stitch from three images. Very foreboding, and not promising many good things. We ended up just chatting the first hour (and a half) or so, but in the end it did clear up and we took off into the forest and country side to do some shooting (more of those in a next blog post).
Then in the evening when I left it started raining again and already when I left from my friend’s place I could see the rainbow already. I drove up the street to a little red shed where there was a small opening in the trees and I could oversee the whole field including rainbow, where I took this stunning view. It was truly awesome. I took a number of pictures (this is also a three-image wide-angle stitch) and then stood there just looking at it in silence. I don’t know if the image itself does it to you, but it was absolutely magnificent. You do sometimes see a rainbow in these parts of the world, but never so complete and never really this clear.
And that two days in a row!

Rainbow over a field

D800, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 14-24mm

With this particular (second) rainbow I was also surprised that it stayed visible for such a long time. Usually when the rainbow appears it’s just when the rain stops and the sun breaks through and it’s maybe 5-10 minutes when you see it, but this one stayed on (not as complete, but still very clearly visible) for at least 45 minutes.

Which is why I still had more opportunities to shoot some. This was another one on my way home.

Rainbow next to a house

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

I remember when I started being serious about photography (quite some time ago already) there were a couple of things that I had to re-read in order to understand the technique behind it. DoF, Depth of Field that is, was one of them. I thought I could do a little write up about it including an example of DoF with different aperture settings.

So what is Depth of Field, really?
If you google the term a recurring definition you’ll find is “the amount of distance between the nearest and farthest objects that appear in acceptably sharp focus in a photograph”. That doesn’t tell you much, does it? It didn’t tell me much back in the day when I had to look it up in a book (you know, those rectangular shaped things with this funny stuff called paper inside on which text and pictures are printed πŸ˜‰ ).
What this definition told me was that it had something to do with the distance between the objects in your picture. It does, kind of, but that’s not really the point.
For me DoF bluntly means: part of your image is in focus and the rest is not in focus. And it’s done on purpose πŸ˜‰ The more blurred or out of focus the picture is, and the less of your designated object is in focus, the narrower (or shallower, or smaller, these are all terms used to indicate) the DoF.

Many things can affect the DoF, but the the DoF is mainly controlled by the aperture setting on your camera.
That was another thing that I just couldn’t remember: the larger the aperture, as in the smaller the number indicated for the F-stop, the larger the hole in your lens through which light is let through to the sensor. So larger aperture – smaller F number – larger opening in the lens to let light through. Without this getting completely technical, I’m trying to keep it simple, let’s suffice with saying that things with a small aperture are more in focus because the rays of light that are coming into your lens are less diffused, scattered if you will, by the small hole in the lens before they reach the sensor. The bigger hole with the later aperture allows for the rays to basically go all over the place and thus can’t create the sharp image on the sensor.

Do note that if you change the aperture, you will have to equally adjust the exposure time. A picture taken with f/8 and 1/500 sec exposure time will render the same result in terms of exposure as a picture taken with f/11 and 1/250 sec exposure time. If you stop down the aperture with one stop, you’ll have to open up the exposure time with one stop and vice versa.

Below is a series of images in which you can see what happens when you start with a large aperture and end with a small aperture.

Example of how DoF works

From top left to top right the camera settings were:

1/15 sec @ f/3.5; 1/15 sec @ f/4.8 (I didn’t adjust the exposure time, which shows in the image: it’s slightly darker than the first one); 1/8 sec @ f/6.7; 1/4 sec @ f/9.5;

From bottom left to bottom right the camera settings were:

1/2 sec @ f/13; 1 sec @ f/19; 2 sec @ f/27; 4 sec @ f/38.

I subscribed to the magazine in the past, and since a year or so I’ve been subscribing again. I really like the magazine, it’s got great articles and it’s got magnificent images. And they even allow you to submit your images for possible inclusion in the magazine. They have this “Picture of the Month” going on every month and if you get to be it (or your image, that is), you can win amazing prizes and you get to be published in the magazine. It would be a great thing for your portfolio to be featured in the magazine. I would like to, in any case.

So off I went, to the website of National Geographic, where I’m instantly prompted to subscribe. That is, sign up, give all my information (which, if you read the terms and conditions, you swear to be up to date and correct). And, paranoid as I am (and I’m probably one of the very few who actually reads these terms and conditions), I quickly scroll through the text and come to a full stop at point five. I blink. It must be lack of sleep. I blink again. The text is still there.
Actually, to be honest, this happened already quite awhile ago, and I’m not quite sure why I write about this only now, but anyway… I wrote them a mail several times in which I ask to clarify the terms set out on their website, but I didn’t get any reply. Any sign of life. Not even an automated response with “thanks for your mail, we will ignore you like the plague”.

I re-read the text, just to make sure I read what I read. I quote point five to you below (courtesy of the Terms and Conditions on http://www.nationalgeographic.com/community/terms/

For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in material you upload, comments you post, or other content you provide to the Site (“User Content”). By uploading User Content, you grant National Geographic (which includes its subsidiaries, affiliates, joint venturers, and licensees) the following rights: a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual license to display, distribute, reproduce, and create derivatives of the User Content, in whole or in part, without further review or participation from you, in any medium now existing or subsequently developed, in editorial, commercial, promotional, and trade uses in connection with NG Products. National Geographic may license or sublicense, in whole or in part, to third parties rights in User Content as appropriate to distribute, market, or promote such NG Products. An NG Product is defined as “a product of National Geographic, a subsidiary, affiliate, joint venturer, or licensee of National Geographic, in any language, over which National Geographic has “Editorial Control.” For the purposes of this Agreement, “Editorial Control” means the right to review, consult regarding, formulate standards for, or to exercise a veto over the appearance, text, use, or promotion of the NG Product. You also agree that National Geographic may make User Content available to users of the Site who may display and redistribute it in the same way that National Geographic makes all other Content available.

So… In any case I retain all of my ownership rights in material that I upload. But…
And it’s a big But (big bones, can’t help it!):
Upon accepting the Terms and Conditions I grant National Geographic (which includes its subsidiaries, affiliates, joint venturers, and licensees) the following rights: a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual license to display, distribute, reproduce, and create derivatives of the User Content, in whole or in part, without further review or participation from you, in any medium now existing or subsequently developed, in editorial, commercial, promotional, and trade uses in connection with NG Products.

And the following sentence, equally disturbing:
Upon accepting the Terms and Conditions I allow National Geographic to license or sublicense, in whole or in part, to third parties rights in User Content as appropriate to distribute, market, or promote such NG Products.

And the one that’s screaming injustice in my face:
Upon accepting the Terms and Conditions I also agree that National Geographic may make User Content available to users of the Site who may display and redistribute it in the same way that National Geographic makes all other Content available.

So summarized: I’m fucked if I agree to the Terms and Conditions, because regardless of the fact that they let me retain all my ownership to what I upload, National Geographic can do whatever the hell they please with my stuff, but National Geographic makes me agree that they allow Users of the Site to do whatever the hell they please with my stuff. That’s in any case how I read the “may make User Content available to users of the site who may display and redistribute it in the same way that National Geographic makes all other Content available”.
So National Geographic may sell User Content as prints or stock (of which profits the User in question doesn’t see a penny of commission), but since National Geographic makes Content available in this way users of the Site may also sell that same Content according to the rules stated by National Geographic.

So how does that sound fair to you? It kinda means that I now co-own my images with National Geographic and every other user of the National Geographic website.
I invite everyone, National Geographic employees included, to explain to me how and where -if I am- I am misunderstanding these rules.

Beautiful day, the whole day. But then when we went to town things started getting overcast and very gloomy. Luckily rain waited until almost at the end of the concerts.
We saw a few songs of Happo Radio still, and then The Rasmus and Chisu.
Great performances. And guess what? I had a whole backpack full of camera gear AND hauled around my tripod and they didn’t even blink at the entrance of the concert area. The girls had to open their purses for a random search and I even asked them “should I open my pack”, but the guy said “no need, go on in”.
We didn’t get all the way to the front, but with the 70-200mm and the 1,4x teleconverter I got a long way.
Tip of the day: don’t try to do video hand-held above your head with a D800 / Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 for 3-4 minutes. Unless you didn’t go to the gym for a work-out.

Helsinki Day - The Rasmus

D800, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

Helsinki Day - Chisu

D800, ISO1600, 1/350 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm, 1.4x teleconverter

Helsinki Day - Chisu

D800, ISO1600, 1/350 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm, 1.4x teleconverter

Helsinki Day - Chisu

D800, ISO1600, 1/350 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm, 1.4x teleconverter

Helsinki Day - Chisu

D800, ISO1600, 1/250 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm, 1.4x teleconverter

And just because I thought it was a fun picture (have you noticed, that whenever you are out and about shooting pictures, there ALWAYSΒ  at some point someone or something in the picture that you don’t want to just at the moment you press the shutter?) πŸ˜‰

Helsinki Day

D800, ISO800, 1/180 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 70-200mm

 

Well… what can I say… Some things simply look better from up close…

Tulip

D800, ISO100, 1/750 sec @ f/5.6, Tamron 90 mm macro

Tulip

D800, ISO100, 1/750 sec @ f/5.6, Tamron 90mm macro

Tulip

D800, ISO100, 1/750 sec @ f/5.6, Tamron 90mm macro