July, 2012

Waxing Gibbous Moon Shot Using the “Bigma” Lens

A beautiful waxing gibbous moon was out this evening, high in the sky and waiting to be photographed. So I obliged. 😉

It gave me another chance to try out my 50-500mm Sigma “Bigma” lens on my camera when set up on a tripod. I still find that at full extension the focus is bit mushy, and I seem to get the best results between 400-450mm. Still, here is arguably the best shot of the sequence I took, which shows enough detail so that you can see the sunlight hitting the tall peaks of the Montes Jura mountain range on the moon flanking Sinus Iridus (the black basalt plain making up one of the moon’s “eyes”) before it has made it all the way to the bottom of the lunar plain.

Gibbous Moon with Sun Falling on the Peak of Sinus Iridum

Gibbous Moon with Sun Falling on the Peak of Sinus Iridum

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Beaches Jazz Festival 2012: Streetfest

Got home late the previous evening from the cottage, so the light was already gone when we arrived and Streetfest was in full swing. Since things only get busier with every passing evening, so I set out when things started at 7pm and started heading back when the light started to go. Made it as far as Glen Manor before turning back. Here is a selection of pics that I shot:

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Dr Draw

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Dr Draw

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Guitarist from Gone Phission

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Guitarist from Gone Phission

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: David Rotundo 1

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: David Rotundo 1

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: David Rotundo 2

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: David Rotundo 2

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Audience Member 1

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Audience Member 1

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Guitarist from Puente del Diablo and his Helper

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Guitarist from Puente del Diablo and his Helper

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Audience Member 2 (Spock!)

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Audience Member 2 (Spock!)

Update: Just found out that this tall Spock impersonator goes by the stage name “Spock Vegas” and he has his own Facebook page. Cool!

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Who Took the Cookies

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Who Took the Cookies

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Singer from God Made Me Funky

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Singer from God Made Me Funky

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Johannes Linstead

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Johannes Linstead

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Suzana d'Amour

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Suzana d'Amour

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Audience Members 3

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Audience Members 3

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Suzana d'Amour and Audience Member

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Suzana d'Amour and Audience Member

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Singer from The Joyful Sinners

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Singer from The Joyful Sinners

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Band in Front of Gabby's

Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest: Band in Front of Gabby's

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Trip to Tommy Thompson Park: Black Swallowtail Butterfly

I actually saw my first Black Swallowtail butterfly before I even got to Tommy Thompson park, as there was one of these guys putting on a good show for me in the short hedgerow that runs along the sidewalk leading to the park. So the first two pics are of this one individual I saw outside the park and the third one while I was inside the park. Either way, they are stunning to look at.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly 1

Black Swallowtail Butterfly 1

Black Swallowtail Butterfly 2

Black Swallowtail Butterfly 2

Black Swallowtail Butterfly 3

Black Swallowtail Butterfly 3

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Trip to Tommy Thompson Park: Viceroy Butterflies

This Monarch-like butterfly was everywhere at Tommy Thompson park today. Seem even seemed to pose, so I ended up having lots of shots to work with.

After checking things out online I am convinced that these are Viceroys as opposed to Monarchs: they were all smaller than is usual for a Monarch, and Viceroys have a distinct black line pattern that connects up the orange sections at the bottom of the wing (best illustrated here) that Monarchs do not have. They are also smaller, and it seems like their antennae are slightly different (Monarchs have “bobbles” at the end of theirs, Viceroys do not), and while I couldn’t find any web site that gave me a good view of their body, I think the Viceroys are slightly different there too, having white line markings as opposed to dots. (Hmm, I should really put together a page on that subject — I have the pics after all).

Speaking of pics, here a selection of the better ones I took:

Viceroy Butterfly on a Small Purple Flower 1

Viceroy Butterfly on a Small Purple Flower 1

Viceroy Butterfly on a Small Purple Flower 2

Viceroy Butterfly on a Small Purple Flower 2

Viceroy Butterfly on Queen Anne's Lace Flower

Viceroy Butterfly on Queen Anne's Lace Flower

Viceroy Butterfly on a Yellow Flower

Viceroy Butterfly on a Yellow Flower

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Trip to Tommy Thompson Park: Clouded Sulphur Butterfly

Here’s the last of the triumvirate of butterflies I took pics of while visiting Tommy Thompson park earlier today. These little Clouded Sulphur butterflies are everywhere, and are rarely still long enough for me to take pics of. Luckily for me there was this one individual that stayed still just long enough for me to take a couple of pictures:

Clouded Sulphur Butterfly 1

Clouded Sulphur Butterfly 1

Clouded Sulphur Butterfly 2

Clouded Sulphur Butterfly 2

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Trip to Tommy Thompson Park: Eastern Kingbirds

Another bird that is common in Tommy Thompson park are Eastern Kingbirds, though most of the ones I saw were either too distant or flighty to get a good shot of.

Then, as I was making my way out of the park I spotted several in an adjacent tree, none of which seemed inclined to move from their perches. So I dug out the camera from my backpack and started taking shots. As you can see the light was going as the sky was beginning to get more overcast, but I did what I could with what I had. Here’s one such shot:

Eastern Kingbird on a Leafy Branch

Eastern Kingbird on a Leafy Branch

Then I saw the reason why all of these birds were staying put: they were waiting for a parent to come and feed them. While best-known for eating insects, the parent bird I saw had some nice, fresh-looking red berries for its youngsters, as you can see in the following couple of shots:

Eastern Kingbird Feeding its Young 1

Eastern Kingbird Feeding its Young 1

Eastern Kingbird Feeding its Young 2

Eastern Kingbird Feeding its Young 2

This parent bird (mother? father?) then took a berry each to the other young birds perched in other locations in the small tree.

What helped clinch the identification for me is when I saw two of these birds chase after a much larger seagull that had wandered into their territory, a behaviour Eastern Kingbirds are well known for.

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Trip to Tommy Thompson Park: Arctic Terns

The chief reason I went to Tommy Thompson park was to put my Sigma 500mm lens to the test. I got that opportunity when I spotted a small flock of Arctic Terns relaxing amidst seagulls on one of the newly created spits in the park.

I find the focus at full extension to be a bit “mushy”, so most of these are shot between 400-450mm. Even so, for the most part these are not as crisp as I would like in terms of the focus, though to be fair things were beginning to get overcast by this point, and I did not bring along a tripod or monopod to help steady the camera and its heavy lens.

Here are a few

Pair of Arctic Terns

Pair of Arctic Terns

of the better shots:

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern

Pair of Arctic Terns Interacting

Pair of Arctic Terns Interacting

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Bee on Echinacea Flower

Am finding my trusty 50-200mm f/2 lens to be very good at macro photography, even though that’s not what it is really designed to do. As proof, here are a couple of pics I shot today of a bee on an Echinacea flower:

Bee on Echinacea Flower 1

Bee on Echinacea Flower 1

Bee on Echinacea Flower 2

Bee on Echinacea Flower 2

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Test Astrophotography Shots Using the Bigma Lens

A brilliant half-Moon was out under clear skies, so I mounted the Bigma lens on the Olympus E-620, set up my tripod on the back deck and aimed at the sky.

I had more luck using the Bigma lens when it was set between 400-450mm, but I did manage a few shots at 500mm where things were sharp. Here’s the best of the lot:

Half-Moon Shot Using the Bigma Lens

Half-Moon Shot Using the Bigma Lens

Jupiter and Venus were also out in the early morning sky, relatively low in the eastern skies. None of my shots of Jupiter came out, and all of the ones I shot of Venus ended up being slightly over-exposed or showing signs of chromatic aberration. Still, this one shot shows that there’s some promise:

Crescent Venus

Crescent Venus

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The Spoons Playing the Woodbine Park Stage on Canada Day

I have been a fan of the Canadian band The Spoons since the release of their “Nova Heart” single back in 1982 (which I probably still have on vinyl somewhere). I dragged my two daughteres to this prior to seeing Brave at the local cinema with them, and after a while they both begrudgingly got into it. 😉 30 years on they’re still going strong, as the following shots demonstrate:

The Spoons Playing on the Main Stage at Woodbine Park

The Spoons Playing on the Main Stage at Woodbine Park

Gordon Deppe and Sandy Horne of The Spoons Playing on the Main Stage at Woodbine Park

Gordon Deppe and Sandy Horne of The Spoons Playing on the Main Stage at Woodbine Park

Sandy Horne of The Spoons

Sandy Horne of The Spoons

Gordon Deppe and Sandy Horne of The Spoons

Gordon Deppe and Sandy Horne of The Spoons

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