About a month ago, I had the pleasure of doing some maternity photos with Julie. We decided on a beach location, and I had the idea of using a lensbaby for part of the photo shoot. I have to tell you, I've had a love-hate relationship with my lensbaby since I got it, probably 7 years ago. I like the look of the images, but hate the fact that everything is manual -- manual focus, manual expsosure, no zoom. It's about as far back to basics as I like to go. I have the Lensbaby 2.0, so I'm sure the lens has improved over the years, but for the limited times I use it for a certain look, the 2.0 works fine for my needs. For me the most frustrating part is how the plane of focus shifts from front to back, not like a normal lens where you have a zone of focus, with the Lensbaby 2.0 you can have the subject's face in focus, their legs out of focus, and a point on the horizon tack sharp -- crazy stuff. But I guess that's the point of using the Lensbaby -- the randomness makes it unique and not reproducable in Photoshop. About the same time that I did this shoot I also upgraded to the new Nik Collection filters with Analog Efex 2.0, which has some amazing motion blur effects. For the next week or so I'm going to post some photos from the shoot. Please comment below about whether you think the look of these images is with a Lensbaby or with Nik. I'll tell you what I used on the image before I post the next one.
A few regular visitors to Brazos Bend in our photo club knew about some baby yellow crowned night herons in a nest. So we spent a little time at the location trying our best to get a decent shot through trees and nesting material. The photo above is far from the best shot I've ever taken, but interesting to see and capture nontheless. There were two chicks here, at the time not able to stand or get too much above the nest height. I was only able to get a clear shot of one. I believe the second is behind and to the right. 1/400 sec at f/6.7, ISO 200, 500mm.
Near the end of our field trip to Brazos Bend I came across the scene you see above -- a great white egret in a bed of water hyacinth. The light by then was pretty harsh and bright, and I've learned from experience that shooting a white bird in those conditions isn't always ideal. But I figured I had to give it a try. I took a couple of frames, then autobracketed a few more frames. In the bright sunlight I couldn't really tell which exposure was best. Surprisingly when I got home and was looking over my photos the camera-metered shot was really pretty good, no real blown highlights and decent exposure on the flowers. In post, I added a slight vignette and sharpened the egret a bit. 1/640 sec at f/6.7, 500mm, ISO100.