Bring On The Bluebonnets

Today is overcast. Gray cloudy skies. I was cooped up in the house until late afternoon. Great time to get out and shoot new bluebonnets. They only come once a year, for about 3 weeks.

The natural lighting was good enough to snap some keepers! The monotone diffused white of the cloud deck provided even white balance for the photos. No bright spots or harsh shadows. Nice even lighting.

I got three pictures I like well enough to star in Google Photos. And share in this blog post. I shared one of them on Instagram and Twitter. But the other two are exclusive to my blog!

At the end of the 2020 Bluebonnet season, I plan to take the best of the best and place them in a new gallery here on the blog where previous years are showcased.

While I’m kind of bummed I no longer have my DSLR to take exceptional photos, I’m glad to have the simple limitation of the iPhone 7. It forces me to try being creative or inventive to get interesting new images. And while the results are not going to win cash prizes, I’m pleased with them, thankful, and dare I say…content.

Please, enjoy!


What beauty have you found outside your door recently? Share below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Cameraphoning Bluebonnets

Good Blues To Have

Guess what, my friends? The Bluebonnets are back! For about three weeks each year, they bloom their blue earth decorations around Texas. My yard in the past two years had huge thick patches of them. This year, we have only a few small thin patches. Nonetheless, I’m enjoying them through photography but in a simpler way than before.


Camera Necessity

Last year, my Nikon DSLR broke. I had used different lenses, even a borrowed macro, to capture the vibrant beauty of these flowers. I had also used my old-going-on-ancient Canon point-n-shoot with its close-up mode and more. But so far this year, I’ve not dug it out and dusted it off.

This year has been much more simple. I’ve only had my cameraphone. It’s a nearly 4-year old iPhone 7 with a single lens on the back. There’s no depth sensor. No portrait mode. Nothing but plain’ol wide angle shooting.

Despite that, it’s been really nice to shoot with. The quality of the regular photos is really great…I almost added, “for a phone” to that. Really, I’m impressed by my phone camera that debuted almost 4 years ago. Of course, I shoot bluebonnets in optimal lighting conditions: outside, full sun or partly cloudy in the golden hour near dusk.

Still, for a teeny-tiny sensor and itty-bitty lens, the iPhone 7 gives me pictures I really like to keep and to share. Maybe my wants and needs in photography have devolved. Maybe I’ve softened on the hobby. I no longer use Adobe Lightroom or a “real” camera! I use a smartphone and Google Photos. I don’t use Flickr. I hardly use Instagram. Mostly I share on Facebook.

But I like simple and convenient. Those have been the herald of smartphone photography. And quality has grown better over time. Of course, it’s been declared years ago that smartphones killed point-n-shoot cameras. I tend to agree.


The Coming Macro Lens

In any case, the Bluebonnets are here, and the best camera for them is the one I have with me. That’s my iPhone 7. But in two weeks, that is supposed to change! The Moto G Power is scheduled to arrive at my house, bringing with it three (3) lenses (!) on the back instead of one! And the lens I want to try the most with the Bluebonnets is the macro!!

I don’t expect super good resolution, but I’m eager to see what creativity I can push with a macro-lens-that-fits-in-my-freaking-pocket!

If the bluebonnets hang around long enough, I should be able to snap them with a new smartphone camera system. Maybe I’ll even try a new fancy photo app on Android to tweak them to new levels. Time will tell.


What camera do you love to use? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Bunches Of Bluebonnets

It’s that time of year again when the Texas Bluebonnets fully bloom! And that means it’s time to dust off my “real” cameras and get to shootin’!

 

 

Every Spring, we get blessed with bunches of blue flowers called Lupines. In Texas they’re called Bluebonnets. They grow in small clumps of bushes close to the ground and to one another, so they can spread like a blue and green blanket across wide swaths of land.

Here’s my Bluebonnets 2019 Gallery.

They’re beautiful! They also attract bees – lots of bees! So you have blue flowers with orange bees, which is a nice complementary color contrast.

One of the great joys of making these pictures was settling down outside amongst nature in the pretty and calm countryside. The fragrant smell of the Bluebonnets was strong and sweet. The breezy wind was warm and soothing. I found rest while waiting for bees to buzz around the right flowers. I think I could almost hear God whisper serenity to my soul. It was quite satisfying.


At our house, the Bluebonnets have spread more in the past few years. So I had lots of good places to try and get nice pictures. I used my Canon S5 and Nikon D60. I also used my iPhone 7 for a few landscape establishing shots and edited those in the Photos app right on my cellular telephone.

With the Canon, I typically used either the Super Macro setting and varied the aperture a bit to get a good depth of field, or I used the 12x (72mm) optical zoom to capture subjects with the background nicely blurred.

For the Nikon, I tried the 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens and the 85mm macro lens. This last lens made some of the best photos with nice bokeh in the background.

I did edits in old-school Lightroom on the PC – although I’d like to do all my edits on my iPad, but that’s another story here.

I’m trying to improve my Bluebonnet shots each year. Here are my 2017 Bluebonnets and 2018 Bluebonnets galleries. And here are the blog posts for them: Bluebonnets In Bloom and Blooming Bluebonnets.

This year’s flowers are in my Bluebonnets 2019 Gallery.

If you’re curious, you can also read how a Bluebonnet photo with my first digital camera sparked my photography hobby.

Enjoy!


Like these Bluebonnets? Have any questions? Leave a comment or email me. Thanks for your time!

Blooming Bluebonnets

Every year, I like to add a fresh batch of bluebonnet pictures to my collection. They’re the Texas state flower, and they only last about 3 to 4 weeks a year–plus they’re blue! The bluebonnets for 2018 sprung up a day or two before the equinox; I first noticed them on March 20th and started taking photos. Continue reading Blooming Bluebonnets

Flower Bugs Made Me A Shutterbug

A photo I took of a single Texas Bluebonnet with bugs on it is the picture that made me become a shutterbug.

To others, this image is nothing special. But to me, it was seminal; it had a big impact on my life. We all have these kinds of experiences in life: an event, a circumstance, a person…somehow they can be special turning points.

So how or why did this single photograph, Bluebonnet Bugs, cause me to focus on photography? Continue reading Flower Bugs Made Me A Shutterbug