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!

Assassin Bugs Take Flower

Smart Cameras

The iPhone 11 and Google Pixel 4, among others, are the latest smart cameras that happen to also make phone calls. Their sample images in reviews look fantastic! But picture this, not long ago, cameras didn’t have phones built into them. My first digital camera was a 3.2 Megapixel Canon PowerShot A400. It wasn’t much, but I was able to take a shot with it that, to this day, is still one of my all-time favorites.


Shooting Bugs

One day, before the iPhone existed, my wife and I visited Maas Nursery in Seabrook, TX. The place was huge, full of pottery and plants and photographic opportunities. I happen to like macro shots with flowers and bugs, so that’s what I aimed for.

Of the many pictures I captured with bugs on flowers, one takes the prize for me. I don’t know what kind of flowering plant this is called, but the insects are Assassin Bugs. This image is awesome to me because of the composure of the bugs within the full framing of the flowers, the pose of the main bug, and the secondary color complements of orange, purple-ish, and green.


Smart Photography

Given this example of a photo made with a low resolution, tiny sensor in a “dumb” camera, it goes to show that specs and hardware are not the most important parts of the art of photography. A good subject with good lighting and good framing is what counts the most.

But imagine if macro lenses became standard on the newest smartphones! My wallet is ready to open.


What was your first digital camera? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Friday Wireflowers

A lot of times, I’ll see something that catches my eye. It just looks picturesque. And my brain starts cranking over…there’s gotta be a way to capture that in a good photo. But often, I don’t try. Too inconvenient, too difficult. But today, I decided to try. And I’m glad I did.


Just Stop The Car

We live on a farm in the country. I drive down a dirt road everyday. This time of year, we get an awesome array of wildflowers (and weeds).

Today, while heading home, the orange and yellow flowers caught my eye beside the dirt driveway. They’re just displayed in abundance all along the barbed wire fence with its weathered posts. The sky, meanwhile, is all blue with floating storybook clouds.

Like I said. Picturesque.

I’ve been seeing these, and other flowers, for many days now. But today, in the early afternoon sun, the inner urge to try and capture the lovely scenery and showcase their small wonder was strong enough to make think, “just stop the car and do it.”

Actually, I both stopped and then backed up. I had driven past the prime spot while my brain internally quibbled whether or not to take some pictures.

So I grabbed my iPhone 7, which had been podcasting through my car speakers, and put it in camera mode. I simply snapped 4 photos only, not trying too hard. I figured they probably would not turn out great anyways.

I was content that I at least didn’t pass up the chance and, instead, just stopped the car and got out.


I don’t think these shots are gonna win me awards or make me some sweet moo-lah. But I think they’re very nice; I like them!

And I hope you like them too. Enjoy!


Have you felt like doing something yet decided not to? Or did you go for it? Were you glad you did? Comment below or write to me. 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!