May 162014

Crabapple Tree ©2014 April Siegfried

Spring has finally arrived in Chicago, after a long and unusually harsh winter.

Yes, these are “flowers”—so difficult to see and photograph in a way that is fresh, that’s not similar to the thousands of images already housed in the data banks of our mind’s eye. Their abundant beauty is so welcome, however, that I can’t help but try to express that experience.

Click on any image above to view large as slide show (with 5 second pause between each.)


Crabapple Tree
Panasonic DMC-FZ40; 1/25 sec @ f7.1, ISO 100 (handheld);
Focal length: 8.5mm (47mm EFL)

Crabapple Flowers
Nikon D300 ; 1/125 sec (handheld);
AF-S Nikkor 18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 G ED plus
Canon 500D Close-Up Lens

Sep 072012

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On an overcast morning after heavy rain, this fall of red crab apples was vivid!

Nikon D300; 1/30 sec @ f11, ISO 3200 (handheld);
18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 42mm (63mm EFL); focus distance 3.16m

Jul 172012

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Before returning home from the Miksang workshop in Boulder, Colorado, I decided to take one last walk along Pearl Street. Despite having spent hours and hours prowling that area to fulfill our assignments in the past two weeks, I still discovered something I’d never seen before. That’s a heartening lesson to take back to my oh-so-familiar neighborhood in Chicago!

Nikon D300; 1/250 sec @ f11, ISO 200 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5–5.6 @ 180mm (270mm EFL); focus distance 11.89m

Apr 302011

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Photographed on a rainy day with an umbrella in one hand and camera in the other, stabilization is great on the little Lumix!

However, with a wide-open aperture and relatively high ISO, details aren’t as sharp as I’d like. I went back to the same location this morning with the Nikon under overcast skies, but color was nothing like that first day. I’ll have to try again when it’s drizzling, using a rain sleeve to protect the camera—hopefully before the tree leafs out much more.

Panasonic DMC-FZ40; f3.4 @ 1/15 sec, ISO 400 (handheld);
Focal length: 17.5mm (97mm EFL)

Feb 172011

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This scene was monochromatic, so it was photographed using the black and white Color Effect mode in the Lumix. As Craig Tanner has so often suggested, that let me preview and capture a black and white JPEG file for reference along with the full color RAW file for processing.

The title dates me! Read the lyrics or listen to the song—but be forewarned: I now have an earworm from the latter which is likely to last several days.

Lumix DMC-FZ40; f5.6 @ 1/60sec, ISO 800 (handheld);
Focal length: 9.2mm (51mm EFL)

Dec 092010

Version 2
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A crabapple tree laden with fruit after a snowfall on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Version 1
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Nikon D300; f4.0 @ 1/125sec, ISO 1100 (handheld);
18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 27mm (40mm EFL); subject distance 10.59m

The other day…I learned something about not over-processing an image.

Version 2 above is much closer to the original capture, and to what drew me to make the photograph that morning—in the dark and cold, with wind blowing snow into the lens.

At least I have knowledge about how to expand dynamic range, heighten contrast, and change  brightness that I can now throw out the window. 😉

Dec 062010

A crabapple tree laden with fruit after a snowfall on the shore of Lake Michigan.

First Snow—Montrose Harbor, Chicago
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Nikon D300; f4.0 @ 1/125sec, ISO 1100 (handheld);
18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 27mm (40mm EFL); subject distance 10.59m

A barren tree in a field after winter's first snow.

First Snow—Montrose Point, Chicago
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Nikon D300; f5.6 @ 1/180sec, ISO 200 (handheld);
18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 26mm (39mm EFL); subject distance 5.96m

Just the other day, we had our first snowfall of the season and it was a delight to explore.

These trees were photographed in one of my favorite locations on Lake Michigan, the first at sunrise off the harbor and the second about an hour later in a nature sanctuary nearby.

Driving in the dark on roads not yet plowed with snow still falling was…surprisingly peaceful! Few were in such a hurry as to risk wasting time with an accident report, and the neighborhoods decorated with Christmas lights were so pretty to view along the way.

Sep 022010

Reflection of a tree in a puddle on asphalt.

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Captured in-camera from the street, but this time looking down.


Nikon D300; f/11.0 @ 1/125sec, ISO 280 (handheld);
18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 50mm (75mm EFL)

Dec 082009

Color swatch red Color swatch white Color swatch gray [¹]

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Just the other day…it snowed! Our first of the season. With no wind, early morning was a fairyland.

These crabapple trees immediately caught my eye in a nearby park, where I happily spent 1½ hours taking photographs just after sunrise.

I’m learning to work with my gear in cold weather, to stay comfortable but also have the freedom to move:

  • Stow pack in the trunk of the car, but choose only 1 lens for the camera to carry along with the tripod. Stash cable release somewhere handy.
  • Handwarmers activated in outside pockets, but wear only silk gloves.
  • Inside pockets hold an extra battery and memory card, along with the closeup lens and/or polarizer, car keys, cell phone, memo pad, pencil, and business cards.
  • Water bottle stays in car; but maybe next time I’ll take a thermos of hot tea instead. 🙂

¹Colors of the day:

  • Red R:150 G:27 B:24
  • White R:124 G:216 B:218
  • Gray R:107 G:98 B:97