Changing The Settings or Macro And Zoom

november-14-2008-macro-118Recently there has been continued scrutiny of our blog photos and camera settings. To read about the camera comparisons click here. Finding the owner’s manual to the Canon online, many thanks to Christopher of Outside Clyde for sending that link, and Monica of Garden Faerie’s Musings’ message, we have diligently read and reread those technical words until we could make some small sense of them. The macro setting just needed a slight adjustment from fine to superfine. That made for a sharpness that pleases as shown in this shot of a deciduous azalea bud and leaves.november-14-2008-2x-034Another setting that was toyed with was the zoom setting. On 2x and the foliage selection on the dial-a-picture we traipsed about the garden on a foggy morning and just started clicking. The photos were a little blurry, but the colors were bright and the moodiness from the morning mists transporting. I have attempted to take  blog worthy pictures of the winterberry hollies under the yoshino cherry tree out front for several weeks. I like this one the best so far. One thing that stands out is the curtain effect of the weeping blue atlas cedar branches at the top right. Also the fence of neighbors Mae and Mickey across the street past the Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’. The Girard Rose azalea foliage is reddening, the rambunctous violets are going to sleep allowing the gold acorus grass to be noticed.  Chinese chestnut trees in the empty lot on the corner are still hanging on to yellowing leaves in the background.  While this is not a super sharp picture, it’s not even a slightly sharp picture, it best conveys what the eye really sees, kind of a dreamy scene of wavy color.november-14-2008-2x-027No photography post could be complete with a little muhly grass. This is the same vantage point as the picture in the Arachnomuhly post with different conditions. Still the same 2x weird setting with clouds and no sunlight, fog and a dreamscape feel.november-14-2008-2x-023The Muhlenbergia capillaris just won’t give up the stage!  The red in the background is a small dogwood and the yellow is the Forest Pansy redbud.november-14-2008-2x-043The final few leaves on the Crimson Queen Japanese maple are brighter than ever. The Stipa tenuissima waves happily from the corner slope.november-14-2008-2x-013Arizona cypress fronted by blue blooming rosemary showing the trunks of the tall pines and a glimpse of the arborvitae hedge is an evergreen empire. Golden tips of Chamaecyparis ‘Crippsii’ peak into the screen from the right.november-14-2008-2x-009The last leaves of the Summer Wine ninebark contrast with the Karl Foerster grass, a small butterfly bush standard to the left and the fading purple feather grass on the right. The white pole looking thing is the trunk of a red leaf birch, finally of an age to have the bark interest. The same arborvitae hedge is showing here as in the photo previously viewed.november-14-2008-2x-003How much of this magic is the camera settings and how much is the foggy conditions, we may never know. There was something about the romantic wistfulness of the gauzy look that appealed to our senses though. The pee gee hydrangea standard stood out against the blurred green background nicely.november-14-2008-macro-006Then we switched back to macro.
To anyone interested, we have decided to NOT get a new camera just now. I know, bad for the economy, but we really don’t need it at present. We do need to learn more about using the cameras we have and will be doing that in the coming months. Thanks so much for all those wonderful comments full of advice and nice words.

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35 Responses to Changing The Settings or Macro And Zoom

  1. gittan says:

    i think you made the right desition about keeping the cameras you have. Those pictures looks great! I didn’t know that the red leaf birch existed. I’t always nice to learn something new. And about you comment about the Walnut-tree I must say this. In Sweden these trees are exotic and not so usual. They don’t like the cold weather we have up north, but I live in zone 1 in the south, so that’s why it grows well in my garden. We dosn’t have those sguarells either so there wont be more than the tree somebody planted here long ago.

    Hi Gittan, thanks. That birch is a very slow grower but I think it has finally sent enough roots down to get going. It needs more water than our drought has given it the last couple of years and I finally figured out to give it extra. You are very lucky not to have squirrels, they are quite destructive at our place.

    I could not read your Stormy Weather post today, no English showing, sorry, so I cannot comment. Hope you are feeling better.

  2. Cindy says:

    I am going to have to check out the manual for my Canon now to see how to change some of these settings. I really like that 2nd photo. The composition is fantastic and the misty morning really allows the colors to pop.

    Hi Cindy, thanks so much. That second photo is pleasing to me even though it is poorly focused. The owner’s manual had lots of info about the settings, too much really for my little weak brain to digest, so I decided to just try one or two things at a time, go out and shoot a bunch of photos and write down the results. Now that is the part I forgot to do, write down what the settings were BEFORE going out! I did remember the 2x though, so funny. Do as I say, not as I do!

  3. Gail says:

    Frances, Inquiring minds wanted to know! I do believe you made the right choice…your photographs are delightful. I love the macro setting on the deciduous azalea is splendid! When we can see the fine hairs on a leaf…well, that is excellent macro shooting! You garden is an ethereal beauty in the fog …especially the Practically Perfect Pink Muhly. I would loved to have been sitting at The Financier’s desk and looking out when the sun rose on the fog. Gail ps I do need a new camera, but mine is losing some of its functions!

    Good morning Gail, thanks. The Financier was pretty happy with that decision of no new camera too, HA. There was a beautiful sunrise yesterday and there was a pretty good photo taken of it but since I just showed a sunrise recently it will wait for another post. The muhly by the driveway is still looking great. It has been windy here and forecast for that all week. The muhly is waving at me in the kitchen. Loved the fog but am ready for some SUN! Have fun choosing that new camera.

  4. Dear Frances…I told you so 🙂 It most interesting to read about and look at your photos. I remember the first time I went into your garden it was wonderful and almost magical./ Tyra

    Hi Tyra, how sweet you are! Thanks for those kind words. You were right about the camera, I just needed larger print to read and understand the manual. Well, maybe not totally understand it, but see well enough to change settings and more importantly, how to change them back! 🙂

  5. tina says:

    No camera needed, get some more plants instead:) I have found a PG I am willing to make into a standard. Of course I am making new gardens, moving others and had to move it anyhow. I am so excited to try it out and hope it one day looks like yours. Your color is great.

    Hi Tina, thanks. No new plants needed here either, blasphemy, I know. 🙂 But we might see something one of these days. Good deal on the pee gee. You will have fun training it. Remember to get a VERY strong metal stake that is at least six feet tall. You will be pruning and tying the main stem for a while, but they grow so fast, watch out for the tie or wire binding the stem. That happened to me as I didn’t realize how quickly the stem thickened up so check it regularly. I know it is hard to cut away all those good side stems too, but you must train a leader and cut everything else off. After that you just keep cutting the side shoots and pruning the top to make it bushy. Have fun with it!

  6. READ the manual? Hmm….now, there’s a recommendation that I should follow! LOL

    I love the wispy, misty setting. Stunning as always. I do believe that you will single-handedly be the cause for a pink muhly explosion in popularity!


    Hi Cameron, thanks. That was my take exactly about reading the manual. Then when I tried to read it the print was so small a magnifying glass was needed. Hard to digest techey stuff like that. Seeing it full page online made it so much easier, though it is still not easy. Who writes these things? 🙂

    It does seem like I am a cheerleader for the muhly, doesn’t it? It has performed so well this year, better than ever, or is it just the blogging that makes me think that?

  7. linda says:

    Hi Frances, reading the manual. . . why didn’t I think of that! Digital cameras sure have come a long way from their inferior beginnings. Your photos are wonderful. The fog adds a sense of mystery and romance to these shots.

    Hi Linda, thanks. I joked about needing to read the manual too, as it turns out I really did need to read it, although it it hard to comprehend some of it. When there is fog out, I run with the camera and click, click, click. The best is when the sun is just coming up and illuminates through the fog, but that is so rare here.

  8. Good work Frances. Now all you need is a tripod for that sharp, crisp focus in your ethereal fogginess. In that kind of light the automatic shutter speed slows down and any tiny movement of the hands can make things a bit blurry. In my case with shaky hands to begin with, it can be a lot blurry.

    Your previous camera post got me playing with my camera. I borrowed the unused tripod upstairs and have been doing night time shots, well after dark, by adjusting the shutter speed to up to 3.2 seconds. They appear in the posts After Dark and Chapter Two. Even with a tripod you have to be careful when you press the shutter button and any wind makes blurry too.

    The wind is my nemesis. Right now it is 20 degrees and very breezy with light snow flurries.

    Hi Christopher, thanks. I do have a really good tripod that we bought for our first video camera many years ago. It is just such a pain to drag it around the garden. I can barely slow down enough to focus on those macro shots. I get all hopped up about everything and spaz out. Of course my hands are shaky too. For many bird shots I do use the tripod since I aim at the bird feeders and can get it all set up, then wait. I am a terrble waiter. Your night shots sound interesting. Good for illustrating scary stories. It is so windy and cold here too, only slightly warmer, in the thirties, but the sun is finally shining. If the wind subsides for a moment I will run out with the tripod and give it a go.

  9. Rose says:

    With photos like these, I wouldn’t spend the money for a new camera either, Frances! I love the hazy photos–they cloak your garden in mystery. I can almost see the fairies peeking out from their hiding places.

    Ah, there’s the Muhly grass! I wondered if it was still blooming.

    Hi Rose, thanks. I love it when there is mystery out there. I think that muhly grass is putting on a show just for the blog, it never has looked this good for this long a time period.

  10. You’ve got some lovely, atmospheric photos. Reading the manual is good advice. I should do that. Using a tripod is also really good advice that I should follow too. These are a great couple of posts.

    Hi MMD, thanks. I really did read every word of the manual except the movie making part and printing part. The tripod would be great for the longer shots of the garden. I will try it out.

  11. Frances,
    The photos you take always look fantastic! I agree with a few of the others that the cameras you have are doing a pretty darn good job. It really has been interesting to see through your eye the seasonal transition of your garden from summer to fall. Nature really is so awesome!

    Hi Karrita, thanks so much for those sweet words. Nature gets all the credit for my photos, so much artistry in the world around us. Even in winter. And you are quite the artist yourself!

  12. Chloe.M says:

    Fairegarden, indeed! Absolutely gorgeous photography, especially of the grasses against the rising mist.

    Chloe M.

    Hi Chloe, thanks. Please know we are thinking of your family at this time of devastating fires in California.

  13. Dave says:

    Those are some very ethereal looking photos. The fog really enhances the pictures and gives them a unique quality. The cypress and rosemary is a neat combination!

    Hi Dave, thanks. The arizona cypress is so blue, it is a wintry scene by itself. We bought two last year to help give some privacy at the corner of the arbor from the close house next door. They get tall but stay slender. Love the rosemary too, what a tough plant and so cheaply available in spring with the herb offerings.

  14. Amy says:

    I love your misty garden photos. That grass is truly wonderful! I really need to sit down and read my camera manual and experiment a bit.

    Hi Amy, thanks. I think your photos are wonderful now, but reading the manual might open a door to new delights! Love Blossom, BTW.

  15. Brenda Kula says:

    Your photo-taking skills are always so hauntingly beautiful. I love the mysterious foggy or misty effect. It does transport one to another place entirely.

    Hi Brenda thanks for those sweet words. The garden was otherworldly that day.

  16. Jean says:

    Way to go Frances – good decision to stay with what works. And like others have said, reading the manual is not a bad idea either! LOL. The macro shot of the azalea is really something else. Since your post about the two cameras, I’ve gone back to using my little old HP Photosmart R818 for macro shots. Saves me the expense of buying a macro lens for my Canon. 🙂

    Hi Jean, thanks. Saving money on cameras means we can buy other stuff, like greenhouses! :-)Frances

  17. What a great post! I need to learn more about my camera also (Olympus Evolt 510) I love the macro world. I had never looked at my garden in quite that way till this camera. It gives me a whole new appreciation for the complexity of nature!

    My dear Kim, thank you so much. I need to learn about courage and strength in the face of life’s onslaughts from you.

    The macro is a whole new world. I just entered it last March, not knowing my Kodak even could do such a thing.


  18. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Frances, I can’t wait to see how your pictures improve with your learning how to select the settings you need. I think you have made a wise choice to put off purchasing a new camera until you use up your present camera. It is a good one for what you are photographing. Just look at these lovely photos. I think that fog always gives a picture a veil of suspense and a feeling that there is more to what the eye can see.

    Hi Lisa, thanks so much. I like that idea of using up the camera. I figured it would be the same for a new one too, without reading the book and trying all the settings, who knows what it can do? So much more needs to be learned about shutter speeds and f stops, I know the words, not what they do for certain conditions. Still very much a novice. But you can’t go wrong with fog! 🙂

  19. Cinj says:

    Bad for the economy, great for your pocketbook! I think that’s a wise choice. Your pictures are great too. I haven’t ever really taken the time to fully get to know my cameras either, I suppose it’s a common mistake.

    Hi Cinj, thanks so much and hang in there. The economy is just going to have to do without me buying a new camera right now. It is so easy to not look at the book. If you can get the camera to take a picture you figure you don’t need to read it, or will read it later. I did it too.

  20. Kathleen says:

    You definitely do not need a new camera Frances! That photo of the azalea bud is incredible. Shooting in macro mode is very addictive… I love the “gauzy” look and feel of the zoom photos too tho. and that pink muhly is just too much. going and going and going.

    Hi Kathleen, thanks for reaffirming my decision, and you take such wonderful photos yourself too. Macro is too fun, but I have to remember to take the long shots of the garden too, for my records and to show the real garden on the blog. That muhly has been such a joy for so long, we’ll see what the next stage looks like. 🙂

  21. Patsi says:

    What vibrant colors!!
    My “macro” setting stinks. Got great macro pics with my first cheap camera. Go figure.

    Hi Patsi, thanks. The fog does wonders with the light. It seems that the lesser cameras do sometimes have the better macro. Funny isn’t it?

  22. Ratty says:

    Your camera stories, especially this one, are inspiring me to actually read the manual on my own camera. I know the camera can do much better than what I have been getting.

    Hi Ratty, that is exactly what I had hoped to do. Others had told me to try reading the book and I thought they were joking about it! Turns out that the book has some useful info even for the technically challenged like me. BTW, that was an exciting tale about your walk in the snowy woods!

  23. Barbarapc says:

    During university we were sent into the lab to make and load a pin-hole camera, then out on campus to take photos – it was amazing what we did. I’m guilty of not spending enough time considering my framing, the light and just how interesting the image is – providing all the features are working, I suppose none of us really needs a new camera. Good on you for really working through this and sharing with us. Also, got a hint from a professional photographer once about reforatting the disk frequently – did notice an improvement in images on some of my older disks.

    Hi Barbara, thanks for that tidbit. I did see and read about reformatting the card and didn’t really understand it but will now go back and give it a try. I do take lots and lots and lots of photos and always erase them when loading them on the computer. Then I delete them from the computer if they are not good enough. An improvement in images is just the carrot I need to do it! Thanks.

    BTW, I keep meaning to tell you that you are adding an extra *http://* to your url when you leave the comment and I fix it everytime, if you would like to adjust the way you write it. There must already be that part there.


  24. Jen says:

    Whatever you did, the shots are lovely. The colors are stunning. What a joy to read your post today.

    Hi Jen, thanks so much and welcome. So glad you enjoyed it. I thought your chevy versus ford story was a classic! 🙂

  25. Oh Wow! This gets better and better. Some of these photos are breathtaking – so atmospheric! Fiddling with the settings is certainly turning out to be worth doing. Remembering what you did each time will be an even greater challenge! Esther

    Hi Esther, thanks, that is high praise indeed coming from you. You have certainly hit upon the pointed part, writing down the settings BEFORE taking the photos instead of trying to remember them. I am a pretty good record keeper, being an accountant type, it’s the remembering to do it part that will be toughest.

  26. DP says:

    The Cameras that you have do take wonderful photos. I have a cheap little thing, nothing fancy, for my photos–which is why sometimes they are so fuzzy. I’m thinking of investing more in a nicer, more professional camera at some point!

    The garden still looks beautiful, even though the colors are turning!

    Hi DP, thanks. I see that there are lots of good cameras for less than $200. That last windy cold snap took care of most of the leaves left on the trees. It looks pretty wintry even though I have left the stalks of perennials standing.


  27. Frances, your photos are lovely and the superfine setting is great. The foggy photos are magical. They transport me to your place. I think your cameras are just fine.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks so much, the current cameras will do the job for us for now. I would love for you to be transported to my garden, by magic or vehicle. 🙂

  28. chuck b. says:

    Beautiful colors!

    Hi Chuck, thanks, the conditions were good that day.

  29. Pam/Digging says:

    I’ve been wanting a spot for an Arizona cypress or two. I didn’t know they would grow that far east. Your pics look great.

    Hi Pam, thanks. I brought two of those trees with me from Houston. They were moved several times, killing one and the other finally grew too large for the spot and sadly had to be cut down. I was surprised to see them at a Home Depot in a town slightly south of us, not cheap but I love the color so much they came to live here anyway. They should be allowed to grow as tall as they want, some books say forty feet!, but I don’t know the cultivar these are. They will make a nice screen, their best use I think. You need some!

  30. skeeter says:

    Wow, your pictures are great! I need to play with my camera settings! When would I have time to get out the book? I have not been able to blog in two days due to no time! argggg.

    Hi Skeeter, thanks. It does help to allow yourself time to study the book with camera in hand. Be sure and write down the settings you have used BEFORE you go outside and try them out. You will have time one of these days. 🙂

  31. joey says:

    Lovely compositions, Frances. I’m most impressed with your creative eye. Fog is a photographer’s best friend, don’t you agree?

    Hi Joey, thanks so much for those nice words. When I see we are going to have fog, I am out the door at first light, or even before, for it rarely lasts long. It adds so much to the atmosphere in the photos and in real life too.

  32. Frances-Unbelievable beauty!

    Hi Shirley, thanks so much.

  33. Beautiful photos full of color cloaked with a little drama from the fog. Now I’m inspired to get some muhly and dig out the manual for my camera!

    Hi Karla, thanks and welcome. Both of those sound like good ideas!

    I cannot find your blog url to give you a link in my blogroll. The one you have left does not work and seems incomplete.


  34. Shibaguyz says:

    We love love love these photos… Jason handles all that stuff around here… I wouldn’t understand most of what you all do with those things! LOL

    Hi Guyz, thanks. Sometimes I get lucky with the photos, but reading the owner’s manual has made a big difference. Believe me when I say that I am not at all techy, but old dogs can be taught new tricks!

  35. Lzyjo says:

    Hi Frances, your photos are great as always, I don’t think you need a new camera either. The clarity is really very nice, especially the first azalea bud photo. The colors are also great, despite the fog the colors really pop, to great effect. I love the red and maroon, of the frost kissed foliage.

    It’s funny how many different setting they put in a camera. I don’t bother going very far with the adjustments. I’m going to read my manual right now.

    Hi Izyjo, thanks, I am having fun checking out the settings. There are still way more settings than Iwill ever have the need for, but reading the manual has opened some venues to take better and different types of photos. Good luck finding out about yours.

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