My first assignment is to practice working quickly with the light during sunrise or sunset. The trick is to try to take a variety of pictures quickly to capture the changing shades, hues and warmth of the light as the sun either sinks or rises toward the horizon. Since I am rarely capable of getting up early on my days off, most of my photography time lately has been during sunset, as these photos demonstrate (each one was taken on a different evening over the past month). Fortunately, sunsets here at the Well can be spectacular.
(1/50, f18, ISO 800, Canon 18-55mm lens, focal length 33mm)
Even better than the light on the clouds right at sunset is the the light filtering in through the sycamore trees in the picnic area in the 15-20 minutes preceding sunset. The warmth of that light makes the white bark of the sycamore trees glow. Our crappy point-and-shoot was never able to really capture what this really looks like. But our new camera can...
(1/320, f5.0, ISO 400, Sigma 70-300mm lens, focal length 168mm)
As an added bonus, the fact that we live in a national park unit means there tends to be an abundance of wildlife around. Including a pair of Great Horned Owls that seem to enjoy patrolling this stand of sycamores almost every evening. This evening we made it into the picnic area just in time for the light to be nearly perfect. And one of the owls decided to stick around. But the damn owl is still fuzzy! Arrrghhhh..this is frustrating.
(1/200, f5.6, ISO 400, Sigma 70-300mm lens, focal length 190mm)
I'm sure I'll take many more photos of the evening light here at the Well as time goes on (in a little over a month I've already taken over 1400 pictures with this camera). But these have been three of the highlights so far.
We also had what I am assuming was an immature black widow spider hanging out with some captured harvester ants on our garage door this morning. I'm not entirely sure that it's not a male, though. It was pretty darn small (note the size of the ants next to it). But in the second picture you can definitely make out an hourglass shape on the underside of its abdomen, albeit this one is biege rather than red. I'm not sure if male widows have that or not.
This spider looks deceptively huge in these pictures (this camera kicks butt at macro photography!). But remember, that big blob of stuff next to it is a collection of three ants tied together.
And there is the hourglass. I ended up moving her off of the garage door, though, to a quite little shrub out of the way of curious dog noses. Even itsy-bitsy black widows pack quite a punch.