The Test Run

Zoo MAX Line“Be prepared”, that’s my motto! Yeah, right! Remember last week when I trusted the TriMet Trip Planner online to take me to the VA Medical Center? It lead me down a cow path that about caused a coronary. I learned a lesson from that so I plotted the next trip by myself. The plan involved me boarding a Blue Line MAX train to Gresham, stopping at Pioneer Square in downtown Portland and walking one block to pick up the #8 TriMet bus to the VA Hospital.

This time everything went smoothly. I did a test run yesterday by going to the zoo first, doing my thing and then instead of boarding the train back home I continued into Portland and picked up the #8 bus to the VA Medical Center. I was approximately on the same schedule I need to take June 01 when my appointment there is scheduled for real. I had fun once I arrived because I quickly found the cafeteria and enjoyed a great lunch that included Lasagna, corn and a dinner roll and a diet drink all for around $5. It was delicious, filling and inexpensive. You see this is also part of the plan for next Monday because my liver test requires fasting for at least 4 hours before that test. I’ll be hungry when I’m released so why not do lunch there? Total cost of the mass transit trip and lunch is $7. It works for me!

Choo Choo #1

I’d forgotten about a couple of photos I took yesterday at the zoo. They were on my tiny camera setup which is a Fuji X-E1 with a 27mm F/2.8 pancake lens aboard. I carry it for quick wide angle shots where I don’t want to be switching lenses. The photo below was certainly in that category as the engineer was about to take off from the station with a full load of eager passengers aboard. I quickly leaned over the fence (removed) and snapped half a dozen shots to make sure I got the steam pouring out of the engine, a nice touch. 27mm works out to a 42mm lens in 35mm film days. It’s sort of the perfect carry around snapshot lens being shorter than the “nifty 50″ and longer than the standard 35,, wide angle that film buffs used to carry. Back then if you really wanted a wide angle you bought the 28mm lens for a few more bucks. The equivalent in digital cropped sensor days is the 18mm you get on most of the “kit” lenses like 18-55mm zoom. That equates to a 27-83mm in 35mm film days. Confused yet? The crop factor for an APS-C sensor is 1.5 so you multiply your digital focal length by that to get the 35mm equivalent focal length.

Anyway the train shot was kinda cool because you’ve got the dramatic steam coming out everywhere. the water tower in the background and the engineer hanging out the cabin with his hand on that throttle ready to go. Voila! One cool steam locomotive photograph!

Choo Choo #1

Two Of My Flowers Photos Identified

It was so exciting yesterday to bump into one of the gardeners at the Oregon Zoo. He was putting in new potted flowers in an arrangement near the Porcupine exhibit. I pulled out my Nexus 7 tablet and he nailed the identification for two of my mystery flowers.

Celosia Caracas 01The first is known as a celosia caracas. Celosia is a small genus of edible and ornamental plants in the amaranth family,  Amaranthaceae. The generic name is derived from the Greek word κηλος (kelos), meaning “burned,” and refers to the flame-like flower heads. Species are commonly known as wool flowers, or, if the flower heads are crested by fasciation, cockscombs. The plants are well known in East Africa’s highlands and are used under their Swahili name, mfungu.

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Pulmonaria Lungwort 01

The second flowering plant is a type of groundcover that produces beautiful tiny pastel flowers. I can’t recall another flowering species that has different colors on the same plant. These have been placed all over the zoo grounds and are known as Pulmonaria Lungwort. Hey, I just write them down, I don’t make these up. LOL

Capturing Their Soul

Portraiture is an artform that takes time to develop. It’s a skill that requires you to be patient, to wait for the emotion to show up on their face. I’m not a patient person in so many ways but for some unknown reason I’ve developed the ultimate in patience when it comes to portraits. It’s no secret that I love animals so I observe them in many moods and capture their changes.

Capturing Their Soul

SERENDIPITY PHOTO STORY PROMPT – 2015 #7

I read Marilyn’s Photo Prompt Challenge this week and was inspired to place an entry. Marilyn is one of my blogging heroes who talked me out of the photographic forum world into blogging over two years ago. Her blog can be found at: http://teepee12.com/author/teepee12.

Two years ago I attended the 1st Annual Renaissance Festival held in nearby Hillsboro, Oregon. It’s a 5 minute drive from where I now live. The photo below was from that first event and I was instantly smitten with the charm and endless photo opportunities involved in medieval garb, language and fun.

One of the entertainers at the festival was this little girl all dressed up in her layered outfit that was basically there just to look adorable and have fun. She was accompanied by her grandmother. I spotted the little girl bending down to pick up something magical as part of the act being played out and captured her efforts. She was quite the little actress because in reality there was nothing there on the ground for her to pick up. In post processing the image I decided to use Photoshop magic and create a glowing pearl from nothingness to place between her fingertips. I love the way the shot turned out. I doubt many could tell the pearl doesn’t exist. :) This will always be one of my favorite photographs taken Sept 8, 2013. I had just purchased my Fuji X-E1 and used my 18-55mm FG/2.8-4.0 lens for this shot. ISO 200, F/13, 1/300″

RF 11

Leftover From Rice NW Rock & Mineral Museum

I still managed to process one more photo from my last visit to the museum with my photography student, Annette. I liked the fact that I was able to get the name tag in the frame so you can see the variety of rock being placed on display. I still have the entire month of June to return for free should I want to make more trips. It’s so close to where I live don’t be surprised if the light is right that I might have another go at it. Free is hard to beat.

This specimen was interesting as I could image the scene representing a snow capped mountain range with forests of wintery pine high in the mountains.

Rock Globe #2

Like Mutt & Jeff

These two Fulvous Whistler duck were hilarious to watch as they mirrored their head movement at least 3 times as I continued to shoot. Unfortunately the focus changed during those movements while I had the camera in continuous shooting mode. This was the only frame that passed muster otherwise I would have had a great series for Cee’s Which Way challenge.

Mutt & Jeff

Watching The Watchers

There was quite a crowd on Memorial day with a huge contingent of kids in attendance. I didn’t care because I’m used to your average bunch of loud obnoxious children screaming and pushing their way around the different venues. Boys are generally trying to impress the girls with their entice trying to imitate the orangutan they’re watching. On a purely intellectual level I think Inji has them beat.

This was a tough shot to take and process because of the extreme low light that day. I pulled it off but didn’t get as much detail in the shadows as I normally like. Inji cooperated by holding relatively still for me. This was right at my limit for handheld shots at ISO 6400, F/8, 1/30″.

Watching The Watchers

New Train Ride Ever Popular

I haven’t taken the new train ride yet but I can hear all the talk about it and watch the excited visitors waiting in line to board one of the passenger cars. That was my clue to hurry to the overlooking bridge walkway and get the best standing spot for photos. I’d only get a few shots on each run so I made them count. The idea being to wait for the engineer to blow his steam engine whostle so I could get the puff of white smoke in the frame. As usual my Fuji X-E1 was set up for continuous shooting at 6 frames a second. I was hand holding the camera with my favorite 55-200mm F/3.5-4.8 lens aboard. The lens has 3 F-stop Optical Image Stabilization to steady the camera. My holding technique is good so I can shoot down to about 1/25″. In this case I had a solid handrail for support if I needed to use it. I didn’t. I shot these at ISO 1600, F/10, at 1/110″. I wanted to get the whole train in sharp focus.

I posted a second version of photo #2 where I went back into Photoshop to try and pull more detail out of the conductor’s cab. I did a fair job as now I can tell he was looking to his left and also notice the length of his hair and type of clothing he had on. Notice I did this without affecting anything else in that photo. That’s the power & capability of NIK’s Viveza 2 plug-in software.

Zoo Train From Bridge #1

Zoo Train From Bridge #2

Version #2

Zoo Train From Bridge #2a