f22

This weekend I was casting around (internally) for a fresh approach to my favorite neighborhood photographic destination — the woodland parkland just a few blocks away from my house in Old Lake Highlands (Dallas, TX).

White Rock natural area, off Van Dyke at Brookhurst in Dallas

White Rock natural area, off Van Dyke at Brookhurst in Dallas

IMG_4394-Edit

Direct sunlight – not good for artistic studies.

I had the thought of doing a study of the miraculously sculptural branches of local crepe myrtle trees, some of which are found down at Norbuck Park beyond the densely wooded zone.

To make this work, I thought about using a very small aperture in my exposures to create the maximum depth of field. I decided (in the day-before planning stages) to carry along a tripod and cable release to make such work more manageable.

But come the morning of the shoot, the lighting conditions (bright sunlight) seemed less than conducive to such a study. So instead, I decided on a sort of themed photo outing – I’d call it “f22” and use that aperture for all images taken that day.

The resulting images are posted here — some of which were shot from the tripod (the HDR ones) — and all of which were exposed at higher-than-typical ISO for the daylight conditions (640 or 500). On the tripod mounted shots, I went so far as to delve into the 5D Mk11’s dense custom settings menus in order to find the mirror lockup option. (It took me literally 5-7 minutes to finally find it, though I have been there many times before. Thanks a lot Canon.)

Old Soldier (HDR 3-image merge; 2 stop intervals)

Old Soldier (HDR 3-image merge; 2 stop intervals)

I chose the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens — which I almost never carry in the field, due to the versatility and excellent sharpness of the zoom lenses in my kit — because a) I spent good money on the thing as a replacement for the 1.8 “nifty fifty” several years back, and b) I thought the limitation of the fixed focal length went along well with the discipline of the theme I had chosen. Having to move around a bit to position the focal plane seemed like an instructive compositional exercise in itself.

Ghost dance

Ghost dance

In the post processing stage, I was vividly reminded about something I once knew in regard to photos of the sky taken at miniscule apertures: they’re great at showing dust particles on your sensor. Even though the 5DII employs a self-cleaning system (which, as I understand it, shakes the sensor every time the camera is actuated), I still discovered several nasty little dust spots. In the images where they were most apparent (at high magnification) I removed them with PS’s spot repair tool. No big deal.

Mixed hardwood. HDR (3-image merge, 2-stop intervals)

Mixed hardwood. HDR (3-image merge, 2-stop intervals)

Rather a fun expedition, and a definite learning process — plus a reminder of lessons already learned. I highly recommend some sort of themed photo exercise for your next camera-in-hand outing.

Wizard wind

Wizard wind

The morning wash

The morning wash

Intersection Z

Intersection Z

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2 thoughts on “f22

  1. NIce shots – love the convoluted pattern of the roots.

    I’ve been to Norbuck Park many times – mostly watching my son run cross country meets there, when he was in high school. I did some shots of the Crepe Myrtles in the Arboretum recently (will put the blog entry up sometime soon). I love the look of Crepe Myrtles in the winter.

    Thanks for sharing.

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