June – weeks 1 and 2

After getting back from Morocco (see postings below) the first of June I needed to do a little catch up at work so I am offering you just two images for weeks one and two of June.

The Santa Cruz Arboretum had a huge collection of South African Proteas that are usually in full bloom beginning in mid Winter and still showing through June.  Although the grasses around them at this time of year are burning off the bushes themselves are lush.  In addition the proteas there are many other options including humming birds, rabbits and cacti.   The California native garden is very accessible.  See http://arboretum.ucsc.edu/

This image is the leucadendrons, also members of the Proteaceae (a name inspired by the Greek god Proteus, master of disguise). Indeed the leucadendrons are well-known for their dazzling variety in foliage form and color and are choice favorites of cut-flower growers. The whole blossom resembles a pincushion, which turns out to be the plant’s common name.

I wanted to capture the feel of the color of this particular orange and red round protea.  I choose to use a 100-400 mm lens at 400 with a shallow depth of field (f/5.6) so that the proteas behind the bud would quickly go out of focus.  I needed to ad  a 12mm extension tube in order to get this close.

My second image is simple – sea snails at low tide.  Using a macro lens I was able to get in close to the subject.  I felt the fourth snail in the upper right hand of the image added to the composition although you often look for groups of three and five to make a dynamic presentation.

These small snails are actually slowly moving at times so I needed to keep them still while taking a 1/15 of a second exposure.  I shot at f/16 for the depth of field.  Using a diffuser to keep the light even I needed the slower shutter speed.  If you tap the snail on the top of her shell she will stay still long enough to make the exposure.

Sometimes the snail shells are inhabited by hermit crabs and they run away before you have taken your shot.  No kidding!  They may not be huge game animals, but they still move!  Occasionally, like on this particular day, I set out at low tide and challenge myself to not photograph the sea stars and anemones.  I am drawn to them so often that I over look all the other gems!

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