October 2017 Flowers and the Nikon P900

On any given year, readers of this blog would be treated to a slew of flower photos in posts that span the timeframe between June and October. That was the case for most years of this blog’s existence with the majority of photos coming from the flower beds at what used to be our house in Monument, Colorado. 

Those who miss my regular flower posts can easily find them either by clicking on the category that’s under the “Photography” topic on my menu (right under the header photo) or by making use of the calendar function on the side and picking any summer months or by choosing “flowers” from the category cloud on the sidebar. 

With a few exceptions, most of the flower shots were macros shot with my D7000 and either my 70-200mm f/2.8 or my 105mm f/2.8 macro lens. The exceptions are shots from my phone, the Samsun Note II (yes, I’m way behind the times; the Note 8 just came out, but I tend to resist the temptation to own the latest and newest when what I have still works). 

Of course, I now also have the Nikon P900, and I once again went out to test it out in the midday sun, here in Hawaiʻi.

There is a SmugMug gallery for these shots HERE where one can get down to the pixel level. The gallery at the bottom of this post or clicking on any photo will get you a version with the maximum side length of 1280 pixels. The galleries (either one) is probably the best way to look at the 101 photos I took. 

Don’t worry, I won’t put all of them in the body of this post . . . probably. 

I’ll not identify any of the flowers. Life is too short and I no longer feel I have the time to research stuff, but if you have an interest, here’s a reference you can use. Really, there aren’t that many different flowers in this post. I say, just enjoy what they look like. 

The above shot uses the hood of my car for a background. Those are flowers from trees in Wal-Mart’s parking lot. I’m showing only a few of the many shots I took because many are repetitive, but all of them will be in the gallery at the end. 

I think I’m getting better at capturing photos with the P900 . . . as I should, having cycled more than 8,000 photos through it.

These photos are a mix of macros (shot within a few inches from the flowers) and zooms (zooming on flowers that are 10-15 feet off the ground). I’ve minimally cropped the photos for balance and composition and they’ve been processed using ON1 Effects 10.5 module. I debated using the Nick Collection modules, but it’s easier running batch jobs using ON1.

There are two kinds of these flowering trees in the parking lot; the ones producing the white/yellow flowers and the ones producing a mix the includes orange and reds. 

I was pleased with almost all of my shots. I think I dumped three photos (less than 3% of the photos I took) and this on a windy day, hand-held, and occasionally holding the camera well away from me and making use of the articulated screen to frame the photos. 

The ones I got rid of were because the camera focused on something other than what I wanted, and this happened most often when holding the camera at odd angles. 

True, at the pixel level you don’t get consistent sharpness like I might achieve with the macro lens, but I’m happy with these. 

Here are a few more of these flowers . . . 

The comment I’m about to make on these next two shots is subjective . . . 

I’ve always had a problem with shooting busy scenes. Things tend to blend together and I’m rarely happy with the differentiation between the individual components of a busy scene. However, I’m pleased with those two shots, especially considering the harsh midday sun.

Plus, I’m fairly certain I would not have done as well in capturing the above shot. That’s at the top of a tree, probably 10-12 feet above me. I would have been able to take the photo with the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, but that means swapping lenses and that means carrying my 15-pound bag of photo gear. 

Plus, I’m consistently happy with the macros from this camera. That second shot is from this next cactus.

That’s a case of a busy scene sort of blending into a mishmash of visual information that is not differentiated enough to make it striking. Different lighting might have helped here. 

A different cactus gave me these flowers . . . 

As I was shooting these flowers, I saw an interesting succulent about forty feet away . . . 

The neat thing is I didn’t have to walk up to it and after I snapped the photo, I went back to shooting macros.

. . . including this faux petroglyph . . . 

. . . and this interesting lava texture . . . 

I was worried some of the brighter flowers (yellow and orange and red) would get blown out, but . . . 

I was pleasantly surprised with how this next shot turned out because the subject was backlit. 

Here’s the side view . . . 

Those darker bits are remnants of flowers. I think I managed one photo when they were flowering, but it’s with the phone and I don’t feel like looking for it right now. 

Next up, another busy scene . . . 

Probably because of the harsh light, but the rendering of this in a photo doesn’t have the same impact as seeing them in person. I played with various settings but didn’t get any better than the above. Perhaps if I did area-centric adjustments instead of global one, or if I tweaked individual colors instead of the overall tonality, I might get better results. But, as I typically don’t spend much time adjusting photos, I settled on the above as a compromise. Generally, I ignore these kinds of offerings and seldom try to shoot scenes containing lots of individual elements. 

Note, it’s not so much the number of elements in a photo, but the mishmash of different colors. This fairly busy shot turned out ok (I think) because the colors are relatively uniform, and also more vivid.

This is another composition with multiple elements and none of them really stands out, and hence the eyes don’t know what they are supposed to look at and consequently, the brain doesn’t have an anchor point around which to build an interest. 

Contrast the last photo with this next one which does have a clear subject and there’s nothing distracting us from it. 

Again, you can add related elements and still maintain a decent composition  . . . 

One could argue the smaller feature add to the interest because they offer a juxtaposition to the mature flower. 

I snapped this next shot because of the red flowers/fruits of the tree (these eventually go brown and won’t look as good). 

Wait . . . are those seed pods or new leaves? Oh, who cares? They’re red and that’s the important thing. 

Contrast these next two shots . . . 

One has a screaming face, but that’s not the important observation. What’s important is that zooming in a bit improved the second shot over the first. 

When shooting, I’m always looking out for interesting patterns or textures. This was shot before, but here’s another version of it.

As I get older, I suffer the burden of unwanted hair. At least, I don’t feel so bad when compared to that poor fellow. 

This is a large plant that was not here the last time I walked this path (Old Kona Airport).

It’s quite impressive as it stands nearly my height. Then again, that’s not much of a feat as I’m below average in height. 

The tree in its background also has a texture I plan to use . . . 

When we used to walk the park, we’d invariably get buzzed by one of these guys (or gals — it’s hard to tell).

I wanted more photos, but that was the only flower it landed on that bore its weight. Every other flower in the area bent almost to the ground, making it impossible to get a good shot. 

Notice the pollen all over it. 

This next one is also a difficult shot because of the bright flower and because it was backlit. Overall, the camera performed admirably. 

Here are more of what I call button flowers. I think someone identified them in a previous post, but I’m old and hence can be excused from remembering. 

And here’s an hibiscus (I hope that’s right — if not, here’s an orange and yellow flower with ruffles). 

Here’s a different one . . . if wondering why it’s cut off on the right side, it’s because I got too close and the shadow of the lens showed up on the right corner of the flower . . . so I trimmed it off. The flower lived as the operation was strictly digital. 

This next one is another impressive plant standing taller than yours truly. 

I’ll remind readers that this was shot in the middle of the day. I could have played with the photos more to give them drama and depth but I don’t mind showing them as they appeared. 

This is what the flowers look like up close.

We now get into the area of the walk where flowers give way to plants. I mean, there are flowers around, but one seems to notice the plants more than the flowers. 

In the background, you can see the old landing strip where we used to walk. I say “used to” because we’ve changed up our routine a bit. We now go to the gym for two hours a day. Well, we’re working our way back up to two hours. That’s what we were doing before we went on the cruise, but we decided — after having three weeks of lesser exercise and increased eating — to ease back into it. We’re at one hour and forty minutes a day, six days a week and after another week we should be able to get back to our two-hours routine. 

I played around with this next shot a bit because the gray trunk sort of blended in and got lost. I tweaked the photo to make it stand out a bit more. 

This next photo is here to illustrate an annoying problem with the P900 . . . 

Namely, it occasionally ignores me when I aim it at something I want in focus and instead decides something else deserves the spotlight. That’s a mobile made of brass or copper bells and I think it would have looked great with the mobile in focus and the background blurred. We’ll now never know.

I think those qualify as flowers, but before I look at them a bit closer, here’s another ornamental feature. This one came out in focus. 

Anyway, here’s that plant again. 

Around here is where I got a text from Melisa that she was almost done so I started to make my way back to the car. 

Remember earlier I said we’d not been walking for a long while? Well, I wondered how my plant was doing. OK, no longer my plant since I abandoned it, but . . . 

I was pleased to see them. We exchanged a few pleasantries and then they asked me how come I’d stopped watering them, and I looked at my wrist where I used to wear a watch and said something like “Look at the time, I got to go” to which they replied “You’re not even wearing a watch” and I waved as I broke into a run and yelled back over my shoulder “What? Can’t hear you. Gotta go!”

Awkward. 

I did slow down on the way back to the car and snapped another pattern . . . 

And another flower. This one is very soft, which means I probably rushed the shot. 

This one is a little better, but still not quite sharp.

Finally, I’ll end with one that is not that great . . . but, I was surprised to see both fruits on the palm and them turning red . . . 

I should look up to see what kind of fruit it is and if it’s edible . . . but then, that whole “life is short” bit that I now use as an excuse to basically coast through life took hold of me. It’s a fruit; that’s all I know. 

I can’t very well end with that shot . . . I mean, it’s OK, but not great. Here’s one from years ago . . . 

Isn’t it weird? Flowers from my yard in Monument are more interesting than flowers here in Hawaiʻi. If you want to see more from my yard, click HERE.

Meanwhile, here’s the gallery of the photos from this post, all 101 of them. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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12 Responses to October 2017 Flowers and the Nikon P900

  1. renxkyoko says:

    Beautiful photos, disperser.

    Like

  2. oneowner says:

    These are all excellent shots. I’m curious if you are using and post-processing sharpening and/or noise reduction to get this level of quality. Also, is there a manual focus setting on the 900 if if so, is it any good?

    Like

    • disperser says:

      In ON1, I use a touch of HDR and some dynamic contrast. On the other B&W processors there are sliders for the various contrasts and I play with those. But, most of these were pretty sharp on their own even though I have the setting on the camera on minimal adjustments. For some of my ON1 settings I subsequently add a small amount of sharpening and noise reduction once back in Lightroom (15 and 15). I typically prefer the sharpening and noise reduction in Lightroom as a final touch.

      Some photos may require more if I’m bumping the exposure and shadows a whole lot. Some I don’t sharpen as it’s meant to duplicate film processing. On those, it depends on the overall look and the mood I’m in. If I’m reading the news, I leave everything grainy and dark and brooding.

      The manual setting allows you to set Aperture and Speed (ISO is controlled elsewhere). It works like my other Nikon where you change the values using different wheels or toggles. It’s a little awkward to use and not intuitive, so it always takes me a few moments to remember how to do it.

      With this camera, manual settings are a little dicey because I don’t use a hand-held light meter. I typically take a reading where I’m interested and then apply that reading as a manual setting, but the exposure reading doesn’t work as well unless I fix the ISO ( on the P900 I usually have ISO as a range of 100-800 with a minimum speed of 1/125 because it doesn’t have the dynamic range of my D7000). The camera tends to overcompensate for darker scenes (makes them really bright) to where I end up using the exposure adjustment by 1 to 1.5 EV. That’s one of the problems with shooting sunsets with this camera. It basically bumps the ISO and lowers speed to the point that it’s too bright and you lose a lot of the shadows.

      Really, every situation requires more intervention than with my D7000 but as I learn the camera, it’s not a bother when considering the advantage of one light camera with a fixed lens that’s easy to carry.

      Like

    • disperser says:

      Crap, I thought this was the B&W post . . . the answer stands for color as well as the B&W.

      I use some HDR and dynamic contrast and tonal contrast in whatever processor I use, and when I bring them back to Lightroom I do a final adjustment of exposure, clarity, sharpening, and noise reduction. Sharpening and noise reduction is usually the last thing I do. Again, these required very little adjustments as far as sharpness goes. I was impressed.

      Like

  3. Ah! Ooh! Oh! Beautiful, amazing photos, Emilio! Very cool shapes, patterns, textures, and colors you captured! :-)
    Good to see the little used-to-be-your plant is still thriving! (Awkward confrontation, indeed!)
    Love those flowers. all! All of them are so pretty, delicate, and colorful!
    A couple of those “dudes” be VERY hairy!
    One of my neighbors planted to flowering plants and the flower on them look very Hawaii-y to me. They are growing nicely. I should ask what kind of plants they are.
    HUGS!!! :-)

    Like

  4. mvschulze says:

    Really beautiful captures. You can’t deny it! M :-)

    Like

  5. AnnMarie says:

    This post has plenty of beauties, some that I’ve seen and enjoyed before and some new ones. I do like your individual flower pics, but the “landscaped” busy ones offer wonderful compositions and color harmonies. I particularly like the first two busy photos at the top of the post.

    Like

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