#15 Oak seedling #15 – July 4

Here’s #15 as of today, July 4. The second, shorter sprout seems to be doing OK.

This shot also with the 105mm lens; 1/125 sec @ f25.

I used two speedlights inside a white box, with some white paper in the lower foreground to bounce back some light to the leaves.


#14 Oak seedling #15 – June 13

The same day we dug up the acorns we transplanted them into individual tubes. These are 4″ diameter x 14″ long pieces of vent pipe with a plywood bottom. Our plan is to give them plenty of room for their long tap roots. When it comes time to put them in their final home, we will remove the plywood bottom and slide the whole plug of soil & oak tree into the ground, without disturbing the roots. That’s the plan anyway; stay tuned.

This shot was taken on June 13. Nikon D80; 105mm macro lens; 1/30 sec @ f29.

#12 Oak seedling #15 – May 20

This is Oak seedling #15 on May 20. My wife found about 20 White Oak acorns in High Park last fall and wanted to see if they would grow. Over the winter we kept them in our back yard covered with oak leaves and chicken wire. Squirrels can smell the good acorns and eat most of them.  Even if they do manage to survive and take root, they are very difficult to transplant, due to their extremely long and delicate tap root.

#9 Seven spotted ladybug

I found this ladybug in High Park. The photo is one of my first using lens mounted speedlights. I think the flash is a bit harsh in this shot. For most things it seems a bounced, softer light is better. I used a 105mm macro lens; exposure was 1/60 sec @ f/18.

And yes, they really do have 7 spots. The Coccinellidae family has over 5,000 species; sometimes referred to as Ladybirds.

The following is some interesting info from the Wikipedia article

“The name “ladybird” originated in the Middle Ages when the insects were known as the “beetle of Our Lady” . They were named after The Virgin Mary, who in early religious paintings was often shown wearing a red cloak. The spots of the seven spot ladybird were said to symbolise seven joys and seven sorrows.”

And, of course, they are insects, not bugs.

#8 White Oak Seedling #10

This is one of about 20 seedlings I photographed for my wife. She’s working on a series of botanical paintings to document the life cycle of the White Oak, Quercus alba.

The photo was taken May 21, 2010, the day we transplanted the seedlings to their separate pots. Digging them up gently allowed for a rare view of their root structure, and the process by which the outer shell of the acorn splits away.

The set up was: Nikon D80 with 105mm macro lens, 1/200 sec @ f36. I used two bounced speedlights inside a box made of foamcore mounting board. On some of the other photos (to be posted later on) I added a sheet of white paper in the lower foreground which helped a lot to reflect some light to the underside of the seedlings. I used a fresh sheet of paper under each new specimen and supported them with a paper clip pushed through the mounting board. They were all very muddy, but changing the paper really helped to make them look professional.

Another part of this set up was that I had my camera tethered to my laptop, and used a free software called Sofortbild to view the images full screen immediately after tripping the shutter. This is a huge help when small details are critical, and you can’t repeat the set up a second time. The software even provides a remote shutter release using your mouse/touchpad. Very neat.

#2 Close encounter

I took this a few weeks ago while photographing some White Oak seedlings. My wife has collected (rescued from the squirrels) about 20 acorns and started a small nursery in our back yard. I’ve been documenting their growth with a 6″ scale ruler. At the end of the shoot this amazing creature struck a pose directly in front of my macro lens. Nothing to do but focus, click and say thanks. Left side of the scale is metric; this guy being 7mm, head to wing tip. The light was from two bounced speedlights inside a small white box. Thanks to David Chung for showing me how to do this.