Minimalist HDR Experiment

I was walking across campus today and looked up to see these “furry” branches. All I had was my snapshot camera (Canon SD800), so I tried the “minimalist” technique from McCollough’s book, two exposures at +1.33 and -1.33, handheld, no aperture priority. I took several pairs, many did not work, but this one did!

 For comparison, here is the straight up 0EV image.

The HDR version definitely preserves the sky and opens up the shadows. By the way, the “fur” is the ubiquitous Resurrection Fern found on most old growth oaks in Florida.

The Ultimate Bird

Every Spring I look forward to the return of Swallow-Tailed Kites (Elanoides forficatus) from their South American sojourn. I’ve seen two so far this year. In the US this bird is almost unique to Florida, where it comes to breed. I can still remember the first time I saw one driving along a rural highway—I looked up and “Wow!” I was hooked. After giving it some thought I’ve concluded that in addition to the striking forked tail and elegance in the air, the white on black plumage creates a dazzle camouflage effect. The smaller white bird on a dark background looks dove-like or even angelic in the morning light. Always a remarkable sight!