Archive for October, 2007

Sigma 105mm EX DG macro

Friday, October 26th, 2007

The UPS man delivered my new Sigma 105mm macro lens this afternoon, and I immediately set up a simple facility to try it out. I put an old Weston light meter down on a counter, and next to it I arranged a cheap Quantaray slave and my old Oly T32 on an optical slave hot shoe around it, both pointed up at the ceiling. I set the E-500 flash to 1/64th power and held the camera by hand.

For the coin, I set up a tripod and focused (manually) as close as I could get. The camera was not directly over the coin so it’s not in focus all the way across; I need to rig up a “ring box” so that I can do real close-up planar macro shots.

Danaus plexippus

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

Plant some milkweed, and you’ll get some monarchs.

Caterpillar photo

Several caterpillars hatched out pretty late in the year, almost certainly past the time at which they should have left for Mexico. There’s plenty to eat here however so maybe they won’t mind.

Chrysallis photo

The kids found this chrysallis on the fence, quite some distance from where any milkweed is planted.

Butterfly photo

Two adults, including this big one, were all over the garden this afternoon.

Goose Island State Park

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

Picture of "Big Tree"

That’s “Big Tree”, a big tree at Goose Island State Park in Lamar, TX. Supposedly it’s the biggest live oak tree in the state. It’s not hard to believe, though it’s the kind of thing that weird small towns in Texas concoct all the time. And Lamar, TX definitely counts as one of those.

The picture is all foggy because the camera had just emerged from the air-conditioned van into the intense humidity there, just a couple hundred yards from the giant bathtub that’s the Gulf of Mexico. The landscape around Big Tree is pretty surreal, and I’m told the tree is strongly reminiscent of the “Whomping Willow” from the Harry Potter books. In fact all of Lamar (which is not to describe a very large area of course) seems to be in the grip of a live oak plague.

Picture of sunflowers The state park includes a little spit of land projecting out into Aransas Bay. Dead shellfish and plant material tend to wash up along part of the beach there, so the same creative fire that named the tree has branded that area “Stinky Beach.” It’s actually very pretty in an odd way.