Category Archives: nature

A Learning Experience

how Google helped me solve a problem

As an avid outdoor-nature photographer, I’ve always believed in the saying: “you can never have too many mm’s between you and a distant subject”.

Recently I decided to add more mm’s to my camera bag and purchased a Sony 200-600mm lens to accompany the Sony A7 III.

My first opportunity to use the new lens was on a trip a few weeks ago to Florida.

This is one of the first images that I snapped. As I closely reviewed it in the viewfinder I could tell that it was obviously out of focus.

The first thing I did was to immediately check the lens setting to use autofocus. It was.

I then checked the camera menu to see if it all settings were correct for autofocus.

Next I took several more photos but no luck.

They were all severely out of focus.

Disappointed, I decided to set this lens aside for the reminder of my time in Florida.

Upon returning from this trip I planned to send the lens back to the vendor for repair or exchange.

However, before calling the vendor for a return authorization, I spent a few minutes googling “Sony 200-600mm autofocus problem”.

To my surprise I found a post that was identical to my problem. When I purchased the lens, I also purchased a circular polarizing filter (huge 95mm) to help reduce glare. The individual who wrote the google post explained that his filter interfered with the lens’ autofocus mechanism. By removing the filter, his images were no longer out of focus.

So I took the filter off my lens to see if this solution applied to my problem.

BINGO. The autofocus mechanism worked perfectly and produced this image.

I’m happy that Google helped me solve my problem.

I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to take advantage of the extra mm’s during my stay in Florida. And I’m reminded that I need to test out new equipment before I’m in the field. I’ll continue to search out for a filter which may not interfere with my camera’s autofocus. Perhaps a different brand has properties that enable the autofocus to perform correctly. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’m ready for my next opportunity to get outdoors with this lens.

Happy shooting!

My Portfolio

Fine Art Photography for sale

In my travels, a camera has always been close to my side. Photographs such as these are my way of remembering some of the amazing places that I’ve visited over the years.


Oxbow Bend, Tetons

Merced River, Yosemite

Huntington Beach

Monument Valley

Cottonwood Creek, Tetons

Madison River, Yellowstone

Bryce Canyon Nat’l Park

Zion Nat’l Park

From the tens of thousands of photos that I’ve taken, I’ve created a portfolio of my favorites that are available for sale online in a variety of sizes and finishes shipped directly to you.

Visit my portfolio of fine art photographs at Stay Focused.


Winter is Fading

This year’s Michigan winter has felt long and unpredictable. December was decidedly frigid and harsh. During other times, we’ve seen surprising warm spells intermixed with lots of cloudy skies, frozen temperatures and snow.

But as I ventured outdoors yesterday, my camera noted a subtle change taking place. I’m seeing that old man winter may be relenting.






Last weekend we turned our clocks ahead an hour – a signal that spring is on its way. I’m hoping for an abundance of sunshine to warm the air.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


A Few Days Left

I thoroughly enjoy the outdoors, especially our fabulous National Park system of 400+ areas.

As a senior citizen, I’m entitled to a “special deal” for the Lifetime Senior Pass to visit these great places. I purchased my pass several years ago for an amazingly low price of $10. I’ve used my pass many, many times. In fact, these past three weeks we visited five national parks. So you can imagine how much we’ve enjoyed ourselves over the years.

On August 28, the price of the lifetime pass increases to $80 (which is still a bargain). However, if you hurry you can still take advantage of the low $10 price.

Visit our government’s site at USGS. Don’t delay.

SuperBloom

Death Valley Shows Its Colors

Yesterday I returned from a trade show in Las Vegas. While there, I heard about one of nature’s spectacles. In nearby Death Valley a rare happening was taking place. Armed with my camera, I made the 2-1/2 hour drive to experience the so called SuperBloom.

Death Valley is the driest, hottest place in North America. Although the climate isn’t very hospitable, wildflowers do appear each Spring. But I learned that this past October rainstorms set in motion a series of conditions that led to a literal explosion of colorful wildflowers that blanketed the normally harsh landscape of the park.

Here are a few recordings of my visit to the 2016 SuperBloom:

 

I’ve been fortunate to have visited Death Valley at least a dozen times previously but I’ve never seen as many visitors taking in the colorful wildflower as I saw two days ago.

Click here to see a Park Ranger describe a “once-in-a-lifetime” visit to Death Valley.

How lucky I was to be able to see this unexpected event.

On The Road Again

Many friends and acquaintances tell me that they dislike long drives. On the other hand, I totally enjoy long drives, especially the cross-country variety that cover hundreds or even thousands of miles and span several days.

For my latest road trip I ferried Mom’s car from Grand Rapids to her Winter home in the Phoenix area.

I asked my 6 year old grandson to be my traveling companion, promising to visit a couple of “fun places” along the way. Logan and I packed our bags, hopped into the car and headed West for our week-long journey.

Here’s a photo essay of the places that we visited.


Arches National Park



Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park



Grand Canyon National Park



Antelope Canyon Navajo Park



Horseshoe Bend




Phoenix and the Flight Home


Logan checking on the grapefruit

a snack on board the plane going home

What a nice getaway. We delivered Mom’s car to Arizona one day before she arrived from Grand Rapids. But just as importantly I was able to spend uninterrupted time with Logan and record it on film.

 
 


First Snow … get out there and enjoy

Today was the first day of appreciable snow in West Michigan with Mother Nature blanketing us with a foot or more.

It’s cold outside – about 20 degrees – but if you bundle up you might appreciate the beauty that comes with the first snowfall.

Here’s a suggestion for the photographers among you. The white fluffy stuff usually “tricks” your camera’s automatic exposure into thinking that it’s brighter outside than it really is. I usually set the camera to add an additional one stop of exposure (+1 exposure compensation) when shooting in the snow so that my pictures don’t appear overly gray and washed out.

Following are a few snaps that I made on a short walk down the street to get my morning coffee.

DSC02749 DSC02752 DSC02753                 DSC02754

                    
DSC02756   DSC02760 DSC02762

Bundle up to stay warm and then get outside to enjoy the outdoor sights!