Yesterday, while walking Tisen through the park, I noticed things were starting to bloom. Not big things, but tiny little things and, of course, dandelions. Since I haven’t shot outdoors much lately, I thought I’d try seeing how well my image stabilization works on my 100mm macro lens and try hand-holding some macro shots of these blooms.
Since I was hand holding while holding a dog, I decided to forego extension tubes. These cut down the light by a couple of stops when I use all three–less light means slower shutter speeds, which leads to more blur when hand holding.
I am still enamored with dandelions. Their big, bright blooms light up the mostly dead grass like tiny suns. They make a gray day seem cheerful. They also seem to promise spring is right around the corner. I wish they would let the weather service know–they keep talking about 20 degree weather coming our way. I really thought we were past that.
The other things blooming weren’t flowers I knew. I did a little searching online and determined that these are Purple Deadnettle:
Apparently most of the stuff blooming in February is non-native. I guess that’s how it got so widespread–by starting early.
A similar bloom was in another section of the park. I believe this is Henbit Deadnettle:
The last flower in this small collection was a complete mystery to me. From my searching, I believe it is Harbinger-of-Spring, which, happily, is a native wildflower:
I really needed extension tubes and a tripod to get a good shot of this one.
I don’t think Tisen liked any of the flowers. He kept peeing on them. Fortunately, not while I was shooting them. That would have made for an interesting action shot!
Tisen seems to think it’s fine for him to stop and sniff whenever and for however long he likes, yet he gets impatient when I stop to shoot. He was particularly unhappy when I spotted the Harbinger-of-Spring and had to back up so I could get a shot. He was very focused on getting to the next good scent.
Once many weeks ago, when Tisen was particularly involved in snorting every last particle of scent off a tree trunk, a man walked by and said, “Catching up on all the good gossip!” That’s the perfect description of what Tisen was doing.
In any case, I found myself struggling against the pull of Tisen against the leash I was holding while shooting. Between Tisen tugging and the wind blowing, I had many a blurry shot. However, I was pretty impressed with the image stabilization. Without it, I doubt I would have gotten any sharp shots at all given that I was shooting at 1/60 sec or slower for all but one of these images.
Clearly, I needed something much faster to catch Tisen while he played with Pink Dog (borrowed from his girlfriend, Twiggy):