Fisheye Lens and Flowers

I took a trip with my kiddo this weekend. I asked him if he wanted to visit the mountains or the beach. He chose the mountains, so off we headed to El Paso.

For the first time ever, I rented a lens…a fisheye lens. Of all things! I wanted to see what I could do with the distortion that kind of lens creates.

I took the one below of a blooming palo verde tree in Concordia Cemetery. It’s not as in focus as I would like. To be fair to myself, this was taken the first hour I was working with the lens. I have to remember that this is all a learning process!


I also tried out its capacity for close-up pictures of individual flowers. I really like how these turned out. You can see the whole background, but it is oddly blurry and bent. To me, it offers some interest to the background detail while keeping it from competing with the main image.

Ocatillo flower on the Franklin Mountains
Ocatillo flower on the Franklin Mountains

In one of my photography books, an author is bothered by the darkening of the corners of photos when using very wide angle lens. I find the effect sort of charming, like a vignette effect or something. It’s not something I would change in the editing process. Here’s an example of that vignetting on the upper corners of this picture of a globe mallow:


And here’s another pretty flower from the Concordia Cemetery.


Blue skies, bright sun, and lens flare.

Because I know very little about photography technical stuff, I always thought those prism-like color splotches on my pictures were boo-boos. I was wrong. It is called lens flare, and it can be used to add interest to your pictures. I learn something new on the interwebs every day.

I like the pink splotches, but the sun just washes out the photo.
Here's a shot at the angle I usually seek out (sun behind me or to the side).
I decided to skip the usual angles on this monument and practice this lens flare thing.
This time, the flare is mainly straight across.
And now it's diagonal.
Before I turned my rental car in at the airport, I decided to wait around and see if I could get some pics of a plane taking off. I would have preferred a Southwest plane, since they are more colorful. But, this turned out cute. It looks so tiny!!!
Bye-bye, plane!
I thought this looked cool. I had to take several shots to get a usable one. The others were blurry because the plane was either too far away, or I didn't hold the camera still long enough.

My love affair with a dead guy. (John Wesley Hardin)

Generally, I don’t care for ne’er do well types. But, he was a member of the State Bar of Texas, which explains my interest. Hmm. An outlaw lawyer. Kinda has a nice ring of redemption!

All across the telegraph
His name did it resound
But no charge held against him
Could they prove*
And there was no man around
Who could track or chain him down#
He was never known
To make a foolish move+

(Bob Dylan, ‘John Wesley Harding’)

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* Truth be told, he knew he killed a bunch of people. Who even knows if all of them had it coming. Oh, there was plenty of proof. Plenty. But, he kept escaping from jail!
#Until he was sentenced to time in Hunstville. Yeah, he didn’t escape from there. Tried but failed. He was punished harshly for his attempts.
+These kinds of guys repeatedly make foolish moves. That’s why they end up shot in the back of the head one day. For as much as Hardin is an interesting historical ‘character’ (let us not forget this was once a real, live person who had human needs and desires), he wasn’t exactly level-headed.

Still, he’s up there with Judge Roy Bean on the ‘cool lawyer/judge’ spectrum.

[sidenote: There’s a cage around his grave because his family kept trying to dig him up to move him. I find that insane, given the fact that his resting place is part of the history of El Paso.]

uuuuuh. Is there some good reason why I thought I needed to pose with ‘gun fingers’ in front of his grave? That was dorky!