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16 October 2015

We've been getting up in the dark lately. By the time the sun has risen, we have been spinning around in our office chair gathering the news and putting together the stories we post every day at Photo Corners.

At the Bunker. Our book-lined walls are R-15 insulation if anything.

But one day, the air was so crisp and the sunlight so strong, we took a break to sit on the patio and enjoy a little Vitamin D. There's always something happening out there.

This particular morning we were visited by a hummingbird that grabbed what it could from the lemon tree. It was only about 10 feet from us so we didn't kick ourselves for not bringing a camera with us. We would have disturbed the air and sent it tumbling.

Second chances never come in photography.

But we did go back inside to get a camera.

We knew the bird would be back. They dart here and there and always seem to travel in pairs. And that tree wasn't going anywhere. So we got ready for a second chance.

Second chances never come in photography.

We sat there and sat there, swiveling our head like it was an office chair. No hummingbird.

But there were plenty of other things that, in the strafe of the early morning light, looked fresh to us. So we got busy.

Our exposures were all at ISO 200 and f5.6, which was as wide as we could get on our kit zoom lens. The indoor shot was the exception, taken at f9 because it required a lot more depth of field.

Outdoors, we shot into the sun for almost all of these and immediately realized we were getting a good dose of glare. The glare was robbing our shots of the high contrast lighting we were observing by eye.

It was easy enough to shade the lens with our free hand, so we usually did that. But we also made a mental note to use the Dehaze function in Lightroom on these.

And we did. We started with a value of about +10 but the range goes from 8 to 57. The Dehaze value is in the caption of each image, just for fun.

We've created a Lightroom preset to apply our typical Clarity, Shadow and Highlight adjustments as starting points. We still adjust each of them to find the sweet point, though.

But in addition to the Dehaze slider, we used the Black and White sliders a lot more this time. They were useful tools in our fight against glare.

We wrapped things up by running the set of exports through Piccure+. Twice. The first time we oversharpened them, so we settled down and did it again.

The hummingbird didn't come back before we had to get back to work, but we did catch a butterfly. A male cabbage white butterfly took a break on top of the lemon tree and we got the shot.

You take what you can get.

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