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Friday Slide Show: The Promise of Blossoms Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

10 May 2019

Our apple "tree" is really three trees that sprouted together from different apple seeds our neighbor gave us. "Separate them," he advised us. But we didn't want to plant an orchard. Instead, we thought we'd plant them together, saving us the trouble of grafting them later.

When you don't know what you're doing, you might as well have some fun. And when it comes to gardening, we're clueless.

But this year (it's been a few), the middle sized tree sprouted quite a few blossoms first. And just this week the big one caught on. We doubt the littlest one will be up to it this season but we haven't given up hope.

We took some photos and published one on the first of the month. But that set was taken at a distance with the kit lens of the Micro Four Thirds camera we all too often rely on for a snapshot of something we may want to explore further.

And as the blossoms multiplied and opened up, we wanted to explore them further. Not just further, either, but closer. They cried out for close-ups.

At first, we thought we'd just crop our kit lens shots but that left us without the detail we wanted. So one day this week when the sun peeked through the marine layer for an hour, we hustled out there with the Nikon D200.

We tried three different approaches.

  • Reversing Ring. We put a reversing ring on the 50mm f1.4 Nikkor and leaned in and out to set focus. It was pretty much a disaster because we had to get within a few millimeters of the bud to get in focus.
  • Lensbaby Edge 80. The Edge 80 has a macro mode (you slip the front element forward). But it didn't bring us close enough. There were a couple of intriguing captures but, on the whole, a disappointment.
  • Vivitar Series I. So we hauled out our 70-210mm Vivitar Series I zoom with macro mode, set it to macro and enjoyed a comfortable working distance with a variable magnification that made composing the images a joy.

Those last images are what you see here. They'll all ISO 100 at f5.6 with a shutter speed that varied from 1/60 to 1/500.

We took the trouble to remove the Sky 1-A protective filter from the front of the lens to let in as much light in as possible. But the long barrel of the lens made the exposures a little dark, so we started our edits by adding a little Exposure in Lightroom.

Then we doused them with Clarity. And, to our surprise, a little Dehaze. Not much work, really.

We know we won't get as many apples as we have blossoms. But blossoms nevertheless promise apples.

And that's something to look forward to.

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