Eleven-Years Ago (08-October-2007) — New Jersey

Autumn Nature in New Jersey.

Monarch Butterfly. Eleven-years ago while driving home from work I saw purple wild flowers on the side of the road at an abandoned golf course in Hillsborough. I pulled over to see if there was a picture. The purple wildflowers attracted dozens of Monarch butterflies providing more colors.  I took this image with my favorite 80-400 mm telephoto zoom lens. The hard part was working at the minimum focus distance for the lens (~ 7 feet). I needed to keep stepping back to get the image in focus. One more reason I always have a camera with me.

Every year after that I would check the place at the same time of the year, but never saw as many wildflowers or Monarch Butterflies. The last several years the place became a construction site for a highway bypass and interchange. Now that the construction is complete and the bypass open, it looks like wildflowers may come back. We will see if the Monarch Butterflies come back in the future.

Monarch Butterfly. Late Fall Nature in Central New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs and 80-400 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Monarch Butterfly. Late Fall Nature in Central New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs and 80-400 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)


Individual images in the slideshow can be viewed here.

Friday (26-June-2015) — New Jersey

Backyard Nighttime Nature in New Jersey.

After the rain stopped last night I put two cameras out to capture some firefly trails early this morning. The first one is a composite of 300 images taken with a Nikon D4 camera and a 600 mm f/4 lens (ISO 3200, 600 mm, f/8, 30 sec). The second one is a composite of 90 images taken with a Nikon D810A camera and a 200 mm f/2 lens (ISO 3200, 200 mm, f/8, 60 sec). You really need to look at the 2nd one in full-screen mode.

One trick for doing the firefly trails is picking the aperture and focus distance. This impacts the number of fireflies that are in or out of focus. I really like the D810a camera since I can do exposures longer than 30 seconds without an intervalometer. Also, the sensor seems to be able to handle longer exposures without generating excess noise (even when it is warm outside).

Firefly Trails. Composite of images taken with a Nikon D4 camera and 600 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 3200, 600 mm, f/8, 30 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro 8, and Photoshop CC. (David J Mathre)
Firefly Trails. Composite of images taken with a Nikon D4 camera and 600 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 3200, 600 mm, f/8, 30 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro 8, and Photoshop CC. (David J Mathre)
Firefly Trails. Composite of images taken with a Nikon D810a camera and 200 mm f/2 VR lens (ISO 3200, 200 mm, f/8, 60 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro 8, and Photoshop CC. (David J Mathre)
Firefly Trails. Composite of images taken with a Nikon D810a camera and 200 mm f/2 VR lens (ISO 3200, 200 mm, f/8, 60 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro 8, and Photoshop CC. (David J Mathre)

Sunday (30-June-2013) — New Jersey

Backyard Nighttime Nature in New Jersey. Firefly Trails.

Between thunderstorms I have been experimenting on the best way to photograph fireflies. I want to capture both the number and movement of the fireflies. I set out three cameras to take a series of 30 second images. The images were then combined into a composite using the startrails.exe program. For these three composites I used relatively high ISO’s and narrow apertures to get a wider depth of field. C&C appreciated.

The bad news that I heard today is that the Sirius/XM Book Radio channel is going away as of 15-July-2013. The Book channel is about the only reasons I have kept up my subscription to Sirius/XM. I have the Book channel on 24/7 both at home and in my car. My long distance drives will not be the same when lost listening to a story.

Two hours of Fireflies Flashes During a Summer Night in New Jersey. Images collected using a Nikon D3s and 200 mm f/2 VR lens (ISO 6400, 200 mm, f/11, 30 sec). Composite of 238 images created using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)
Two hours of Fireflies Flashes During a Summer Night in New Jersey. Images collected using a Nikon D3s and 200 mm f/2 VR lens (ISO 6400, 200 mm, f/11, 30 sec). Composite of 238 images created using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)
Two hours of Fireflies Flashes During a Summer Night in New Jersey. Images collected using a Nikon D800 and 105 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 3200, 105 mm, f/1, 30 sec). Composite of 225 images created using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)
Two hours of Fireflies Flashes During a Summer Night in New Jersey. Images collected using a Nikon D800 and 105 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 3200, 105 mm, f/11, 30 sec). Composite of 225 images created using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)
Two hours of Fireflies Flashes During a Summer Night in New Jersey. Images collected using a Nikon D3 and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 1600, 35 mm, f/8, 30 sec). Composite of 211 images created using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)
Two hours of Fireflies Flashes During a Summer Night in New Jersey. Images collected using a Nikon D3 and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 1600, 35 mm, f/8, 30 sec). Composite of 211 images created using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)

Tuesday (09-April-2013) — New Jersey

Indoor Springtime Nature in New Jersey.

Now that the temperatures are warming, the critters are coming out of hibernation. The latest are these flying ants. They are actually rather lethargic so good subjects for macro images. The jaws and teeth look like the creature from Aliens.

Flying Ant with the Jaws from Aliens. Indoor Spring Nature. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 105 mm f/2.8 VR macro lens (ISO 200, 105 mm, f/16, 1/60 sec) with ring flash. (David J Mathre)
Flying Ant with the Jaws from Aliens. Indoor Spring Nature. Image taken with a Nikon D3s camera and 105 mm f/2.8 VR macro lens (ISO 200, 105 mm, f/16, 1/60 sec) with ring flash. (David J Mathre)
Flying Ant with the Jaws from Aliens. Indoor Spring Nature. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 105 mm f/2.8 VR macro lens (ISO 200, 105 mm, f/16, 1/60 sec) with ring flash. (David J Mathre)
Flying Ant with the Jaws from Aliens. Indoor Spring Nature. Image taken with a Nikon D3s camera and 105 mm f/2.8 VR macro lens (ISO 200, 105 mm, f/16, 1/60 sec) with ring flash. (David J Mathre)

Wednesday (05-December-2012) — New Jersey

Indoor Autumn Nature in New Jersey: Cricket Dance.

A few days ago I noticed a number of crickets in my basement. They are a silent variety as I haven’t heard any chirping. Once I get them identified, I’ll figure out if they are harmful or if I just ignore them. For now they are a good subject for a time-lapsed video. I set up a camera and flash to take an image every 15 seconds overnight.