Showing posts with label Mary Beth Granger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mary Beth Granger. Show all posts

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Review of Sony A6300 Mirrorless Camera






For my birthday my husband bought me a new Sony Mirrorless camera.  I was looking for something lightweight to use when I traveled. But I wanted the same capabilities of my Sony SLR. I had been hearing about the mirrorless cameras from fellow photographers and at a meeting last fall we had a speaker at our photo club that introduced us to mirrorless cameras and I was sold.  A mirrorless camera combines the best of a DSLR(Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera and a lightweight compact body.  It has the features of the DSLR without the mirrors which makes it a lightweight camera without sacrificing the quality.



Features of A6300

There are many features that I enjoy on the Sony A6300.  Here are just a few of the ones that are important to me.
  • 100-25,600 ISO range allowing you to take great photos even in low light settings.
  • 4D focus systems which quickly locks in on your subject, helping to take crisp clear photos.
  • Continuous shooting at up to 11fps(frames per second)
  • WiFi, NFC, QR codes for easy file transfer
  • Tiltable 3inch LCD screen that tilts up or down for capturing high and low framing
  • An eyepiece cup that helps me to see clearly what I am photographing.
  • Settings that allow you to shoot in Auto, Scene, Full Manual and everything in between.
  • Movies in 4K movie recording

                                                               


Learning to Use A6300

I am finding the A6300 very easy to use.  Most of the features are similar to my DSLR so the learning curve was very easy.  My husband bought me two lenses to go with my new camera a wide angle 16-55 and a telephoto in the 55-210 range.

The photo below was taken during a cloudy day in a room with no lights turned on.  I love the way the camera handles low light situations.  For this photo I just set the camera to aperture priority F7.0 and shot away.  The colors came out perfect with no adjustment needed.

On a recent trip to Florida, I was able to photograph birds at the pier with my new camera.  In order to get some nice closeup shots I put on my 55-210 zoom lens.  In this closeup of a brown colored pigeon I again used aperture priority and a F6.3 setting.  I love the sharp photo, great colors and blurred background.

For photographs using my photography ball, I switched to a wider angle lens 16-55 mm. I again used aperture priority and was able to capture Jupiter lighthouse in my ball.





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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Review of Woodpecker Facts and Photography

                                                                         Downy Woodpecker

I have been fascinated by woodpeckers for a long time, but I didn't realize there were so many different types of woodpeckers.  This year I purchased a peanut feeder for my backyard.  When I started to see different types of woodpeckers using the feeder I checked out information about woodpeckers  both online and in my Backyard Birds guide.  In this post I will show you photos and facts about the four types of woodpeckers that have visited my backyard.


Northern Flicker

The Northern Flicker is a very handsome bird.  It has a brown back with black bars and a very distinct crescent of black on the chest. In flight the white rump is very conspicuous.  

These woodpeckers usually forage on the ground for food, but I have also seen them at my suet feeders.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpeckers are the most common ones that I see in my backyard.  They visit year round and are fairly small birds.  These small tubular looking woodpeckers are very delicate looking.  They have crisp black and white plumage and the males have a red patch toward the back of the head.  They have a larger look-alike cousin the Hairy Woodpecker.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is a large bird with zebra type stripes across the back.  The red belly is really just a pink tinge across the white chest.  The really red part is on the head.  The male has a bright red cap that extends from the bill all the way down the nape.  The female is similar to the male except that the red cap is only in the  nape area.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

I have only seen this bird one day in my yard.  I was able to capture photos from several angles and posted it on birding sites.  The consensus was that it is a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  My bird book says that I probably caught it on its' migration south.

These birds are rather large woodpeckers with a striped face pattern and a long white slash on the wing.  The male has a red throat and forecrown.  The female has white throat and red fore crown, so I would say the photo above is a male Yellow-bellied woodpecker.


Feeders for  Woodpeckers

I have two types of feeders that I use to attract woodpeckers.  The first is a cage like feeder that I fill with suet cakes.  You can see a Northern Flicker enjoying a suet cake in the photo below.
This type of feeder is also visited by several other types of birds.

This year I purchased a peanut feeder and it has been very popular with both woodpeckers and nuthatches.  This feeder is filled with unshelled peanuts and it is fun to watch the birds peck away till they get the nut out of the shell.  This keeps them at the feeder longer and helps me to capture them with my camera.  Below is a Red Breasted Nuthatch that visited the peanut feeder.

I purchased my peanut feeder on Amazon.  You can get your own by following the link below.
                                                           




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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Review of Bluebird Facts and Photography


I have long been a fan of Bluebirds but until this year I have not been able to  capture any photographs that I really liked.  During a very cold spell in January a group of Bluebirds visited our backyard and I was able to capture some nice photos.  I had a camera set up on a tripod in front of our glass doors and I snapped away as the Bluebirds checked out our feeding spots.  For those interested I am using a Sony A57 with a Tamron150-600 lens.  My camera is set to A (aperture mode) and I'm using a 6.5 aperture in most of these photos.



Eastern Bluebird Identification

These birds are small thrush type birds with a round head and big belly.

Male Bluebirds

The male Bluebirds are particularly bright in color as you can see in the photo above.  They have a bright blue colored head and back along with their tail feathers.  Their throat and chest are a bright rusty color.

Female Bluebirds

Female Bluebird

The female bluebirds have the same color pattern as the males and they are a similar size, however their coloring is much more subdued.  Their head appears an almost grayish color as you can see in the photo above.

Juvenile Bluebirds

The juvenile Bluebirds have spotting on their backs and chests and some blue
beginning in their wings and chests.

Feeding Behavior and Diet


From spring to early fall the Bluebirds diets consist of mainly insects.  In the winter they rely mainly on fruits.  As you can see in the photo above they will also resort to seeds in the winter.

I have found that if I do not clean out my flower containers after blooming season the Bluebirds and other birds like to rummage through the dead plants.


Nesting

Although Bluebirds will use a nest box they also like holes in old trees, particularly old woodpecker nests.  They fill their nests with grass and other plant material.  A Bluebird usually lays 4-5 eggs and they are inculpated by the female for 11-19 days.  The fledgling birds leave the nest in about 19 days.

References

I gathered my information from several online sources as well as from my book Backyard Guide to the Birds.  Here are my references.
  • allaboutbirds.org/guide
  • Audubon.org
  • wild-bird-watching.com

                                              



Zazzle Products from my Photos





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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Reviewing Dryer Balls







During the Christmas holidays, I was washing a batch of sheets when one family left and another would be staying in the guest room.  I was frustrated because the sheets tangled in the dryer and didn't get dry in the middle.  My daughter was observing this and said "Mom, haven't you tried dryer balls.  They work great to keep things from tangling in the dryer and your clothes get dry faster."  

I had never heard of dryer balls before, but thanks to my thoughtful daughter a bag of the balls were delivered to my house 3 days later.

Features of Dryer Balls

  • Great for people with sensitive skin.  Non-toxic and Hypoallergenic
  • Reduce wrinkles and drying time
  • Eco-friendly way to soften laundry
  • No more tangled laundry
  • Good for 1000-2000 loads
  • Reduce need to iron clothes
  • Minimizes clothes damage and lengthens clothes life
I have been using the balls since I received them.  The bag came with 6 balls so the will last for years.  I put 2-3 balls in each small to medium load of wash and 3-4 balls in a large load.  I am very pleased with the results.


Buy Your Own Dryer Balls

Here is a link to the dryer balls like the ones I use.


                                                                       


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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Review of A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline


https://lighthouse-photos-mbg.blogspot.com/2017/08/mid-coast-maine-ligthouses.html
Scene from Port Clyde Area


For my book  club, we just read A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline.  I knew it was historical fiction and that it took place in Maine, but it wasn't until I started reading that I realized I had been to all of the small towns that were mentioned in the book.  I find it delightful to be able to picture the area that the story take place.  The photo above is one that I took on my visit.


The Book

I had read books by Christina Baker Kline before and really enjoy her writing style.  She wrote The Orphan Train and Sweetwater both books I would highly recommend.  So, I started A Piece of the World with high expectations and I was not disappointed.  Christina Baker Kline has a way of bringing you into her book and making you feel empathy with her characters.

Although this book is a work of fiction, the major characters are all real people and the author did a lot of  research into the characters and the area to give a realistic view.  The book is based on a painting by artist Andrew Wyeth  Christina's World , and in particular about the life of Christina.
The author alternates between describing Christina's early life in the early 1900's to describing her life when Andrew Wyeth is painting her in the mid 1900's.  Christina leads a simple and hard life on a farm in a remote area of Maine.  She grows up with her parents and three brothers on the family farm overlooking the bay.  Although it sounds like a beautiful setting the work is hard without any of the conveniences of modern day.  They have no electricity or indoor plumbing and Christina has a debilitating disease that makes it hard for her to move around.  Despite this she manages to do her chores and eventually take care of the household.

In her late teens and early twenties Christina meets some summer people who visit the coast each summer and we hear of her friends and love interest from Boston.

Later in life the painter Andrew Wyeth summers in the area and uses the upstairs rooms in Christina's home to paint.  Christina becomes friends with Andrew and his wife Becky and he is the one person that seems to understand things from Christina's point of view.

I found this to be a very intriguing book that really makes you consider life's choices.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. 



Amazon Links to the Book and the Painting


                                          

Rockland and Port Clyde Area Today

I have written about the Rockland and Port Clyde area in two different posts.  This post is primarily about lighthouses in the area and was written on my lighthouse blog.
Mid-Coast Maine Lighthouses

I've also written a post on Review This about the area Review of Port Clyde Maine

Today Andrew Wyeth's son is a prominent local artist.  There is a gallery just above the General Store that displays his works along with some of his fathers.
Photos of the Area
Here are some photos I took of the area around Port Clyde.  I found it to be very picturesque.







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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Photographing Christmas in Historic St. Charles


One of my favorite Christmas outings is a walk down Main  Street in downtown St Charles, Missouri.  This charming town was built on the banks of the Missouri river.  I wrote about this town in a previous post World Wide Photo Walk
In that post you see the town decked out in their fall décor.

In this post I will give you a brief history of the town and then share my photos taken during early December.

A Brief History of St. Charles

Here is a few of the highlights of St. Charles history. If you'd like to know more, check out the link below.

  • Founded in 1769 by French-Canadian fur trader Louis Blanchette
  •  In 1804 on the banks of the Missouri river, Lewis and Clark met here to begin their westward expedition.
  • In 1818 Saint Philippine Duchesne established first free girls school west of the Mississippi.
  • Between 1821-1826 St. Charles served as Missouri's first capital.
  • Today it is a destination for over one million visitors each year.
https://www.discoverstcharles.com/about/history/


Conservatory for Weddings


Before we started our walk  down Main Street we stopped by the Conservatory a greenhouse turned into a wedding venue.  It was my first visit and I found it a delightful setting for small weddings.  Below is a shot looking toward the front of the greenhouse.


Photos from our Walk down the Historic Streets

After visiting the Conservatory  we proceeded down Main Street to photograph the historic buildings in their Christmas décor.  I was especially drawn to the windows and doors as you can see in the photos below.






Zazzle Products from Main Street Photos




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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Review of Hot Drink for the Holidays

Hot Holiday Punch Recipe Postcard
by mbgphoto 

Hot Drink for Cold Days

I love to entertain during the holiday season. When my guests come in from a cold winters evening a cup of hot holiday punch will make them feel warm and festive.

Over the years I have experimented with several combinations for hot drinks and have ended up using this one for the past ten years or so.  It has just the right blend of juices and spices and is great with or without alcohol added.  I always serve the alcohol on the side and let the guest decide how much to add or not.

Hot Holiday Punch

Ingredients


  • 1 Jar (48 oz) cranberry juice 
  • 1 can (46 ox) unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • one orange cut into slices

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in large crockpot and heat.  I put a decanter of rum nearby for those who would like to add a bit of liquor.

At the beginning of this page I added a link to a recipe card for the punch that you can purchase on Zazzle.

Mugs for Hot Drinks

Here are some festive mugs I found on Zazzle.
The first one can be personalized with your name.

Watercolor Pine Tree Joyeux Noel Espresso Cup
I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a festive holiday season!!




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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Photographing Plymouth Harbor









Happy Thanksgiving from the staff of Review This.  Today's post is a bit of history and photography from the site of the first Thanksgiving.

Plymouth Massachusetts is a delightful harbor town on the shores of Cape Cod Bay. It is located 40 miles south of Boston.  I'd like to share some of my photos of the harbor with you but first let's review a bit of the history of this historic town.  

History of Plymouth

The colony of Plymouth (first called Plimouth) was established in late 1620 when the Mayflower landed in this area on the shores of Cape Cod Bay.  These early settlers from England were called Pilgrims and had embarked on the new country to escape the religious beliefs of the Church of England.  

They landed in Cape Cod in December and were not prepared to handle the harsh New England winters.  Their first year was very rough and they survived with the help of friendly Indians.  After surviving the first year they had a celebration to thank God for protecting them during the first year.  This celebration is considered the First Thanksgiving Feast.

Photograph of Plymouth Harbor Today

As I walked along this historic harbor I was struck by all the little everyday features of this small town.  Yes, there are the tourist attractions like Plymouth Rock (really only a rock engraved with 1620) and other sites of interest throughout the town, but I wanted to concentrate my photography on the features of the harbor and the docks.

Here are a few of the photos the depict the harbor on the June afternoon when I visited.  It includes a replica paddleboat for tourists along with items that represent the lobster trade that is popular today.






Zazzle Products from  my Photos





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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Visit Missouri-Augusta

On a beautiful early autumn afternoon I took a stroll through Augusta Missouri with a group of fellow photographers.  Augusta is a small town located on the Bluffs of the Missouri River about 35 miles west of St. Louis.  In this post I will review of little about Augusta and show you my photographs.

History of Augusta

Augusta was founded in 1837 by a settler that followed Daniel Boone to Missouri. (Here is a link to an article on the nearby Daniel Boone home site https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2018/05/review-of-daniel-boone-home-site-in.html ) Leonard Harold chose the town site for the excellent river landing on the shores of the Missouri river.  When the town was incorporated in 1855 it had become a booming agricultural community.  It's main produce was grain, livestock and wine grapes.

Augusta Today

Today Augusta is a thriving community of 200 residents.  It has two wineries, Augusta Winery and Mt. Pleasant Winery and several Bed & Breakfasts.  It has become a popular stop for tourists visiting the Missouri wine country.  Augusta has several small shops for tourists to stop at when they are in town.  Here are some photos I took during our stroll through the town.
Augusta Art Gallery

Cranberry House

Downtown Streets




Augusta is host to several different festivals during the year including:

  • Plein Air Art Festival
  • Harvest Festival
  • Candlelight Christmas Walk
If you are interested in visiting Augusta stop by their website at http://www.augusta-missouri.com/


Augusta Bed and Breakfasts

Red Brick Inn
Augusta features several bed and breakfasts, such as The Red Brick Inn pictured above, which was built in 1865.  Here you can enjoy a wonderful breakfast and great hospitality from the owners Chuck and Esther.  Just click on the link below the photo for more information.  It is a great place to spent your nights while taking in the scenic views and wonderful atmosphere of the Missouri wine country.  http://redbrickinnofaugusta.com/





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