Our yard as seen through a fisheye lens – March 29, 2014

I bought a new Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens for my Nikon D7100. It arrived yesterday and I couldn’t wait to try it out. My favorite photographic subject is my yard and garden. Here is what I shot.

close-up of a cymbidium orchid on my back deck

Close-up of a cymbidium orchid on my back deck. I love being able to grow orchids outdoors here in sunny southern California.

My chickens in their run, coop to the right.

My chickens in their run under the plum tree, coop to the right. I am using pine shavings for bedding. I don’t see all of the five hens, so maybe one was inside the coop laying an egg.

Love what the fisheye does to the view out our patio door. Chicken coop to the left, veggie garden to the right.

I love what the fisheye lens does to the view out our patio door. It makes the yard look huge. It isn’t. Looking west, chicken coop to the back left, veggie garden to the right beyond the deck, fruit trees all along the yard perimeter. I can see that I need to replace the outdoor rug on the patio. I love sitting on the deck, sipping wine or drinking coffee and admiring my garden.

A view of my herb garden that shows the coop to the left and garden to the right, fruit trees along the back fence.

A view of my herb garden and bird bath that shows the chicken coop to the left and garden to the right, fruit trees along the back fence. Note the paving stones. They are a water-saving strategy.

I am standing with my back to the fruit trees along our north wall, looking south.

I am standing with my back to the fruit trees along our north wall, looking south with the veggie beds in front of me, deck to the left. Nasturtiums grow between the beds. I feed nasturtium leaves and stems to the chickens.

My 6-year-old granddaughter Megan planted these snow peas for me a couple of weeks ago. She loves to garden.

My 6-year-old granddaughter Megan planted these snow peas for me a couple of weeks ago. She loves to garden.

I have gone to the other side of our back yard with the fence behind me, looking north past the peach and apple trees, past the chicken coop to the herb garden and veggie beds beyond. This section of our back yard is only 10 ft from house (on the right) to the back fence (on the left). Grapes grow on a trellis to the right.

I have gone to the other side of our back yard and am standing with the fence behind me, looking north past the peach, apple and plum  trees, past the chicken coop, to the herb garden and veggie beds beyond. This section of our back yard is only 10 ft from house (on the right) to the back fence (on the left). Grapes grow on a trellis to the right.

This view of the front of house, taken from the street, is my favorite fisheye photo so far. We just had our liquid amber (sweet gum) and olive trees pruned. There are three veggie beds in front, essentially under the olive tree. The freesias are pretty much done blooming.

This view of the front of house, taken from the street, is my favorite fisheye photo so far. We just had our liquid amber (sweet gum) and olive trees pruned. There are three veggie beds in front, essentially under the olive tree, and another one out of site to the left on the other side of the driveway. The freesias are pretty much done blooming.

Our front yard, showing the pruned liquid amber trees.

Our front yard, showing the pruned liquid amber trees.

See the paving stone walkways? I have them front and back. They help conserve water because the rain washes off the pavers and into the soil, essentially increasing the amount of rain that the plantings receive. That is only one of our water-saving techniques. Rain barrels are another strategy for saving water, as well as planting drought-tolerant landscaping and using soaker hoses for the vegetable gardens rather than overhead watering. Our per-person water usage is about one third that of the average California household.

Another view of the front yard, looking east toward the street.

Another view of the front yard, looking east toward the street.

I want to add a technical note about these photos. I have just begun to shoot RAW files, which gives more detail and better color preservation than jpeg files. Let’s just say that I got tired of having the highlights of my photos blown out, so I finally made the switch to shooting RAW files.

I then processed these photos using Aperture, then additionally processed most of them with a Topaz photo editing software plug-in called Adjust to do HDR (High Dynamic Range) in post processing. That really snaps out the color and puts detail into the shadows. Ah, but using the Topaz program on RAW files gave me tiff files, which I couldn’t upload to WordPress. Bummer. The RAW files not processed with Topaz converted automatically to jpeg when I uploaded them to WordPress.

It took me a while to figure out that I had to Export (iMac command for Move) the tiff files to my desktop, converting them to jpeg in the process, THEN upload them to WordPress. What a pain in the patootie. No wonder I don’t make blog posts very often.

Well, did you enjoy this fisheye view of our yard, and seeing my urban mini-farmlet from a new perspective? Please leave a comment.

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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5 Responses to Our yard as seen through a fisheye lens – March 29, 2014

  1. Tonie says:

    Yes! I enjoy all of your posts and photos! Especially since I have enjoyed the “fruits” of your labors! Thank you !

  2. An artistic and pragmatic undertaking. Food for the body, mind and soul!

    • Peter, so nice to have you stop by. I never got to see your chickens. I really envied those Aracuna hens of Brian’s that laid colored Easter eggs. But they aren’t good producers, so I have limited myself to high productivity hens with good personalities (Black-sex Linked, Black Australorp, and Barred Rock). One of these days, I’m going to get some Buff Orpingtons.

  3. How fun, gives a completely new perspective on the world!

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