Don't go home without something / by Mario Mirabile

I went out on Saturday with the intention of chasing birds. I was with a friend, and as our original goal on the west side of the bay looked like it was going to be hit by heavy rain, we stayed a bit closer to home. The two wetland reserves we visited provided little in the way of feathered action. The few interesting birds we saw kept their distance for the most part, although Gary managed to get a nice pair of sulfur crested cockatoos in flight.

As we came back to the car at our second stop, we traversed a lightly wooded area where mushrooms sprouted profusely among the leaf litter. I normally prefer my mushrooms with a nice steak or in a stew, but I didn't want to come home with nothing to show for the outing. Before long I was on my knees trying to keep steady enough to get a sharp shot in the heavy overcast. That wasn't working, so I got serious and fetched the tripod. OK, they're not as pretty as birds, and I ended up with muddy knees, but at least I didn't come home empty handed.

Tech talk
I was bird hunting, so mushrooms seemed a poor second best. As such, I didn't bother swapping to my macro lens and kept the (very fine) Zuiko Digital 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD zoom on the E-5. This lens really is one of the jewels in the Olympus lens line-up. Bright, sharp wide open, and focuses down to 1.2m at all focal lengths. Coupled with an extension tube, it makes a fine long, semi-macro lens, although I didn't need the tube here. Both images are tripod shot and focus stacked from 3 images in Photoshop CS6 after the RAWs were processed in Lightroom 5.