Hidden Talents and Forgotten Secrets

I have what I like to call a “hidden” talent. It is not a particularly useful talent, though it is amusing to anyone who witnesses it or is the beneficiary.

What is my hidden talent? I can easily spot four and sometimes five leaf clovers among their three leaved counterparts. I’ve stopped my riding lawnmower to not mow a four-leaf clover I saw 10 feet in front of me. There are (at least) five in this photo.

SLT-A77V, 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/4.5, ISO 100, 1/200s.

This talent is not something I am proud of when I think long and hard about it. It took me a year to rid my front yard of clover. My back yard, however, is a clover haven. Clover is evil. And I really am not sure it is a talent more than the odds are in my favor and statistically I am average. Who knows. I do entertain my wife and kids and family friends though.

Clover, in itself really isn’t interesting to photograph, to me. It is really cluttered, especially in patches and is too close to the dirt to really get any good shots taking advantage of shallow depths of field unless I’m actually planting my camera on the ground to shoot level. The mathematician in me sometimes likes to play the “one of these things is not like the other” game, other than that, photographing clover to me is basically like trying to prove I found yet another four leaf clover. I once investigated means for preserving and selling them on eBay. I find them constantly.

Of course, the reaction I have from finding a five-leaf clover is premature and I wind up doing the impatient thing and picking it. I have yet to photograph a 5 leaf clover while still attached to the ground.

spring2010 159

I was doing something in my workshop room the other day when I went into a cabinet I hadn’t opened in a while and I had forgotten the contents. Well over a year ago I was on the road and bored and I was perusing random stores and I came across a pawn shop and it had a Lensbaby Control Freak for the Sony Mount and they were asking next to nothing for it. I bought it and tried it out. I really didn’t “get” it, other than it could move around in odd directions. I figured I would reconcile the package by purchasing replacement aperture discs and I could sell it at a nice profit if I couldn’t figure it out. Then I came across the pinhole optic on sale a couple weeks later and I figured I would try it out. All I know is I had more sensor and mirror dust than I could possibly imagine as it is something ridiculous like f/117. None of it visible, but at f/117 the dust was there. Not good for someone who can be obsessive about sensor or mirror dust. So I put the thing in the cabinet.

Fast forward to about 3 days ago, I come across this little contraption and I figure I would give it another shot. I know more about photography, I can try it out.

Spring came late this year, and we got pounded by rain, which stripped all of my flowers’ petals, so I really didn’t get the photographic Spring I had in the past. My subjects were gone. I tried it out on the Japanese maples.


SLT-A99V, Lensbaby Control Freak Standard Optic @ f/2, ISO 100, 1/800s

Nothing bad, nothing out of the ordinary either. I stopped the thing down, played around with angles and focus distances.

SLT-A99V, Lensbaby Control Freak Standard Optic @ f/5.6, ISO 50, 1/13s

Again, nothing spectacular, other than the colors. I start walking around looking for subjects and I come across a clover patch and I instantly see two 4 leaf clovers next to each other.


SLT-A99V, Lensbaby Control Freak Standard Optic @ f/4, ISO 100, 1/25s

The one on the left was about a half inch lower than the one on the right but I played around with the angles to make them appear around the same height. I walked a couple yards and came across another.

SLT-A99V, Lensbaby Control Freak Standard Optic @ f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/20s

OK, a little better, but I still see some fluff I don’t like, and I am a little off-center. I tried a couple of other things with the next one I found A little less steep in angle, but closer.

SLT-A99V, Lensbaby Control Freak Standard Optic @ f/4, ISO 100, 1/25s

In all I got at least 10 unique clovers in about 15 minutes. This one ended up being my favorite of the bunch.

SLT-A99V, Lensbaby Control Freak Standard Optic @ f/2, ISO 100, 1/20s

And I did some creative post-processing to produce this result. I also had much more aggressive of a lens tilt.

SLT-A99V, Lensbaby Control Freak Standard Optic @ f/2.8, ISO 50, 1/25s

I have a feeling I may not get rid of this thing after all.


One comment on “Hidden Talents and Forgotten Secrets

  1. […] wrote a couple weeks ago about my hidden talent. I am proud to say I reached the pinnacle of my clover-finding career on […]

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