Sunday, December 11, 2005

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis, October 29, 2005
This praying mantis was walking through sand in our back yard when I snapped this shot. I "cranked up" the ISO of the digital "film" so that I could get this shot in the dim light of late afternoon-so there is quite a bit of grain in this shot. I did use a tripod to hold the camera steady, and moved it around the sand area to keep up with the movement of the mantis. I also opened up the aperature pretty wide, so that I could let in as much light as possible. This gives a shallow depth of field, and fortuntately, I was able to get the eyes in the plane of focus. I like the way the front and back of the frame appear fuzzy because they are out of focus.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Fog Above Mountain Lake

Misty Fog, October 25, 2005
I wasn't expecting fog when I drove up the mountain to Mountain Lake, but it was a nice surprise. The fog rose above the lake almost like a sheer curtain, blocking my view and then letting me see past it again. This was my first visit to Mountain Lake, and you can bet I plan to return many times.

View from Bald Knob, Mountian Lake

View, October 25, 2005
This is the view looking west-north from the top of Bald Knob. I had a compass with me and could have checked the specific direction, but I was getting cold, which also means LAZY sometimes for me. Instead of worrying about such details as the actual direction, I just enjoyed it. I do plan to return on a variety of other days to see how the view changes with the season, time of day, and the weather.

Bald Knob at Mountain Lake

Rocks at Bald Knob, Oct. 25, 2005
I like the way these rocks are stacked on the top of Bald Knob. It was really exciting as I left the protection of the forest and walked out on to this "bald" knob on the top of the hill. It was much colder up here than I had imagined that morning before heading out on my adventure, so I was shivering. But still I enjoyed it and hung out there for at least twenty minutes before heading quickly back down the slippery and snowy slope.

Top of Bald Knob

Bald Knob, Oct. 25, 2005
This is one of those fun shots that I like to take from time to time. This one serves the purpose of reminding me where I have been and it provides PROOF to others that I was there! I liked the way the sign kind of blended in with the background, and I liked the contrast of the orange brown leaves.

Witch Hazel Leaves Blowing in the Wind

Witch Hazel Leaves, Oct. 25, 2005
I posted this image before, but a differen version of it. I made this one today using Photoshop CS2, and included a process called "sharpening," which I had not done with the previous version of this image. I really like this shot not so much for how it looks here on the "page," but for how much fun it was to capture it. I was walking up a slippery, snowy trail to the top of Bald Knob when I saw these leaves dangling from their branch in front of me. The weight of the icy snow had pulled the branch down a bit, causing it to block the trail. I had to either walk around or duck. So instead I stopped to enjoy them.
These leaves were blowing pretty wildly in the wind. So I set up my tripod and put the camera on it and just watched and waited to see whether I could get a lucky shot. I also used a little skill. I opened up the aperature and sped up the shutter a bit to increase the odds of capturing a still moment. I also set up the framing when the leaves blew kind of steadily in the wind, and the next time they blew into that general position, I snapped the shutter a few times. I got a few shots that were pretty good, but this one seemed best. I love the way it shows the frost growing along the viens of the leaves.

Fall Color at Mountain Lake

Fall Color, Oct 25, 2005
This shot is similar to the one below it, including some of the same trees, but the framing is quite different--and so is the fog. As compared to the vertical shot below, this horizontal shot seems a little more cluttered and the subject seems less well defined. I still like it, though not as much, because it does a good job of showing the scenery around the lake. It certainly was a pretty day.

Misty Fall Color at Mountain Lake

Mountain Lake, Oct. 25, 2005
I posted this photo nearly two months ago, but I had reason to work with the image file again this week and decided to repost it. In the past, I had been using Nikon Capture software to conver the Nikon file into a JPEG for printing and posting on line. Lately, I have been using Photoshop CS2. After comparing the image I generated this week with the image from October, I decided to repost the image beause this one has a somewhat different feel. The main difference between now and then is that I have started to use a process called sharpening to make the image more crisp and clear. It is kind of like fine-tuning the focus, even though the original focus was sharp. Something about digital images causes them to fuzz up a bit, so "sharpening" is the process by which the data is fixed. Sorry I cannot explain it better.
Anyway, back to the photo itself. I love the way the fog kind of slips between the orange tree and the trees behind it.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Large Flowered Trillium

Large Flowered Trillium, April 19, 2005
Large Flowered Trillium blooms during mid-spring. Usually the leaves of trees overhead are just starting to grow. Looking up, you can see the green speckled branches, but the leaves have not finished growing and casting shade across the forest floor. Each Large Flowered Trillium reaches a height of about 8-12 inches (20-30 cm), and has a single large white or pale pink flower above a whorl of three leaves. Each flower blooms for several days, and continues to get darker pink (and more tattered) as time goes by. Eventually the petals shrivel up and turn darkish pink and brown as the plant begins to make seeds.
There are several species of trillium, all with the same general shape, but some have darker (maroon-burgandy, or yellow) flowers and some species are smaller. The smallest one I know of is Snow Trillium (3 inches high). Snow Trillium is one of my favorite--and gets its name due to its timing and appearance. It is one of the very first flowers to bloom each spring, often before the final scattering of snow. Snow Trillium can fill a hillside with white speckles, resembling scattered snow.