Friday, September 29, 2006

Maple Tree on Sept 20

I got this shot mainly to show the overall scene for the sake of comparison with the closer shot below. I was trying to explain the idea of "isolate and simplify."
Some folks said they like this version of the Maple tree better than the one below. I like both, I guess, but my main goal was to capture the texture of the branches, so the closer view does a better job of that. I don't mind the sky here (though maybe I included too much) because it is blue and the clouds add texture, but if the sky were gray, then I think the sky would have wrecked this shot. It was mid morning and the sun was coming in warmly from the right causing the branches to almost glow. I guess either shot "works," but I prefer the closer view below. This may be an example where it's simply a matter of preference. This also was Sept. 20, 2006 at the pond.

Closer View of Branches

This Maple tree was JUST starting to change color on Sept. 20, 2006. I went back one week later and got some more shots of the same tree, showing quite a bit more orange and red. I plan to return to this tree every week for the next few weeks. It will be fun and interesting to see how it changes, which I plan to show here on my website.

Cat Tails at the Pond

I enjoy photographing the Cat Tails at the pond. It is a challenge to find some kind of pattern or order in a field like this. I like the way the brown "fruits" of the Cat Tails kind of line up nicely along the top half to third of the frame. They are not exactly centered, but shifted up a bit in the frame. They are somewhat evenly spaced and appear more organized than they really were. I found these on Sept. 20, 2006.

Virginia Creeper on Dead Tree

Fall Color was just starting to appear at the nearby pond. This "stripe" of red caught my attention on the morning of Sept. 20, 2006. I looked up from my camera bag and saw the bright red leaves of Virginia Creeper crawling up this dead tree. I have been returning to the pond regularly and plan to post similar scenes from week to week to show how the color changes during the season.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dragonfly in the Late Afternoon Sun

I found this dragonfly one afternoon during my recent trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, August 31, 2006. My friends and I stood around in a sunny field, waiting for dragonflies to land, and then used fill flash (bracket holding flash above the camera, set at minus 2 to help open up the shadows) to capture the moment. This was the only dragonfly that I was able to catch that afternoon on "film."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Foggy September Sunrise

Foggy Sunrise in UP MIchigan, Sept 1, 2006. I got this photo at Seeny National Wildlife Refuge in northern Michigan while attending a week-long Rod Planck photography workshop with a few of my favorite photographer friends. The reeds in the front right corner add depth to the frame, which would otherwise be rather uniform and boring toward the front.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Caterpillar in UP Michigan

I found this caterpillar in a bog at Seeny National Wildlife Preserve, August 28, 2006. I started with a wider view (below) but then moved my tripod and camera to get closer. I like this closeup shot better than the more distant view. I used my Nikon D70 with 200 mm micro lens and a 1.7 tamron teleconverter. I tried to adjust the color just the right amount to get the greens to look realistic. According to my monitor (which is calibrated), this looks about right. But, depending on a person's monitor adjustments (color saturation, hue, and brightness), the image could appear very different.

I started with this more distant view, but the closer view does a better job of showing the face. Notice how the background is somewhat distracting in this image? I had to use a small aperture to try and get the caterpillar in focus, and by doing that, I also kept details from the grasses in the background. But (as above) when I moved in and focused more closely, the background got smooth and out of focus.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sunrise at the Pond

Here is the first photograph that I made this morning (Sept 8), just after sunrise, at the nearby pond. The sun came up just before 7 AM, but its light was blocked by a nearby hillside. The sun finally reached this valley (diffused by clouds) at about 7:40 AM, by which time I was photographing bumble bees on thistle.

I found this bumble bee and bean leaf beetle resting on a thistle beside the pond. It was still calm for a few minutes while I snapped a few shots, and then the wind picked up and the bumble bee blurred in my frame. Shortly after getting this photo, the ladybug walked around to the other side and the bumble bee started to move around. So I packed up my stuff and kept walking, then found another bumble bee about 1/4 mile down the path. See below. (PS: Thanks to Mike Ayers for helping my ID the beetle.)

This bee was resting on a thistle beside the pond. This part of the pond was more sheltered from the wind, and this bee was too cold to move.

The sun peeked through the clouds a tiny bit when I got this shot around 7:40 AM. This is another perspective of the same bee shown above.

Just before sunrise this morning, I jumped in the car and drove up the hill and over to a nearby pond. It was a foggy morning, but not too cloudy. The sky was mostly gray. Since the pond is in a valley, the sun actually reaches it about 40 minutes after sunrise. The water was calm, so I got some good reflections. I also found a few dew covered bumble bees on thistles.

Here is another shot of the foggy pond with a somewhat different perspective than the one above.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Photo Collection (Just the Beginning)

I have just started a PHOTO COLLECTION that can be found at this address
I plan to keep posting images and information here on this website, but now that I have the other site up and running, I plan to stick closer to the theme of WOODLAND SPRING. There still may be exceptions, like the spider I posted earlier today. But if you are interested in seeing some of my other work, just check out the link listed here.

Spider in UP Michigan

Here is a spider that I found in a dewy field in Seeny National Wildlife Refuge in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on September 2, 2006. I had actually photographed this same spider the previous day, but decided that the background had been too distracting, so I wanted to try again. This was the last shot I got during my week-long trip to Michigan to attend a Rod Planck photography workshop with a few of my favorite photographer friends.