Name this post?  I guess I finally ran out of titles.

Over these many years of landscape photography, I have tended to ignore prairies as a subject. I would photograph them if they were small and full of flowers, and of course I used them as a place to make pictures of individual flowers and insects.

The best way to capture the spacious and “big sky”  mood of prairies, is to photograph very little prairie and a lot of sky.  It is the one way you can really feel just how big a prairie can be, and just how small we can be.  This is true of sunrise/sunsets as well.  I love finding a single tree as a silhouette, but I am happy to use some prairie grass instead.

I drove through the darkness of this North Dakota prairie and watched the storms as they dissipated.  They broke just before the sun reached the horizon and within a few minutes I had yet another sunrise in my files.  I was standing alone as the darkness turned to light at the edge of a prairie that seemed to go on forever.  I was grateful for one more deposit in my memory bank. Thank you nature and photography.DSC_0224

I love photographing wild mushrooms, lichens, moss or anything that is colorful and interesting and makes a macro.  I found this mushroom growing out of an old log (a usual place) and was enamored with it’s colors and designs. You might say I was smitten with fungi.DSC_0014

There’s nothing quite like observing and photographing American Goldfinches after the Sunflowers bloom. In fact until every single seed is gone they can be found performing acrobatics for your camera. It’s still coming to you so don’t miss it.

An image like the one below could have been cleaned up in the editing process. I don’t know about you but it is kind of nice to know that what you see is what you get with behavioral pictures.

In our last post I showed two images of a Snowy Owl. The simplicity and elegance of one owl, one tree trunk and a blue winter’s sky was the perfect combination to impart the feeling and the truth about what was happening. When you have a finch upside down trying to coerce seed out of a sunflower, a little chaos fit’s the mood.BPHawHollGFinch 100

I would never call the immediate area around my home county a landscape photographers dream.  I generally worked this area in autumn (excellent), occasionally in winter, and around Lake Michigan for sunrises (also excellent).  I recently came across these images which reminded me that I would occasionally work the area in spring. New spring greenery and a river make for a nice combination.  This is the Root River.Dsc_2194Dsc_2217

What drew me away from the “big picture” of this historic lighthouse, and towards piecework, was the contrasting cool blue of the sky and the fire engine red of the roof. The extreme sidelight allowed the shadows to become deep enough to keep those contrasts high.DSC_9922B

Yes I do photograph garden flowers from time to time. There are a million ways to photograph a group of flowers.  As part of a grand landscape?  Maybe in this case a botanical garden?  Maybe small clusters of flowers in front of an old stone wall.  Maybe one flower sharp with the rest of the blossoms slowly losing sharpness one by one. Just possibly, you can find one sharp flower with  all the rest simply representing soft and fuzzy shapes and colors.

I’ve taught more flower/macro workshops than any kind, and I once gave a group the assignment of photographing anything from one part of the first blossom of a group, to the entire group of flowers, using any amount of depth of field they wished. What an amazing variety of personal visions!   That is a good exercise for a solitaire photographer.DSC_9172

When spring came I was always excited to turn my camera both down and up at the rebirth of nature.  Upwards were those beautiful migrating birds, and downwards were both flowers and the first insects of the year.  In these parts you find a few ex-hibernating butterflies, as well as a few bees on the first warm days, but I always had to wait for the explosion of dragonflies.  Looking for simple but pretty shots to display these guys was always a challenge, but one I could not wait to tackle.  I miss spending time with my little flying dragons just as much as I do with my feathered friends.DSC_4698

I doubt I have ever shown the image before.  Not exactly a crafted piece of art, but it does show a natural phenomenon.  This was made at Hawthorn Hollow Nature sanctuary several years ago.  We are in a woodland looking out through a large opening.  That opening and everything else is literally filled with gnats.DSC_0183

Every day is a gift, use it as if it matters,


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