My previous post was all about birds so I decided to make this one birdless.
I love creating sunrise/sunsets. My interpretation of any given sunrise is often literal, but it is still very personal. Any sunrise with silhouettes is all about composition, and composition is always personal. It is the one statement the photographer makes whether the image is straight forward or abstract.
Simplicity is the essence of most sunrise/sunsets. The composition you see below is simple and it may look a lot like my typical prairie sunrises. A lone tree on the horizon. A lot of sky. If this was a prairie sunrise I would have probably backed off from the tree. One small tree on the horizon and a ton of sky would tell the “big sky” story of a prairie pretty well. This tree is actually at the edge of a Lake Michigan bank. I of course also made images of this sunrise over the lake itself.
Fog and mist at sunrise softens the mood in your image. You can make effective and colorful photos until well after the sun begins its morning journey into the sky. Once again success is accomplished via composition. This shot, while made in a different year and location than the above image, is in fact also made near the shores of Lake Michigan.
Misty mornings continue to add a nice bit of mood to your imagery even after the day brightens. This misty shot of Sand Lake, Illinois was made about ¼ of a mile and a few minutes later from the previous sunrise picture.
The compositional ploy of photographing a subject sharp, and then letting other similar subjects go soft in the background works well with flowers. It adds depth to your image as the secondary subject(s) is clearly farther away than the sharp picture. A small overlap of the sharp blossom and the soft one also adds depth by pushing the distant flower into the background.
Sometimes traditional comps are impossible with skittish wildlife subjects. As I approached the edge of this small pond the Leopard Frogs that seemed invisible until that moment, were diving into the water from all angles. When it comes to frogs, there are always a few that just can’t believe you can see them. Getting around to the front of this little Leopard would have meant my walking into the water. I was willing to get my feet wet for a head on shot but on three previous attempts my subjects jumped past me and into the water just about the time for me to focus. I decided we needed a new way to look at a Leopard Frog. I thanked my little friend and moved on, leaving him just where I found him.
Of course there are no rules against just making a unique composition. I made a dozen or so ground level straight in the face pictures of this Bull Frog ….and then began looking for different ways to look at a Bull Frog. It is not only good to try different comps, but it can be fun.
Head on images of wildlife are always winners. You don’t see a lot of those shots when it comes to dragonflies. That and other super close-ups of these guys has always been sort of a specialty of mine. Dragonflies are territorial and often hunt from a perch. I have frightened them away six or seven times only to have them come right back again. They will however eventually find a new perch. Sneaking up on a dragonfly and most insects is unlikely. Those big compound eyes will see you but will they understand you? Movement is the key and doing so very, very slowly will sometimes get you within inches of your subject even when you approach from the front. The first image is a crop.
I love photographing small mammals. In this area the Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel is my favorite. They love to come out to the grassy edges of small roads. I have made thousands of pictures of these guys from my car (like here) but like most small rodents, they can be approached slowly on foot as well.
In a recent post I showed a super close-up of an image of ice on grass. That picture is shown again below while the picture below it is a standard distance macro of the same ice and blades of grass. There are so many pictures to make. The nature photographer has an infinite number of subjects.
For those of you who are like me and always enjoy seeing great shots of North America’s most iconic landscape destinations, a trip to Gary Hart Photography is worth it. If you happen to (like me) also enjoy the story about the experience of making the shot, a visit to Gary’s blog is essential. The subject is The Grand Canyon and a lightning storm.
Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping, Wayne
I truly enjoyed this post Wayne & you continue to inspire me. I checked out Gary Hart’s Photography, great work & stories; thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much Darlene it is great to hear from you! It’s nice to see someone following those links as well. Hope you are getting some great images this summer. It’s hard to think fall is coming. Keep creating that beautiful art!