Too much drama! Is it possible for pictures to be too dramatic? This image of an extremely dew covered butterfly is an old film image. If memory serves me, this is a natural shot. No flash. The conditions were high contrast sun and shadows and I rolled with those circumstances. I liked the way bits of color peeked out from the dew, and I accepted the extreme contrast as a building block for an abstract image. Notice how tattered the back part of its wings are. This picture, as an original 35mm slide, had been published in magazines. Normally a photo editor would run, not walk away from a photo with this kind of contrast level. It was published by magazines that were searching for unique ways to look at subjects.
This next shot is an old medium (6×7 cm) format film picture from the Smoky Mts. in spring. I spent two days in the Smokies by myself, as I waited for my pal Ron to arrive. I shot over thirty rolls of film in those two days. That was exposing a lot of film….or so it seemed at the time. Many were 6×7, which are only ten exposures, and the rest were 36 exposure 35mm film. Since the advent of digital photography I have been with photographers who “shotgun” that many exposures in ten minutes. Photographers today have the luxury of making a lot of images to choose from. They also have the misfortune of creating a lot of bad pictures in the midst of the good ones. Something’s lost when something’s gained.
I’ve owned two film scanners. The first one broke, and the second simply became outdated. I then began using my DSLR and macro lens to copy film on a daylight balanced light table. It has always worked very well, but like with any extreme close-up, you have to be very careful when you are making the picture. The film plane…err… make that sensor, has to be perfectly parallel with the film on the light table. You at least need to create enough depth of field (f stop) to cover any mistakes. Of course you also need to take care not to bump the tripod. The Smoky Mt. picture above, is off just a bit. Either the film itself was not laying 100% flat, or my camera back was not parallel to the film. It’s close enough to show here.
After many years of wildlife photography, I finally had my first non-city opportunity to photograph a Raccoon. I made this picture in Squaw Creek NWR in Missouri. There have been more (better) opportunities since then, but you know what they say, “you always remember your first”.
While we’re viewing small mammals, how about this old image of three delightful Red Fox kits. It was easy to get up early every morning when I knew that a family of foxes were waiting for me at my destination.
I still remember this morning in 2009 at a place called Illinois Beach State Park, South Unit. I found this plump caterpillar munching on breakfast just a few moments after arriving. I love caterpillars because they are oh, so slow. I had plenty of time to mount my DSLR and 105 macro lens securely on a tripod and make plenty of super close-ups.
I’ll photograph any critter that is wild and free. Such was the case when I found this pigeon in a local state park. This beautifully marked (pigeons often are) bird gave me a plethora of wonderful poses and expressions.
These final four pictures were made in 2014. Sometimes I forget that I actually made a few images last year. Sometimes it seems as though my last time was in 1914.
I had a great time watching this Common Yellow-throat Warbler as he sung his heart out. Photographing him was much more difficult. The problems were traditional for a bird photographer. He would land on one spot and the branches were in the way. He’d stop on another and the sun angle produced contrasty sidelight. He finally came to a rest up close with the light at the proper angle, and the background was awful. When in doubt with wildlife, make the picture. I think I am safe in saying that I’ve made a few thousand images of birds in my life, where the light was perfect and/or the background clean. Sometimes the memories evoked are more important than the image. That previous statement is one that I would have once said was made by an amateur, but it is true. Pictures serve many purposes.
The Belted Kingfisher is a bird that I chased unsuccessfully for many years. Like so many hard to photograph animals, it seems that once you do find a cooperative one, there will be many more to follow. This was the final bird I photographed, in fact these were two of the last pictures I ever made.
The World Wide Web is the primary avenue for photographers to get their work in front of the public. It is amazing how after nearly thirty years of home internet for some (about 18 for me), photo reproduction is still spotty. It’s a 1,000% better than the beginning, but it still varies greatly from location to location. Fickr Photos and Google Plus are both pretty darn good. Facebook is poor for the smaller (bigger than thumbnail) copy you first see, and is average at best for the enlarged version. This very blog diminishes the quality of published pictures, although less that some other blog hosts. Being published in magazines, books, etc., always has and still does suffer from inconsistency from one publication to another. Sometimes it varies from one individual copy to another. There are always a mix of joys and frustrations when sharing pictures.
On my next post I will share some great abstracts by some top photographers.
God Bless, Wayne