As has been the case so many times when I have nothing particular to say, today I reached into my bag of old digital files, grabbed whatever touched my hands (not literally), and threw them on the table (again symbolically), and then dumped them into a post. I gazed at them and wrote whatever came to mind.
What about when your subject isn’t your subject? I mean, I’ve made a lot of images of Sandhill Cranes and I can become so mesmerized with these great birds and I forget about “the whole” picture if I am not careful. This time I was drawn by the qualities if the grasses, and the cranes were incidental but not accidental.
Those pictures were made at Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area here in Wisconsin. Crex, is a favorite place of mine for birds, mammals, insects, flowers and landscapes. Every place can be special if you’re there at the right time.
The same day I made the grasses/cranes pictures I also came across a friendly (more like oblivious) North American Beaver as it…well…acted busy as a beaver. I photographed from the car at first but eventually I just got out, set up my tripod, and continued to make pictures. I was of little consequence to my friend which is just how I love it.
Touching moments are always nice in wildlife photography. Add the colors of sunrise and what you have is a good day. Both Sandhill Crane parents began a slow and peaceful departure from my proximity as I clicked the shutter. One parent stopped almost as an afterthought to make sure the “little one” was still following.
I’ve shown a lot of pictures from The Black Canyon of The Gunnison in Colorado. I think one reason I stay on that theme is because BCG is one of several National Parks/Monuments that serious landscape artists ignore. I will admit the Black Canyon is not a supreme destination, but every place is special and Black Canyon has a visual story to tell.
After working all morning on landscapes, eventually I began to focus in on the canyon walls. The second picture below is meant to put the first image into context.
Every day must end and my day at BCG ended with a sunset in the Rockies. A very satisfying finish to a fine day.
The Painted desert of Arizona gets its share of photographers but it is ignored by the serious shooters and pros. It was a morning of intermittent storms and winds on this day in the late 1980s. I did my best with my tripod and film camera to hold down the shaking. The overcast light led to nicely saturated colors. I have always regretted never returning to the PD, in an effort to get more and better images.
When you work (photographically) with any family of fox for a period of time, you begin to feel like their lost Uncle Arnold. Accepted, but not really appreciated. I am fortunate to have been that uncle on several occasions.
Ducks in the water, are always active and engaging subjects. Whether they be diving, dabbling or preening, they give you another picture every few seconds.
This first image is of two male Greater Scaups as one dove and the other swam. That vivid blue water is courtesy of man, as it is the reflection of a blue tarp covering a near-by boat.
This female (Mallard?) is a dabbler instead of a diver but that’s okay with me.
Preening and keeping those feathers in good shape is a favorite pastime of all ducks and this elegant male Northern Pintail preened and posed nicely for me.
The Scaup picture was made on a February day on a Lake Michigan bay, and the picture you see below was made a mile or so away, looking towards open water (ice) less than two weeks later. The bay where I found the Scaups was still open and it would have been possible, to make that cheerful duck picture later on the same day as this frozen sunrise. I made the duck image from my car, but this one was created while out in the freezing cold. Still worth it though.
Water is a favorite subject of many photographers and I was no exception. Whether it be a “mid-speed” treatment of a medium-sized waterfall, a slow speed rendition of a small cascade on a creek, or an action stopping shot of winter waves crashing on ice-covered rocks along a Lake Michigan shore, water is a premier subject for any image maker.
I truly do enjoy simple subjects like wild grasses after a rain. When I pulled the images below out of an old folder the other day I realized that I had forgotten about a venture into software created abstractions that I had tackled. As I have mentioned previous to this post, most of my editing work is simple stuff like exposure, over all contrast, and pretty much what everyone does. Still, sometimes I do “play with the tools“, so to speak.
In the case below I used my HDR (high dynamic range) software to combine two images. They were two photos that were very close to the same, but I had intentionally moved the camera slightly between exposures for a different composition. Normally I would use HDR imaging to bring together the contrast levels that were inherent in a scene, of two or more images where my exposure was bracketed. That would take the deep tones from the underexposed image and blend it with the light tones of the overexposed image to create one even toned image that showed both the highlights and the shadows evenly. In this case I combined two images of the exact same exposure but which were slightly askew from each other via the shift of my camera position when I made them. The translucent (even transparent) quality to some blades of grass was a surprise to me when I first saw them. It seems that in the battle for dominance between the two images that some parts, or grass blades lost out. I guess that should be expected with two images that have parts out of coordination with each other. The dark specs were also a surprise to me. They seem to be rain drops that have been under exposed during the process of combining one image over another.
It never hurts to explore the creative process even if your intent is only self amusement.
I thank you for your time, and have a blessed day, Wayne