A Few Thoughts

I will begin today’s “thoughts”, with the stated purpose of this blog, photography, and then move on to a few more.

The images today were not chosen as a theme, although some do belong together. They were plucked from old files randomly.

Flowers are among the most popular subjects for nature photographers. Why wouldn’t they be? They can be shockingly colorful, yet meditatively serene.

I love the concept of a sharp flower and a soft background. That background can contain leaves, other blossoms, or nothing at all. It is especially eye appealing if the background is a little darker than the primary subject.   

Notice the soft out of focus branches and flower petals in the background for the first image, and how the other one recedes into darkness. Using depth of field for control of near to far sharpness, and/or a background that is two or so fstops of light darker than the foreground helps. Of course you could reduce the background via software editing, but you would be surprised how seldom that is necessary.

The same darker background concept also works with other subjects like say ice above a pond. Notice also that the ice has a blue (shade) cast. Ice like this is of course white but the blue light cast from shadows (shade) records otherwise. There is blue sky, reflecting into those shadows,

I came across this preening Sandhill Crane many years ago in a state park. I was in my car at the time and there is nothing that wild critters like this are more used to than an automobile.  A rolling blind, except that we are actually not hidden.

While nature was my primary subject, I would make use of any opportunity to capture an image of something interesting.

I was in the same state park one day and two classic antique airplanes came in my direction. Not my direction on the ground of course, but south. I was in the process of photographing flying birds anyway, so I just kept shooting.  If memory serves and sometimes it does not, I did not even change settings (shutter speed and aperture), I just clicked away.

There’s nothing that is more photographically compatible in my opinion, than sunrise/sunset and an approaching storm. Notice all of the slight variances in composition in these first three sunrise images, and how especially in the final one, the mood changes.  The storm seems more dangerous in those very moody first two. The final of the three shows more light sky and it lightens the mood. I however, prefer the first two.

This final photo is of a different sunrise and location, and to me, it is the most ominous therefore the most moody, and therefore my favorite. I guess, I am a moody person.  I would imagine that my exposure reading came from the area right next to the sun itself. That is the second brightest part of the scene and it kept the scary looking clouds well, scary.


Taking Stock of Life & Friends

I think for most people, the first time we take any real stock in our lives, especially the past, is somewhere around the age of thirty. I remember not being bothered by turning thirty (I would be thrilled to be thirty now), but feeling old when my wife turned thirty five months later. The older you get the more important the past will become.

I should have turned left, I should have turned right.  What to leave in, what to leave out.

Then we have to skate past thirty to begin to understand what it all meant.

For most of us, around thirty is the first time that we browse our memories for all of the people who have occupied time in our lives.  We take stock of them.

Family, especially immediate family, almost without saying, will always be the centerpiece of those memories. Family never gives up. Blood is indeed thicker than water.

These days I find that the memories of all the good buddies and pals of my life resurface. From four years old to now, there’s not a best friend that I would remove from my life.  Mike, Gregg, Mark, Tom, Jay, Ron and on. They had a purpose and often taught me what it mean to be a friend. For me, the lessons did not last too long, but I thank them for their effort.

Then there are the ladies of my life. Great regular friends, girl(lady?)friends and a wife, they are even more important than those guy friends. Most of the males, were too much like me. With the ladies, I saw another side of life. Yes, everyone of us is different and so are men and women. I apologize to what is apparently the entire 21st Century for that comment (no I don’t).

From my first crush, to my first date, to my marriage and on to the many great friends I have had who are of the female persuasion, I thank you. To those whom I used, I beg your forgiveness. They were usually smarter than I, and nicer as well, which was the only reason I am sure, why they hung on longer than I did.

I often feel very, very sorry for the Millennial and Generation Z groups. I know they have great friends that they too treasure, but I doubt they know who and what they themselves are, much less their friends. They have literally been brought up to be confused. Maybe there is still time to give order to the confusion, although time has its limits. They can still become the new “greatest generation”.

This I know, for a guy who has often been described as a loner, I have been blessed by God with all of the people he has brought into my life. I would never have grown without you.

Take stock of yesterday, so you can grow today.

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