Ancient History

It is time to get back to some photography. I often find it necessary to comment on some of today’s more pressing subjects, and I have done that frequently as of late. I will always return to photography. Sort of ancient history, but it is enjoyable for me.

When I share my own images they are often old (ancient?), and today some are old enough to have been created on film, and in some cases a long, long time ago on film.

This first image is a digital original but from a long time ago.

One of my favorite hawks is the western Swainson’s Hawk. This one was photographed in Wyoming (I believe) and when I saw that bird on a rustic old barbed wire fence, with rust colored autumn grasses in the background, well I barely kept my composure. I believe I have only photographed this species twice in my life despite the fact that they are quite common in the American west.

These next two are made from very old film originals, and they were my one and only opportunity with the spectacular Cinnamon Teal. In fact, this is the only time I have ever seen one. Once again, there was some sort of reddish colored vegetation which gave the entire image sort of a cinnamon flavor to it if you will.

I always lived for those one of a kind moments.  I would have loved to have had more opportunities to capture better images of this species, but you take what you can get, when you can get it.

This was north central Colorado in the high country.

Falling water is one of nature photography’s most common subjects. Why not, it makes for beautiful imagery.

One of the most common photographic “treatments” for falling water is to use a slow shutter speed to soften the water. Another is to sometimes attempt a fast  shutter speed to stop the water in midair as a series of droplets. Neither represent what we generally see with our naked eyes. In both cases below I went for the “somewhat” softer cotton candy water. However, if there is any depth to the landscape that surrounds the water, and if it is in our view in back of the falling water as with the first image, then you make a trade off as to cover the land with focus, and accept what is only a mildly blurry water fall. The second waterfall is much the same except our view of the land does not run very far back into the picture frame. Either way, our interpretation will depart to some degree from reality.

The first image you see below was created in Wisconsin, and the second was in Idaho.  A shutter speed of 1/6th sec. was used with that first image, and ½ sec. in the other one.

Of course, sometimes water does run uphill. Well, sort of.

These ice covered rocks and crashing waves were photographed along a rocky shoreline at Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. The shutter speed I used was 1/400th sec.  Just enough to freeze the waves.

Personally, to me the ice covered rocks in this image are just as fascinating as are the “stop motion” waves.

As most of you know, the subject of water never gets tiring for me.

This dewy plant was just the sort of thing I was hoping for when I headed out that morning. I shot this image with a shutter speed of 1/6th of a second, not because I wanted a slow shutter speed, but because I could. This is a calm, still subject, with a fairly flat surface in relationship to my lens. Almost any shutter speed or aperture would have worked here, as long as I was careful not to bump my tripod, or the Lupine plant.

Water is a versatile, beautiful addition to any subject, but it works especially well at sunrise/sunset as a reflector of color and patterns. Those distant trees were the perfect introduction to the scene. A little terra firma helps anchor viewers to the earth.

Back to plants, but away from water. This fernlike and quite large leaf made for a perfect close-up study. Wonderful patterns here. Ultimately, photography is about the capture of light and the light is beautiful in this photo. Also, it is side lit and that brings hills and valleys to the subject, which then amplifies texture. That can make any image special.

Some more birds.

Photographing any animal is sort of like photographing a person. Static poses are nice but any sort of uniqueness to the picture helps make them special.

I believe this is a Willet. I found it standing motionless in the grasses, but eventually it began preening and striking some more interesting poses.  The closed eyes actually help make this image different from the norm. It “humanizes” the subject.

When I was photographing birds a lot, I was often in the company of serious birders. They hated anything that detracted from “field guide” identifying style images. I have had my bird work published in a lot in places where birders can go to find those the type of photos that they desire. That does not mean one has to make only that sort of picture.

Variety keeps a person passionate and willing to spend hours and hours in the field. Often, I had to force myself to go home.

I have shared many times on these pages, photos of Sharp-tailed Grouse during their courtship dance. Long before I made those pictures, I spent a frigid Easter morning in a blind with a friend. The subject that time was the Greater Prairie Chicken. That was a long time ago and I obviously used film. I believe this was Kodachrome. Only a very few marginally sharable images resulted, but nobody could ever take the experience away from me.

Well, I’ll leave you for now, just like the small flock of Pelicans are doing in the photo below.

I thank you for stopping by at Earth Images and I hope my sharing a few pictures with you have added a little brightness your day.

Happy Thanksgiving
Wayne

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