Spring Leaves

I’m so happy that Spring is finally arriving here in the Northeast. March was our snowiest month of the Winter, and April was no bargain either. Finally however, May has brought Spring like weather. Even though today’s high was a meager 48F and the house’s heat actually kicked on a few times today, Spring is here…this is how I know.

Earlier this week, I made my first journey to the yard and began the dreaded spring clean up. Dead leaves that fell after I was done raking for the season, a host of limbs and branches and all sorts of entropy laden factors made my yard a serious mess. But any trip to my yard usually provides and opportunity for photographic inspiration as well, and so we have today’s picture.

While out raking, mowing and blowing, I couldn’t help but notice the tiny leaves that had emerged from their buds in the last few days. Their colors and details were so beautiful. Like mini, concentrated versions of their full grown selves, they took on a unique quality. I knew I had to capture them somehow. So, when I was finally done with my real work, I ran into the house, and grabbed my camera and Macro lens. I also got a clip board and taped some plain white paper to it to use as a background. I’d seen this done with flowers and though I’d give it a try with these tiny leaves. Well, despite all the peril inherent in Macro photography, my consistent banging of the background into the stem as I fired the shutter, and the wind, I managed a few shots I am pleased to say are keepers. Here’s one of those shots today for you to see. I hope you like it and Happy Spring to those of you in the northern hemisphere. All the best!!

Cat Tails in Monochrome

DSC_1426-EditToday, I thought I would post a picture of some beautiful cat tails that I stumbled upon in the early spring last year.  The late afternoon sun was hitting them just right with a beautiful golden light.  I’m not sure what made me try to convert the image to black and white, but when I did…Wow did it pop!!  All the areas where the sun was hitting the reeds was suddenly in sharp contrast to the underbrush and surrounding trees.  If you’ve never heard of the term “happy accident” here might be a great example of one that really made my day.

I’ve read several books on black and white, aka Monochrome, and almost every one of them talks about “seeing” in black and white.  It’s a painful admission to make, but I must admit, I do not see in black and white.  I’ve read all that stuff about studying form, and recognizing contrast within a scene, and I guess it’s just one of those gifts that some people have, and others, like me, read about.  I often take a picture with the desire to convert it later, only to find when I do, that it simply doesn’t work.  Some, like the picture above, really take me by surprise.  I have long admired the work of Ansel Adams, he is a hero to me.  His calendar adorns a wall in my office every year.  His ability to use previsualization of a scene, and then to capture it using the zone system as an exposure guide, is a talent that borders on clairvoyance.   It is a skill I have chased for more years than I am willing to admit to.  I have not gotten there yet, but I will not give up the chase.  Even if it takes the rest of my life.  Of course, for me, this is a hobby, so in some ways that is a wonderful prospect to consider.

All the best,  and Happy Valentines Day!!

Two Speeders

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While this may look like a shot from just last week, since there are no leaves on the trees and it’s looking pretty Fall-ish, I actually shot this last Spring.  It was one of the first nice days outside, and it was finally starting to warm up, so we went for a quick hike through a local park.  The late afternoon sun made for some great light, and the Geese were new arrivals after returning from their defection to the warmer South for the winter.  Actually, they caught me by surprise.  I heard them coming, it wasn’t hard with all the honking,  but they were moving really fast across the water. I only had a split second to snap a picture before they were out of frame again.  I never even brought the camera up to my eye, I just shot from the hip all Western gunslinger style.  I was with a few people and they were quite impressed.   Of course, I’d be lying if I said the image didn’t need a little straightening in Lightroom.  I still can’t believe how fast those geese were moving.  I would have loved to try a panning shot and give a sense of their speed, but there was no time to set up for that.  I think it must be cool to speed across a lake just inches above the water like that.  That’s the way I’d fly if I was a goose.  Have a great weekend everyone.  I know Call of Duty is coming out today, but get out there and take some pictures!!!