The photographic explorations of a former film student.

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Butterfly House

I’ve had an exceptionally busy week, so unfortunately, this post is late. It is also archive that I’ve been saving for a time like this. When I was in Michigan visiting family and the Sleeping Bear Dunes, I also visited the butterfly house in Traverse City. It was not quite ready to open at that point. My uncle works for the local MSU extension office in the area. As a result, he  and my aunt got to know the young couple who own and run the butterfly house.

Unfortunately, we arrived on a sad day for them. Many of their butterflies had died due to pesticides. I did not realize this, but most plants purchased at greenhouses and box stores have pesticides on them or in the soil. These pesticides kill butterflies as well as undesirable insects. Of course, the owners of the butterfly house knew this. They had asked the company they purchased the plants from specific questions about pesticides. However, the answers they got did not match with the plants they got. Fortunately, not all of the butterflies were out of their cocoons yet, and all of the fruit feeding butterflies were fine.

FruitFeederButterflies

They look rather drab on the outside, but inside, these butterflies have brilliant blue wings.

BlueWings

I did not touch the butterflies. They are delicate, and you have to know how to handle them so as not to hurt them. Others in our group did know how and had permission.

ButterflyOnFinger

The butterflies can and do land on people. They have signs on the way out of the enclosure asking guests to check for hitchhikers. Since my dad is a quite and steady type, the butterflies liked him.

HitchHikerButterfly

Despite the sad death of some of the butterflies that day, I enjoyed visiting the butterfly house and photographing the butterflies. Perhaps I will be able to go back someday or visit another butterfly house. In the meantime, I should do some pesticide research.

OrangeOnRocks OrangeOnPlants ButterflyOnRocks

Next Time: End of Archive?

I’ve a three-day weekend coming up, so hopefully I’ll be able to shoot something.

Flair Experiment

I don’t normally use flair in photos, but I decided to try it last Fall. This is the result.

TreesAndFlair

Squirrel Stalking

Photographing squirrels can be a challenge. In my first college level photography class, our instructor strongly suggested we avoid any small, fast-moving animals for our film-only projects. Several students tried squirrels anyway. Only one met with any amount of success.

I’ve never walked out the door with my camera intending to photograph a squirrel. However, a few promising opportunities have presented themselves. The squirrels I photograph must be either exceedingly curious or otherwise occupied so they don’t just dart off. This squirrel is an example of the first case. Last fall, my extended family and I were celebrating my Grandma’s birthday. We were sitting on the porch as she opened her gifts. I think my uncle noticed the squirrel first. Mr. Squirrel was staring at us from the tree outside. He allowed me to approach him and take a series of flash photographs of him. I would walk a ways closer and take a couple of shots, then come closer still for another few. This continued until I was quite close – much closer than I had expected to get. Then the squirrel’s curiosity was outweighed by his fear of my camera, and he scurried away.

BirthdaySquirrel

Belated Happy 4th of July

I just barely squished a trip to the fireworks into my 4th of July weekend. Since it was quite possible that my schedule for the next month or more would be tighter than usual, I decided to wait and post them as a regular post rather than a special 4th of July edition that weekend.

When it comes to photographing fireworks, just like many things in life, there is more than one school of thought. The way I originally learned involves very long shutter speeds where the light is entirely in trails. This allows me to have all the colors produced and include several bursts in one shot at the small town show I attend. The other method is to use a much shorter shutter speed and capture a lot of the sparkle we know fireworks for. This makes timing trickier. It also makes it more difficult to get multiple blasts in frame at smaller shows that are more likely to send one up at a time. Personally, I also tend to capture more smoke when I have shorter shots with a higher ISO. But sparkle is part of the fireworks, so this year, I experimented with getting a few of the blasts cut short a bit so I’d have some more.

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Next Time: Change and Archive

Well, it’s happening. I’m going to be rather occupied with other matters for the next month. A necessary pain to accomplish a much desired end. I will probably post some archive material that I’ve shot in the past few years and never posted. Who knows, I may even go back to college stuff. Anyway, squirrels will most likely figure in the mix somewhere. Maybe I’ll post my college photo contest finalist shot too.

A Companion in Adventure

I said I was going to photograph the lovely old Polaroid folding camera. Despite my best intentions and the best intentions of my father, neither of us could find it. However, I did find the ancient Kodak Medalist II. Although it’s not as old as some of the other cameras in my father’s collection, it is by far the most worn and well-traveled of them all. My father acquired it while cleaning out a photofinishing plant in Wisconsin after the place went out of business. The Medalist’s owner had died by then. Reportedly, he was world traveler, and this camera was his companion on many adventures.

KodakMedalistII

The Medalist II was manufactured in the late 1940s. It was a fine camera in its time with rangefinder and other focusing helps. Like many items from that era, it was built like a tank. This top view shows just how wide it is.

TopView

The focusing mechanism is also quite rigid and sturdy. In the camera’s present state of disrepair, it is difficult to turn.

LensOut

You’ve probably noticed I’ve made no attempts to clean or retouch this relic. My father decided years ago that it should stay as he found it: someone’s old companion in adventure bearing the marks and dirt of its life and adventures. Although the former owner had it repaired on several occasions, it would take a lot to get this one back in shooting order even if we were to try. I’d estimate the last repair was about a decade before my father acquired the camera.

CaseDates

This Medalist II belongs to the past. However, they are such fine cameras that some people are still fixing them up and shooting with them. Here’s one man’s story of getting his Medalist II in working order: http://blog.timesunion.com/chuckmiller/welcoming-the-kodak-medalist-ii/21899/

Next Time: Fireworks

It’s hard to believe the 4th of July is gone already. I shot the fireworks lat night, but I promised a camera post this week, and I didn’t have much time to edit today.

More Nail Polish Art

I decided to get back to indoor tabletop photography this time. Also, I’d recently revisited my old hobby of painting glass with nail polish, and I had several new nail polish pendants sitting around. Oval ones, which are particularly tough because of the way they reflect light. These were all window light shots later in the day with white poster boards as reflectors. Still, I’ve got to get the camera lens in there somewhere. I decided I wasn’t going to list these to sell, and that I would do a little more retouching on them. I’ve not sold any yet. Besides, I think I will keep most of these. They are mostly new polishes I’ve not done any glass with before.

PinkAndHearts BlueNebula MultiGlitterGold

Next Time: More Table Top – Camera?

I’m hoping to actually photograph a camera next week. A big old lovely lady of a folding Polaroid. Maybe some video for my little unfinished project as well.

Waterfall Hike

I’d planned it to be much more. A few days of vacation to take from work that month were supposed to be a long weekend for two parks and an architecture shoot. It rained until the last day. Fortunately, that last day was a great one. Sunny, not too hot, and enough rain to make falls that aren’t always there flow steady. Dad came with and managed to haul all his gear (he shoots 4X5 film) up and down long staircases and around waterfalls through steep and narrow trails.

In the morning, we only saw a few smaller falls.

SmallFallsAndFlowers

My research on the park paid off for our afternoon hike. Two more out of the way canyons with three waterfalls total.

LaSalleCanyon TontyFalls

Also some lovely rock formations. One almost looks like a person emerging from a cave.

RockWall RockMan

Next Time:
Camera or Necklaces

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