The photographic explorations of a former film student.

Nature

Mid-Summer Flowers

My last photo outing was in early July, and I’ve finally edited it for the blog. There are a lot of other things on my mind right now, as there have been for the past several weeks, but at some point, a person has to move on.

It was a lovely early July day.  I met my father out at a local forest preserve.

TreesInJuly

My intention was to photograph wildflowers, but I didn’t find much that interested me. Lighting was also a bit stark.

SmallPink

I ended up photographing the pink clover, blue cornflower, and grasses at the entry to my parent’s subdivision. There were some bugs as well, including our much hated invasive Japanese beetles.

PinkCloverAndAntCloverAndBeetlesBlueBonnetAndGrass

Summer is about over now. Time to think about fall. This next month will probably not be the best for me, but I might try to get out for photography or do some still life. I’m not sure what my official September blog will be, but I hope I’ll have some good fall photos for October and November.


A Fine May Day

Time-wise, at this point I’m just going to say I’ll do two posts this month to catch up. Anyway, to the blog.

May first was the first day local forest preserves in my area were officially open (COVID-19). Earlier in the year, you could park outside and walk in. Dad had been itching to go out for some time, I wanted to do wildflower macro, and Mom was worried Dad would be mauled by coyotes. With parks officially open, Dad and I decided to meet at a forest preserve we’d never been to, but many members of the photo club recommended. Mom was OK with this. Upon arriving, Dad did not see anything that interested him. We did see several people. No coyotes. We agreed to reconvene later at Dad’s favorite spot across town. I stayed and got in my annual spring macro wildflower shoot. Different species this time, but still a nice day.

SmallPinkVioletBlueBell

Later in the day, Dad and I met at his favorite forest preserve. The scene he was watching wasn’t right for the shot he was trying to get. I had walked down the road to and from his point of interest instead of driving because I wanted the exorcise. I found an interesting stump on the side of road. Dad was curious about what I was photographing. He decided he wanted to photograph it too. Waiting for him to get his gear set up, I decided to take a few more shots and see if I could get something I liked better. This was the result. I haven’t seen his yet.

BAndWStump

 

Next Time:

It’s June. It’s Dairy Month. As a former 4-H kid, it is my duty to make milk look good to you this month.


Change and Tulips

This is officially my April post. Yes, I know it is May. Yes, I need to work on my punctuality. At least I shot all of these in April. Anyway, to  the post.

Last fall, I planted tulips. This is always done with hope of spring in mind. There is joy and anticipation as the green shoots make their way out of the damp spring earth. And then, in this instance, there was hail. Hail that shredded the tulip’s leaves. One was trampled just after a blossom emerged. My garbage can landed on a row of them. Nevertheless, the tulips bloomed. Closed at first and still mostly closed when it’s not sunny, they provided a nice burst of color, even if they were a little bedraggled.

Then one morning, they were all open and the sun shone on them beautifully. I had to go out and photograph them, even if the finished product wasn’t as good as I had hoped. The changing hues throughout the petals were lovely, and I had to at least try and capture them.

PinkOpenYellowOpenPinkAndYellow

Since these photos, the tulips have continued to change. Some are nearing the end of their blooming season and look like it. The yellow ones have turned more orange. A few have yet to bloom. It looks like they will be purple or white. I look forward to the continuing surprises they will bring.

In a way, humans are like the tulips. We continue to grow and change, but we do so at different times. Some are hit harder by the hail or garbage cans of life than others. Maybe this isn’t the year some of them will display their full glory. Maybe that will come next year. Right now, we are all trying to make it through the hailstorms of this year. May we bloom and change into increasing beauty on the other side of the storm.


Late Fall

A few weeks back, I went out to a more distant, more in-town kind of park. It is in another city not too far from me. The weather that days was not the best. Dark, cloudy,  and somewhat windy. It had snowed recently, then mostly thawed. I had missed peak color. We actually had snow on Halloween and several times after. Not good for any outdoor fall activity. I had to make compromises with ISO and shutter speed. Most of the photos are OK for the blog, but they wouldn’t do well as sizable prints.

Many of the trees along the river were bare.
Riverbank

Oddly enough, the geese cooperated.
GeeseAndCave

The flag above the trees.
Flag

I found a stationary subject, so I walked back to the car and got my tripod. Worth it. I like the curve and the way the fungus is on it.
StumpAndFungi

Happy Thanksgiving! Sort of a cultural farewell to fall, or more like the day when we temporarily extract our heads from our Santa hats to give thanks and eat turkey before plunging into Christmas for the next entire month. Naturally, I plan to do a Christmas post next month.


Afternoon at the Dunes

Back in August, my dad and I visited Sleeping Bear Dunes again. It was my second time there. Weather was not optimal (wind) and we were squeezing the outing in between much needed time visiting family. I did get a few quick shots, but no waiting around for people to be out of the picture. I photoshopped them out. Not the best way to do things, but it worked in a pinch.

BeachAndLakeWhiteTrees


Late Summer

I am late blogging again this month. Here are a couple of shots from my time in a local forest preserve in August.

I like the texture in the thistles.

Thistle

This thing is weedy. I’m not exactly sure why I like it, but there’s something about the color and form of it.

Weedy


Water and Rocks

August is gone already! I’m a couple days late for my monthly blog, so here’s a quick photo from a local park popular with the photo club.

RocksAndFlowers


Things Found in Woods

June flew by so quickly. Before it’s over, I have one picture to share with you real quick.

Insectoid

These fungi frequently look like bugs or butterflies to me.


Macro Spring Flowers

A few weeks ago, the weather was nice, and I got out to photograph some flowers. It was late in the woodland spring wildflower season, so swamp buttercups and violets were about all that was left. I decided to shoot with the macro lens. The flowers are small, and practice with manual focus is good for me.

VioletSwampButtercup

I spotted this large, fuzzy bee. It’s so fluffy looking I almost wanted to touch it, but it’s a bee, so photographing it will have to do.

BeeOnDandilion

Later that day, I visited a city park and photographed this flowering viburnum. I liked the bright pink buds on this particular variety.

Viburnum


Tiny Tropics

The city I live in has a small tropical conservatory. They run various shows in it, each lasting a month or so. The day before Easter, my father and I went to their annual butterfly show. Butterflies of several species were kept in a small enclosure within the conservatory. Only a limited number of people could go in at a time.

Butterflies3OrangeButterfly1

While there, we also looked around the plants in the conservatory. This one caught my eye. The Heliconia, or lobster-claw, is colorful and has an interesting form.

Heliconia

Of course there were Koi as well. It seems like there are Koi all over now. Some places you can even buy Koi food and feed them. When I was little, we used to feed the ducks bread in the same park the conservatory now sits in. There aren’t as many ducks around these days, and no one wants you feeding wild animals. The new conservatory is impressive, and I do enjoy it. However, I sometimes long for the simplicity of the old lagoon full of ducks. This koi is kind of cute though.

Koi

Next Time

I hope I can get out and photograph some spring flowers. Weather has been up and down here. 70+ and sunny, rain, and a snowstorm last weekend.


Running Away South

Some weeks ago, Dad and I ran away from the deck and other house projects to find the last traces of fall with our cameras. We had to go south a ways. Since it wasn’t the best day, we decided to make the trip double as a scouting expedition of Matthiessen State Park. We’d been to Starved Rock several times, but Matthiessen never got past “if we have time”.

It so happens lots of people wanted to enjoy the end of fall. There was also an enormous geology class field trip. However, both of us did manage to get a clear shot of the dells and some other photos of the scenery.

TreeTopsSmallYellowTreeDells

BranchCU

Next Time: Merry Christmas

My goal this year was to blog once a month. I’ve been a few hours late a couple of times, and I’ve used a good bit of “archive” shot in previous years, but I’m calling it close enough. One more blog in observance of Christmas is all I need.


The Problem with Fall

Fall is a beautiful season. Unfortunately, it’s also crunch time for home improvement projects. I have not been out to shoot this year. Fortunately, I have a few photos left over from last year when I wasn’t blogging.

LateLeavesSquirrelInTreeWhiteFluff

I’m still plotting to get out this year. I’ll have to run away and go south a bit, but I’m still plotting.


The Long Fall Hike

These photos were taken on the 30th of September 2017, an entire year ago. It was a beautiful day. I was visiting my parents about two years after moving out on my own. I don’t live that far, but it’s far enough and I’m busy enough that I don’t get out to the parks and forest preserves I used to frequent. Dad and I went on a long photo hike that day. We went to the park with the confusing set of foot trails and horse trails (where you need to watch where you step), with streams, woods, meadows, and hills. No fall color at that point, but the vegetation was browning and fading for the year.

OakLeafOnMeadowPath

We crossed out of the woods up the hills towards the horse path area. There were trees and a stream.

StreamAndTrees

We continued to the horse path area because there was milkweed there, and Dad loves to photograph milkweed. I’m sure he has better pictures. It is a small obsession of his.

Milkweed

Then, we ended up out on a country road a little uncertain of exactly where we were. We found our way back to the park entrance. I kept getting gravel in my shoes and having to empty them. Does that matter a year later? No, but it’s part of the experience. Kind of a minor slightly humorous inconvenience.

We had the light, the nature, the photos, the time together. It was a beautiful day. Not perfect. Just beautiful.


Rose Garden

One sweltering Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago, I went out to a local garden to photograph roses. The garden has a great variety, and I don’t remember what all of them are called. At any rate, they are beautiful and worth the time and temperatures to see.

RedOpenWhiteClosedRufflesAndCenterCincoDeMayoPinkWhiteOpen


Waterfall Hunt

Last fall, someone in the photo club told my father about a “waterfall” not too far from where we live. Technically, it isn’t a waterfall. It’s a man-made spillway, but it looks like a waterfall. The spillway was not easy to find. At one point, we gave up looking and decided to go to a park in the area instead. However, when we stopped at the park office, we found a sign featuring a large photo of the waterfall and the words “are you looking for this?” It then provided directions. Thus we continued in our hunt, but it still wasn’t easy. Roads were under construction or had similar names, I couldn’t get the maps app on my phone to work because the cell service was spotty, and we had to be careful to stay off private property in the area. The spillway was located right off the road. You had to be looking in the right direction at the right time to see it though. After a considerable bit of driving around in circles, we finally found it.

Spillway

While Dad was photographing it with his view camera, I found a Japanese beetle on a wildflower to photograph.

BeetleOnFlower

It was a long day, but we found what we were looking for. Sometimes, persistence does pay off.


Flower on the Path

In 2017, I made no commitment to blog. I rather abandoned it in the hopes that I would get farther with other things. It didn’t work out the way I had hoped. I spent less time in nature, hardly photographed, and failed to edit most of what I did shoot. So in 2018, I am going to blog at least once a month. It may be archive from last year, and it may only be one photo per post, but I need to get back to the blog. It made me get out, shoot, think about my work, and edit it. More than that, it made me find and appreciate the small but beautiful things in life.

FlowerOnPath

Early last spring, I found this flower growing among the broken down limestone path at a local park. Photography and blogging are two of the things that have helped me stop and appreciate the flowers along the path of life, rather than passing them by or stepping on them as I hurry off to other things. What is life if we fail to take the time to enjoy it?


Mid-Summer Flowers

Way back on the 4th of July, I went out to appreciate the wildflowers:

FromBelowClustersPinkAndYellowHWhiteVinePinkAndYellowVJapaneseBeetle


Super Moon

I had a busy weekend. It was bad for my original blogging plans, but good in many other ways. Because of my weekend, here are a couple of pictures of the super moon through tree branches and amidst the towers of the old mental hospital (now restored into offices, shops, and senior living) in Traverse City Michigan.

supermoon1supermoon2

 

Next Time: Ornamental Gourds

It’s Fall. I bought gourds because they are pretty. If I don’t photograph them before they rot, it’s a waste.


Stubbornness and the Tail End of Fall

I had these lovely plans for how I would spend October weekends this year: weekly walks in the woods with my camera, apple orchards and doughnuts, and maybe even a road trip to a distant park. But my front stairs happened. They are wooden with a deck-like landing area, and they needed to be repainted and repaired. Despite my parents very kindly giving lots of time and effort to the project, the three of us spent most of October on my stairs.

Last weekend would have been beautiful for photography: good lighting, nice temperatures, and just about the peak for fall color. But alas, you guessed it, stairs. This weekend was definitely past prime for fall color and quite dreary most of the time. However, I was free. The stairs were done, the parks were beckoning, and the temperatures were not bad at all. So I stubbornly decided to grab the month of October by the tail and try to cram all the things I’d wanted to do all month into one weekend. I needed to experience Fall before it was over: to see, hear, and smell it all around me.

Friday night, I visited a small, hard to find park in my city. It was almost dark, so not much luck there. Saturday morning, despite the dullness of the day, I took a two-hour walk in one of my favorite parks. Photographic prospects were better:

latefalloakbranchesoakleafflowerhangingleafredtreeandyellowleaves

After a few more weekend activities, I headed out to the local apple orchard for my annual sugar encrusted doughnut and hot spiced cider. The sun finally peaked out a bit.

pumpkinfield

My takeaway from all of this is that should plan on spending some time in November raking leaves in my parent’s large lawn, and I should start the deck refinishing project in April next year. Procrastination has consequences. You can cram a lot into one weekend, but it’s not quite the same as planning things and scheduling them appropriately.


Cricket on the Shrub

I came home from work one day and found this cricket hanging out on a flowing shrub. Fortunately, he hung around long enough for me to run and get my camera and macro lens and take a few photos. You never know what you will see when you take time to look and appreciate the small everyday things in life.

Cricket

Next Time: Jewelry or Garden


Stroll Around the Lake

A short distance from my home, there is a park with a lake. One lovely weekend morning, I decided to go walk the path by the lake. Morning or not, may other people were up and about fishing, biking, camping, and hiking. Maybe I should have gone out earlier – less crowding and better light. But it was still a pleasant excursion.

I liked the way the light was hitting the new foliage on these trees.

NewLeavesTreesByLake

Farther down the path, I spotted these lovely wildflowers.

BunchOfWildflowers

Humans weren’t the only ones out. Mommy duck and her babies were hanging out in the shade looking for food as the day got hotter.

DuckMommy

Next Time: Milk

Yes, milk. June is Dairy Month, and I was a Midwestern 4-H kid for 10 years (no, I didn’t have any animals, not even a cat at the time). This means I spent the entire month of June promoting dairy like crazy for 10 years straight. I’ve never quite forgotten it.


Spring Beauty

Spring at last! This is one of my favorite times of the year. Rain washes the snow and dirt of the long winter away and nourishes the gentle flowers. Last week, I went to the park I normally shoot wildflowers at, pulled out the macro for the first time in months, and had a little fun capturing the rebirth of the green outdoor world for the season.

BrightYellowFlowerPrairieTrilliumVioletWhiteVioletsWhiteWithLeaves

 

Next Time: More Nature or Objects on White

Everything depends on the weather and what the plants do.


One Last Fall Day

Several weeks ago, I went out for my last Fall shoot of the year. There wasn’t much left, but the colors were vibrant.


Fall Again

I went out for a hike and fall photography last weekend. I don’t think it was quite peak color. This is a hard thing to judge as the landscape often jumps abruptly from too green to all the leaves down. At least it was a nice day out.

AspensbyHill

DriedUp

SumacLeaves

TreeAndSumac