The photographic explorations of a former film student.

Posts tagged “outdoors

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


Impressions of a Windy Fall Day

Oak Leaves

Fall is here. It isn’t peak color yet, but I’m hoping to clear some time for that next weekend, if I’m not too late. Here are a few shots from our windy early fall. It’s interesting what moves and what stays still sometimes.

Flowering Bush

Oak Leaves

Pine Needles in Sun


Clydesdale Outting

Every year, the photo club goes to a Clydesdale event. This year, my father and I decided to come along. I’ve not been shooting much due to other responsibilities, so it was good to get out.

Clydesdale hitched to wagon.

Clydesdales pulling wagon

Clydesdale Hooves

Clydesdale waiting


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 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


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


Hiking the Dunes

Earlier this month, my family and I took a trip to Michigan. Dad and I went to explore and photograph Sleeping Bear Dunes for a day. Dunes are new to me. I’m used to hiking in woodlands or prairies with black dirt and limestone.

TreesFallenAndStandingSandTreeAndShrubs BirchOnTrail

Dad, on the other hand, grew up near the beach and close enough to a different set of dunes in southwestern Michigan. He takes to them both like second nature – skipping stones and scaling dunes despite the wind.

DadOnDune LakeRocks

We spent most of the morning and early afternoon scouting out the place, then came back to some of the more interesting spots later in the day. This is particularly important for Dad, since he shoots 4X5 and has a lot of gear to haul.

TreesOnBeachEveningTreesOnBeach

Eventually, he settled on an old Coast Guard station and museum in the area. I took a few pictures of the place as well.

LoneTreeAndLake RoofAndWindow Stairs

Overall, we had a good long day out. I hope to go back and explore it some more next year.

Next Time: Waterfalls

Photos from the expedition to Starved Rock.


Fall Colors

Fall is about over where I live. Fortunately, I was able to get out and take photos a few weeks ago to remind me of the beauty and color of the season.

This fungi is from one of my old favorite places to go shoot. I photographed this the same day as the fog photos in my last post.

FungiAndLeaves

Later, I explored a new park recommended by members of the photo club.

RedTree

The park featured this amazing old oak tree and lovely yellow bush.

OakAndYellowBush

Good bye for now Fall. I have a few more photos I might post, but I think it is time to move indoors for a while.

Next Time: More Fall or Still Life


A Little Morning Fog

Halloween is a traditional time for foggy scenery, but these photos aren’t creepy. This is more of a we had some light fog yesterday morning post than a Halloween post. I haven’t played with fog much, so I was excited to get out and experiment a bit yesterday morning.

 

TreeAndCornfield

SunlightandFogPath

 

Next Time: Fall Nature

It’s so lovely out that I’ve been compelled to spend more time than usual shooting.


Somewhat Abstract

I said I was going to do abstract. Well, this is a little more realistic than I normally do, but I would say it counts. Split toning on all but one of them, mostly close-ups, but, yes, a little more realistic than usual for this kind of post.

FeatherAndLeaf

LeafInWeeds

BrownLeaf

SilverLeaves

ChippedAway

Curve

Next Time: Night photography or try again.


Scouting Trip

I was going to do something else for the post this week, but I need something specific for a prop that I can’t seem to find. So I’ll share a few photos from a short location scouting trip I took yesterday instead. Several members of the local photo club have gone to this particular park in a nearby small city, so I knew there was potential in the area. I came a bit late in the day when there was a wedding, so the conditions weren’t the best, but it was OK just to see what was there and get a few shots for reference.

There are several small bridges like this:

BridgeandTrees

A variety of trees line the river.

TreeandSunset

Roses and other flowers add color and present more photographic possibilities.

WhiteRose

 

Next Time: Abstract or night photos.


Summer Wildflowers

Happy Labor Day, otherwise known as the cultural end of Summer in the northern United States. Here are a few photos of Summer wildflowers I shot a few weeks ago. Before you know it, I’ll be posting fall scenery.

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Next Time: Either portrait, otherworldly, or abstract. I haven’t made up my mind yet.


Spring Beginnings

Spring is coming ever so slowly. Kind of like this post. Fortunately, there are some signs of spring about, especially in the local forest. I even found a little snake, but of course I prefer the wildflowers.

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It’s Really Winter This Year

Last year, winter was mild in my area. This year, it is back to normal. So in honor of an actual winter, I’m taking some time off The Big Project to bring you snow photos.

First, I went to the local forest preserve, a well-known area I can safely navigate in the snow.

barkandsnow

Water had oozed out of the limestone bluffs and formed murky icicles.

limestoneandice

The creek was mostly frozen, with small areas of running water breaking up the ice.

icecreek

Back home, I went to check out the spruce. It always has interesting ice and snow deposits.

icedspruce

 

icedroplets

Winter. It can be annoying, but it can also be beautiful. Live with the bad, love the good.

Next Time: The Big Project Continues –  Transparent


Fall State Park Landscape

My father and I went out to explore and photograph a state park some distance from home. It featured steep trails, large limestone bluffs, and an unusually dry riverbed (wonderful drought we’ve had.)

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Next Time: Archive Jewelry or Some Other Indoor Theme


Computer Wallpaper and Clouds

Anyone remember the cloud desktop wallpaper from Windows 98? It’s been awhile hasn’t it. Six years ago, I got my laptop and headed off to college. It was a beautiful, brand spanking new Windows XP machine, and I disliked every wallpaper on it. I wanted the old cloud wallpaper from Windows 98, but not quite. Something more realistic. I tried one or two of the XP options, but after the first year I went out and took a picture of some clouds. That was my wallpaper for years. I loved it. Recently, I decided it was time to upgrade my computer. Not that I hated my little laptop, nothing could be further from the truth. She just didn’t cut it anymore. She could hardly run Lighroom or Premier Elements 4, let alone anything I’d want to download a trial of or maybe buy. So I upgraded, and I got a better screen. My old cloud photo looked a bit grainy on my old computer, so I knew it wouldn’t work on the new one at all. After a month and a half of substituting, I again went out and turned my camera to the sky. Here they are. I think I’m using number 4 at this time.

Next Time: Old Cars or Rings


Early Summer Nature

Summer’s been here for a while now, and we don’t have much in the line of flowers. It’s been quite dry this year. Fortunately, a few plants are resilient enough to bloom.

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Next Time: Abstract or Old Camera


Cloudscape

There have been some amazing cloud formations around my area in the last couple of weeks. Soon, Fall will turn rainy and we’ll be faced with mostly drab grey skies, but not for now. I took the opportunity to capture the moment.

Oftentimes, there are several layers and types of clouds present at the same time. The bottom layer in this photo forms a nice ledge, you could almost imagine yourself sitting on it.

 

Several layers of clouds means that sometimes, clouds are in the shadow of other clouds.

 

I normally don’t look for animals in the clouds, but I think I see a cat. Eyes, nose, mouth, even swishing tail. Kitty is either upset or curious.

 

And there you have it: the advantage of living in an area without tall buildings or mature trees.

 

Next Week: Fall leaves

Fall color came, pretty much just in time for the winds to blow the leaves off.