We’re just at the end of some unseasonably warm weather here. It may be gone now, but it did help the new patch of crocuses I planted last fall come out and bloom. I love all my spring bulbs, but the crocus make me especially happy because they are the first to bloom after a long, cold winter. The tulips won’t give me flowers till May, and I want flowers.
I decided to take advantage of one particularly nice day and take some better photos of the crocuses. After all, I could use some macro practice before the spring wildflower season. The results were sharp enough, but a bit basic. This is why I need to practice. Anyway, the flowers are pretty, so I thought I’d share my early spring joy.
We’re past solstice, but this is still the darkest time of the year. This year, two gardens near my home put on light displays as part of our collective tradition to cope with this darkness. My sister and I went to the free one together. I could get my large tripod in, but I didn’t use it for everything because it’s kind of impolite and I was practicing for my next outing.
The photo club took an outing to another nearby light show. This one relied more on actual trees and reflected light. Some members were able to get in with small tripods, but I left my beast in the car. Certainly the staff would not grant me admission with such large sticks. I had to use some high ISOs. Noise was an issue. I’ll have to get a smaller tripod. Just being there was pretty enchanting though.
The lights give us hope and beauty in a dark season. We arrange them, tend to them, and marvel at them. Source or reflected, we all need light and hope. Spread light this season to those you love and more.
This is my quick, late blog for September (still September in my time zone, but not for long at all). I didn’t forget. It’s just been one of those months. I lost someone quite dear to me. Before arthritis, she was skilled in crochet – her primary handiwork. She made numerous items including doilies for her living room tables, afghans, doll dresses, and fake flowers.
Like the doilies, the flowers were made from a fine, threadlike yarn known as kint-cro-sheen. They also had to be starched. I’m sure it was quite the process. There’s been talk of washing and redoing them. Perhaps I will someday as a relative knows how and has offered help. But for now I will leave them as they are: still showing the skill of their creator and reminding me of her and how much she enriched and nurtured my life.
It’s fall. I hope to have a few good fall color shoots this year. We’ll see.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Later that day, I visited a city park and photographed this flowering viburnum. I liked the bright pink buds on this particular variety.
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.
Farther down the path, I spotted these lovely wildflowers.
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.
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.
I’ve been threatening to do these liquid experiments for weeks, so I thought it best to get it out of my system. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I did some test shoots and took a lot of pictures. This kind of work is like photographing fireworks without a script of the show. It takes a lot of trial and error and you never know exactly what’s going to happen. My first shots were of the food coloring shortly after it entered into the water. The drop would spread out like a chandelier as it sank towards the bottom. Then, I’d add another drop.
I tried letting it sit for a while to blend a bit and adding a drop or two of another color. The green looks like a flower.
As you can probably see, it’s not exactly sharp. Food coloring blends with the water and lacks distinct edges. I focused as much as I could, but eventually I had to think of a way to use this to my advantage. Patiently waiting to see what the food coloring did when allowed to sit in a still glass of water produced some interesting results. It fanned out into long, swirling trails. I even had some luck mixing two shades of purple. The indistinct edges could work well for backgrounds.
I continued my experiments varying color combination and water motion. At first, I filled the glass from the faucet and let it sit awhile before adding dye. Later, I discovered stirring the water gave an interesting effect.
Adding dye to a freshly filled glass of water was another variation. As you can see, I flipped the shot above and the shot below for artistic effect.
I know this is unorthodox photography, but it provided me with some images I can use for backgrounds and other elements in Photoshop work. Not to mention being a fun experiment and keeping myself and one of my cats very amused.
Next Week: Box and Folding Cameras
I’m going back to something more traditional next week: old cameras. This time, very old cameras, say 70 or more years old for some. Hopefully I can find the old Kodak folding camera.