Saturday, August 31, 2013

August Green

I spent a hot, humid morning photographing these guys one morning this week.  I love their facial expression.  Green, heat, and humidity will soon be a memory, bring on autumn!  Technical: 180 Macro, f/3.5, 1/200 sec., ISO 640

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Flower in a Cup

This image was taken a couple weeks ago at Black Dog SNA.  The plant is a cup flower with unique leaves that form a cup at the stalk and collect water.  With the state fair in progress you have heard of everything available on a stick, this is a flower in a cup.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bumble Bee - Eye to Eye

As often as I have photographed bumble bees and wasps I have never been stung (fingers crossed). This guy was busy collecting nectar from a silky prairie clover and did not mind me being in its face. I would love to feel the softness of its back, however, you first. Composition notes: There are lots of diagonal lines with an almost centered oval eye.  I think the lines make the image and there is depth with the pink flower flowing to the green background as an implied line. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Flandrau Field

Our local state park has a unique history, serving as a prisoner of war camp during World War II, but it has very few native plants.  This field is a modest attempt to restore an old field. This image was enhanced with Lightroom and attempted with HDR processing.  The graduated filter in Lightroom was more realistic which I'm finding on most of the images that can be done with HDR.  I shoot an image within the exposure range and make necessary adjustments.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Good Lady Beetle

We are so used to the nuisance Asian lady beetle the it is easy to forget there is a good, native lady beetle that feeds on aphids.  This is a Nine Spot Lady Beetle presumably named for the nine spots on each wing.  Image taken at Black Dog SNA in Bloomington.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Clouds on my Mind

I've had my eyes skyward lately and last night was no exception. After photographing prairie flowers at the state park it was time to work on time-lapse cloud sequences.  While waiting for the 15 minutes of images this was shot with the iPhone which is usually used to prevent me from shutting down the time lapse sequence prematurely.  If you are interested in reading about clouds and would like to see unique images check out: Cloud Appreciation Society

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Looking for Night

I went out last night looking for the fabled meteor shower and we saw lots of meteors but none went through the frame.  I was in southern MN and ground light is everywhere with each farm having a security light and the closely spaced towns.  This was shot earlier at the cabin and shows the city lights of the north Metro, 60 miles away.  I'm still experimenting with white balance in these mixed lighting situations.  On some I like 2500K, this was about 3800K.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Digital Sketchbook

I often talk about doing a digital sketchbook when teaching.  The idea is that a subject attracts my attention for a reason that is not readily apparent but through a visual exploration the reason eventually is found.  Last week this image was the final result of a sketchbook.  I lost count of the time and number of sketches during the process, part of the joy of photography. The starting image is below. Technical: no cropping, saturation -57.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Dusk, the transition to night, is a magic time.  Natural sounds of frogs calling, birds singing, and the wind flowing become more acute, man made sounds diminish as everyone goes indoors. Landscapes darken and the sky takes over as the focus of attention.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Milky Way Landscape

The night sky has been my subject lately with the clear, moonless nights.  The amount of light pollution has been surprising, especially at Crex Meadows where there is a clear horizon during the day. It seems counter intuitive to get in a depression to get the best night sky shot but that's the best way to minimize the Metro lights in the south or pin points of city light in the other directions. Camera settings: wide angle, wide open aperture, 30 seconds, ISO 2500.  White balance at 2500 K for starters.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

After the Storm

I went out after the storm last night to photograph lightning with Magic Lantern  firmware.  The firmware worked fine but predicting the direction of the strike was a problem.  Several times there were ground strikes outside the field of view which triggered the shutter but did not result in a dramatic image.  What did I learn in my first attempt?  Exposure for the ambient light gives the horizon some clarity.  I think the back side of the storm is safe with the lightning receding, this may be a false assumption.  The firmware works.

This was the western sky as the storm was clearing. Technical: Auto white balance was used to reproduce what I saw, the other choices did not seem real.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Great Spangled Fritillary

Fritillaries are so intent on feeding they sit with their wings open inviting a photograph.  The biggest challenge of photographing fritillaries is identifying which species you are watching. My tendency is to start at the front and work backward but starting at the wing edges and moving inward seems to be a faster way to identify them. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Simply Lavender

The fragrance is intoxicating. We visited the Pelindaba Lavender Festival on San Juan Is. which has been on our bucket list for years.  I like lavender but my taste is more in line with Sasquatch all natural soap for men.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Friday, August 2, 2013

Smith's Rock State Park

This shot was taking after a great hike around one of the most popular sport climbing locations in Oregon. As one of afraid of heights I looked down more than up and took this shot. The larger rock is interpreted as heavier by the brain and anchors the image while the smaller stones lead me to the top of the image. Technical: Taken handheld with a Canon Elph. What is the difference between the two shots, a saturation or exposure adjustment? Answer: The larger shot is 1/2 stop darker which increases the color saturation of the water's color.