Saturday, April 29, 2017

Nature - A Small Folio Part II

Went out to Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin today and did a bit of shooting. I thought I would share. It was hot, like soupy kind of hot, actually more like humid rather than hot. The kind of weather where everything sticks to you. I hate that kind of shooting but I managed OK. I think I got a couple of shots that aren't too bad. Most recent work definitely reflects the way I've been moving recently. Bit of a new direction, more abstract, a bit more expressive I think. Well, you can be the judge. Here are a couple of shots from the field work today.










Until next time...

PS All images shot today with the Canon 5DS and a 100mm macro lens. Most of the time the leaves were moving and I wasn't.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Nature - A Small Folio

In prepping for the upcoming workshop, seeing as I had to pull together a folio anyway, I thought I might share it with you. It's small enough. Six images in the tank. This is some of my nature work that I've managed to accumulate over the years.

I don't usually shoot a lot of nature work although I am very inspired by nature and the natural world. Still, I thought I would share as it's just a small taste from the archives and suitable for the blog so here goes:



Until next time...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Something Blowing In This Weekend

This was one of the bluebonnet images I told you about from the walk I took in the park last week (or so.) This is the top view of a Texas bluebonnet. Speaking of Texas and, heck, maybe even bluebonnets, although most of those have left us now, this weekend a favorite photographer, Eddie Soloway is coming to town. Yes, you read this correctly. This weekend, instead of me jaunting off to some exotic location, why, this time the location is coming to me. Eddie Soloway is kicking things off with a presentation tomorrow evening, showing some of his work from his moons series, plus some other work and then it's off to the races (well, the photographic races) after that. We'll be going out shooting on Saturday, weather permitting and the like. What's that they say 'round these parts? "God willing and the creek don't rise." Yes, that indeed.

Speaking of creeks and, well, God himself perhaps, this weekend has a bit of a Texas twist in store for us. You see, Texas is home to several large scale tornadoes. Welcome to the heart of tornado alley, my photographer friends. A group of storm chasers I sometimes follow (these guys are crazy, but I digress) has been monitoring the situation. So far, they've informed me that this weekend the conditions are right for some severe storms including, yes, our very own version of the Texas twister. All of this "goodness" is supposed to hit on Saturday when, you guessed it, we're supposed to be out shooting with Eddie Soloway. Oh, this is going to be fun now, indeed. All I can do at this point is hope the storms hold off, hope the storms give us some good clouds and nice light to work with, and hope I don't blow away. Wish me luck on this, especially that last little bit. Phew! Hang onto your Stetson hats for this ponies about to ride 'em little cowboys! (So sorry. I sometimes break into Texan when I get excited like this. It won't happen again, I promise.)

In the, excuse the pun but, "when it rains, it pours" department, if this weekend were not crazy enough, I got word today that my own personal interview over at TheAppWhisperer.com has been put up today. Yes, this is good news as it means I completed my interview video and you can now listen to me babble on about my photography for an entire 3 minutes and 19 seconds while pretty iPhone images scroll across your screen. I'll try to do a more detailed post about this at some point but, for now, if you happen across a video that looks like it came from me over at TheAppWhisperer.com, I must confess, it is in fact yours truly. Little ole' me has made a talkie. Who knew I had it in me?

Now it's time for that dreaded task, you know the one I always hate. I must make a portfolio of six images suitable for the slide show on Saturday. You know the one I'm talking about, the one just *before* the big bad Texas twister blows us all away. No, where oh where did I hide my jump drive? And, oh crap, I just thought of something. I'm going to have to find my kick plate between now and the weekend too. Oh, that's so just not going to happen.

Enjoy the bluebonnet while you can and let's hope the weekend stacks up to be a fun one. Minus the hunt for the kickplate which, as you know, is always less than fun for me.

Until next time...

PS This one taken with the Canon 5dS and the 100 macro lens over at the Brushy Creek Park area. It was blue and this is its bonnet.

Monday, April 10, 2017

I Took a Walk Down by the Lake

Yesterday, I went out hunting bluebonnets. Now, for those of you not from Texas, allow me to explain. Each year, if we're lucky, and by luck here I actually mean if the Gods, nature, the stars, the drought conditions and the cold fronts that move along the northern hemisphere actually all cooperate, Texas gets blanketed in a bouquet of wildflowers in the springtime. These wildflowers are blossoms you might have heard about, things like primrose, black-eyed Susies and the like but, in this neck of the woods, the king, the absolute heavyweight champion of the wildflower season, the Muhammad Ali of dandelions and the like is a beast we call the "Texas bluebonnet." Yes, you read that correctly. There is actually a species of plant named the "Texas bluebonnet." Note: they put the word Texas right in the name! Yes, it really is that popular around these parts. Bluebonnets are all but a religion around here I can assure you.

So, these wildly popular bluebonnets usually grow in places along the highways and sometimes in fields, in different settings you might expect to see them; places like by the post office or growing in the fields near the elementary school. Parks are a popular place for these guys too, in part because, come every April our official outdoor pastime becomes photographing things sitting in fields of bluebonnets. Nary a Texas toddler has gone a spring season without getting plunked down and photographed sitting in a field of bluebonnets, I tell you. Most dogs have sat in there as well. It's just what we do come April. I should also point out that bluebonnet season also marks the height of rattlesnake mating season. Yeah, we Texans are tough like that but, come every spring, we venture out into the great unknown, plunk our kids and our dogs down, rattlers be damned, and take some snaps. Woo hoo!

A couple of years ago, it was an amazing year for the bluebonnets. When I say amazing I mean there were actually a million bluebonnets blooming in Bastrop State Park. I am not making up that number. A million freaking bluebonnets! It was more than a field, it was like a way of life. Once in a lifetime showcase of springtime color, that was, I swear I will never forget it. Trouble is, now I've gotten a bit, shall we say, spoiled, and so now anything less than this spectacle leaves me wanting more. It's a curse, I tell you, a curse. So, this year, not to miss the season entirely, I decided to venture out and do a wee bit of late season hunting, just so I don't miss the bluebonnets entirely. Now, I know it isn't as good a year as what we've recently had, no, but I thought, it was a nice day and, heck, I'd much rather hunt bluebonnets than do my taxes, so out I went into the wild blue (excuse the pun) yonder on the hunt.

I researched some rumored bluebonnet locations on my local Internet (I did say this was "just like a religion" yes?) and found Brushy Creek Park was rumored to have a field or two of flowers. Since this park also has a lake and a bocce court (I swear I'm not making this up) I thought, why not? So, I packed the camera and headed over to the park on the lake to try and find some bluebonnets.

Now, what I did find might surprise you. At first, there were a few bluebonnets. I found a rather small-ish clump growing beneath a tree, which I actually rather liked, since it cut the sunlight and allowed me to photograph in the shade, freeing me from the ugly shadows that I don't like in my flower photos. All well and good but this was about 10 bluebonnets in total, a far cry from the million in years past. I shot a little bit and then made my way down towards the lake, where they have the little boat dock like landing space. Here I found what amounted to be a small-ish field of bluebonnets. It was well past peak season, mind you, but I did, in fact, plunk my butt down in a field of bluebonnets. Bucket list item for 2017, check! I'm also alerting you to this fact so you realize I did in fact photograph a bluebonnet this year. Of course, you'd never know that from the images I wound up processing but, hey, I did shoot a bluebonnet, so help me, I really did.

After my butt had been firmly planted in the bluebonnet field, I started making my way back to the car. I spotted a rock, which had some nice colors in it, so I did a close up abstract. Then I noticed the path was rather cool, but a bit boring, so I decided to play a bit and try to jazz up the paths through the trees. These are the paths that snake back to the parking lot. I started playing with some motion blue and movement. It was a windy day and so perhaps this was my inspiration here but I felt I had to try and do something. Then, I got distracted by this red leaf sticking out from a tree, it was a young leaf and the light was hitting it quite right. I did manage to go out near sunset so the light was starting to get a bit interesting, although it was still a bit bright for the bluebonnets to my taste. As I followed the winding path back to my car, I got more and more experimental, playing with the camera, playing with abstraction, looking for light poking through the trees and making the trees dance in the wind. That's what you see here. This image was taken on the walk back to the car, with a shaft of late afternoon light shining through the trees.

Now, I got a bluebonnet photo. I also took a few shots of the path and you can sort of follow along visually, if you were to check out my lightbox. You could actually trace my descent into madness, as I like to call it or perhaps a more polite way of putting that would be my foray into abstraction. I got more and more abstract as I went along my path back to the car. At the risk of being kicked out of Texas over the entire religion business, honestly, I must confess. I feel the more abstract work is far more interesting than any bluebonnet images I might have taken. Even if that field had a million flowers in it, why, heck, I'll admit it. I actually prefer this kind of stuff. Maybe I had to go hunting for the bluebonnets to find what it is I really want, but there you have it. Abstraction was the end result.

But, technically speaking, I did photograph a bluebonnet this spring. I won't tell if you won't.

Until next time...

PS This image taken with the Canon 5dS and the 100 macro lens in Brushy Creek Park, Texas.