Friday, November 30, 2018

December 2018: Gum Bichromate Revisited

I've driven by this tree maybe a thousand times, photographed it maybe 50 times, and never been able to capture the real character of it until now.  My friend Rob does a lot of vintage photography, and turns out prints of incredible character and warmth using the old school methods of glass plate negatives and different types of chemical processing. I have always wanted to learn the process, but have never gotten around to it. And to be honest, Photoshop now does a pretty reasonable job of allowing me to simulate many of those processes, including the "gum bichromate" process.  I have done these before, with mixed results.  It hadn't struck me before that I should have been simulating the old style lenses as well.  Doing that has really made all the difference, and in this case is exactly the sort of thing that finally allows the character of this old gnarly pine tree come across as it should. 

It isn't Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree, but it could have been. A long, long time ago. 😊

See you all next year!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

November 2018: One from the Archives

You are going to have to make do with one from the archives this month, as fall is always a busy time of year for me. I am making it a good one though.
This is a cheetah which looks as if it has just finished a Thanksgiving feast and is mere seconds away from a nap.  Something tells me that this particular cheetah would not live up to their reputation as the fastest animals on land at the moment. 😊

Monday, October 1, 2018

October 2018: The return of Autumn

It is funny how much more I identify the time of year by the animals I see rather than by the calendar on the wall.  These mantis are a great example. They become very much more visible when they turn brown, and I always associate that with the beginning of autumn along with hearing the cranes migrating overhead, both of which happen before any leaves turn color or the furnace kicks on at night.
Sure enough, when I checked the calendar September was already half gone.
And now it is October....time for some cider I think. 😀

Friday, August 31, 2018

September 2018: A Splash of Color

Well, after a long period of hot dry weather without any rain whatsoever, we are finally feeling a bit of relief here in west Michigan.  Along with the rain came a very nicely cool morning and a reminder that autumn is just around the corner.  It won't be too much longer and the trees will trade their uniform green coveralls for the gaudy Hawaiian shirts that draw visitors in from all over the country just to witness.
Like a peacock fanning its tail.
Peacock feathers are incredibly interesting, and a lot harder to photograph well than you'd think. The iridescence which gives them their shiny appearance acts as millions of tiny little mirrors, which can play all sorts of havoc with the light and color, as well as the auto-focusing sensors on modern lenses.  Accurately capturing both the colors and the iridescence requires very strict control of the light.

Friday, August 3, 2018

August 2018: The Gardener

Man, we have had a hot summer so far here. And very little rain. It makes for a lot of real challenges if your job is growing things. This gardener is not only very hard working, but smart enough to follow the shade as she works.  She is quite attractive as well, which is nice. :)

Saturday, June 30, 2018

July 2018: Cocoa Pods

The cocoa tree is indigenous to Central America, though most are now located in Western Africa, and is unique in that its seed pods sprout directly from the trunk of the tree itself, rather than from its branches.  The seeds encased in these pods are the source of one of humanity's most globally enjoyed foods, chocolate.  It is so highly sought after that every year 7-9 times more cocoa is bought and sold on the cocoa futures market than actually exists.  Given this irrational over-exuberance, one might be inclined to say that we are "cuckoo for cocoa pods".   :)

Hope your summer is going better than my bad puns!


Friday, June 1, 2018

June 2018: Big Bird

This is a Pileated Woodpecker. They are about 14-16 inches tall, and live in forested areas with wet ground and plenty of dying trees, as that is the preferred habitat of their favorite food...ants.
They are a notoriously skittish bird around people, despite not seeming to mind being near buildings at all.  So as long as they don't see you, they are pretty easy to photograph once you have found an area where they live.