Thursday, January 31, 2019

February 2019: Frozen in Time

This old locomotive is an apt analogy to what the weather has done to this part of the world for the last week.  Cold steel, frozen in time, stuck in place, immobile and dead...but always inspiring to view. 

********Excerpt from my notes for the month**********
Dear Nikon,
Here's a new feature idea for future products: Internal heating elements for your camera bodies. I have noticed that cameras don't like to work well at temperatures below -20F or so, nor do photographer's hands. Particularly photographers who are over "a certain age". Miniature internal heating strips could run off the regular camera battery, and keep the internals warm as well as the photographer's hands, enabling continued use in extreme low temperatures. Such a feature would be very welcome for the tens of thousands of photographers working in non-tropical zones, and would undoubtedly open an opportunity for you to make a pretty substantial amount of money!  Don't worry, I am not going to ask you for a percentage for my idea. It is yours for the using, free and clear. However, as a dedicated Nikon shooter for the last 35+ years, making me a gift of one would certainly be appreciated. Preferably before next winter gets here.
Thanks as always,

Thursday, January 3, 2019

January 2019: Winter Apples

Saw this orchard on my way home the other day, and was struck by how many apples were left rotting on the branches. The contrast against the gray sky and snowy ground was striking, so I thought to accentuate that by making the whole image black and white except the apples. The result almost makes them look like Christmas tree ornaments. :)

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. :)