Photo Of The Week: Up Close & Personal

A few splotches of color returned to the landscape this week. Not that we’ve been living in a totally drab world; the Sasanquas and Camellias have been showing their glory  since late October.  Now the Daffodils and Japanese Quince have joined the chorus.

The occasion prompted some lens changes.  The 60 mm and 105 mm macro lenses were clicked into place as I waded into the Daffodil patch and the huge, very prickly Japanese Quince.   It was a nice preview of what’s to come in a few months.  Thanks for the look and have a good week ahead. _dsc8649_dsc8592-1

Dogwood Day Afternoon

I had spent the morning in an area of the farm we call Dogwood Dell; about 20-30 wild Dogwood Trees that have come up over the years among the Azaleas, Rhododendrons and Camellias.   They’re all bursting into bloom now and I wanted to get some macro shots of the just opened Dogwood Blooms with my 60mm.  But, alas, the wind was too strong so I put the Camera and Tripod in my truck and decided to drive into town to mail a couple of rolls of film I had shot over the past few months.  I was still thinking Dogwoods though and as I drove up to the Post Office,  I remembered the Memorial Gardens at my church.  Jackpot!  The huge Dogwoods in front of the church were in glorious, full bloom.  Absolutely brilliant in the late morning sun.  And the best part was, no wind to speak of.   The shooting conditions were perfect. Unsure of when to call it a wrap, I just kept composing and shooting.  It had become a true Dogwood Day Afternoon, and unlike the movie, this version only had blooms in the vault. Have a great weekend everybody.  See you next time on most of this same site.

Photography Refresher Course

I suppose it comes with age ( I am on the shady side of 66)  but I’m beginning to understand that from time to time the photography oriented mind needs a refresher course now and then;  A rereading of the photographic Cliffs Notes if you well.    I have a tendency to go off on  semi-creative binges to the point I dismiss and eventually discard those little precepts that good photography demands:  Filling the four corners;  isolating the subject, avoiding distracting elements.  They are  just a few that came to mind as I sat reviewing shots of Daffodils this weekend.  All of them left me non-wowed which is to say, none sparked me to proceed to anything other than the delete button.  I was rather amazed at how far off course I had gone in the pursuit of some new and creative perspective.  So I picked up my D90 with the Nikon 60mm Micro lens and headed back to the Daffodil patch with the SLIK tripod…something else I had been forgetting.

When I got back to the house and started reviewing my second takes,  I was a bit more satisfied.  I realized that in addition to the above little photography smart pills I mentioned, there were others I had slowly gotten away from.  Most importantly, the failure to see those pesky little details that become oh so intrusive when a three dimensional image becomes a two dimensional shot.  I still believe that the “rules of photography” are meant to be broken now and then.  The trick is to not totally erase them.   See you next time on most of this same blog.

UPDATE

In my previous post, several of you emailed asking if the church auction which will include several of my photographs will be an online affair.  I inquired about this and the answer was, not this time but the seed has been planted and I think it just might bear some fruit by the time the next one rolls around.

Camellias Front and Center

With the Fall Foliage now in its last throes,  my attention is turning to Camellias.   The Camellia Japonica’s are coming on strong now as the season edges toward colder temperatures.    In the past I have always concentrated on the fully opened flower or bloom seeking new and unique perspectives in relation to the light but this year I  have developed a healthy appreciation for the bud. 

These are the large pinkish red Camellias.  The white and light pink varieties are just starting to bud up as are the solid, carnation types.  In all there are about five varieties.  I use the 18-200mm, 50mm or the 60mm micro for most of my Camellia shots.  This one was taken with the 18-200 hand held.  No tripod.  For once the wind wasn’t howling.   See you soon on most of this same blog.

Prickly Color Came With a Price

It’s been a tough winter for color here.  The prolonged subfreezing weather from late December into February turned just about everything to toast including the Camellias which usually bloom from late October right into March.  They are just now starting to come back into bloom thanks to an incredible spell of warm weather.  Nothing like a few 70 degree days to fix the color doldrums. It’s even put a hurry up on the Japanese Quince which we usually don’t see in bloom until early March.  It was a welcome sight.

The quince here is entangled with some of the meanest briars and thorns imaginable and I paid the price finagling myself into the thicket for a few macro shots.
I always like to shoot the quince early on in the bloom cycle because I love the buds and the fact that the sparse number of blooms makes for some interesting depth of field .

My lens of choice for these shots was the Nikon f/ 2.8 60mm Micro (Nikon lingo for Macro).  It’s a wonderful 1:1 lens which allows you to get right down on the target.  I have a very nice scratch on the end of my nose to prove it.   See you soon on most of this same blog.