Archive for the 'forest' Category

13
Feb
11

2/13/2011: Who Goes There

Happy Sunday!

Snow had fallen heavily the day before, but people had already cross-country skied and snow-showed the trails at Rachel Carson NWR, so, with care, a booted photographer could get back pretty far in the woods. These tracks must have been made just before the snow ended. Though I thought I was capturing the tracks, it turns out this is mostly about what the light is doing with the texture of the snow. A Black and White conversion brings that to the forefront.

Canon SX20IS at about 285mm equivalent field of view, f5 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 80. Snow Mode.

Processed in Lightroom for clarity and sharpness. Converted to B&W using the Green filter effect.

And, being Sunday: Like the image itself, our spiritual journey is often more about what the light does with the snow than it is about the tracks we, or others, leave. And yet, without the tracks, what is there to draw another’s eye? We are much more likely to stop to see the light on the snow if someone has laid a track across it. That seems to be a part of what it means to be human. “Who goes there” is our first question. But it eventually leads to the realization that there is a there to go and a going…and that every step, to the eye of the spirit, is through textured light!

14
Jan
11

1/14/2011: You can’t keep a good moss down!

The boggy fir forest that surrounds Saco Heath is always an interesting place. The water there must be on the warm side, perhaps from the peat decomposition, because despite several inches of snow covering the forest floor, there were these little bare patches of moist moss showing in odd spots. The contrast of bright green with the snow and old oak leaves is what caught my eye here. Then it was just a matter of framing it.

Canon SX20IS at 360mm equivalent, f5 @ 1/400th @ ISO 160. Snow Mode.

Processed in Lightroom for intensity and clarity.

11
Jan
11

1/11/2011: Light in the Forest

After church on Sunday, my daughter and I stopped at Saco Heath again, just to see what it looked like in winter. She was impressed with the beauty of the light under the tall fur trees where the trail works its way toward the bog, and we were discussing how difficult it is to catch that particular (and undeniable) beauty in a photograph…how the eye and the brain…the mind…absorbs the impression of beauty without needing any center of focus, as we move through the landscape, but how in an image, once you place a frame around it, without that center of focus, the result is, most of the time, just a clutter from which we fail to recapture the original impression.

So I took a few shots to demonstrate the limits of what can be done. I explained as I worked and showed her the results that I was also visualizing the image in B&W, using a green filter effect, which lead us to discussions of how B&W photographers used to tailor the light and the response of the film with a whole bag full of different colored filters…how it was, in a very real sense, the one control they had over the image once basic exposure decisions were made. I told her that often, in situations where it is really the light you are photographing, B&W can be more effective, or at least, just as effective as color.

So here is the same image processed in Lightroom using the green filter B&W effect. This treatment brings the little fur into some prominence and is perhaps better focused as an image than the color version.

I am not sure which I like better, or, even if I like one better. Of their kind, and given the limitations of forest photography, they are both satisfying. Just. Unfortunately the experience is fresh enough so I still remember the impression I was attempting to catch!

Canon SX20IS at about 110mm, f4.5 @ 1/160th @ ISO 80. Snow Mode.

Processed for light, intensity, and clarity in Lightroom. Cropped for composition. Green filter B&W effect.

08
Jan
11

1/8/2011: the corner of simple and green

Sometimes you see an image very clearly, but when you attempt to frame it, it turns out harder than you thought. That was the way here. Simple image. I saw it right away.  It then took me an inordinate amount of time to find the angle, zoom setting, and particular section of branch. Still, I like it.

Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, ME.

Canon SX20IS at 180mm equivalent, f5 @ 1/250@ ISO 125. Snow Mode.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lightroom.

28
Dec
10

12/28/2010: After the Blizzard

It stopped snowing late in the afternoon yesterday, at the tail end of Maine’s first blizzard of the winter of 2010, and I got out for an hour or so…until the light failed. This is Rachel Carson NWR, where someone had already been around the trail a few times in snowshoes…which made it considerably easier for me in my boots. I like the light here and the subtle leading line of the snowshoe prints…and of course the trees painted white by snow on the wind.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, f2.8 @ 1/60th @ ISO 80. Landscape mode.

Processed for intensity and clarity using my normal methods in Lightroom (see page link), but more fill light than normal to pick up the green in the trees, less blackpoint, and some added brightness.

27
Dec
10

12/27/2010: Snow on the Little

As I post this snow-storm image from last week, we are in the middle of our first real blizzard of the winter in Maine. It is not light enough to see the damage yet, but the wind is howling around the house and there is snow stuck in the window screens. It is not scheduled to pass off until late afternoon. Should be interesting. 10-18 inches of snow. Watch this space!

This shot, however was during a much more gentle storm, as you can see from the snow built up on the branches. This is one of my favorite views at Rachel Carson NWR, where the Little River makes it’s classic “S” bend on its way to the sea. It is an all weather view, just as attractive here in the snow with snow closing the horizon, as it is in full summer with a dramatic sky.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, f2.8 @ 1/200th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Processed in Lightrooom for intensity and clarity, and adjusted for brightness.

25
Dec
10

12/25/2010: Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! May joy find you today!

Walking down paths at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters during a snowstorm, where mine were the first footprints, I discovered that someone with a Christmas spirit had been there before me (and before the snow). I was blessed. I am hoping you will be too, especially on this most blessed of days (or on the day we celebrate such a blessing).

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, f2.8 @ 1/250 @ ISO 80. Landscape mode.

I did my usual processing for intensity and clarity in Lightroom, but I wanted the wreath to stand out more than it did in the original exposure. I boosted the saturation and the luminance of of the greens and yellows using the spot HSL control, but even then the wreath was too dark. I resorted to the local adjustments brush, with which I painted over the green of the wreath, increasing brightness, contrast, and clarity. And all of that just to present something closer to the feeling of the place, so that you can, hopefully share in it. 🙂

Merry Christmas!

24
Dec
10

12/24/2010: Snow Fall!

A small pond, falling snow, burdened evergreens…a classic winter shot for this, the day before Christmas. Even the patterns on the snow and ice seem to be saying something extra here. I have this shot in both color and b&w, and, honestly, you can’t tell which is which without close study. It was just that kind of day (and I have been waiting for one for what seems like forever this year).

Canon SX20IS at 170mm equivalent, f4.5 @ 1/125th @ ISO 200. Landscape mode.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lightroom. It took much more than usual Fill Light, and then I converted it to b&w using the “look 3” filter.

This is the color version.

It will repay (they both will) a look at a lager size by clicking the image to open my WideEyedInWonder gallery and adjusting the size to your monitor if necessary. For this version I used the selective HSL controls to boost both the saturation and the luminance of the green, yellow, and aqua channels. You can’t see the result much here, but in larger views it does bring up the evergreens so you can actually tell it is a color image. 🙂

07
Nov
10

11/7/2010: in the frame now, happy Sunday!

I woke this Sunday morning from a dream of worship…that in itself is odd…though I do have a few of those dreams each year, and I suppose Sunday morning is appropriate for one…but before I was fully awake this post formed, and now, up and at the computer, all I have to do is build what I saw.

At my best as a photographer I am only a frame and an instant.

I am a frame. All I do is point the frame of the camera’s rectangular view at the world. Today I use the zoom on the camera to  change the size of the frame…make it bigger and more inclusive, more grand…or smaller and more particular, more intimate. I can move in close for a true macro of lichen, or add magnification by shooting through a spotting scope for portraits of sparrows. I can zoom out to wide-angle for the sunrise. I can even stitch frames together into the larger frame of a panorama. But whatever I do, it is still a frame…a little rectangle imposed on reality. The frame says “This is what I see. Look!” I am a frame.

I am an instant. I control when I push the shutter button. I choose the instant, and it is only an instant…a fraction of a second, when the camera records, for better or worse, whatever is in the frame. Even if I shoot a burst of images, as I often do when digiscoping birds, I still have to pick the one instant out of all those instants that I want to show the world. The instant says “This is what I see now. Look” I am an instant.

I do not fill the frame, I can only point it. I do not create the instant. I can only choose it. But in those two choices is all the power of photography.

The rest is just technique.

This is what I see now. Look!

I don’t of course, know what you see when you look at one of my photographs. I can hope that if I have done my job, you will see something that captures your attention…maybe even something that stirs your soul, that moves within you and touches places that need touching. At best, looking at what I see might open your eyes to something you would not otherwise have seen. It might change the way you see the world. That is the power of photography at its best.

I took pictures for a long time before I knew what I was looking for…what fills my frames and draws me to the instants I choose. Interestingly enough, the actual photographs did not change much, if at all. One day I knew why as well as what and when.

And that brings us full circle. As I have said, I am sure, on more than one Sunday in the past, my why is worship. What fills my frame in the ever-changing now is always some aspect of the beauty…the awe-full beauty, the intimate splendor, the wonderful power, the amazing compassion…of the Creator God displayed in the creation. Every picture is a celebration of that in God and that in me that brings the world to being through love. I frame those instants, from macro to panorama, when I am most aware of God. That is worship. That is my why.

So, this is what I see, now. Look.

28
Oct
10

10/28/2010: second helping of fall

One of the advantages of my travel schedule is that I get to experience extended springs and falls. Just as the foliage show is over in Maine, the last week in October, I always travel to Cape May, New Jersey, and, most years, the foliage in South Jersey is just at peak. Next month, just before Thanksgiving I will be in the Rio Grande valley in New Mexico. Fall is more variable in New Mexico than it is in New England, but about 3 out of 5 years, my visit catches the cottonwoods along the Rio Grande at their golden best. Spring is even more stretched for me, beginning in January in Florida, Feburary in Southern California, etc. I even occasionally catch Arizona’s second spring in August. 🙂

This is, according to my map, Ludlum’s Pond. Route 347, just north of where it comes back into 47 in Dennis, crosses the west end of it, and I have stopped several times on the way from Philadelphia to Cape May to photograph the foliage. This year the weather was chancy…with rain, thundershowers, and even a tornado warning in effect…but when I passed by the pond, it was no more than heavy overcast and a kind of watery light. With an HDR treatment, the weather actually shows the foliage to better advantage than full sun would have. Good thing, since that is all I had to work with.

HDR, in this kind of light, allows for a richly textured sky, while keeping enough light on the foliage and reflections to make for a very satisfying image. IMHO.

Canon SX20IS zoomed to about 48mm field of view for framing. Three exposures, auto bracketed, with the center moved down 2/3s EV. ISO 160.

Exposures blended and tone-mapped in Photomatix. My tone mapping in Photomatix is never extreme because I know I am going to do final processing in Lightroom: A bit of Recovery for the sky, some Fill Light, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and a touch of Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

And here is a more open, wider angle view, of the other shore. Another three exposure HDR.