Archive for the 'still-life' Category


2/6/2011: Rosehip in the Snow, Parson’s Beach

Happy Sunday! A play of textures, set off by the contrast between the brilliant red of the rosehip and the white of the snow. I also like the way the red of the rosehip has absorbed enough heat from the sun to melt the snow around it and create a little frame for itself. The thorns, to my eye, give it an extra appeal.

For this shot I used the tele-macro on the Canon SX20IS, shooting from a standing position and well back, but still getting the macro effect. 560mm equivalent field of view, f5.7 @ 1/800th @ ISO 80. Snow Mode.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lightroom. Cropped from the left to eliminate a distracting out of focus twig, and from the right slightly to more or less restore “rule of thirds” composition.

This is part of the sequence of grand snowscapes I shot on Friday. You saw one of them yesterday, taken only a few moments before. As part of my photographic discipline I have trained myself to always, in every situation, spend at least some time looking down, looking close, thinking small…even when the grand vista is compelling. There is often something worth my attention right at my feet. No…there is almost always something interesting right at my feet, if I take the time to look. And often, looking close produces an image which opens out with as much contrast and texture and pattern as the full landscape.

Without trying to stretch the metaphor too much, I think there is a spiritual truth there. I would not like to think that, in the grand and thrilling sweep of eternal values that opens to the spiritual eye, I would ever lose the intimate details, the small beauty of what is right at my feet. The poets say the universe is contained in a single grain of sand…or, say I, in a rosehip in the snow.


1/4/2011: Never so red

So briar berries are always red…but never so red as when the bushes are covered in blown snow. This bush was at the edge of the drift and and the snow deposited on the branches was blown through the bush, where the force of the wind dropped enough to drop the snow its way out. It produces a unique effect, with each branch being, in effect, its own little drift.

I have broken composition rules here by placing the red berries in the center of the frame. It works for me because of the other two berries forming a triangle toward the right, and because of the larger mass of snow in the upper left which creates an effective diagonal corner to corner. I did not, mind you, think all that out while taking the shot. (For one thing it was far too cold for that kind of thinking 🙂 ) But my instincts, my eye, worked for me without thinking. In this case. I think.

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent, f5.7 @ 1/640th @ ISO 125. Snow Mode.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lightroom (see page link above).


12/17/2010: Little Things 4

Sometimes the background is as important as the subject…even if the background is totally out of focus. This furry little plant (or what was left of it by late fall) and black berries were isolated against a patch of ice, with some crystals on the surface that were catching the light. I could not resist :).

Canon SX20IS at 360mm, f5 @ 1/200th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Processed in Lightroom for intensity and clarity.


12/16/2010: Little Things 3

Frost on ice, with a few random leaves on the surface (and many more underneath). This is another shot mostly about textures and subtle colors…and another long range macro (or at least close up) using the macro tele feature on the Canon SX20IS. Of course, carful composition comes into too. 🙂

220mm equivalent @ f5 @ 1/100th @ ISO 400. Programmed auto.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lightroom.


12/15/2010: Little things 2

Continuing my series of shots of the small stuff along the way, this lonely feather lying in the path beside an oak leaf caught my eye. Feather texture is always interesting to me and the juxtaposition here, with the contrast between the sandy surface, and the smooth cellular oak leaf, drew my eye in. When you add the range of subtle color, it has me caught. What you might call a found still life.

I can only guess at the species of the bird…something fairly large from the size, and something that would be prey to a bigger bird or maybe a fox, from the look of it. Possibly a Blue Jay. [Srdjan Cuturilov on Facebook thinks it is a Morning Dove feather…which, all things considered, it very likely! Thanks Srdjan!]

Canon SX20IS @ 375mm equivalent and macro, f5 @ 1/250th @ ISO 400. Programmed auto.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lightroom (see page link above).


11/17/2010: feathers

I wanted to give you a break from digisocped birds this morning (or maybe I wanted one myself) but going back through the images on my SX20IS I am reminded that no one goes to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas for the scenery.

This little still life, perhaps a bit sad unless you can see the larger picture of nature at work, comes from my largely fruitless trip to a Photo ranch on the north edge of the Valley, where I hoped to photograph larger wildlife. There is beauty in this random scatter of feathers, in the fine details and the pattern. I think they might be Pyrrloxia, and are undoubtedly the remains of a Sharp Shinned Hawk meal.

Canon SX20IS at about 290mm equivalent (zoomed in for the detail) @ f5.0 @ 1/200th @ ISO 200. Landscape program.

Processed in Lightroom with a bit of Recovery, Fill Light, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.



Found Still Life

Another shot grabbed in passing during the rush of the World Series of Birding. Grabbed is, of course, an misnomer. There is a state you get too in your photography where a lot can happen in the second it takes to frame and shoot. A whole set of complex decisions are compressed so tightly that it feels like instinct or reflex. See photo, shoot photo. Move on. It can happen in a second, and in the middle of doing something else altogether…like documenting the World Series of Birding. 🙂

I liked the big leaves. I liked the yellow flowers. Then I saw them against the fallen log with the vines. I saw what the light was doing. I stepped off the side of the camp road, zoomed in a bit for framing, and shot.

Canon SX20IS at 112mm equivalent. F4.5 @ 1/13th @ ISO 200. Landscape program.

In Lighroom, a touch of Fill Light and Blackpoint just right. Added Clarity and a very small amount of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From World Series of Birding 2010.