Chance

“Chance favors the prepared mind” is a quote attributed to Louis Pasteur. I don’t know if he was a photographer, but his words should ring true to every serious photographer. Read all you can. Practice all you can. And then be ready for whatever “chance” throws you way. Here are a few happenstance photos of mine.

The first one is of trees in my oldest son’s backyard. I was experimenting with a new 35mm lens, saw the trees, and wondered how the lens would work on them. I was thinking black and white all the way, but really not looking for this kind of picture. I like the drama of the image.
trees

The next two were taken during a visit to Cascades Park in Jackson, Mi.The heron was standing right in front of me as I approached the walking path. He (she?) tolerated a couple of shots before taking flight. The other shot was of a duck taking flight. I tried to track the duck and let the background and wings blur.
heron

take offThe final shot for today was taken on a country road. In some ways the picture is smore than a little disturbing, but shooting road signs seems to be a Michigan pastime. Farmers be safe. Viewers post your thoughts.
Bullet holes

Portraits

I enjoy taking portraits when people are not aware that their picture is being taken. I think you have a better chance of portraying the personality and character when they are not posing for a picture. Here are an almost handful of my favorites. Their vocations are a middle school teacher, a brilliant civil rights activist, an author preparing for a book signing, and a Michigan icon (with a University of Michigan building named after him). These are all good friends that have used the captures of them I sent them. Hope you enjoy the pics. As always, your thoughts and comment are welcome.

Middle School Teacher

Activist for Social Justice

AuthorLGBT Early Activist

Camera as Paintbrush

The last butterfly picture from my previous post was a lucky accident. I happened to take the picture just as the butterfly was flying away. I posted the image because I liked how it captured the flightiness of butterflies.

When using our cameras we often use verbs like take, capture, or shoot to describe our actions because they accurately describe the approach we use to get an image. We forget that the camera can often be used like a paintbrush to create images. In addition to using the various settings available on our cameras to create impressionistic images, we can also simply use the camera. The three pictures below were taken in sequence.

The first is a “capture” of pretty flowers in rather dull lighting. The next picture was created with moderate, deliberate camera movement, and the third creation used the camera as a paintbrush to create an impressionistic portrayal of the beauty of the flowers.  Happy painting.
flowers1

flowers2

flowers3

More Butterflys

Here are some more pictures from the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
winglock
three
backlit red and black
landing

Flutterbys

on her back
The Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls, Ontario is home to nearly 3000 butterflies representing 45 species. The lush tropical climate is navigated with a nearly quarter-mile walkway through various levels. A small waterfall and stream add a gentle sound as well as beauty. My spouse and I stopped there Tuesday on the way back from a visit to my mom. She lives in upstate New York.
white background
Taking pictures of butterflies is never very easy. If the wings aren’t moving, the antennas are or the plants they are resting on are blowing in the breeze. The fans in the conservatory created a gentle breeze which helped mitigate the humidity but didn’t move many of the plants. The gentle lighting (on a sunny day) through the translucent windows was wonderful for pictures.
green
Stepping into the room was a breath-taking experience as the entire area was aflutter. In addition to their beauty, there is an almost magical quality in the presence of these creatures which appear so fragile but are really quite strong. Hope you enjoy these. More tomorrow.
orange for take-off

Bugs

Insects are often seen as pests, but there is beauty here too. Of the 90 million species roaming the earth, sky, and sea I am sharing five images today: a fly on a chair, a butterfly, a grasshopper, a dragonfly, and a spider web (with some captured insect prey). If you feel like something is crawling up your arm, it is very possible as there are 300 pounds of insects for every pound of you. Enjoy your day and your bugs.

See http://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia_SI/nmnh/buginfo/bugnos.htm for more on bugs.

fly on chair
butterfly2
grasshopper
dragonfly
web

Blades of Grass

In Leaves of Grass Walt Whitman wrote, “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.” For photographers, Whitman’s words are a call to be mindful of the beauty in simple things. In seeking the “grand image” we may overlook a gentle glory in the simple. Hope you can see the beauty in my brief homage to Whitman’s words in these images of grass.
against a tree
at the pond
with web
Did you see the spider thread in the last picture? As always, your thoughts, comments, and critiques are welcome.

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