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.



More Butterflys

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


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.
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


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

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.

No Worries

The wild areas between farm and road seem filled with wildflowers this summer. I have loved wildflowers since grade school days. I find the natural, uncultivated beauty of these flowers captivating. The sowing of seed by wind and birds creates a randomness that can surprise. On a photo excursion last Friday, we came across a huge field of day lilies; overwhelming in both quantity and quality. Being a preacher’s kid, I thought about Jesus’ words about considering the beauty of the wildflowers, and God’s care for them, as a reminder not to worry. Glorying in wildflowers all morning, I had no worries.

with grass
grapevine tendril

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