Thursday, May 31, 2012

2012, Day 152 - Columbine

I was over at a client's house this afternoon and their yard is a Pacific NW wonderful.  It is filled with plants that appreciate our rainfall like ferns, foxglove, hostas, and columbine all in the peak of glory.  While waiting my meeting I was given the chance to explore their garden and this was my favorite photo, a detail of the swallow-tail columbine kissed lightly with rain.

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f8, 1/125 sec @ 250 ISO

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2012, Day 151 - Sawtooth

Life is full of little details, many of which you never really see because we're all too busy to stop and look.  This was a chick growing on my neighbor's rock wall.  The hens are getting big and the chicks are already plentiful.  Summer is on its way!

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/80 sec @ 500 ISO

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2012, Day 150 - Par-tay!

It has been a long day and I felt like going out with a bang!  Woohoo!  What a terrible pun...

Another firework shot from Friday night.  I like the squiggly light trail in this one and the nice clean lines of the explosion.  I brought out the smoke a little bit, I think it gives it a little more atmosphere, a little industrial grunge.

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
27mm, f5.6, 1.6 sec @ 250 ISO

Monday, May 28, 2012

2012, Day 149 - Golden pearl

After sunsets and cityscapes I am back to flowers.  The peonies are starting to bloom and they are stunning.  There is something rather clumsy about their large size compared to the relatively small plant.  They pack a huge visual punch!  I love the blush of fuchsia contrasted against the golden stamen and the velvety wine colored pistel.

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f8, 1/200 sec @ 250 ISO

Sunday, May 27, 2012

2012, Day 148 - Bleeding sunset

The stormy evenings of the past couple of days has made for some rather spectacular sunsets.  This was taken two days ago when we got a shock of pink as the sun hit the horizon.  It lasted only a couple of minutes but was one of the most colorful displays I have seen in months.

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f11, merged layers of 0.6 and 2.5 sec @ 100 ISO

Saturday, May 26, 2012

2012, Day 147 - Blue hour

This was one of last night's test shots to try to keep the exposure right with the rapidly diminishing light.  I wish the shutter speed would have been fast enough so that there was no motion blur in the barge being pushed out into the river laden with fireworks but you work with what you have.  What caught me was the sky, the roiling clouds that look so angry.  Portland is, without a doubt, a beautiful city.

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f5.6, 1 sec @ 160 ISO

2012, Day 146 - Bursting

This evening I braved electrical storms and heavy rain to get some pictures of the fireworks that kick off the Rose Festival.  The crowds were small because there will little cover to be had but by nine o'clock the rain had slowed and a half hour later it stopped completely.  So we emerged from our places of cover to get into position.  Photographers lined the waterfront but a few other people did as I did and found a higher vantage point.

We waited patiently, chatting loudly over the traffic noise, clicking off pictures to check our exposure in the changing light and trying to capture the clouds still illuminated by atmospheric light.  It ended up being an absolutely stunning evening for watching the fireworks made all the most pleasant by the earlier rain keeping the crowds at bay.

Now it is time for some well-deserved sleep...

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
27mm, f5.6, 1.6 sec @ 250 ISO

Thursday, May 24, 2012

2012, Day 145 - Broken azure

It was a long day today, I got a lot accomplished and all seems well with the world which makes the bits of blue sky this afternoon seem so fitting!

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f11, 1/500 sec @ 200 ISO

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2012, Day 144 - Wistful

For tonight's posting I am resharing a freshly reprocessed photograph that I took is Thailand a year-and-a-half ago.  This is a Burmese-style chedi, easily distinguished from Thai-style structures by the strongly squared corners.  It is not uncommon to see the influences of Burma in northern Thailand, the countries warred for centuries and here the cultural lines can be blurred.

I will admit that I post out of jealousy.  My sister Stacey is currently in Singapore and in about a week she will be in Bali.  Her travels remind me of my own but with none planned I will admit to being envious of her trip.  Despite that I know she and her husband will have a wonderful time on their first trip to Asia and I can think of no better way to start!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f5.6, 1/1250 sec @ 200 ISO

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

2012, Day 143 - Hundreds

I was looking at the information for this photograph and noticed that the number 100 was repeated three times, hence the title.  Despite the cool wet weather we've been having the signs of spring are rampant and this fern front is very young, not yet woody and so very delicate.  I decided to backlight it with a strobe so that you can more clearly see the veins and other fine details.  I like this shot because it is almost scientific but beautiful in its simplicity.

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f11, 1/100 sec @ 100 ISO

Monday, May 21, 2012

2012, Day 142 - Lion's mane

I know I missed the big dandelion crazy of a month or so ago but while talking a walk the other evening I found this fine specimen.  I liked the fact that half of the seed pods were already gone, it is like a cross section view without having to go to the trouble.  During my Photoshop tweaking I decided the colors were a distraction from all the textures so I converted to black and white and then added a little toning to warm it up a touch.  Sometimes simplicity is best.

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/100 sec @ 500 ISO

Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012, Day 141 - Flower bundt

I might be over-tired but does the center of this daisy look like a cornmeal bundt cake?  I rather wish that is what it was, that sounds good...

Spring is a magical time in the Pacific NW.  We ensure a wet winter which in turn becomes a damp spring that is filled with the sweet scents and riots of color.  Frond gently unfurl from the semi-dormant ferns and the streams and rivers swell with the melting snow.  Our lush surroundings become even more rich as the canopy leafs out again and the heady smell of the earth fills your nose.

Although my move to Portland was made impetuously I have never once regretting making this city my home.

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/400 sec @ 500 ISO

Saturday, May 19, 2012

2012, Day 140 - Obstruction

Another return to a photo from my Panther Creek adventure of last weekend.  It was a study in making the most of the prevailing conditions; it was early afternoon, we had a hot sun overhead, and there was high contrast light filtering through the canopy.  With those obstacles a wide angle lens was practically useless, too many changes in lighting throughout the scene to get anything useful.  That meant that isolated parts of the landscape were the only possible subjects and neutral density filters were a necessity to get smooth flowing water.

I sought to juxtapose the detail of the trees with the smoothness of the water, the dark against the light, the movement against stillness.  This particular section of the creek was ideal because the flow of water wasn't perfectly flat, submerged obstacles caused undulations which in turn created contrast between the creek and the turbulent water.  The rock peaking through the flow caps it off, it provides just a little extra visual interest to draw the eye towards the bottom left corner of the image.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
155mm, f22, 20 sec @ 100 ISO

Friday, May 18, 2012

2012, Day 139 - Opiate

It surprises me how many poppies I see in the Pacific NW.  Being from California where the poppy is the state flower I just always assumed that they preferred warmer and drier climates but they certainly seem to flourish in Oregon.  It makes me happy to see them because while I consider Oregon to be home they remind me of my childhood.

I was fortunate to grow up in a small town and, upon reflection, have always thought of my childhood as something akin to Calvin and Hobbes.  My best friend wasn't a stuffed tiger but in the summers it was safe to run out the door and come home only for food or when it got too dark out.  We built forts, caught frogs in the creek, hatched diabolical plans, and just plain enjoyed our childhood.  It saddens me that the freedom I had is so rare for kids today.  The world just doesn't seem like the same sleepy place it used to be.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f5.6, 1/60 sec @ 250 ISO

Thursday, May 17, 2012

2012, Day 138 - Smaug

My sister Laura has always commented on the slightly prehistoric build of my greyhounds.  I see what she means at times, their anatomy is obvious and they have some of the same look of pack hunting dinosaurs about them, something I am sure is not an accident of evolution.

This morning Johan found a comfortable sunbeam at the top of the stairs so I took his picture.  The way he is resting his head and his long neck puts me in mind of Tolkien's description of Smaug as he rested on his hoard.  Fortunately Johan is much more cuddly and hasn't laid waste to a city in months.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
30mm, f5, 1/640 sec @ 320 ISO

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

2012, Day 137 - Hitchhiker

Some days you just feel unprepared.  In between errands I stopped to admire some spring flowers and while trying to find another angle I discovered this little guy.  It was a bright morning and I was shooting into the sky so it too a great deal of overexposure for the spider to be more than a silhouette.  Still, it would have been nice to have a flash for a bit of fill light, then the colors would have been a bit richer.  Nevertheless, I like this photograph and I really dig how the hairs on the poppy stem echo the fine hairs on the spider's legs.

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/500 sec @ 320 ISO

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2012, Day 136 - Scavenged

When I went out to the Gorge on Sunday our initial plan was to hike to a different set of falls but the trail looked rather treacherous and we thought it an adventure better tackled at a later date when we were more prepared.  While stopped and exploring the trailhead we came up the skeletal remains of what I assume is a coyote.  Never one to miss a potential opportunity I took a few pictures and this is the one I liked best.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f5.6, 1/80 sec @ 320 ISO

Monday, May 14, 2012

2012, Day 135 - Controlled flare

Another photo from yesterday's jaunt along the gorge.  I love backlit foliage where you can see all the little veins snaking through the leaves and it is so much better when you can apply a sense of scale.  What is why I enjoy these photos taken from a really low angle.  The trees are towering over us and these simple plants, only half a foot tall, dominate the image.  Add a little bit of sun flare, slightly warmed in post, and you get a lovely little plant that almost seems to be straining for the light it needs to grow big and strong.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
17mm, f4, 1/250 sec @ 200 ISO

Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012, Day 134 - Woodland framing

This morning I had the pleasure of a photo adventure with Brian Matiash, Nicole Young, Liz LaPage, and Rick LaPage out in the Columbia River Gorge.  Our first stop was a bust, the waterfall we wanted to get to was difficult to get to and was in full sun so we decided to move on to the tried and true Panther Creek Falls.  It was a warm sunny Mother's Day and there was dappled light filtering through the trees so I worked as many angles as possible to try to avoid the hot spots.

I started with a wide angle lens and used it for quite a while but without much luck so I switched to a telephoto zoom to isolate certain elements.  By stopping down and using a neutral density filter I was able to achieve a longer exposure leaving the water looking bright and silky.  Consequently I had to rely on the rocks and trees to balance out the negative space.  The results are pleasing, it is the kind of rich lush scene one imagines when thinking of the Pacific Northwest.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
88mm, f16, 8 sec @ 100 ISO

Saturday, May 12, 2012

2012, Day 133 - Sibling rivalry

It has been a long lovely Saturday.  This morning I walked the dogs and then headed out to the country with Frankie so that he could do a little racing practice.  He keeps looking better and better, his confidence is on the rise and his form is improving.  During the practice he was able to beat out one of the more seasoned runners who is still in his prime.

In the photograph below he is running against his brother Sand.  What is really amazing is that Sand has had no training and is a much more heavily built dog but he and Frankie are very well matched in a straight race.  I suspect when Sand has had a little more training he will outpace Frankie but I feel fairly certain that unless Sand trims down a lot he won't be a match for Frankie on the oval.  There is too much mass to be able to turn efficiently.

I love to watch these dogs run.  They're not as fast as whippets and they may not be as fast as greyhounds but their coats convey such a sense of motion.  These dogs move with such fluid grace that they almost seem to swim through the air.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f6.3, 1/1600 sec @ 320 ISO

Friday, May 11, 2012

2012, Day 132 - Drop of sunshine

I wonder why nature likes to pair certain colors...  As I took this picture that thought occurred to me.  Eggs come to mind but there is an extensive list of flowers in these paired colors; daffodils, daisies, roses, water lilies, day lilies, cala lilies, chrysanthemums, plumeria, and dahlias to name a few.  I suspect it has something to do with the way insects perceive color and pollination.  Regardless of the reason the contrast is quite attractive.

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/200 sec @ 320 ISO

Thursday, May 10, 2012

2012, Day 131 - Flashback flowers

When I was in California last weekend my mother spent some time showing me how she was taking apart old photo albums and reassembling them into nice archival tomes.  As a photographer it was a lot of fun and even though the contents were all simple family snapshots they have a great all-American feeling.  I loved seeing photos of my brother and myself as babies sitting on a rather horrible brown and cream plaid sofa with my father, photos of my grandparents all dolled up and looking much younger than I remember, images of my baby sisters looking cherubic.  Why share this?  Because these flowers, with their pink, peach, yellow, and orange tones, reminded me of rather awful 70s upholstery fabric.  I don't know what I saw something like this in the old photos but that is what it reminds me of and why I shared that story.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f5.6, 1/250 sec @ 320 ISO

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

2012, Day 130 - Loading

This photo was taken during the second Portland Google+ Photowalk a couple of weeks ago.  It is the old loading bay at Schoolhouse Electric building.  I like the light and shadow with the texture of the brick, it makes for a visually rich photograph.  On the walk I primarily used my 100mm macro lens and for this shot it performed admirably because the sun was quite bright so it helped to isolate the building from the rest of the landscape which helped to obtain a more pleasing contrast in the diffuse indirect light.

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/160 sec @ 200 ISO

2012, Day 129 - Iconic California

Although I now consider myself an Oregonian having lived here for a decade as of this summer I grew up in California and there are parts of the landscape that will always have special meaning for me.  I love the rolling golden hills covered in tall grass and dotted with gnarled black oaks, the redwoods of the northern coasts, and the poppies.  These flowers I found when I pulled off the freeway to take some shots of rural California and there they were growing in a clump amid tall grasses on the side of the road.  The flowers were nodding gently in a breeze that had not lost the edge of morning chill.  In another month the grasses will lose their rich green coloration in favor of their flaxen standard as the state begins to bake under the summer sun.  Until then we have this little bit of California to enjoy.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f8, 1/1000 sec @ 200 ISO

Monday, May 7, 2012

2012, Day 128 - Isolation

This is another photo taken yesterday on my drive from California to Oregon.  The title today is twofold, one references the remoteness of this farm but the second is in regards to how the image is processed.  I lowered the contrast and lighted much of the landscape while heightening the contrast and lowering the exposure of the barn.  As one of the darkest elements is stands out agains the rest of the image and the strong texture is then able to capture the eye and draw it across all the little details.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
80mm, f9, merged layers of 1/800 and 1/400 sec @ 200 ISO

Sunday, May 6, 2012

2012, Day 127 - You've got mail

On my drive from California back to Oregon this morning I pulled off the freeway at a random exit with with the challenge of taking a few photos.  I wanted to see what I could find as the early morning light made for long shadows and while I made a few attempts this one is my favorite.  I like the weather rural mailboxes along a rough section of rural roads with tall grass and deep blue skies above.  You would never know that I took this photograph this morning, it could be from decades ago because in the country change comes slowly and there is no need to fix what isn't broken.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f4, 1/2000 sec @ 200 ISO

2012, Day 126 - Hollow

Photography is like any art, it is meant to evoke a reaction and encourage you to feel something.  This isn't my best photo technically, I would have like a different point of focus and a greater depth of field but despite these shortcomings I still like it.  I like the backlighting, the background color and how its cool tone contrasts with the warm tones of the snail shell.  There is a feeling of emptiness, of an opportunity missed, and it makes me a little sad.  While there is a negative connotation to sadness I like how it makes one reflective.  So, emotionally, this photo really works.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/60 sec @ 200 ISO

Friday, May 4, 2012

2012, Day 125 - Bells

Macro photography is all about taking joy and finding beauty in the details.  A couple days ago I went out to breakfast with some friends.  They had picked me up and after eating I opted to walk home.  It was a very pleasant morning, warm thanks to a little humidity despite the cloud cover.  These walks are when you have the greatest opportunity to make a discovery like this lily of the valley.  Their delicate beauty belies their toxicity but it is its simplicity that makes it such a beautiful plant.  I think that is why I decided to process it in black and white, color isn't necessary, the form alone is pretty.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/200 sec @ 200 ISO

Thursday, May 3, 2012

2012, Day 124 - Mirror

It is amazing what you see if you look through the right lens.  That statement is both figurative and literal, if you look through a lens long enough you can start to see objects through that series of ground glass elements before you even start to compose but there are times when you bring your camera to your eye and the world shifts.  Everything looks different.  Macro lenses are great for that experience.  Textures jump out at you, demanding your attention.  A line of ants marching across the sidewalk becomes a miniature military maneuver.

Our eyes are so sophisticated that when we look through a camera our vision is impaired.  The same is true with film or a camera sensor, our eyes see so much more than they are capable of capturing.  Conversely we can use these same limited tools to push the boundaries of what we see and how we see it.

This photo was taken on Sunday's photowalk.  I almost didn't notice the reflection in these windows but I glanced up and had to stop.  I like the strong lines and high contrast.

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/800 sec @ 200 ISO

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012, Day 123 - Mason

In my yard every spring you can hear the steady buzz of the mason bees.  They are very respectful neighbors and in the eight years I have lived in this house I have never been stung nor have my dogs.  Their hive is near my front door and I have had to assure the mail carrier in the past that they are not at all aggressive and while they can sting they do so only very rarely.  So they live out their lives pollinating flowers and building their intricate nests leaving everyone else to carry on in peace.

Tonight I am sharing two versions of this image, one is processed so that it looks a bit like a drawing.  I really like the effect but worry some times that in is a breach of artistic integrity.

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f11, 1/100 sec @ 200 ISO

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012, Day 122 - Torched

Another photograph from Sunday's photowalk.  I noticed this burnt out building on my way to the walk so when we dispersed along warehouse-lined streets I purposefully wandered towards this wreck.  I like the contrast of the ruined timbers and rusted hardware with the blue skies and scattered clouds.  The textures are really great and the perspective gives the impression of a massive edifice.

Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f8, merged layers of 1/1000 and 1/125 sec @ 200 ISO