Archive for June, 2012

IN THE FIELD: More Tasty Delights

June 6, 2012 25 comments

Next on the docket to provide summer taste sensations from our local orchard are the sweet cherries. We’ve been waiting with anticipation since last summer for the next crop, and they should be ready in a few days. As with all the fruit grown at the orchard, customers are free to pick their own.

I was a bit overwhelmed when I was there to photograph the ripening fruit, because I found promising compositions everywhere I looked. After finishing with one cluster, I would see a better one. And then a better one than the last. And I hadn’t made past the second tree in that row. And there were plenty more rows of cherry trees to explore.

I experimented with sunny, cloudy, and shade white balance settings to render the colors as accurately as possible. Due to the bright, yet overcast late morning sky, the sunny setting gave the best results. The cloudy and shade settings brought out too much yellow in the green leaves. After about an hour it began to get darker due to an impending storm, so I got out my flash unit to provide some more fill light. I managed to squeeze off a few shots while the sky continued to darken. Then it became ominous with thunder and flashes of lightning. Now I had to quickly change plans.

It’s best not to be in an orchard with a metal tripod when there is lightning in the area. I felt like I was dancing with the devil as I put my equipment away in my backpack and hightailed it back to the Jeep. It was a close call and the heavy rain started just as I closed my door. It rained well into the night with high winds, lightning and thunder.

I hope the heavy storms didn’t cause much damage to this year’s bounty of cherries.

I’ll find out later this week.

IN THE FIELD: Tasty Delights

June 4, 2012 23 comments

I know I have mentioned in previous posts, there is an orchard only a few minutes from our home. Customers can pick their own fruit in season or purchase what is picked by the staff.

Not only do we shop there for fruit and vegetables, but for me, it’s a supply of endless photographic opportunities. I am honored to say the owners have used some of my photographs of their establishment in their promotional brochures, as well as their on-line presence. When photo opportunities present themselves at a privately-owned business, I’ll say it again: it pays to ask permission first.

Of all the fruits and veggies grown there, strawberries are in season now and are being picked at a furious rate. The patch where they are grown and picked by strawberry lovers is roughly three acres in size. Orchard owner “D” said, “the berries can’t ripen fast enough to keep up with the demand, which has doubled since last year.”

This morning I headed out to the fields to photograph the berries ripening on the plants. With any luck, I would get a few shots before they were all harvested by the hordes of berry pickers. The plants are low to the ground, and the rows are close together, so using a tripod was an exercise in geometry. I brought an old blanket and used it to kneel on, and sit on between the rows of plants. Which was a good idea since we had rain last night. And it showered again while I was shooting the berries. Luckily the sales hut was only about 100 yards away and I was able to duck inside and take refuge from the rain.

Whenever I am not hand-holding my camera, to avoid camera movement I use my cable release to trigger the shutter. It was used in this scenario also, but the self-timer would have worked just as well. But I prefer to use the cable release, especially if there is a breeze. This way I can control exactly when to trip the shutter.

We’ve purchased our fair share of those red mouthfuls of sweetness. But it never seems to be enough.


IN THE FIELD: Roadside Beauties

June 1, 2012 24 comments

A few weeks ago, I was on the hunt for spring wildflowers to photograph. I thought for sure I would find some Dame’s Rocket, as they are common in my neck of the woods and are usually found growing in unkept areas alongside roadways and in abandoned fields. Nope. None were to be found.

Finally, last week on an overcast morning, I saw a few plants in a gully alongside a back country road. It was a small grouping, but I was hoping to find more. I traveled down the road a bit further, and found a patch slightly larger than the first, but still not the scenic I wanted. Around the next bend by the edge of the woods was a stretch several car lengths long, filled with purple, lavender, and white wildflowers. Jackpot!

Dame’s Rocket have four petals, and are easily confused with a plant named Garden Phlox, which has five petals. And it can be hard to tell the difference when you are bolting down the road at 50mph. But if you take a moment to stop and look, you can appreciate the charm they add to a landscape often forgotten.