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Posts Tagged ‘spring’

IN THE FIELD: Close Encounters

August 1, 2013 24 comments

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This is one of my favorite photos of early spring bloomers taken this year.

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IN THE FIELD: Suburban Oasis

June 27, 2013 30 comments

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Last week I visited another arboretum here in southeastern Pennsylvania. The lush gardens are tucked away in a heavily populated area, but once inside the gates, the hustle bustle of the urban area is easily forgotten.

The botanical gardens consist of roughly 20 acres of native trees, shrubs, flowers, and ferns.  Along with the native plants, there are also rhododendrons and azaleas from around the world, planted in gardens under the old growth trees. The abundance of shade provided by the trees, maintain optimum conditions for the understory plants do exceptionally well.

Bog gardens flank the banks of a pond, and native wildflower gardens are planted in full sun. I took this photo of a prickly pear cactus, Opuntia humifusa, which was situated in dappled shade from a nearby honey locust tree.

It was quite warm in the sun that day, so I made my way back to the paved pathways that meander through the woods. The deep shade was a welcome relief from the early summer heat. And that’s when I came across this swamp azalea, Rhododendron viscosum ‘oblongifolium’. The blooming season was finished for the azaleas, but this one shrub was persevering to give one last show before the hot summer temperatures are in full swing.

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IN THE FIELD: Spring Favorites

June 24, 2013 26 comments

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Some of my favorite flowering spring shrubs are the rhododendrons. I love to see the splash of color brightening the shady parts of a landscape. The blooms were long lasting this year since spring was actually… spring-like. Except for a few warm days, the temperatures have been much cooler compared to the last several seasons. I took this photo several weeks ago before the blooms faded till next season.

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IN THE FIELD: The Ultimate Display

June 9, 2013 29 comments

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For many years we had a small area in our garden we wanted to devote to spring bulbs. Problem was, we couldn’t decide which variety to plant. We would pour over catalogs hoping they would provide some influence. Taking so long to decide had it’s consequences…we never got any bulbs planted. So we would wait until the next planting season and go through the same scenario again. This went on for several years. Finally we decided to just plant them all.

Just kidding. This is just a very very small portion of the 100,000 spring bulbs that were blooming at Longwood Gardens this spring. In fact, this view is probably only 1% of what was in flower.

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Here is a view of the area called The Idea Garden.

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Here is an even larger view of The Idea Garden. When these photos were taken, it was already noon time and the sun was directly overhead resulting in very harsh light. I was delayed getting to this area because I spent the morning in the Garden Walk. At that time the sun was lower in the sky. I have now come to the conclusion I need a clone. That way I could have photographed both areas under favorable lighting conditions.

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IN THE FIELD: When We Weren’t Looking

June 6, 2013 30 comments

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A few days ago we discovered this little columbine plant growing in a very odd place. It took up residence behind a bush next to the garage.

We checked on it every morning to see how it was growing and wondered if and when it would bloom. One night last week while we were sleeping, the plant sent up stems and came into flower. The following morning we walked past the garage as we left to go on a puppy walk and were greeted with a wonderful surprise. There it was…as pretty as could be.

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IN THE FIELD: Relief

June 3, 2013 17 comments

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Last week the outside temperatures were more like late summer than late spring. Actually it was a heat wave that the blanketed the area.

Since the majority of my photography is done outdoors, shooting under extremely hot conditions can be very tiring. And secondly, high temperatures, and blazing sun are a digital camera’s arch enemy. Sensors don’t play well under these conditions.

So, to get some relief from the soaring temperatures and high humidity, I headed down to a local creek figuring it would be more tolerable stream side. And even though I was shaded by the canopy of trees, it was still rather tropical. But the sound of rushing water tumbling over the boulders and rocks as it flowed down the mountain helped make it feel cooler.

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IN THE FIELD: Flaunting In Fuchsia

May 31, 2013 21 comments

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This photo was taken a few weeks ago using a 90mm macro lens. Macro lenses of this or longer focal lengths serve a double duty. They can be used as a macro lens or as a medium telephoto.

When I composed this shot, the front lens element was a little more than one foot away from the tulip. This helped compress the scene yet still isolate the flower nearest the camera.

I wanted some color in the background but wanted the focus to be soft, so I chose a wide aperture to accomplish this. There was also the slightest breeze adding some movement to the flowers to further soften the scene.

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IN THE FIELD: Skywards

May 22, 2013 29 comments

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On the morning I took this shot, the air was cool, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the sun was shining brightly. With skies this blue, I couldn’t resist using the vivid color as a backdrop for these bright orange and yellow tulips.

To set this photo up, I adjusted the tripod to go as low to the ground as possible. I was able to then lay down in the grass behind the tripod to compose the shot.

I know I’m always promoting the use of a tripod, but if you don’t have one handy, here is an option. It’s much easier to lie on your back and look up for this kind of shot versus lying on your stomach and straining your neck and back. You’ll have to experiment with the position of your arms in order to steady the camera…but it works.

Besides, using this technique gives passersby something to talk about. Their conversation typically goes like this: “Did you see that person lying on their back looking up with a camera? What an odd position to take a photograph. They must really want that shot.”

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IN THE FIELD: Immerse Yourself In Your Subject

May 19, 2013 21 comments

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Over the years I’ve heard a variety of humorous sayings regarding outdoor photographers.

“If you’re not sitting on the ground, you’re not a photographer.”

“You can always tell a good photographer. Their clothes are always dirty.”

Uhhh yup…folks often do look at me a little funny as I sit or lie down on the ground with camera in hand. And that’s okay because I’m creating an image that is uniquely mine. By changing my perspective or viewing angle, I feel I’m likely to create a more compelling image. And of course, there are times when I may get my pants dirty. But who cares about a little dirt anyway. Soap was invented a long time ago.

I took this photo at Longwood Gardens two weeks ago during the Celebration Of Spring Blooms.

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IN THE FIELD: Afternoon Light

May 3, 2013 27 comments

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Chase the light. Find the light. The magic is in the light.

Anonymous

The camera captures light, our mind captures images.”

Anonymous

Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”

George Eastman

In essence, these quotations all say the same thing. And I do believe light truly is the key to photography. It’s what we all try to capture on film or on a digital sensor. For me, taking a second look or finding a different vantage point to capture the light is worth the effort.

These tulips were growing in a small flower bed next to the side of a building. As I approached them, I couldn’t help notice their vivid color. However, when I sat down on the ground to get to their level, and I saw the sunlight accenting the petals from that angle…that was the moment the small grouping of flowers became even more visually impressive.

I metered this shot for the flowers rather than the overall scene. Also by slowing the shutter speed one half stop from the camera’s recommended setting, the background went dark and become under-exposed. This made the flowers really pop.

Dramatic light can occur at anytime of the day or night, and not just in the early morning, late afternoon, or immediately after a major storm passes through the area. This photo was taken a few days ago, shortly after 5:00 pm.

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