Archive for category Still life

Caught in the Act!

I took a hike today down by the Yellowstone River. Under a highway bridge I found some interesting icicles. The photo conditions weren’t very conducive to photography, but when I noticed there was water dripping off the icicles, I decided I had to try to capture a drop.

After several tries, I guess I got my timing OK. While it would have been better to have a faster shutter speed, the drop was changing shape as it fell, so the squashing is probably pretty natural.

Here it is (click on the image to enlarge):

Icicle

Icicle caught in mid-drip, Yellowstone River, Billings, Montana.

 

A little way down the trail, I met a woman who expressed some disappointment that she couldn’t find any Cedar Waxwings. All I had seen so far was a Magpie, so I wished her well and headed back to the car. Soon I was in the middle of a flock of Waxwings. Here’s one:

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

 

Quite a handsome bird!

Moret to follow,

Bob

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Oregon 8

After we visited Yaquina Head, we went to a sort of nautical junk yard. Except it wasn’t really a junk yard. They take a lot of worn or rusted equipment from fishing vessels and repair and refurbish it. The first look gave the appearance of random piles of junk, but once we got in and started looking at things, we found an order to the chaos. There were huge nets, running gear and lots and lots of rusty equipment.

Rick suggested trying to get a few good abstract images of the rust and then of finding images that looked like something else. No problem for me, I love doing detail shots and enjoy seeing if I can find out, as Minor White suggested, what else the object is.

There’s a lot of chain used in sailing and that chain needs to be replaced once in a while, so finding rusted chain was no challenge. It was finding the shark that took a little thought.

 

Rusted Chain

Rusted Chain

 

Sometimes the chain was joined by rope:

 

Rope and chains

Rope and chains

 

And then there are the abstract opportunities. Wear on metal objects is often uneven and leaves us with a great opportunity to select just the right portion of the worn area:

 

Rising against Rust

Rising against Rust

 

As for finding something different in this wide variety of subjects, that wasn’t so hard either. I found a rust shark:

 

Rust Shark

Rust Shark

 

This collection of treasures was a real photographer’s dream.

More to follow,

B0b

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The Frameup

It’s been a busy week. Lots of time in the field making photographs, not much time to process and post before doing a nose plant into the pillow to be ready for the next day’s adventure. On a very auspicious day we hooked up with a guide. He asked us what we wanted to see and we told him.

That started a long day of traveling the back roads of Monument Valley Tribal Park. Harry, our guide, often made suggestions about where to find good photos and he was seldom wrong. Harry suggested the framing below and it turns out it was a good idea. We all stood in line to get the right position and framing for the West Mitten.

Here’s what I found:

West mitten framed

West mitten framed

 

More to follow,

Bob

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That’s a lot of slot

Those of you who know me know that I love slot canyons. We found this one and spent several hours oohing, aaahing and making photographs. The canyon ranged from a couple feet wide to a wide open canyon and the colors were spectacular.

Of course, if you know me at all, you know I prefer black-and-white as an image. Henri Cartier-Breson once said that our first 10,000 photographs are our worst. In pursuit of a black-and-white I can be happy with, I may have to go to 15,000. But, luckily, the canyon provided some excellent opportunities and I’ll share them with you today.

First, the color image. After all, this is color country (click for full size and color).

Slot canyon Overhead

Slot canyon Overhead

 

But then I just had to make some monochrome images. Remember that Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sang words that I will always agree with in their Central Park concert. They correctly updated the words to Kodachrome to say, “Everything looks better in black-and-white.” No truer words have been spoken.

 

Slot canyon 1

Slot canyon 1

 

Still life in a slot canyon

Still life in a slot canyon

More to follow,

Bob

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Two Lips

My daffodils are slowly giving up the ghost. I was pretty smart, though. I planted a row of daffodils and behind them a row of tulips. Seeing as the tulips mature just a little later than the daffodils, I’ll have a good month and a half of pretty flowers, then the nice greenery of their leaves as they absorb sunlight and store up energy for next year in the bulbs. Of course, nobody told me that the daffodils were going to be taller than the tulips, so the Dutch flowers are kind of hidden. Maybe I’ll relocate them for next year. It helps that the bulbs multiply, too. This year I’ve got about twice the flowers I had last year. And this year, the tulips are changing color. I wanted red, but got orange. This year, about 1/4 of them are purple. Nice color. So I cut a couple flowers and brought them in. Here’s what they look like up close and personal. Click the images for a better view and correct color.

Purple Tulip macro

Purple Tulip macro

 

Orange Tulip macro

Orange Tulip macro

With any luck, I’ll have some nice cactus blossoms to share with you later this month. More to follow. Bob

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A Shot in the Dark

I found a photography club here in Billings, a chance to get back into the social aspect of photography. At our last meeting, we got some instruction on light painting. I had seen light painting on a grand scale. We did some at Arches last October, shining a billion or so candlepower flashlight on some of the hoodoos. I didn’t really like the result, but my primary aim then was to make some Milky Way images and the light painting kind of interfered with that to my mind.

Well, we learned that it didn’t take a flashlight bright enough to blind a person to do the work, rather, one could work with an LED flashlight and get some pretty cool results. The examples our teacher showed clued me in not only on how to approach the subject, but on what I wanted to do my first light painting project on.

I like single-malt Scotch (Whusky as Mr. Scott calls it in Star Trek). I like Islay single malt because it’s got a very distinctive peaty, smokey flavor. So, of course, the subject had to be my Christmas present to myself, my Laphroaig 18-year-old Scotch. Along with giving me a good subject to work with in the dark, there was the added attraction that if I poured some into a glass, I got to drink it after the shoot. A perfect episode.

Here’s what I got (As always, click to enlarge):

Light paint 1

Light paint

 

I thought it would be a good idea to show a progression, so I started with the bottle and empty glass. The next one shows the Scotch poured and ready to drink. I suppose the third shot should be the smile on my face after I got a taste of that fine Scotch, but I was too busy enjoying it to do a self-portrait.

Laphroaig 2

Laphroaig 2

 

Now all I need to do is find some more subjects for light painting. It’s really quite fun.

More to follow,

Bob

 

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