Pimpin’s hard work…

I see I have, yet again, been a completely lazy sod of a blogger.

Sigh.

But hey! You get what you pay for, am I right?!

However, let us not equate a lack of blogging entries to mean humble narrator hasn’t been taking pictures. Nothing could be further from the truth my dear readers. To be both frank and honest I’ve been taking more pictures over the past month than has been the norm throughout much of the summer. Unfortunately, one of my more recent photographic projects did not go quite according to plan, but instead followed my usual tried-and-true route of revealing large gaps in both my skills and talents.

And so it was humble narrator become a bit dejected. After a few days of sulking it suddenly occurred to me that my so-called ‘failure’ wasn’t actually a failure at all. Nope. Perish the thought. A ‘learning experience’ it was rebranded and suddenly all was right in the world. Lesson learned: models may be late, especially if they aren’t really models and don’t understand the value of available daylight.

Like I said… lesson learned.

Reinvigorated with my learning experience I opted to take a more casual approach to photographing of late and came back with some pleasant results.

Falls @ West Milton, Ohio

I was actually turned onto this small waterfall by some fellow Flickr friends in my area, but took great advantage of a then recent thunderstorm, which I had anticipated would swell the creek and turn this otherwise quiet fall into something more interesting. I think I was right, I might add with a just a hint of self-satisfaction. I even got a little crazy with the processing in that I dropped the Vibrance pretty heavily in Lightroom so that the green foliage would be more muted, thus making certain the viewer’s attention remained more focused upon the actual water.

Another evening I found myself suddenly struck by the urge to go out and snap some night time pictures, which is something I have rarely done. I had actually wished to grab a particular shot of a sign in the downtown Dayton area of which I had a nice daytime picture. I had hoped the neon lighting would be all lit up and that it would be… well… awesome.

It wasn’t.

The sign wasn’t lit at all. But instead of being dejected and resigned to this fate I elected to drive around the area and look for another opportunity. And could you believe one presented itself?

Firefly Building

This is actually a triptych (duh!) of some of the pictures I took that evening. It was a complete fluke that I came across this building’s entrance way as it’s not quite visible from the main drag. Regardless, I thought it so unusual it merited at least an attempt by me to get something out of it. Long exposures… tripod… not so bad results. Actually, my fav from this particular building is this image…

"NG"

Please do not ask me to explain why I like this one so much, but I do and that’s enough for me.

Now… keeping in mind my aforementioned issue with my lack of talent and skill, I elected to take part in a free class on flower/garden photography offered at one of my local parks. The price was right. The weather reasonable. And I have no problem sitting through a lecture which helps reaffirm what I’m doing right and makes me question what I’m doing wrong.

After the lecture I, along with many in attendance, ventured into the garden and snapped away merrily. I hadn’t really intended for this to become a major deal, but before I knew it almost four hours had passed (including the 1.5 hours of lecture). As I hadn’t gone to the garden with the intention of photographing flowers, insects, etc. I had become very relaxed about the entire event. It wasn’t one of my projects, where there is a built-in need to feel as if I’ve successfully accomplished something, but a simple afternoon of photography. A simple afternoon of trying to incorporate the things the instructor had discussed.

I must say I think I had some pretty nice pictures come from it as well…

I need more days like that one.

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Bugs!

I have commented upon other folks pictures of my lack of luck photographing particular bugs of late.  It would seem that certain folks in particular have had exceptional luck snapping away at my most favourite of insects, the dragonfly (see her work here).  Well no more!

I managed a few great shots this morning of a dragonfly and bee that were both INCREDIBLY cooperative about having their pictures taken.  Mother Nature must have had a change of heart about me and I certainly do appreciate it!

Please to enjoy……

It Wasn’t All For Naught

It was with great hopes and expectations that I ventured forth from my house this evening to capture images of the elusive firefly (a.k.a. lightning bug).  I had my place selected.  It was completely dark, or, should I say, the sun had completely set and the western sky was no longer aglow as it had been the previous night when I first tried this adventure.  So I left my visiting guests at home, comfortable with some DVDs and a chance to unwind, and made my way to my selected location with camera kit and tripod in the back seat.

Things were not off to a smashing start.  While the sky was darkened, which solved the problem of last night, the fireflies were again uncooperative.  Where they had been an explosion of firefly lust, a firefly orgy if you will, just two nights previous, there was now a lackluster show of bio-luminescent last chance gasping in the domain of the firefly.  Oh well.  I was here and I was going to try this anyway.

I selected my 50mm prime lens hoping it’s superior aperture range may be handy, attached it to the camera, the camera to my tripod, setup my shot and pressed the shutter release button.  The camera’s clever electronics had selected an appropriately long exposure for the aperture I had settled upon and so I stood back and let my camera do its thing.  When the ‘click’ finally occured that told me the shutter curtain had closed I stood and stared at the LCD screen to see the wonder that was my work.  However, “wonder” wasn’t the best word to describe matters.  Something new was amiss and it wasn’t something I had noticed until my first image was completed:  too much light polution.

Having spent much of my childhood wanting to grow up to be an astronomer I was and am quite familiar with light polution and what it can mean to good night time observing, photographing, etc.  And ‘good’ wasn’t a word that was going to be used tonight to describe the photographic conditions.  Each long exposure yielded the same rather miserable results.  So between the lack of fireflies performing their mating dance AND the light polution I wasn’t really getting any results of merit.  Regardless I took a few pics and pondered my next move.

I concede I really wanted to just go home with my tail between my legs and call it an evening.  As I turned back towards my car, still contemplating my next move, I noticed the proliferation of insect life buzzing around a light in the parking lot.  Suddenly I was filled with photographic inspiration, which is really quite unusual as you may have noted from my Flickr photostream (not that I don’t love my pics, cuz I do, but they aren’t exactly on the bleeding edge of photography or art).  Still mounted to the tripod, I turned my camera around and aimed for the erratically flying insects and snapped a few pictures.  While they aren’t Ansel Adams work I confess that I thought it was fun.  Different.  Just having a lark.  And I’m pleased with the results.  I’m pleased because I thought, if only for a moment, outside the box.  I didn’t let conventional wisdom cloud my thinking.

Sufficiently inspired by this moment of clarity I started thinking if there might be another place where I could find fireflies that might also yield a better place from which to photograph them.  Maybe in the woods or near woods where the overhead clouds wouldn’t screw as much with my need to photograph these fireflies.  So I drove to the one place I suspected would provide such a chance and while the fireflies were more prolific in this location the issue of light polution remained.  As a very learned friend of mine once (or twice) said, drat and damn.

So my Flickr photostream has a few miserable shots of my firefly attempts, just to show that I’m not afraid to post failure, but also contains two images of the wildly erratic bugs zooming around the parking lot light, of which I’m rather pleased.

So I have learned…..no…..REleanred one very important fact regarding nighttime photography:  preferably no moon (unless that is what you are trying to photograph) and definitely no clouds!