Upside down

Boathouse and autumn reflections at Backbone State Park, near Dundee, Delaware County, Iowa

Is it strange to showcase a fall color photo when spring is just around the corner?  Meh, maybe, but not necessarily.  This is a good time of year to catch up on undone photo processing, so that makes this a previously unpublished photo.  As I said in a post recently sometimes you come across a photo that you hadn’t really noticed before but it sticks out at you this time.  This is another one of those photos.  I liked it, but wasn’t really sure what to do with it, and tonight I had the inspiration.

This is from a road trip that Missy and Wesley and I did about a year and a half ago.  It was a fantastic day.  I have photos of Missy and Wesley taken just after this one that always make me smile when I see them.

The upside-down reflection… without the actual building… is what grabs me here.  It draws you in and makes you think just a bit, but at the same time there are enough elements right-side-up that you know it’s not upside-down.  (Boy, that was long-winded.)

Anyway, Backbone State Park is Iowa’s oldest state park and is only about an hour away.  We need to go more often.  There are also trails and so on to be explored and shot, as well.  It’s almost spring.  It’s almost spring.  It’s almost spring.

 

Happy Anniversary!

Downtown Des Moines, Iowa, in silhouette at sunset

One year ago today I launched the new blog that you are reading here.  I haven’t bothered to keep track of how many blog posts I’ve done, but I have made a good attempt at keeping up and also with keeping a good random variety of post topics.

Today’s photo is a downtown shot of Des Moines at sunset.  Low-light shots like this have always been a favorite of mine, and is probably my first photography “love”.  The richness of the colors is what draws me in.

What will the next year bring?  You never know, but we shall see.

Doesn’t that look good?

Boat reflections on river, Manistee, Manistee County, Michigan

For those of us who spend winters in cold and snowy climates, the mere thought of a spring and summertime activity such as boating is most certainly inviting.

It can be pretty much anything done outdoors, actually, possibly even photography.  As I have mentioned before, this time of year is the worst… in my own opinion… for outdoor photography.  It’s cold AND dreary.  You don’t even get the coolness (no pun intended) of a good snow scene.  You just get… blah!

But spring!  Yes, spring.  A time of renewal.  Everything becomes fresh again.  And the best part?  It’s now warm enough to enjoy!

The Old and the New

The old and the new, near McCallsburg, Story County, Iowa

This photo has always been a favorite of both Missy and I.  We took this about three years ago near McCallsburg, Iowa, in Story County.  The image evokes kind of a nostalgic feel and nicely contrasts the old and the new.  That and the quality and richness of colors is what makes it so appealing, I think.  This photo is yet another example is stumbling onto something when you least expect it.

In our case, we had attended an all-day Toastmasters meeting in Ames.  We chose to take an indirect route home, avoiding the main highway and using still-nice, but rural, county roads.  Took longer, but we had the luxury of time, and we did purposely want to see new places both with photography in mind and simply just to see new things.

What’s strange, to me at least, is that in spite of how much we like this photo, we haven’t done much with it, and I cannot explain why.  I’ve never put it up on my website for sale (that will change soon).  I’ve never really displayed it, except a couple incidental publishings, and I think I entered it into a club contest once.  This needs to go on my wall.

Winter: Goodbye to you!

Stacked firewood in snow in winter

Who remembers a 1980s rock band called Scandal?  They did a song called Goodbye to You that was actually pretty good.  That song echoes my sentiments regarding winter precisely.  We just had our first snow storm in a couple months this past week.  It wasn’t much, but enough to cause some minor havoc.  And with that I am officially done with winter.  I say, “Winter… goodbye to you!”

This time of year is the toughest time to shoot, in my opinion, because everything looks so dull and dreary.  The snow that is on the ground is lackluster and unappealing.  It’s really the best time of year to catch up on photo processing, since there’s not a whole lot to shoot.

I also like the idea of doing some indoor experimenting with still life, cut flowers, and so on.  I have some ideas that involve props and backgrounds that could come out quite nicely.  I also want to do some experimenting with photo stacking.

This shot was taken near Palo, Iowa, on a back road.  One of those days where I was driving along and had to stop and see what I could do with the scene.  Chances are that I will never sell this shot, and it will probably never end up on my wall, but it does have a nice look to it regardless.  Sometimes the lesson is simply the enjoyment of the art.

There She Is!

Missy and Ken

As most people know, I lean just slightly to the introverted side.  Oh, who am I kidding, I am a screaming introvert.  I like to be in the background and incognito.  As such, I am rarely willing to post photos of myself.  It’s something I am not comfortable with, and I now understand why my mother always wanted to be on the back end of the camera and never the front end.  Having said that, here I am, in all my casual glory, and not just me, but my wonderful wife, Missy, too.

Missy is my greatest encourager.  My greatest cheerleader.  My greatest motivator.  She’s always by my side and is the perfect road trip companion.  In short, she’s my buddy!

This shot was taken this past October on our 2016 Fall Color Tour of Michigan.  We are at the east end of Miner’s Beach in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising, Michigan.  I came back to this site after having visited it in 2008.  It has changed dramatically.  The beach that was there was pretty much gone this time, and the small waterfall in the background was now inaccessible.

This ties into a photo lesson I learned long ago:  Never pass up an opportunity thinking conditions will always be the same.  Too often, it is not.  Take your shot now.  I have some shots of this waterfall from 2008 that I will post soon.

We’re Almost There

Bee on sunflower

Spring, that is.  We’re almost to spring.  Of course, if I still lived in California we’d be full-blown into spring, but I digress.

One of my many plans is to get more flower pictures this year.  Not just shots like this, which I will do, but I also would like to get more fields of wildflowers and other landscapey things, if you know what I mean.

This very nice sunflower… with a most cooperative bee, no less… was taken in the Amana Colonies way back in 2009.  It’s been languishing on my hard drive until now.  I am considering doing a selective color version where only the flower and bee are in color with the background faded to black and white.

You Never Know

Trees in silhouette on Goose Pond at sunrise, near Center Point, Linn County, Iowa

I’ve been going through and reprocessing some of my older photos.  Just a couple at a time.  It’ll be a journey, that’s for sure.  Anyway, I’m looking through a couple photos that I have never published and came across this one.  It’s similar to another that I have published, but that one is more “bright”, while this one was more subdued.  I played around with some settings in Lightroom to tone down the overall shot even more and boost the saturation which brought out the oranges while keeping the subdued areas.

I kept looking at it and it really strikes me.  The more I look at it the more I like it.  This one just might end up on the wall… and I’m thinking metallic paper.

This shot was taken 10 years ago this month.  I did an overnight sleep study and they woke me up at 4:30 and kicked me out (standard procedure).  I then went and sought a place for some winter sunrise shots and found this place.  I have not been back since, but maybe I should.

New Beginnings

Spring buds on maple tree

I was a bad photo club member.  Kind of.  I skipped my photo club meeting today.  Again.  Now, in my defense, I did wake up with a serious sinus headache, so I wouldn’t have been much fun anyway, but at the same time I could have gone.  I just didn’t want to leave the house today.  I wanted a full and uninterrupted day of rest and relaxation.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the theme for the monthly contest was “New Beginnings”, and I had this photo printed and ready to go as my entry in the contest.

I took this shot of my maple tree in my backyard about two years ago, using my Tamron 180mm Macro lens.  And, of course, my tripod.  Always use a tripod.  The tripod has improved the quality of my photography more than ANY other piece of equipment, but I digress.

Anyway, the more I looked at this photo, the more I liked it.  I felt it was a perfect shot as spring represents a “new beginning”.  Would I have won?  Oh, I don’t know, but I like to think I would have.

As a very loose segue into this a “new beginning”, when I was looking at old photos (when I found this) I also came across several photos that I haven’t seen or thought about in quite a long time.  You just might be seeing some “new” shots that have never been published before.  Stay tuned.

Good HDR?

Rustic sign, Garber, Clayton County, Iowa
Rustic sign, Garber, Clayton County, Iowa

I normally don’t care for what I call “cartoonish” HDR, photos that look overly animated, if you know what I mean.  It’s a very common look for old rusted-out cars and trucks that have been left abandoned in fields.  Then what do I do?  I stumble across this old rusted-out signed nailed to a door on an abandoned building in very rural Garber, Iowa.  Then, to make it worse… or maybe better, I can’t decide… I think, “That would look good in a ‘cartoonish’ HDR.”

*sigh*  I am impossible.  I can’t ever decide or stick with one thing.  But isn’t that a good thing?  Shouldn’t we always have an open mind?  Truth be told, I still don’t care for “cartoonish” HDR, but to every rule there are exceptions.

You should note, too, that I didn’t get too wild with my “cartoonish” processing.  I’m not throwing caution to the wind.  It does look good, though.