The walk on Friday evening was along the Mohawk River trail. Although it was a beautiful day, the trail was surprisingly empty. This works to my advantage as I stop quite frequently to capture an image. Less people means less stares at the weird guy in the weeds.
I like walking this trail even though it offers less opportunities than the Sculpture Garden trail. This trial allows me to hear the water flowing in the river. And after a long week at work, that was exactly what I needed. The calming sounds of the babbling water… OK, every once in a while you can hear a car horn or city sounds, but I tune those out… focus! We are enjoying the sounds of the water…
I finally reach a section with a few more weeds along the edges. There are also more flowers. Don’t ask me to name them, I don’t know. I suppose if I’m going to take their picture I should get their name first. It would be the polite thing to do.
Then I spot Daisy! She is all alone. A touch of sadness washes over me. I love photographing daisies but I realize their season is up. This one I have to get right. Plenty of angles, changing light, there, that’s the one. Hold on daisy…
Hold On DaisyStand defiantlyIn a sea of strange embraceThe last survivor
When I slow down and take the time to be more self-aware I realize my photography has shifted slightly. I’ve always explained myself as a landscape photographer. I chase the rising and setting sun. I drive to the locales for the grand vistas. I still do that, but now I am interested in the details.
The macro lens has spent more time on the camera then any of the other lenses in my bag. I love exploring the myopic view of my surroundings this lens provides. I can show the intricate textures in the petals of a daisy or the amazing detail of Queen Anne’s Lace before it opens to the world.
After chasing the full moon on Saturday morning I was determined to use my weekend to explore. The walking trails in the Griffiss International Sculpture Garden have become old friends to me. I especially enjoy the varying foliage as well as the patches of planted flowers. I was happy to find a particular flower bed in full bloom. And yes, I was the photographer laying in the grass as the other walkers passed by… no worries, I’m OK, the angle is better from down here.
It's Your Time
Changing paradigm A friendly hand extended Reach out, it's your time
A simple enough question. I’ve been thinking about the answer for the better part of a day. Let me back up…
I started reading Rick Sammon’s book Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom, Discovering the Power of Pictures. I’ve read a few of Rick’s books and something about the title of this one grabbed me. Maybe it is because I’ve been having a conversation with myself about my photography. It might be because I’ve been thinking differently about the images I have been creating. Whatever the reason, I wanted to explore this one. Rick asks that the reader take it slow, digest each chapter and don’t rush to the end. Each chapter in the book ends with an assignment. The first chapter asks the question at the opening of this post.
I’ve written numerous posts about this topic in the past. Re-reading those posts is enlightening. I can follow the changing thoughts within myself and even the changing direction. I can also see that I rarely follow through completely on stated objectives… I guess I’m better when I let if flow naturally.
To answer the question, what does my photography mean to me? It is my escape, the medication for my ills and my therapy. That isn’t to say it doesn’t frustrate me at times, confound me at other times and make me want to throw in the towel. During those moments I step back, take a breath and let the images come to me naturally.
Yellow BrightHigh noon, summer light
Reaching to the rays of life
Warm embrace, shine bright
I truly haven’t been paying close attention to the moon cycles. I realize I should be writing my thoughts down as soon as they occur. I read something interesting on the internet during the course of the day but when I get home, it is nowhere to be found. This really isn’t a new thing with me, passing thoughts do not go into permanent storage in my head (even when they should). I almost missed July’s full moon.
I guess I got lucky then on Saturday morning. I remembered Friday night that the full moon would be setting a little before 6am. With the sun rising only a few minutes before the moon sets, it would be a good opportunity for photographing the moon. I debated over locations. Based on the direction of the setting moon I could have ventured down to the Utica Marsh but was a little worried about the best location to leave my car. In the end I decided to return to Delta Lake and see if I could manage another full moon reflection.
This is the way to the image I wanted…
Driving into Delta Lake State Park I immediately spot the moon over the tree tops to my left. This is an area of the park that has a small “pond”. I have photographed in this location numerous times, a favorite spot during autumn for the colors of the leaves (Delta Autumn). OK, this is a good place to start.
There is a lot more growth along the water’s edge than I would have liked for this view. The area where people fish is too far to the left and places the moon into the trees. I make a few exposures trying to decide the right amount of cattails to have in the foreground. I need to be quick as the moon traverses the sky rather quickly at the end of its nightly run. I get the image I wanted, now to move on to the beach.
Driving to the parking area for the the beach I get a glimpse of the moon suspended above the playground equipment. Oh, I can’t let that view go. Luckily, I’m the only person in this part of the park because I might have driven a little too fast. Time is slipping away…
I wanted the moon big behind the playground. I walked back up the entrance road far enough to use the 100mm end of the lens and still achieve the composition I wanted, the one I saw minutes ago driving in. I little more height would have allowed me bring more of the reflection into the image but the framing is the important aspect of this image. I wanted to have the moon amongst the equipment to add more depth. Right, time is slipping… on to the beach.
Remembering the Strawberry Moon in June I head toward the right side of the beach and start looking for interesting foreground elements. I didn’t need to search long. If I can get the camera low enough I can use one of the benches along the walkway. Now which one do I want.
There it is, the one I want. Sitting slightly askew. I want to break up the horizontal lines to create a little tension in the image. It might be an unconscious thought but the brain is not going to like the lines of the bench back not in parallel with all the other elements in the image.
I decide I need to focus stack this one as I could not setup the tripod far enough away to achieve good focus throughout. I focus on the bench and then quickly focus on the moon. I will bring both images into Photoshop to combine them into one. Next! Time is slipping…
I had already done the lifeguard station with the moon in June. But the reflection is calling to me. OK, this one will be different because the station is in the water. Right, logic can be twisted when a reflection is involved. I setup the tripod low again to give the chair as much height as I can. Bam! Got it.
This one is simple, the reflection is the goal. The low height of the camera to the water stretches out the reflection as far as possible. Should I switch to the 75-300mm lens to enlarge the chair and the moon? No, leave a little breathing room for the moon. Enhance the isolation with the extra sky. Time is slipping… one more?
Although it might be a repeat of June I head down the path toward the point. Maybe there will be something new. Wait, is that a fishing boat under the moon. Luck favors me this morning. Please don’t move, please don’t move…
That’s the one! The image I was searching for this morning. Sometimes you can plan for the image you want, other times you have to see it when it presents itself to you. I probably would not have captured this one if I didn’t walk down that path toward the point. I’ll take the good luck when I can.
This is the Buck Moon, at least according to the Farmer’s Almanac. The time of the year when the antlers of male deer are in full growth mode. Other names for this moon include Salmon Moon, the Berry Moon, Raspberry Moon and the Thunder Moon. With the sun rising in the East and the moon taking on the magenta color, I can definitely see this one being the Berry Moon…