Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 81

Night photos normally mean that I was slacking off during the day or so busy that I forgot. Today was a bit of both. Either way, to make up for that, I played with some of the settings on my camera to take better night photos.

To take this one, I used the night setting, a 2 second delay (or I would be in the photo) and laid the camera on the ground, pointing up to the trees. I'm never quiet sure what I'll get when I can't look at the view finder while photographing. This takes a few tries, but I like this photo the best.

This was with the night setting. I was sitting down and holding the camera low to the ground. Notice that the photo is blurrier than the above one. This is due to holding the camera, verses leaving it stationary. The night setting keeps the lens open longer, so the light can expose the photo better. If you are holding it, there can be a blur, due to your natural body movements. I used a 2 second delay on the above photo, so I could get out of the way of the lens before it opened. Otherwise, a blurry me would appear in the photo.

This is using the night setting, a 2 second delay, the macro setting and propping the camera in the dirt. This took a few tries, but this is the best. The subject is a ground covering vine, but the subject for this isn't as important as the technique to capture it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 80

Today, I went to Pony Pasture with Alex, Amanda Erickson and her friend Alan. We spent abou 2 hours exploring the river and the park. I took a lot of photos. Though I narrowed the 200+ photos to these, there are still a lot, so phone users beware...

Pony Pasture is on the James River, so lets start with a photo of the James River from Pony Pasture. As you can see, there are a lot of rocks. Being able to see them indicates that the water level is low. In the summer, this is good for lounging in the water, but not for tubing or rowing down the river.

Another shot of the river.

While we were exploring by the river, there were tree Mallard Ducks...two males and one female. One of the males came close to us. The water here is clear enough, that his feet are visible.

This is one of the male ducks hunting for food. Don't you love that duck butt!

There are two geese. On the rocks behind them (not in the photo) are lots of seagulls. The gulls were too far away for my camera to properly photograph them.

I was poking around the rocks and noticed this fern growing from one.

I liked these tree roots. They change color (probably from wear on the bark, due to people stepping on them) as they go into the water.

I love seeing moss grow in dead trees. It shows that life still goes on even in death.

This is the lovely Amanda taking a photo, as I photograph her. This is in the park area. There are lots of trees and trails. The way we came into this area looked overgrown and dead like some freaky horror movie...but still we entered. It was worth it.

See overgrown and creepy.

While taking a photo of this weird seed ball, I got caught on the surrounding briers. The briers weren't part of this seed plant, a small branch of the plant had landed on the brier bush. I was told not to lag behind or I'll get caught in the briers again...hehe.

We came to an area of a trail that had drainage issues. This made for mud and pretty photos. I liked that there was a reflection of trees and the depth of the leaves in the water was visible. I now love seeing wet leaves, because the undertones of the browns are very clear and beautiful.

This is sort of a double reflection, due to the break in the flow of water. I like that the height of the tree is reflected and connects to the trees each reflection comes from.

In the parking lot, there was a section with a large puddle of water. I thought this reflection showed the beauty in what is not normally seen as beautiful.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 79

At the start of the day, I decided to take photos.

I was watching for the sun to rise in a beautiful way, but this didn't happen. However, the bright sun pouring through the trees, provided nice contrast of the trees against the sky. I liked how the clouds showed clearly, but the trees were just black.

As I was trying to take a photo of a very bouncy Blue Jay (which you will notice no photos included in this bounced to fast...), I saw my new favorite calm bird (a Robin), eating a Holly berry from the ground.

There were lots of birdies feasting on the Holly berries. I went outside on the balcony to take better photos, but alas I scared them off by my presence. Instead, you get trees. These trees look pretty with the sun rising. This is also in the direction of the train tracks that run by the house. I plan on bribing the birds with bird seed. Yes, this might be cheating, but hey if it gets me a better variety of subject matter, I'll do it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 78

Today started with a bit of disappointment. An Egret or Heron flew past our window, so I went out to take it's photo. It was snowing when I went out, so this was really a mission. I found it hiding behind some brush in the creek. I got closer to try to take a better photo, but it flew off and I couldn't find it again. This disappointment was rectified by a friend telling me that we will go to a part of the river that they are at and I can take photos there on a different day. This makes me very happy. Photos of those bird will of course be in a different post.

What did improve the photographs for today, was that pesky Cardinal. It actually stayed still long enough to photograph a lot! I'm very excited by this, as it's my favorite bird aside from Carrion birds.

This lovely Cardinal stared at me for a bit, but was also looking around at other things.

Same Cardinal

Same Cardinal, flying off.

Song Sparrows are very common here. I finally got a photo of one.

Same Song Sparrow

As I was looking for the Egret/Heron, I saw this large root ball that had moss growing on it.

Snow was falling while I was outside on my Egret/Heron search. Here is a bush with some snow on it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 77

Last night, it snowed. This morning, when I took Alex to the bus stop, I noticed the snow was in a lacy formation. It was in the process of melting. About an hour or two later, it was all gone.

This was on our steps. It's a leaf trapped under the melting snow.

This leaf is of course on top of the snow.

The top of this photo has a heart melted into the snow. I did nothing to form this. Through this project, I'm actually starting to look forward to snow, which is something that I haven't done in years.

This is snow clinging vertically to this plant.

This melting snow on the Camellia bush, looked a bit like a skull. Of course, I liked it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 76

As I had hoped, today there is rain. As I was walking Alex to the bus stop, I noticed that there were lots of puddles. Later, I ventured out into the very muddy backyard to take photos of the puddles. To my delight, they were very pretty in unexpected ways.

This one had the clearest reflection of the trees above.

The rain started pouring faster. Droplet patterns appeared on the surface of the puddles.

A runoff stream has formed beside the Holly tree. There are variations of sediment color in the stream. The reflection of the sky is rippled in the flow of the sedimentary stream.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 75

Today, the groundsmen came to collect the dead leaves. They use leaf blowers to do this. In the back yard, I watched them blow the leaves into the creek, vs actually collecting them, as they are supposed to. Blowing them into the creek can cause flow problems. However, one good rain will push the leaves down to the river eventually. I decided to take photos of the creek and the banks.

The water was so clear and still that the trees reflected nicely and the leaf covered bottom of the creek could be seen.

This is the beginning of this section of creek. It has less leaves because it's larger. I like how the trees reflect in the shaded and unshaded areas of the creek.

The moving water is clearly seen here. There is a small waterfall created by a dam of leaves.

There is a bit of a grotto area under the roots of tree. The leaves are the thickest here.

This bark on the banks was beautiful with it's many colors.

This limb was laying against a wood pile. It had many of these type of mushrooms on it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 74

Today there was a large flock of Cedar Waxwings and a few Robins. There was also a Cardinal, but it was never in a good enough place where I could easily photograph him. I included a lot of photos of the Cedar Waxwings because they had color variations. Some had red wing tips, some had yellow bellies, some had white top wing feathers...etc. All had yellow tail tips and black masks.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwings


Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing
This one gave me the stare down.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 73

I wanted to play with the setting on my camera to take night photos of plants that are hard to photograph during the day.

This is a pale tan plant. During the day, my camera doesn't like photographing it. With the high contrast using flash at night provides, the plant was much clearer. Not prefect, but better.

I wanted to see how far the flash would light an area. This is a ground cover plant.

These are berries from Monkey Grass. Yet another plant (well part of a plant) that is hard to photograph during the day.