Thursday, September 19, 2013


Another example of the surprises offered up at St. Joseph Peninsula during our visit last spring.  This burned area was within 1/2 mile of our camp spot.  As I mentioned in an earlier post about this state park, my preconceived vision of its scenery was blown way out of the water.  I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that we could go from white sand beaches to a dense pine forest in less than 100-200 yards.

We never did find out any details on the fire that burned here.  Then again, I'm not sure we actually asked any of the park staff.  But, it didn't appear to burn too much vegetation, although there were a few buildings (at least one was someone's house) that came very close to getting damaged.  I was drawn to the intense contrast it offered from the rest of the healthy, green vegetation elsewhere in the area.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

More from St. Joseph Peninsula

I really enjoy photographing birds and, leading up to our trip to Florida, I read that St. Joseph Peninsula is a hot spot for a large variety of birds.  It definitely didn't disappoint as I saw and photographed many birds that were all new to a mid western dweller.  Although I typically like to get the "up-close-and-personal" shots, I really like how this photo turned out.  I used my 70-300 lens, standing probably 75 yards from this tree, which was right on the edge of the water overlooking Eagle Harbor.  The Cormorant looked pretty relaxed, looking one way and then the other.  It sat there for quite a while, even before I decided to frame some shots.

Conversion to black and white was an easy decision and one that went through my mind even as I was framing my shots.  The light wasn't fantastic with very harsh mid-day contrast.  The sky was also giving me fits as it wanted to simply blow out to complete white.  I backed down on my exposure enough to get the sky to not blow out and also leave some good light and detail in the bird and tree.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Ocean is Amazing

I had to wait almost 30 years to see the ocean, finally getting my chance on a family trip to Hawaii in 2008.  Definitely not a bad place to see it for the first time.  I was shocked at its enormity!  Even now, thinking about it as I type I'm still in awe and have a hard time picturing just how big it is.  Sadly, I can still count on one hand the times I've relived the experience of walking onto a beach to take in a vista of endless water.  But, I know it's an experience and feeling I'll never forget and I look forward to more opportunities to sink my feet into sand and swim in the surf!


Catching Up

I'm finally finding some time to catch up on some past photos.  I've spent the last two nights browsing and selecting photos from our March vacation to Florida's St. Joseph Peninsula.  It's been great looking at all the photos from that trip and letting the memories really sink in.

I'm finding that I actually prefer delaying my major photo edits whenever I'm able to snap large numbers of photos.  I know some who shoot and post photos right away.  For me, I enjoy going through my photos as soon as they are downloaded to my computer and I always flag some photos as my early favorites.  But, then I step back from those photos for quite a while.  When I finally do revisit them I typically discover that photos I had previously flagged might not do much for me anymore and other photos start jumping out as my favorites.  I wonder what would happen if I shelved those photos again for a couple months and revisited.  Would I discover different favorites once again?  I think this plays into our normal way of seeing things.  Look how often fads and trends come and go...and come again.  Before I know it my son is going to be pegging his pants and feathering his hair.

 I definitely didn't stumble upon this "delayed" routine on purpose.  It's an effect of living a typical family life where kids, work, honey-do's, and, sometimes, laziness all come into play.  Being able to sit each night and edit photos just hasn't been an option.  Fortunately, I managed to stumble into a method that works quite well.

Anyway, this photo was one that I flagged as a favorite the first time I went through my Florida pictures.  I can't count how many different edits I did until finally getting one that I really like.  I played around with several color versions before deciding to go black and white.  But, it took several attempts to get all the tones the way I envisioned them.

I remember the first thing that caught my eye in this scene was the way the blades of grass etched patterns into the sand as they moved in the wind.  I took some close-up photos of those patterns, but the end pictures didn't offer much.  So, I re framed, going wider, and was able to capture the shadows across the sand along with the grass and patterns.  I think this final picture turned out well.

This week is going to turn into my St. Joseph Peninsula week as I finish posting several more photos from that trip.