Creek Adventures

Playing in the creek has been one of my favorite activities since I was very young. The trickling water and the area around it are full of little mysteries to solve and things to learn. 

For the past week or so, I have been rekindling my relationship with my creek and capturing images that interested me. 

creek

Salamanders have presented a new puzzle to solve. I have not studied them, but I look forward to learning more about them.

creek
creek
creek

I feel grateful to have an endless source of entertainment just out of my backdoor!

Long Exposure Photography- Sunrise

Recently, I had the opportunity to capture the sunrise. I wanted to do some long exposure photography again, this seemed like a good excuse.

For this outing I shot with the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 and my Nikon D3100. For most shots I was shooting wide open at for about 30-15, but as the sun came up I moved more to 1/100-1/200.

I did mess with them a little in Lightroom and convert them into .jpegs also.

More than the color, I really like the texture of the images. It reminds me of an oil painting in a strange sort of way.

It’s really fun to edit long exposure photography because of all of the data you have to play around with, but Nature’s color balance is usually good enough.

long exposure photography

I’m generally more of a night person, so it is always a treat to see the sunrise. It’s a miracle that happens everyday!

I know these aren’t great photos, but I’ll definitely try to experiment with this again and get better ones!

_

Thanks for reading! Got any tips for getting sunrise photos or any cool ones of your own?

Make sure to follow the blog and subscribe to my email list to never miss a post!

 

On Creativity

“The human mind is naturally creative, constantly looking to make associations and connections between things and ideas. It wants to explore, to discover new aspects of the world, and to invent. To express this creative force is our greatest desire, and the stifling of it the source of our misery. What kills the creative force is not age or a lack of talent, but our own spirit, our own attitude. We become too comfortable with the knowledge we have gained in our apprenticeships. We grow afraid of entertaining new ideas and the effort that this requires. to think more flexibly entails a risk-we could fail and be ridiculed. We prefer to live with familiar ideas and habits of thinking, but we pay a steep price for this: our minds go dead from the lack of challenge and novelty; we reach a limit in our field and lose control over our fate because we become replaceable.”

-Robert Greene,

Mastery

I have done a lot thinking lately on what I want to do in my life and the nature of myself as a person. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t view myself as a wholly negative enity and I could see things more clearly. I believe my greatest strengths as a person is my creativity.

I don’t think that creativity is some sort of superpower, I think it is more of a mindset. We tend to stifle our own creative ideas due to our own worries and thoughts. I find that I am most creative when I am in a more inituive, rather than intellectual headspace.

I set out today to take a macro photo of an Eastern Tailed Blue Butterfly. It wasn’t going to be anything fancy, I simply wanted to capture the beauty of the subject.

creativity
Eastern Tailed Blue

When I was reviewing my shots in Lightroom I came across this photo:

creativity

It wasn’t what I would call good, but there was something about it that caught my eye. I fiddled with it for a few minutes and I got one my favorite photos that I have ever taken.

creativity
Eatern Tailed Blue

Normally, I would have ignored that photo and moved on, but something in my gut told me to mess with it. Everyone has moments like this, but not everyone acts on their intuition.

Next time try taking a risk on yourself and you might get something awesome!

If you like Wildlife Photography and Videos check out The Nerdy Naturalist! 

Adventures in Macro Photography

A few years ago, I became very interested in macro photography after watching the insect documentary, Microcosmos.  I couldn’t afford a fancy lens dedicated to macro photography, so I purchased the cheapest extension tubes I could for my Nikon.

I have played around with it sporadically, but more recently I have been practicing with in earnest.

macro photography

Macro photography is definitely one of the hardest disciplines to master. When you extension tubes, more light is needed to achieve the proper exposure. There are two major solutions that I have found to this problem, each with their own drawbacks.

 

macro photography

You can shoot with a long exposure and closed aperture to solve this problem. However, you will need a very stable tripod and an agreeable subject. Caterpillars, frogs, and other calm, mostly stationary subjects are ideal for this method.

macro photography You can also shoot hand held with a faster exposure and more open aperture, but that makes focusing it’s own problem because of the shallow depth. The freedom this affords is well worth the annoyance of the shallow depth.

macro photogrpahy

Although macro photography may be the most difficult discipline in photography, it is certainly the most rewarding.

What did you think of this post? Do have any tips for macro photography? Let me know in the comments.

If you liked these photos, follow me on Instagram for more!

On Spring and the Seasons

Although Spring officially occurred for us on March 20th, the effects of Spring are just now being felt here in Georgia. Spring and Summer are kind of melded into one season here and that “season” is my favorite time of year.

It is as if the whole world took a hot bath, so that everything would arise fresh and new. Birds are migrating, butterflies are drinking, and lizards are basking in sunlight everywhere. We do not have a particularly harsh Winter, but I do miss having some of the wildlife that leaves each fall. When I see the first Eastern Tiger Swallowtail hover over the front yard, it is like an old friend coming to visit for awhile.

Even Natasha likes to watch the insects fly by.

I like using the Four Seasons as a metaphor for life. Traditionally it used to as a metaphor for aging, but I believe it can be used in a different way. Life is rather cyclical like the Seasons and we all have different internal “weather” from day to day.

Spring could be starting a new a job or going to a new school, Summer could be the period where you try to obtain your goal, Autumn is a change in plans, and Winter could be a rut of some sort.

I think this metaphor works because successes and setbacks are temporary in life, much like the weather. If it is a sunny Spring day, appreciate it; it will not last forever. If it is a cold winter night and you can’t sleep, endure it; it will not last forever.

Painting with a Lens

“You could not step twice into the same river.”

-Heraclitus

I’ve always been drawn to abstract and surreal visual art.

clocks
The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

The distorted images seem more real than the actual objects they represent. I’ve always wanted to created something like that, but working with a camera I wasn’t sure how to pull it off.

Pier
Looking at Brunswick from Jekyll Island, GA.

Last year I was on Jekyll Island playing around with my Nikon at the pier and my father showed me a trick using long exposure. He shifted the camera slightly to make a ripple effect. Not being much of a photographer, this was news to me and I started experimenting with it.

Moon
The moon.

This has been become the way I shoot photos now. I paint with the lens.

Light Tornado
Tornado of light made from Christmas lights in my living room.

I really enjoy using this technique because every photo is unique. It is like a Jackson Pollack painting, but using the environment around you. Every place you go suddenly becomes new again.

Wall of Light
Wall of light in my living room.

Yesterday I was took this photo:

Sunset Through the Trees
Sunset through the woods.

With a few camera shakes it became this:

img_2790

The best thing about art is once something becomes stale you can change it. It is never boring because it is never the same.

Trees
Trees.

Joel Sartore: My Favorite Photographer

Joel Sartore, is an award-winning photographer, author, and contributor to National Geographic. His images have a certain charming quality to them that I feel captures the essence of his subjects. This is best represented in his on-going project the Photo Ark.

The Photo Ark project is magical. Here is how Joel describes it on the website:

he Photo Ark started back in 2005, when my wife, Kathy, was diagnosed with breast cancer. My career as a National Geographic photographer came to an abrupt halt as I stayed home to tend to her and our three children.

It’s been more than 10 years, and Kathy is fine now, but that year at home gave me a new perspective on the shortness and fragility of life. I was 42 at the time, and as Kathy recovered, one question continued to haunt me: How can I get people to care that we could lose half of all species by the turn of the next century?

Perhaps a series of portraits, made as simply and cleanly as possible, would give us all a chance to look animals directly in the eye and see that there’s beauty, grace, and intelligence in the other creatures we share the planet with. Black and white backgrounds level the playing field, making a mouse every bit as grand as an elephant. In these portraits, they are equals.

All species are vitally important to our very survival; we need bees and even flies to pollinate the fruits and vegetables we eat. We need intact rain forest to regulate the amount of rainfall we get in areas where we grow crops. But beyond what’s in it for us, I believe that each species has a basic right to exist.

There are about 12,000 animal species in human care around the world. So far, I’ve made portraits of more than 6,500, and we’ll keep going until we get them all. It’ll take another 15 years or so. The goal is to show the world what biodiversity actually looks like and get everyone to care about saving species while there’s still time.

I hope you agree that the future of life on Earth is something that deserves our full attention. If so, please tell your friends that you care about all creatures, great and small. Share the photos. Help us celebrate. Join others devoted to saving species and habitats. We all can make a difference.

 

ANI080-00385-1920x1278.jpg

BIR005-00138-1920x1278.jpg

ANI064-00075-1920x1278.jpg

Every frame gives us a glimpse into the beauty of the world we live in. The only way to inspire people to care about nature is to show it to them. The world is such a wonderful mess of creatures big and small.

Everyone should check out Joel’s website and support the work he is doing. Work like this does not get enough support or praise.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/212102843″>An endnangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Miller Park Zoo.</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/joelsartore”>Joel Sartore</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>