Tag Archives: Nature

Bench beneath a Tree

Bench beneath a Tree
Bench beneath a Tree

This is the last of my Fall photos. The peak season has already come and gone and right now the trees are starting to loose their leaves. Winter is almost here as the temperatures continue to grow colder daily. However, I am going to take one last look back at the fall colors with a simple photograph of a bench beneath a tree.

Certainly, it is not as attention grabbing as the earlier photographs Red Leaf on a Bench and Awash with Color. However, it has a sort of meditative quality because of the simplicity of its composition and what it implies. A bench beneath a tree already implies the idea of taking a break, resting and in so doing I am taking a break from the fall pictures to make way for a new set of images which will follow in later postings.

To review the composition, the image does something that I have always been told not to do; It divides the frame evenly vertically and leaves a conflicting imbalance. On one side, the left side, we have a bench. On the right side, we have empty space. It is an imbalance which draws interest to the photograph and again presents a more painterly aesthetic.

A railing runs in the distance creating a division and  giving the impression of a layered scene with depth. The foreground is bordered by this railing and consists of everything up to the railing. Everything beyond the railing represents another layer and this forms the background.

To draw extra interest, the bench was lightened as it was in deep shadow. The shadow beneath the tree was enhanced somewhat to give the impression of a shade from the branches above which form a small semicircular form above the bench.

As stated before, the design is very simple and invokes a very tranquil mood not only because of the composition but because of the elements within that composition – a bench beneath a tree. And, this signals the close of my Fall photos for the year to make way for other photos to follow.

Awash with Color

Awash with Color
Awash with Color

On the same Sunday I visited Chittenango Falls and captured my red leaf on a bench, I also saw some of the richest display of Fall colors from the various trees which grow along the valley walls of the falls. It was indeed awash with color – reds, greens, yellows, oranges, peaches. It wasn’t a rainbow but certainly it appeared as if someone had selected some basic primary colors and had gone wild sprinkling the hills and valleys of the falls with droplets of paint.

This is pretty much what I envisioned when I shot the image displayed in this post. I could have shot the rich tapestry of colors which lined the valley. However, I wanted to avoid the cliche of the numerous fall photographs I have seen online. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they are bad, I just, as usual, wanted to take a different approach and try to create something new and and intriguing. I found this small clearing where one tree was already turning yellow with color and noticed the oranges and greens that had grown around it. It seemed almost abstracted from the rest of the background because of its bright colors.

As I stated earlier, it seemed like a painting.I could easily imagine a painter having drawn some strong vertical lines to represent the trunks and branches of the trees. He would have also taken the time to paint the yellow tree which is prominently displayed in the foreground. And, with two paintbrushes in hand, dipped with red, and green paint, began to wave his hand and allow the colors to fall where they may creating a kaleidoscope of color. Hence the name “Awash with Color.”

Personally, this is one image I can see on my wall, to remind me of the beauty of fall in Central New York. A reminder of how nature can put on its own artistic display. A reminder of how the hills and valleys, in Fall, can be come awash with color.

 

Fishing on the Dock of the Bay

Fishing on the Dock of the Bay
Fishing on the Dock of the Bay

If the title sounds vaguely familiar, then you may have already started humming the familiar tune by Otis Redding i.e. “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.” If you haven’t heard it before, then I must be really getting old. But, I certainly recommend that you jump over to YouTube and grab a listen. “Fishing on the Dock of the Bay” is a small play on words, but, I think it still carries the spirit of the song’s chorus line.

The chorus line went much like this:

I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

And, believe me, those words resonated when I saw this fisherman fishing on Onondaga lake just seconds after the sun had dipped below the tops of the trees bordering the eastern side of the lake. I am pretty sure he was not wasting time, rather passing the time away engaged in activity that he enjoys. But, I can’t deny the thoughts that the photo conjures up with its still waters, pastel-like colors in the sky and tree tops and the easy going mood the scene evokes.

My only regret, no my only desire, was that I wish I had a slightly longer lens something that would compress the photo even more and blur the trees in the background just a little to offset the fisherman from the rest of the scenery. And, it would allow me to do something that Robert Capa always preached, “If your picture isn’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” But, until I win the lottery and get a longer lens, or by some miracle I learn how to walk water, I will be content with capturing the spirit of the scene regardless of the lens I have available. So, I hope you enjoy, Fishing on the Dock of the Bay.

Monet Branches

Monet Branches
Monet Branches

Claude Monet, French Impressionist painter, was one of the founding fathers of a style of painting which emphasized very thin brush strokes and accurate interpretation of light. It should seem only fitting that this concept of accurate representation of light should be reproducible with a camera. And, this is what I attempted to do in this photograph I have titled “Monet Branches”.

According to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, Impressionism is defined as a theory or practice in painting especially among French painters of about 1870 of depicting the natural appearances of objects by means of dabs or strokes of primary unmixed colors in order to simulate actual reflected light. The question becomes how to reproduce the dabs and strokes of a paintbrush on a photograph. The solution came to me while out shooting fall colors with fellow photographer, Lynne.

Indeed, I was out trying to capture fall colors, but I wanted to capture it in a different way. I was not just trying to reproduce the ubiquitous fall photos of vibrant colors that spread for miles around. I wanted to bring something unique. I got my answer when I pointed my camera down looking at the reflection of the branches and sky above.The colors were already vibrant and that was emphasized by the setting sun which added more punch to the already saturated yellows. Further, a gentle breeze on the reflections created minute ripple effects which added texture to the photo. This created my much needed brush strokes which transformed my image into a painting of light. In fact, the only thing which betrayed the idea that it was a reflection, not a painting or an effect caused by smearing my lens with some sort of gel, was the small ripple which emanates from the far right of the photograph due to something touching the surface of the water.

Personally, I would have preferred more vibrant, punchy colors to contrast against the blue sky. Reds, I believe, would have given that much needed punch. However, I enjoy the subtle, soft and calming tones of this photo – my Monet Branches.

Forbidden Fruit

Forbidden Fruit
Forbidden Fruit

The minute I saw the half eaten apple I immediately thought, Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, Forbidden Fruit. Thankfully, I never got to the serpent part. But, for me, the scene spoke in metaphoric form. I love it when someone can conjure up ideas from once scene. So allow me to digress for a few paragraphs.

God made Adam and Eve and set them in the Garden of Eden warning both that they should not eat of the tree of knowledge.Eve was seduced by the serpent into eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge. She intern shared the fruit with Adam who was also fooled into eating of the fruit and both suddenly became aware that they were naked. Having realized this, the quickly covered themselves hiding, and I am going to get silly here, the fruit of their looms. They were later banished from the Garden of Eden after God discovered that they had eaten of the fruit of knowledge  I am pretty sure different people will interpret the events of Genesis differently but this is just a synopsis.

So here we are presented with a scene right after Adam and Eve have both eaten of the fruit. They have realized that they are now  in their birthday suits and have run away to cover themselves. Thankfully, there are no pictures of this nudity, this is a G-Rated site after all. The half eaten fruit lay in the grass where other fruits from the tree of knowledge have fallen. Abandoned by the persons who plucked and ate it, it remains a stark reminder of those who choose to oppose God’s words.

Of course this is just a half eaten McIntosh which has been dropped on the ground. But, one can’t help but wonder of the images it conjures as it lay at the bottom of the apple tree. The images of an abandoned forbidden fruit.

Rotting Apples

Rotting Apples
Rotting Apples

A rather common scene from the Apple Orchard I visited on Sunday were rotting apples. They were scattered all over the ground beneath the trees. I didn’t have to walk far to find some. For this photo, I found four in a beautiful semicircular pattern on the ground which just led my eye through the frame. I aptly named it “Rotting Apples”.

The first thing that caught my attention was the arrangement of the apples. I found it rather interesting that they formed a circular pattern when they fell from the tree. But that formation was indeed a fortunate find.

The other element which attracted me to this arrangement was the color. I think that the red and green hues provided and interesting blend of color. The colors are not a monotone red against green. In the apples we can notice the reds and light greens of the apple skin as well as the browns as the apples display different levels of composition. Further, there are different layers of green on the ground with moss, grass and other small shrubs. Further there are speckles of brown which cover the ground where leaves and twigs have fallen and begun to decompose. the scene is a tapestry of rich colors.

Lastly, the other thing which drew my attention was the light. There was a lot of flat light on that Sunday morning. The clouds dispersed the light providing an even level of lighting. However beneath the shade of the trees, the apples received a soft but directional lighting which came in from the right of the scene. I think that helped provide some degree of dimension and drama to the photograph and of course some interest.

The rotting apples arrangement is reminiscent of my sketch artist days when I drew with nothing more than pencils and paper. Like my previous photograph, apple nectar, it is a simple photograph. But, I think it is also an effective one.

Apple Nectar

Apple Nectar
Apple Nectar

On Sunday, I accompanied some friends to an orchard for some apple picking. Being my first ever trip to do any sort of apple picking, I decided to carry my camera with me to capture the orchards being harvested by the visitors and to get some interesting shots of apples.It was particularly overcast and wet that day and that provided excellent diffused light throughout the orchard as well as interesting water patterns which I will illustrate in subsequent posts. However, this combination of conditions allowed me to make the photograph observed on the left which has been titled “Apple Nectar”.

thanks to the light, misty rain which fell constantly, the water accumulated on the apples hanging in the orchards in beads and when the beads became to heavy, the streaked down the sides of the apple, formed droplets and fell to the ground. In this photograph, I chose to ignore the tops of the apple and focus on this one droplet of water which had accumulated in the constant rain and was preparing to eventually drop.To eliminate as much distraction as possible, I used a shallow depth of field, hiding the rows of orchard trees which stretched out in equally spaced rows from one end of the field to the other. Further, I chose to keep color in this image because I think the color itself helped to draw attention to the fruit which was situated in the upper left hand corner of the photo.

In essence, I was trying to capture the droplet of water as if it were nectar oozing out of the apple, filled with the sweet juice that lay within, hence the name Apple Nectar.However, I will leave it up to the viewer to determine whether I was effective or not in presenting the image in a way which communicated this idea.

Patas Monkeys on Look Out

Patas Monkeys on Look Out
Patas Monkeys on Look Out

There are quite a few mammalian species which are communal. Patas Monkeys are no different. And, in the wild, the communal nature of the group ensures the survival of the species. They quite literally live by the proverb, “You scratch my back, I will scratch yours”. But, besides sleeping eating and taking care of young together, They also partake in performing look out as demonstrated in this shot of “Patas Monkeys on Look Out.”

For me, what works most about this composition is the amount of character that comes through the photograph of these two monkeys. One looks out to the left sternly keeping an eye on what drew its attention while the other rubs its nose while facing the camera. The placement of the monkeys in the frame as well as their facial expression humanizes them as they peer out of the frame and produces posturing which seems more akin to a painting than a candid photograph. Every time I look at the photograph I pause to wonder – What was it looking at? Why was the other monkey covering its nose?

In a more painterly sense, another reason why the image works is the manner in which leading lines are used in the photograph. All the major lines in this photo converge on one central point, the smaller of the two monkeys in the foreground.The metal beams of the enclosure as well as the limb of the tree converge on the smaller patas monkey.

As technically sound as the image is, I think it still does suffer from some problems that I could not workaround. the fencing of the enclosure is subtly visible in the image. It is something that I wished that would not have been visible at all. Further, at the time I took the shot it was raining and caused some small white streaks which appear in places in the shot.But, in spite of its flaws I still like this image for the qualities which I think are enduring  – that it demonstrates very human like qualities in another species.

Stealthy Snow Leopard Cub

Stealthy Snow Leopard Cub
Stealthy Snow Leopard Cub

I decided to take a brief moment and step away from the western theme which I had been pursuing whole heartily and post an image which I had shot on a  recent trip to the zoo with fellow photographers Lynne and Joe. We had heard that there were two new additions to the snow leopard family as two cubs had been bred in captivity. They are expected to remain at the zoo for the next 6 months before being sent of to other zoos. Given the limited time frame and the limited time they are on exhibit on a daily basis – 11:00am to 12:00pm, I decided to take the trip and see if I could capture a keepsake.Thankfully, I did in this photo of a sneaking, stealthy snow leopard cub.

He had just climbed the rock face and was making his way to the front of the rock but not in a trotting, playful manner. Instead, he choose to sneak in. With his head down, eyes straight ahead and careful placement of his paws, he made his way slowly around the corner of the rock.

I tried to recapture that feeling of being stalked by a predator in this image and I will be the first admit that shooting him was no easy task. The snow leopard has a light brown colour with dark brown spots, And, in this man-made environment which simulates the same sort of habitat he would have inhabited in the wild, he  blends in very well – almost vanishing. In colour, it was almost impossible to distinguish the young cub from the rocks which surrounded him and, to me, would not have revealed him as much without the treatment I gave it in black and white. Besides makding the leopard easier to distinguish from the surrounding rock, I found that the black and white treatment helped the leopard to pop more in the environment. Of course, this is not how it would appear in the wild, and it should not. But it certainly helps the viewer to see the creature.

Had there been actual pray around the corner of that rock, it would not have stood a chance given the way the cub was creeping around the corner. But, given there wasn’t any, I guess I am satisfied in just capturing the movements of this stealthy snow leopard cub.

Kicking Up Dust

Kicking Up Dust
Kicking Up Dust

The atmosphere was humid, the wind was hot and numerous horses could be seen in the warm-up pen being run through their paces kicking up dust as they trotted by. That was certainly the scene visible at the New York State Fair as I visited once again to observe a horse show that was being held at the location on August 4 and 5. This horse show was being held by the Empire Appaloosa Classic Horse Show. To be frank, it was one of the better horse shows that I have experienced.

I think what made it special were the varied coloured horses that I observed at the show and how seriously that the participants took the competition. There was a lot of preparatory work that went on from grooming the horses, to choosing costumes and of course the warm-up.

The photo displayed in this post is a scene I captured during one of the practice runs in the warm-up pen as one rider readied her horse before entering the arena of the coliseum. I can only assume that the horse was a little hot and winded at that time of the day – I certainly was – as it created a trail of dust as it trotted by. However uncomfortable the moment, the scene did evoke a somewhat classic, almost iconic image akin to riding off into the sunset. And, I couldn’t resist taking the photo. I certainly thought it was worthwhile and that made the humidity all the more tolerable.