Nov 22, 2010

Tree Leaf Photography

Last Saturday I spent a couple of hours at the Boston Arnold Arboretum with the goal in mind to add to my nature photos macro photography gallery. It is one of my favorite photo locations because of its easy access and its diversity in plants and wildlife. Weather-wise it was one of your typical November afternoons with chilly temperatures and high winds. Inspired by my latest tree leaf photography collection addition, taken the week before on my front porch, I was looking for dropped and disintegrating leaves. I stopped at Dawson Pond where the needles of a cypress tree had changed to many colors and the tree canape was fading into the pond. The edge of small Dawson Pond was covered in brownish cypress tree needles, within them occasionally trapped leaves in all colors from other surrounding trees. I looked carefully around the edges of the pond and studied the patterns and photographic objects that mother nature provided. Half way around the pond I stumbled upon a beautiful setting of a disintegrating green leaf captured in a burgundy red leaf ... what a fantastic leaf photos find I thought. Raindrops from an earlier shower were still present and the red leaf was almost fully submerged in the pond. When I lowered my tripod to ground level, one leg half way in the pond, I realized the full beauty in front of me. The tiny wind driven waves were constantly moving the leaf up and down, creating a current that produced wonderful abstractions perfectly framing the main subject. Although near ground level with my camera I decided to explore even lower, more intimate and frame filling perspectives. I detached the camera from the tripod, moved in closer and lower using one of the tripod legs to stabilize the camera. By hand-holding the camera and moving it in closer I finally accomplished the composition I envisioned when I accessed the scenery earlier. The second image here shows the macro landscape as I found it.

I turned the polarizing filter to maximum impact and used a kitchen towel to diffuse the harsh early afternoon sunlight. I underexposed by -2/3 steps to bring out and saturate the colors. The camera aperture was set to f/7.1 providing me with an exposure time of 1/30 second. In post processing I had little left to do. I removed any dust spots, applied minor contrast and color saturation corrections before sharpening.

Nov 21, 2010

Throughout Hometown

While strolling through Cambridge and Harvard Square last night , enjoying a night out with my wife and eating Falafel for dinner, I stumbled upon one of my landscape photographs on a course catalog cover page. I knew that my landscape photography image "Winter Tide on Plum Island" would be featured and soon published throughout my hometown Brookline but did not expect to stumble upon the photo in Cambridge. It is such a treat to walk through town and see your artwork hanging or published ... made my weekend ... happy Sunday everybody!

Nov 12, 2010

On Our Front Porch

A group of leaves in a shadowed area caught my attention this morning when I stepped outside on our front porch. They were buried behind two folding chairs that the wind had recently blown over. The brighter one on top of the darker, more colored leaves and the detailed veins inspired me to pull out my camera and start photographing. I made the brighter leaf my main subject and used the other leaves to frame it. I set the aperture to f/7.1 to maintain an appropriated depth of field which resulted in a long exposure time of 0.6 seconds. Needless to say that this was too long to hand hold and I had to find something to stabilize my camera. I did not need to look far when I found a nearby flower pot. I moved it close to the composition and combined with the house wall was a perfectly fine substitution for my tripod. I adjusted the polarizer to maximum impact that enhanced color saturation and minimized the blue glare of the cloudless sky. A slightly underexposed photograph at 2/3 stops kept the highlights and detail of the main subject from blowing out. In the digital post processing steps I minimally adjusted lighting, contrast and color saturation before sharpening the image.

At the TD Banknorth Garden

We went to see the Boston Bruins last night and had a blast despite the loss against the Montreal Canadians. I was able to snap a few pics of our first NHL hockey game.

Nov 7, 2010

At the Boston Arnold Arboretum

The day before yesterday my wife and I went to the Boston Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain for a leisure walk in the park. I decided to bring my camera along, thinking I might be able to snap a shot or two to satisfy my need for nature and macro photography. We parked at the Forest Hill Gate and strolled along Forest Hill road passing Dawson and Rehder Pond. We then continued up Bussey Hill and made our way over to the Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection. It was nice to discover the Bonsai trees, especially the Japanese maple tree which was still in peak foliage color. On our way back I noticed a couple of oak tree leaves lying quietly and flat on top of a stone wall. After a few days of rain in the Boston area the leaves were still covered with raindrops. I used the midrib and blade of the leaf to frame the main subject and lead the viewer through the photograph. The focal point was laid on the first large water drop. I then adjusted the camera aperture to obtain the depth of field I envisioned and kept other droplets out of focus. I settled at f/6.3 resulting in 1/15 second exposure time. Underexposure by 1/3 of a stop in combination with a polarizing filter benefited color saturation and minimized glare. I used the stone wall itself as a tripod re-placer that helped to keep camera shaking to a minimum. In the post processing steps I minimally adjusted lighting, contrast and color before I sharpened the final image.

Nov 6, 2010

In Cambridge

Serene Cape Cod was accepted into the juried group art exhibit, Blue. The exhibition features many artists and runs from November 18, 2010 through January 12, 2011 in the Kathryn Schultz gallery and University Place gallery. The Kathryn Schultz gallery is located at 25 Lowell St. in Cambridge, MA 02138 and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 5pm. University Place gallery is only a block away at 124 Mt. Auburn St. in Cambridge, MA 02138 and is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm.

Nov 5, 2010

Well Within - Massage and Integrated Health

My nature photography is on display in a solo exhibition at the Gallery of Well Within - Massage and Integrated Health. The exhibition features 17 of my finest New England landscape and flower photography and runs from October 15, 2010 through 15 February, 2011. Gallery Within is located at 697 Washington Street #202 in Newton, MA 02458 and artwork is on display during regular hours or by appointment.

Nov 2, 2010

Ohne Fleiss Kein Preis

When I left for Cape Cod in the wee hours last Saturday I had a different idea of photography in mind. I was more on the hunt of landscape or seascape photography than flower photography. But as opportunities often arise out of the blue you have to adjust and take full advantage of them. in my early attempts this morning I first captured the morning sky on fire above the winding Herring River near the Sea Crest Oceanfront Resort and Old Silver Beach. Once the morning glow ended I made my way over to Bourne Farm and Crocker's Pond hoping that there was still some fall foliage color on display but needless to say it wasn't. The fall foliage has passed New England and is now making its way down the east coast into Virginia and North Carolina. With the fading morning light and already turning 9-ish I thought my day of photography was done and I started driving home on route 28, crossing over the Bourne Bridge and then cruising along Scenic Highway (route 6) Almost at the Sagamore Bridge and route 3, a grove of trees caught my attention. The trees were beautifully painted by the late morning light and stood in deep contrast to the ground shrubs of saturated red. I pulled into the next scenic overview parking area, pulled out my camera gear and crossed the four lane Scenic Highway ... not at all scenic when you trying to stay alive and not being run over. Once safely on the other side, another hurdle welcomed me. I stumbled down the bank before finally started shooting when the old German saying crossed my mind: Ohne Fleiss kein Preis - without efforts, no rewards ... how suitable I thought. In hope of better compositions I kept changing locations to explore different perspectives of trees and shrubs.

Then, while walking around and almost ready to continue my journey home I ran into this unexpected loner in full bloom. It never occurred to me that I would come across such a beauty in the beginning of November. Immediately I recognized the potential and envisioned a photo of the flower with the red shrubs as a complimentary background. I got to work and lowered the tripod to a low level that allowed me to use the shrubs as the wonderful reddish backdrop I visualized. Another challenge was the breezy conditions. The constant breeze made it difficult to capture a sharp image but after multiple exposures and demonstrating lots of patience I succeeded to frame one or two high quality photographs. I spot metered on the shaded floral and used exposure bracketing in 1/3 stops. The aperture was set to f/6.3 resulting in 1/25 seconds exposure time. In the post processing steps of the digital lab I applied lighting, color saturation and contrast adjustments before sharpening the image.