For those of you who are counting, this is my 25th post (hence the ‘Silver’ reference)! I’m very excited about my journey, as you saw in last week’s blog. This week was especially fun, as I converted our breakfast table into a studio for several days and, for the first time, built a composition for my weekly photo challenge. Before I get into that, however, I had a very exciting day yesterday. For the first time in several days, I went out looking for nature pictures. The raptors are scarce right now, with most of the birds who live in the Carson Valley sitting on their nests and only a few transients flying through. So I drove into the Pine Nut Mountains to see if the wild horses were available for a few images and to see if I could get glass on the new filly in Blue’s band, Hope.
The day was overcast and the light was a challenge – gotta’ love a lighting challenge. As I came into the Pine Nuts, I found a couple bachelor studs grazing (you can see one of them getting up from his siesta in the wild horses page). They allowed a few pictures and I went on, finding Shorty’s band on a hillside. They were close to the road and weren’t too worried about me, so I took my pictures from the Expedition. As I topped a low rise, I saw two bands on the hillside in front of me. Hmmmm — could I be that lucky? I made my way towards them, parked at the bottom of the hill, and got ready to engage shank’s mare (taking a walk, for those of you not familiar with the term). I made a few images, moved up the hill a bit, stopped and made a few more. Then I realized that I was that lucky – one of the bands was Blue, and I could make out Hope. I pressed on. In his normal nonchalant fashion, Blue began moving his band farther up the hill, using Socks’ band as cover for their escape. I stopped and made a few images of Socks’ band, but my sights were on Blue and I didn’t want them to get away.
I continued up the hill – Blue’s band disappeared over the ridge. Fearful that I would miss my opportunity, I moved more quickly. As I neared the top of the ridge, Blue and his band were to my left and close by. I quickly set up the tripod and hit the shutter release. I located Hope – click click. I looked around and there’s another little one – smaller than Hope and a beautiful brown color, and not getting too far from Mama. I adjusted position and made a few images. My heart was racing – who was this new baby? I wondered about the name, so I sent a quick email to those responsible for keeping track of the Pine Nut Horses, the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates. (I love technology most of the time – this time it worked for me, so I loved it!) The response was quick and extremely exciting for me! They didn’t know that Blue had a second baby born this year, and I was the first to report in. Because of that, I had the honor of naming her. Oh yeah, she’s a filly! When I wasn’t sure of the gender, I decided to use Joe for a boy and Jo for a girl. She is officially ‘Little Jo’ until she outgrows her name, and she will become Jo.
Little Jo and her Mama.
Hope and some elder members of Blue’s band.
My weekly photo challenge was Board Game (Harmony/Unity). The challenge uses a board game to illustrate the design concepts of harmony and unity by grouping, overlapping, and/or repetition. I got into our game cabinet to see what we had and generate ideas. For those of you who have known me for a while, you recognize that this level of creativity can often yield very questionable results. I assure you, no one was hurt and nothing was destroyed in completing this challenge.
I decided to use two board games, Risk and Hunt for Red October. When I pulled them out, I realized that we never actually got around to playing Hunt for Red October, but we had put the playing pieces together. Both games have a worldwide conflict theme, so I thought they could work together. My initial concept was to overlap the two game boards, then use a combination of playing pieces to create a grouping and repetition.
First try. Okay – kind of fun. I used selective focus (in focus in the middle and blurry front and back). I didn’t like the background and the boards weren’t prominent in the image. On to concept two =>
In the second concept, I put the camera higher to see more of the boards, and raised one end of the HFRO board to create better background. I also used a little off camera flash to inject drama by controlling the shadows.
Flash from the camera angle: not bad, but not enough drama for me.
Flash from the right: I liked the general effect of the shadows, but wasn’t pleased with the way many of the vertical playing pieces were shaded by other pieces; also, the boards were still not as prominent as I wanted them to be.
Flash on the left: I really liked this image – the shadows made the drama for which I was looking and the boards were good, but I wasn’t happy with the almost reflective light from the vertical pieces.
I played with this concept a little more, trying to overcome the things I didn’t like. I was limited by the type of flash and quickly became frustrated by my inability to control the light better. Challenges to be met down the road! So I created a more simple concept.
Using only the Risk game, I created a series of concentric rings around the compass at the top of the game board. I used indirect natural sunlight for primary lighting, a hand held/fired flash for shadows, and a longer exposure to help with focus. I liked the overall effect and called the challenge complete.
The challenge for this week is Shutter Zoom – I can hardly wait to get started on that! And I can’t make a post without a couple of Raptor images:
One of the few Hawks I’ve seen on a fence post lately. He looks pretty serious.
And this Hawk is working on its nest. The eggs must be in, because all we see is a head on the nest now. More to follow.
Well, that’s it for my 25th post. I’m still excited to share my photographic journey with you, and I hope you are enjoying the ride!