In my last post (Sometimes the Magic Works…), I told you a little about my time as a Deputy Sheriff in Wyoming. I often think about the great men with whom I served for that brief time. They had colorful names (Snake, Namu, Okie, the Magnolia Boys, even a token Marine we lovingly called Gomer) to match their colorful personalities. Another of our favorite phrases was ‘patience is a virtue.’ This phrase is not unique to my law enforcement family, as it is commonly used by many people – mostly Mothers. The difference is that we followed it up with a very long discussion that began with ‘felons are inherently stupid’ and ended with ‘you’ll be standing there ready to cuff them up and take them off to jail.’
In this post, I’m taking a different tack with the concept of patience. I’m trying to learn photography as a means to taking better pictures. I’m trying to learn it by doing, with a lot of help from my friends and reading lots of photography books, blogs, and websites. Thankfully, I have wonderful friends who are very patient with me (a really BIG THANKS to my wonderful, patient friends). I think I’m a source of entertainment for them, which is why they put up with me. But I digress…
For the past couple weeks, I’ve been working with neutral density (ND) filters to control light entering the lens. I bought a couple gradient ND filters that have dark shading on one side gradually decreasing to no shading on the other. I used these filters to make some landscape images last week. I also used standard ND filters and circular polarizer filters, alone and stacked together, at a car show I participated in last weekend. I took my ’66 Mustang to a car show today, so look for car show pictures in my next post.
On to this week’s images. I’ll start with a new image of the owlets. Mama was out of the nest and the two little guys were up and checking things out. Maybe I can catch them taking flight sometime.
Great Horned Owlets. Even when they’re fuzzy, they have that intimidating GHO stare.
Last week, I took a hike on the Tahoe Rim Trail south of Lake Tahoe. It was a short hike to the Meiss Meadow (also called Big Meadow), leading into the Dardanelles Roadless Area. The day was glorious and the meadow was beautiful. The little birds were very busy and hard to get, although I managed to capture images of a couple. And this squirrel didn’t think I could see him.
One of my friends tells me this is a Savannah Sparrow.
I think this is a Lark. I’ll open my new bird book sometime to confirm.
He scampered up the tree, then sat very still.
For the following landscapes, I used the gradient ND filter to control the light at the top of the images. I will use the standard ND filter next time, as the foreground (where the gradient was light) was difficult to work with in editing.
The creek was flowing away from me in this shot. It is deep, but not very wide – clear water so the small trout were visible. The ND filter helped with the sky and trees, but not so much with the grass.
The creek was flowing into the shot in this image. Again, the ND filter helped the sky and trees, but the grass was much brighter before editing. I like the composition, but not the colors in the foreground.
I like this image. The grass is green, but not blown out (too bright). This shows how pretty it was up there.
The distance from the trailhead to Big Meadow is about a half mile, with about +250 feet elevation change. The trail is well marked and maintained. Hikers cross this bridge as an entrance to the Meadow. This image looks from the Meadow side, about 7,500 feet elevation. I like how the ND filter helped this image. Overall, the gradient ND filters worked well – now it’s up to me to figure out when to use them.
I also had some fun in the evenings. My neighbors have stand of aspen trees that they light in the evenings. I have been waiting for the moon to rise at the right time, to make the picture I’ve been visualizing for some time. One evening the moon and clouds cooperated – I noticed at the right time – and made these images.
I was so excited that I had this composition that I forgot that I still had the standard ND filter on my camera from the car show. I like the result and made this image my ‘cover’ for my Facebook page.
The next night I removed the ND filter and moved to a little different spot in the yard. Thankfully, it was dark out there because I was standing in my front yard in my jammies taking pictures. The ND filter gave the nice blue hue in the previous image which begs the question – which do you like better?
A little different crop and editing. If only the neighborhood owl had passed through the shot at the right time…
I also looked at the mountains one evening when we had a gorgeous sunset. I’ll close with this image. Enjoy – PHOTOROGR
Right place – right time. Deep, vibrant colors with a hint of the sun just over the horizon. One of my favorite sunsets.