I had planned to visit the Palouse in June to see the spring greens and yellows. It just wasn’t meant to be. I am yearning to get out with my camera for an adventure. Maybe later on this month I will be able to travel for a couple of days out to the Palouse. It should not be too crowded so I will be able to maintain social distancing during the trip. Warm summer breezes and softly blowing grains will be waiting.
I have recognized that I have recently fallen back on making nice snapshots versus compelling images. I tend to fall back into “ruts” from time to time. During this period of “social distancing” and my surgery recovery time, I am looking back on some lessons I have taken on-line from David DuChemin.
The focus on this image is “Isolation.” My exercise last fall was to isolate and enhance the subject and eliminate distractions. My target subject was the Kotoji. I walked around our Japanese Garden to first identify a perspective of the Kotoji that was different from the many that I had taken before. I collected images of a tightly cropped full Kotoji lantern, close-up of detailed Kotoji elements, the Kotoji with the foreground and background, etc. I then continued to walk around and tried to frame the Kotoji with other elements in the Japanese Garden. Finally I worked on creating a “peek” of the Kotoji through a background Japanese maple.
To focus on the subject, I set my focal point and exposed for the front edge of the lantern’s top. The lantern was framed with a void through the Japanese maple. I used a narrow depth of field to blur the maple tree leaves and branches. In post processing, I further blurred and darkened the surrounding leaves and branches to lead the viewers eye to the Kotoji.
This image is not one of my best, but it was an excellent learning experience to purposefully focus on creating a compelling image.
The path through the orchard led up to a little bluff that overlooks the valley below. I am at the end of my “photo stroll” and feel rewarded with the peaceful view below. I catch my breath and start the walk back through the orchard. I look forward to seeing new images as they present themselves to me.
This tired dead branch looked out of place against the bright colors of the autumn leaves. Besides the obvious contrast of the dull brown against the brilliant yellows, oranges, and reds, the branch was also a contest of the dead leaves still hanging and the leaves that had just fallen on the ground. Soon they too will turn to the same brown as the leaves hanging above. We cannot evade the circle of life.
When walking around, I typically look forward and upward. I have to remind myself to look down at the treasures at my feet. This clump of fungi caught my eye with all its lines and colors. Many of the aging cherry trees had severe scars and wounds, a great place for fungi to start. Such great color was a gift for my eyes.
Color, Color, Color is everywhere I turn. Greens, yellows, oranges, reds. and even a little brown fill my eyes. It looks like an abstract painting. My mind opens up for creative possibilities. Here is one:
Cherry Trees Abstract
All it takes is a little reverse “C” swipe and imagination!
Looking up between the rows of trees, I can catch glimpses of the Selah Ridge. The sagebrush covered hill sides are what the land is like without irrigation. The strip of basalt rock is from the great Columbia Basin lava flows which occurred 14-6 million years ago. It was pushed up as part of the Yakima folds development.
There is an old cherry orchard just up the road from our house. In fall, the leaves turn shades of yellow and orange. The grasses turn to a golden straw color. Birds are everywhere fluttering about. A hawk frequently perches on an overhead orchard fan. It is a nice place to walk and explore during all seasons of the year.
Sections of the orchard are being removed each year to make room for new young trees. I do not know how much longer the old stand of trees will remain. So until then, I will explore as often as I can. I will present images of a walk I took about a month ago in my next few posts.
How can I make a simple branch covered with frost pop out from its surrounding??? Just move around to position something interesting behind it. I found a faded clump of Japanese Forest Grass for a background. Using a shallow depth of field caused the grass to look like a radiating energy force field. I could feel the energy emerge as I recorded the image.
The leaves have fallen. A few stragglers remain. Hoarfrost on the remaining vegetation is a mild reminder that winter is on its way. Walking around our yard in the midst of beautiful branches and leaves covered with ice crystals was like walking through a wonderland. It was a gift from above.