This summer is a perfect time to get outdoors — in between the rain showers — and appreciate the textures of the plants. I found these contrasting textures at the New York Botanical Garden.
The New York Botanical Garden is currently running a stunning Chihuly glass exhibit, and now is great time to visit. You will find about a dozen installations while you also admire all the spring flowers in bloom and stroll in the beautiful grounds.
It’s no accident that the gifted glass artist Chihuly chooses botanical gardens like Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory or Fort Lauderdale’s botanical garden to display his work. Chihuly glass pieces often take their inspiration from nature, and mimic plant forms with great success.
My daughter and I agreed that this was our favorite piece at the New York Botanical Garden installation.
It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a pink dogwood tree blooming in your backyard, Nikon equipment and a little time to think.
I enjoy making notecards and ceramic tiles that feature my nature photographs, and I’m starting to work on some orders for the holidays. Today I processed a sunflower image I shot three years ago in the Denver Botanical Garden, and I will be making 6, 8 and 12″square tiles that feature this image.
Nature never ceases to surprise me. Glad I aways have my iPhone with me, even when I go out to mail a letter.
This week I discovered a brand new species in South Florida, one I had never seen before. It’s the basilisk lizard, nicknamed the Jesus Christ Lizard, because it can walk (that is, run) on water. If you want to see, just google it or watch here on you tube.
It’s body is rather large like a snake, and this one on the tree outside my condominium was bright green. It can run five feet per second, but luckily this one held still until I could snap a few iPhotos. You can see it is very long.
I think it’s pretty funny, as long as it stays outside my condo. When you come in, please close the door quickly!
Many nature photographers prefer to shoot on cloudy days, when the dynamic range is not too wide for the camera to capture, and sharp shadows don’t create issues. In other words, the experienced photographer can be assured of capturing detail in both the highlights and the shadows. But sunlight very early and very late in the day creates other nice opportunities. For example, in this photograph in Six Mile Cypress Swamp in Fort Myers, Forida, the shadows made good leading lines, as did the sunlight coming in from the upper right corner. All those lines converge in the low center of the frame. The blue sky made a vivid reflection in the still water, and the yellow sunlight in the background adds some warmth.
This time of year when we experience fewer bright sunny days, we appreciate what sunshine can do for our mood. I certainly feel more energetic and upbeat on a sunny day. How about you?
Yesterday in a Florida swamp, I recognized an opportunity to try a new style (new to me): Intentional Camera Movement (ICM). It was late afternoon, and the sun was behind me as I gazed across a pond at a placid scene of trees and brush reflected in the still pond. Admiring the sunlight on the vertical lines of the trees, elongated into their reflections, I suddenly realized that I could make an interesting graphic by moving the camera vertically while exposing as long as possible.
Since I had been working on shooting a bird and some otters across the pond, I had the equivalent* of a 300mm f/ 2.8 lens mounted on my D800. This was a good choice to switch to ICM, because, as you may know, it is pretty easy to blur a shot made with this lens if you are shooting handheld! I set my camera aperture as small as possible (f/32) in order to generate a slow the shutter speed (1/6th second) in Aperture Priority mode. This would set the shutter to be open long enough to create a vertical blur as I moved the camera. I recalled that I should begin the camera movement before pressing the shutter and keep an even movement speed. I experimented with about 6 images, and of course each one was a little different.
This one was my favorite for a few reasons: 1) Camera movement was truly vertical so the vertical lines of the trees are emphasized. 2) I like the color palette of blue, green, white, yellow and brown. 3) I like the tonal contrast and the mirror effect created by the shoreline. 4) My overall impression is that I would not tire of looking at this image. I think it would look cool in a home or office — especially as a metal print. Do you?
*Nikon 70-200mm lens with Nikon 1.5 teleconverter.