Feeling the Sunshine

When I wake up on a cloudy day, I feel like staying in my pajamas. As soon as the clouds clear and the blue sky allows the sunshine to light up the world, I feel a burst of energy. Do your moods swing the same way?

On a sunny afternoon in the Fall, you don’t have to convince me that it’s a good idea to go for a walk. This path into the landscape reminds me of a John Constable painting.

park, sunshine, walk
Sewickley Heights Park (Pennsylvania) on a sunny September afternoon.

Sunset Golf

At sunset yesterday, I was finishing a round of golf with some friends. After the sun went down, we agreed to play one last hole. Fortunately, my drive went straight down the fairway, but I had to make a detour before I hit my next shot.

I spotted perfect red tree, standing alone on the horizon before a blue and pink pastel sky. I had to pause and capture a few photos on my iPhone. Little did I know that day that the highlight of my golf game would be a photo. But I must admit it was a well rounded afternoon with the camaraderie of friends and a relaxed nine holes when we had the course to ourselves.

golf course, red tree, sunset
Sometimes the best part of a day on the golf course is Nature. After sunset, on a western Pennsylvania golf course in October, this lone red tree makes a statement.

Grand Canyon: Isolated Rain

Hey, it’s raining over there! One cool thing about photography in the Grand Canyon is that you can see so far, that you can see one type of weather in one direction, and different weather in another. Even better, you never have to worry if there might be a building or a parking lot in the shot. The vistas are amazing and varied as you look in many directions. (The only problem that you just can’t fix is the haze created by car exhaust in nearby cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles.)

This Infrared Photograph, shot in the morning sun into the Grand Canyon from the North Rim shows a towering cloud and an isolated shower. The shape and texture of the cloud competes for visual attention with the amazing land formations beneath it.

I enjoy digital Infrared photography for the high contrast images that can be made in processing. The best condition to get great results with an Infrared-converted camera is a sunny day. I’m glad I packed my Infrared camera with a wide angle lens for this Grand Canyon adventure.

Grand Canyon, Infrared, cloud
Dramatic clouds form over the Grand Canyon, as seen from the North Rim, while a rain shower is visible on the left in this Infrared photograph.

“Veni Vidi” Lightning

We traveled to the Grand Canyon during summer monsoon season with the hope of seeing some dramatic lightning. If Mother Nature gave us her best, we aimed to capture it on camera. Mother Nature gave us a great show, and we got what we came for. The moment reminds me of Julius Caesar’s famous line, “veni, vidi, vici.”

Grand Canyon lightning
After sunset, the Grand Canyon was robed in darkness, but dramatic lightning struck to the west, seen from Hopi Point on the North Rim.

Uniting Earth and Sky

This stark and jagged tree on the rim of the Grand Canyon makes an interesting natural sculpture by itself. But give it the leading role in the landscape, and the tree unites the earth and sky into one composition that is filled with color and contrast.

Grand Canyon, tree silhouette
The dark, gnarled tree branches stand out on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon against a sky and landscape that is also filled with color and contrast.

Grand Canyon: Imperial Point Lightning

As I review my photographs from the Grand Canyon, I continue to find some startling frames of lightning. With a Lightning Trigger attached to my Sony A7r4 camera (an advanced mirrorless digital camera), the shutter activates faster than a human being can see the lightning and push the shutter. This long lightning strike has quite an interesting shape with many forks.

Grand Canyon lightning
A complex lightning strike photographed from Imperial Point on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Marble Canyon is visible on the far side of the Canyon.

Afternoon Lightning, Grand Canyon

Why do I specify “afternoon lightning”? Because evening lightning is coming soon in a future blog post! You can see in this photograph that the canyon is well lit by afternoon light. I was standing on the porch of the North Rim Lodge, watching the darkening clouds for a stroke of lightning over the South Rim when this image was captured. A custom-made lightning trigger helped.

Warmly lit Grand Canyon beneath a dark and stormy sky, seen from the North Rim looking Southwest. Lightning reaches from the cloud to the ground on the right above the Oza Butte.

Enlarge this image on your screen to see the lightning best.

The Only Kind of Rain We Get

In Southwest Florida, the only kind of rain we get in March is not the wet kind that falls from clouds and waters the plants. No, this time of year it rains yellow blossoms in the breeze.

tabebuia tree
Yellow blossoms of the Tabebuia tree rain in the breeze at Naples Botanical Garden, March 2022.

I associate the perennial blooming of this lovely tree with Spring Break, since we often visited Naples, Florida when my children were on Spring Break in late March. If you take a walk in Naples today, you will see countless numbers of Tabebuia trees in bloom, raining yellow flowers. Are they as numerous as alligators in the Everglades? Well, maybe not, but much prettier.

What Creativity Means

I’ve been thinking that Creativity really means that you let your mind go. Let it spin. Close your eyes and wonder where can you go next. You try something new and find out if it works. You give yourself freedom to experiment. It comes from having time to reflect and the guts to try a new path. Selectively, you embrace some rules and discard others.

With Infrared Photography, the new path I’ve chosen, I continue to embrace the rules that define strong composition, but I throw away the rules that tie photography to the way things truly look to the eye. Realistic color goes out the window. Green trees can be white…or yellow…or gold…or magenta. Just like they can be any color in a painting. But you say, “This is photography, and photography is realistic, journalistic, a witness to truth.” I say, “Before we had color photography, we had black and white photography, which was not true to life. It was and is widely accepted as an art form.” Right?

In that spirit, I present my latest Infrared Photograph: “Isle de Jaune.” I love this image for reasons I’m not sure I can explain in words. It is one of my favorite images of the past year. The complimentary colors and composition work for me. Are you with me?

Infrared photography at the Naples Botanical Garden. “Isle de Jaune,” combines complimentary colors and a balanced composition with interest in the sky and the lake. I find the image peaceful and meditative.

If you are interested in a Fine Art print or even better — a metal print of this image, please visit my website and place an order online. Thanks for joining me on my creative journey.

Unlikely Pairing: Infrared and Wildlife

When I set out to shoot Infrared Photography with a modified camera, I usually employ a wide angle lens and look for sunny skies and green foliage that create a strong composition. The direct sun and the strong composition are key.

When I set out to shoot wildlife, I use a regular camera (not modified for infrared light) and a close up lens, so I can capture true color and detail and avoid approaching and disturbing the wildlife. My strategy and my equipment are completely different.

So, today when I was roaming the golf course along the lake with my Infrared camera and wide angle lens, I was surprised to see an Anhinga (large bird) that just happened to contribute interest to my composition. “Hello, and hold that pose!”

The female Anhinga perched in the lakeside tree added interest to this Infrared photograph. Green foliage appears white in this south Florida scene.