Monday, November 21, 2005

Caught Before the Rains

Color-altered tree with Spanish moss

This morning I saw a thick swath of green advancing on radar and knew I had to start my walk or be caught in a deluge. By the time I got back home my clothes were spotted with drizzle. By the time I was ready to upload my photos -- my camera put hastily away at the first drops -- the rain was roaring down. I wondered if the loud raking on my studio window was hail....

It wasn't -- just the effect of a stiff northwest wind that made the trees around us undulate like anemones. We had bands of deluge throughout the rest of the day. Had this been a thunderstorm I'd have kept the computer unplugged.

The artistic treatment up top was taken from this photo. I don't know what this tree is but I love its bark, and I wanted to get a shot of the interplay between bark, wood-slatted fence, and Spanish moss.

In another experiment I flipped part of the shot 90 degrees to the left and did minor color alterations to bring out the contrasts.

Today marks the first time I fiddled with manual controls outside of astrophotography, experimenting with focus, f-stop, and shutter speed before settling on the above shot. I love how the different bark and brick textures overlap. The tree on the left is the same one as in the other photos above, caught from a different angle.

Citrus sunspots

I took this shot from across the street; the tree was also set back in my neighbor's yard. After downloading I enlarged the picture in PowerPoint. The Auto settings threatened to give me a lighter image than I wanted, probably compensating for the overcast sky. Working the manual controls has been a fascinating trial-and-error process, in which I am little by little becoming more confident.

Pods in Bondage

The rain began to fall after I'd gotten in a couple shots of these swamp lily pods. A month ago the lilies looked like this:

During the first half of my walk, I came upon a tree whose opening I had photographed before, planning to make a collage in which I would insert something cute inside. Turns out an optical illusion did it for me! That isn't a glow-eyed owl peering out from inside, just part of the natural detritus in the shot below.

Come into my treehouse!


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