Photography and Flowers at Riveredge Nature Center

I’ve been working my way through learning how to make photographs. I took an intro to photography class in my last semester at college and it gave me some insights and some confidence in using the manual settings on a camera.

I’ve been attempting to capture shots of the wildlife and landscapes at Riveredge. This spring I took my first photographs of warblers that I was happy with, something I’d never attempted in the past.

I’m learning that, in general, if you can take bird or flower “portraits” often times F8 is a preferable F stop to use. That way a sufficient amount of background I know this is no great wisdom about photography, but it’s new to me as I learn it and imbibe those conclusions.

Taking photographs of flowers has been interesting, and more than anything else possible, the light is really important. Too much sunshine and most of the color will get blown out. I also learned a lot about ISO settings in photographing these orchids. For some reason, I seem to have overall neglected the ISO, maybe the cameras I’d used had it sent to auto so I hadn’t played with it much.

I took the below series with the ISO setting I’d had for quickly dashing songbirds – quite high something around 5,000 for the ISO. As you an see, much of the yellow coloration is washed out white on the surface of this orchid. This also has to do with how bright the sun was at that moment.

I realized the folly of this and went back later to take the below photograph, which I’m much happier with, once the sunlight subsided due to cloud cover. I’m much happier with the resulting detail and considerably less resulting patchy noise throughout the photo. The ISO was probably in the low hundreds for this shot.

I don’t relay these observations as some sort of especially knowledgeable person about photography, rather more as realizing my own stumbling blocks or evolution, and hopefully some of these realizations might help someone else in their own process.

This opportunity has taught me many lessons about how to capture which subject matter and I’ve appreciated the opportunity to gain these insights. Check out this recent blog of Blooming Spring Flowers at Riveredge.

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Photography Award from Milwaukee Press Club

I’m pleased to report that my article about deer poaching in Wisconsin has received a photography award from the Milwaukee Press Club (the picture below is one of several photographs included in the article). Click here to check out the full article. I won’t be too hurt if you skim it for the pictures. 😉

New Sugarbush House at Riveredge

I’ve been taking pictures at work, here are some shots of the new Sugarbush House within a winter nature backdrop.

With hundreds of sugar maple trees on the property, maple sugar season is a big deal. I’ve enjoyed watching and documenting the progress of this building as it sits amongst the trees. Complete Maple Sugarin’ details here.

I’m in a photography class this semester, intro to photography. Interestingly enough, it’s a film class. I’m learning to understand the mechanics behind taking pictures: aperture, shutter, ISO, the relationship of how one must compensate for the others, all that necessary stuff. I’m glad those words are beginning to have meaning, and I look forward to developing a greater understanding. Working at it, trying to improve on what I’m doing.

Green Moss and Lichen on the Last Day of Fall

I went out for a little jaunt to take some pictures of the vibrant, rain glistening greens of lichen and moss on the last day of fall at Riveredge Nature Center. Here are my favorites from my brief walk. Click the arrow on the right side of the image to see more.

Foggy, then Sunlight at Riveredge Nature Center

Yesterday it was a pretty foggy morning at Riveredge Nature Center…

but then the sun came out for some pretty nice shots of light, shadows, and residual fog. Click the arrow to see a few more.

 

Tamarack Colors Are In-Season

Tamaracks offer a fantastic luminescence when struck by the afternoon sun. The nature of lovely fall trees in Wisconsin.

Thinking About Photographs and Creative Projects

I spent yesterday morning taking pictures of explorer Eric Larsen at Riveredge Nature Center. Due to climate change, he’ll likely be the last person to ski to the North Pole. That’s a strange feeling, sharing company with someone who will be the last to do something – and he’s not old. Right now, Eric is currently traversing Wisconsin via foot, bike, and kayak, while raising funds for Riveredge summer camps, a venture called WisconsATHON.

I took the above picture as Eric was getting his equipment together to begin paddling the Milwaukee River. In the morning I took photos of Eric on his bike, with him art directing where I should be located, which angle, what to focus on, the differences between placement due to light and shadow, et cetera. This was a really interesting experience, as he spends a lot of time setting up his own shots when he’s out solo exploring. I appreciated hearing the reasons behind his choices.

I’m not a photographer, but I would say I dabble, mainly to provide visual support for my words. As a person who sees stories and ideas and tries to render them, one really separates genres to their own peril. We have so many storytelling options available: words, pictures, audio, video, that they can all work in concert if done well. That’s part of the reason I consider myself a multimedia journalist, although I often tell people I’m a writer for sake of simplicity.

I mentioned to Eric my disappointment that a publication decided to pass on some of my researched fact-based poems. These pieces are a combination of journalism and poetry – not the familiar confessionalist works consumed by a writer’s feelings. The response was the usual “Oh it’s poetry and we don’t publish poetry – unless you’re a poet laureate.”

I’m not surprised, getting anyone to read poetry is never-ending missionary work – so many people have a lifelong aversion due to the reading they were assigned in high school. Also, in creating work that straddles genres, many people will not immediately join you for the ride. Humans seem to like placing things into neat compartments, classifications. Until something becomes its own genre, its own compartment, many people don’t know what to do with something.

“The only thing better than a ‘no’ is a ‘yes,” said Eric. “With a ‘no’ at least you can move on to the next thing.”

A great point, a “no” means the waiting is done. On to the next.