The return of the cormorants to Southern Ontario is in full swing and over the weekend I spent a couple of hours at Hamilton harbor photographing them.
From time to time I like to go out for a walk with a camera and create a small challenge for myself. This morning it was walking a few blocks up one side of a city street, then down the opposite side, while capturing a few images along the way. Unlike many photographers I never take images of people when I am out on a street walk as I am much more fascinated by what people create…and tend to leave behind as a legacy.
I am a self-proclaimed people photographer. Whenever anyone asks what I photograph, I say “anything involving people”. If that’s the case, you might be wondering why I’m posting about photographing flowers and plants. To be honest, I sometimes like to head out on my own and experiment with different types of photography. Doing that, I have found a type of flower photography that I absolutely love. Today I want to share it with you.
It is April 21, a special occasion for all the lovers of nature and wilderness. Today is John Muir’s 178th birthday! His legacy is well and truly alive not only through National Parks, Sierra Club and National Audubon Society but also through all those who love being outdoors and relish Nature at its finest. His ideas regarding conserving ‘Cathedrals of Nature’ and importance of wilderness in modern life are not only inspiring but increasingly relevant and important today. For me, as a landscape and nature photographer, John Muir’s contribution is even more impacting as the National Parks, the State Parks, the Wildernesses, the Wildlife Refuges and many more conserved lands are the areas I find myself, often with a camera, trying to showcase the beauty that motivates me; the same splendor had inspired Muir, and numerous others before and after him.
For the past couple years, I have thought of myself primarily as a “telephoto” landscape photographer. A majority of scenes that catch my attention look best with a telephoto lens, and I tend to keep a 105mm or 70-200mm on my camera most of the time. However, a recent trip to Zion and Death Valley National Parks changed my mind.
I recently spent a very enjoyable morning photographing birds at Hendrie Valley Sanctuary at the Royal Botanical Gardens in the Hamilton Ontario area.
Better ice up a cold one. It’s hot out there. But the heat is the least remarkable characteristic of Costa Rica, paling into an afterthought behind its truly exquisite flora and fauna. A natural wonderland of incredible wildlife, its inhabitants thrive in mangroves, lakes and under a lush rainforest canopy shrouded in cloud and mist.
Even though my first camera was the digital Nikon D5100, I always have felt a sort of secondhand nostalgia for the days of film photography. The vast majority of history’s great photographs were taken on film; masters like Ansel Adams and Galen Rowell defined the medium of landscape photography in my mind, and both were entirely film photographers. Personally, by using a digital camera so early, I felt that I was missing a more hands-on appreciation for photography’s complex history. Perhaps this thought was not first on my mind while in the field, but it certainly surfaced from time to time.
At this time when many of us are excited by the new camera announcements, I thought it will be intriguing to do a write up describing my first time shooting 35 mm black and white film. Last summer, I found some time to swing by the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in White Mountains near Bishop, California. I knew that the timing of my trip will not coincide with the best lighting for photography, especially in color. So, I decided to photograph these ancient trees in B/W. Why B/W film? Well, I have always wanted to enjoy the aesthetics of it as well as I thought it will force me to think in terms of highlights, shadows and texture. All in all, a good learning experience.
A winter storm hit the Boston area sometime in February and when various weather channels called for a clear evening/night, I got thinking. I live close to Merrimack River and have tried photographing it several times before but so far not have not been satisfied with the resulting images. Sometime it is either an out of place tree limb that destroys visual harmony or distant apartments, houses or other man-made structures that compete for attention. I realized that if the storm started to clear 30-40 minutes prior to sunset, I might be in luck. A quick 4 pm peek outside the window signaled just that and I immediately rushed out with my camera bag. Since I already knew what I was after, and possibly needed to react quickly to changing light, I opted for a shoulder bag that contained a Nikon D610, along with 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G and 24-120mm f/4 VR lenses.