Around home, Frosty mornings
One of the many things that I like about my new job is while I may not have time to walk everyday, when I do have time, it is usually early in the morning. I love being out at dawn, always have, even when I was a kid.
If you were to go back and read posts from when I’ve been camping, you’d find out that most of the time, I’m up well before sunrise, and I’ve finished my coffee for the morning about the time the sun begins to appear over the horizon.
It’s definitely my favorite time of the day, the night and diurnal critters are on their way home to sleep, and the daytime critters are just waking up and becoming active.
Much the same happens around sunset, but in the opposite direction. Besides, sunsets fade to black, and that has a sense of finality to it, another day done.
Maybe that’s why I prefer spring over fall, despite the colorful fall foliage, it’s the promise of a new year and new life, while fall fades into winter.
Anyway, because of my schedule, I’ve been able to get outside for my walks as early as there has been enough light to shoot photos of subjects other than the sunrises themselves. Even though December was slightly warmer than average, that often meant that most of the world outside my door has been covered in frost.
That was shot on the same morning as the ice crystals on the British soldier lichen from the last post.
Water is an amazing substance, the only substance that expands as if freezes, and the number of shapes that it solidifies into as it freezes never ceases to astound me. It’s one of the reasons that I purchased a macro lens and tripod, but of course, I didn’t have the tripod along that morning. That would have been the smart thing to do, and you know where that leaves me. 😉
In my defense, the frost that I saw close to home wasn’t very impressive, it wasn’t until I got to the local park, where there was standing water around that I saw frost worth taking the trouble to photograph correctly. I considered coming home for the tripod, then driving to the park to shoot photos, but by then, the frost was beginning to melt anywhere that the sun hit it.
And, while there were a few frosty mornings, I learned that trying to photograph frost on cloudy days doesn’t produce great photos. At least for me, there has to be some sun to make the ice sparkle, or it isn’t worth shooting. So, most of the photos that I’m about to bore you with were all shot on one sunny morning as I ran around like a madman, looking for the best examples of frost before the sunshine melted it away.
The closer that an object was to standing water, even just a puddle left from rain, the larger the ice crystals had grown. As you can see here, the stalks of grass lying just above a puddle had the largest ice crystals.
I lay down on my belly, trying to get closer, but that only helped a little.
So, here are a few of the other frosty images that I have to share with you.
I did take a few seconds out to shoot this chickadee…
…that didn’t stick around very long at all.
Here’s a nothing photo that I’m kind of proud of. I saw the dead remnants of a Queen Anne’s lace flower, and took several photos, making adjustments all the time to get a good image. In my first attempts, I had the lens stopped down too far, and you could tell that there was a fence in the background. I kept opening up the aperture until I got all the flower head in focus, with everything else blurred. Then, I noticed that the center was too dark, so I dialed in the flash for this one.
I still didn’t get what I was trying for, but taking some time to review my photos, make adjustments, then shoot again made this much better than my first attempts. If only I did that all the time! Then, maybe alien life forms wouldn’t be coming for me. 😉
That one, and this one, were both shot as I looked for more of the lichens with ice crystals. I like this one because it does look like a British soldier, complete with arms and legs.
Since it was sunny, and all the frost had melted by then, I went looking for other things to shoot with the Tokina macro lens, as I was having fun with it.
Images with patterns are usually good candidates for B&W photography, but I didn’t like the B&W version of that stump, this one was better.
And, I couldn’t resist this thistle seed head.
I was almost back home when I found a block of ice in the trail, where it came from, I have no idea, and it wasn’t there as I was outbound. But, by laying on the ground and getting close, I was able to photograph the bubbles of air trapped in the ice.
By changing how far into the block of ice I focused on, I could get different patterns completely.
And, by shooting with the block of ice between the sun and myself, and focusing on the surface of the ice, I got this abstract.
I see that I haven’t included a shot of a squirrel yet, and several readers like my squirrel portraits, so here’s one for them.
Now then, I need something of a challenge for Allen.
Not that it matters, by I tried photographing that with several different lenses and techniques to get everything in focus, for that one I used my 15-85 mm lens and the on camera flash. Here’s the top of the same stuff.
I assume it’s some type of shelf fungi, but I’m probably wrong about that. I’m also probably wrong in thinking that this is a crane fly that I saw on the bottom of the stuff.
Okay, if I hard an extremely difficult time getting that photo. It doesn’t look like it, but it was a very dark day. If I used the flash, then, I didn’t get the colors in the insect’s wing. Without the flash, my shutter speeds were way too slow for a sharp image, that’s the best I could do, even opening up the lens until most of the insect was out of focus. But, with so little light, how did the colors appear on its wings, and why does it matter which direction that you shoot relative to the sun when there seems to be no sunlight? Those are questions that I can’t answer.
I shot this on a foggy, frosty morning.
But, it wasn’t quite what I wanted. I tried a HDR using Photomatix…
…but that’s not right either. I want something in between, but couldn’t get it, as I don’t have the patience to wait twenty minutes each time I try to create a HDR image.
That’s how long it takes my old computer to process each image in Photomatix that I attempt. Another thing is that I’m starting to have trouble with the text disappearing in WordPress as I work on my posts lately. Each time the text disappears, I have to reboot the computer, but at least when I reboot, what I had already typed is still there. I have several keys that I have to hit extra hard to make sure that they work, and along with the occasional blue screen of death, they all add up to I need a new computer. Oh, I forgot, the left button on the mouse stopped working over a year ago. Luckily, I have the touchpad to use. 😉
So, I think that it’s time to order that new iMac, I’ve been looking at. I’ll save you the details, but I think that I can swing it much sooner than I expected. I’ll know for sure soon, like later this weekend.
Anyway, I’d better throw in a couple of good bird photos…
…I said good bird photos!
That early morning light sure is special! I just wished that there had been more of it, rather than so many dreary days that made photos like this the norm for December.
Well, I’m off to the Apple store, wish me luck!
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!