This afternoon my friend Patrick & I headed out into the snow with cameras and dogs to see what we could find. Of course we carried waaay more gear than we needed, but it gave us some options from scenic (we’re in Juneau after all) to action (the dogs) to macro (complete with off-camera flash).
I tend to enjoy the macro option because I love to notice the details that constantly surround us. It’s amazing how you can go for a walk and miss all of the infinitesimal miracles all around.
Anyhow, here are my 3 keepers of the day that I recall taking. (We had swapped camera bodies several times, so I couldn’t tell you who took many of the other images).
I don’t consider these fine-art, and subsequently they’re just for show and tell, but I hope you’re taking the time to notice your world around you.
For the past couple of years, I have taken on the task of creating a photo calendar featuring some of my work from the past year. It’s a fun project for me to look back and find 12 of my favorite images, and of course my mom loves it because she can now brag about the artist, but still get’s her annual calendar from her son! 🙂
In reflection of my 2011 images, I didn’t think I had a strong enough collection in one particular vein to have strictly a Macro, Wildlife, Scenic, or other theme. But with Heather’s help, we were able to get it done. You can call this particular grouping, “photos that made the cut”! Ha!
For printing this year, I decided to go with one of our partners, Kodak Gallery. In the past I had used iPhoto, chosen for their fairly simple process to get a large, quality calendar. So many places offer calendars but at some minuscule size (like 8.5×11) which, to me, communicates mass-market cheapness. I’m a big fan of quality over price.
After receiving the calendars last week, I can say that I like the product. The size is more than adequate –14.25″x10.9″– (larger than the iPhoto calendar –13″x10.4″– that I’ve had previously), and the print quality gets a 7/10 ranking because while the quality of the print & paper was mostly amazing (9-10/10), the downside was that their printer obviously had some issues as there were color bands across many of the images (5/10). I haven’t decided if I’m going to chase down their quality control offices and demand a refund (reprinting is too late in the game for Christmas Gifting.) They may be expensive to make, but it’s fun to share, and most people can actually use it throughout the year!
If you don’t get one from me by new years and you REALLY, REALLY have to have one, let me know. I’m happy to order more, but you’ll cover the costs. 🙂
Here are the images (in order of how they appear in the calendar). Click for a larger view.
Last weekend while Heather was sleeping, I headed out to enjoy a morning hike along Montana Creek. I took entirely too much photography gear, but that’s what I do. 🙂
On the way back, during the brief periods that it wasn’t raining, I captured a few images of the flora (and fauna!) along the path. With macro, it’s always darker outside than I expect. Even “wide open”, I had to crank up the ISO so that I could capture these handheld.
It’s the summertime again, and so subsequently I’ve been out in the mornings and whenever I can taking more photos of the nearby wildlife. It amazes me to think that I can sit on a rock just 10 feet away from massive American Bald Eagles and they’re as ‘common’ as the crows down the beach. Living here certainly has it’s perks. 🙂
I love macro shots because they help me to capture such great detail of something that we commonly overlook. It’s so easy to see a forest floor and recognize that it’s green in color, and might be soft to step on, but how often do you lean in close to see the individual ‘blades’ of the moss and how they catch light during a sunset?
For me? This was a first.
All too often we get busy with life. We move too quickly through the crowd, we don’t stop to smell the roses. Oftentimes, we don’t realize that we are in the midst of beauty because we don’t expect to see it. Take for instance this image… I’ve grown up in Juneau, experienced around two decades of wintertimes, and never noticed this growth before. It’s a fascinating frozen bud with white wisps of fuzz. I’m not even sure what plant it’s from, but I’m glad I stopped to notice.
[Update: I found out that this is a Willow Rose. For more information, see this posting on the University of Alaska Fairbanks website.]
It’s actually a lichen, but if I ever needed to disguise myself as an old gentleman, it seems this might do the trick. This is again with my macro lens. It’s great to be able to capture the detail of such a thing that I never thought to observe at these ranges before. I’m sure I look strange standing in the parking lot, intensely focused on a piece of moss or lichen just a few inches away from my lens. I’m glad I’m just now looking.
Over this last Christmas I invested in a Nikkor 200mm Micro lens. The term “micro” really means “macro”, but I guess they wanted to be special. I don’t know why because the lens is special enough without any fancy naming. I’ve been enjoying capturing images that I never thought of before, and being drawn to notice details on walks that previously I couldn’t have cared less. At any rate, I’ve enjoyed it. I hope you do too.