Just one image to share, taken Christmas week here in central Illinois where it has been extremely mild for late December and prior to the copious rains we’ve had the last few days. These fields and maybe even this road are likely under water as I post this. Looking forward to a fruitful 2016! Best wishes to everyone.
Earlier this week I went out in search of those dramatic, puffily clouded skies that I enjoy photographing. [Clear blue skies are nice, but oh so BORING!] This particular afternoon promised for something dramatic as the previous two days started fairly clear in the morning, but as the days heated up, the clouds would form and, in some cases, evolve into spotty rain showers.
As I headed out, it became “clear” to me that I was in for something more than puffy clouds. Looking south the sky was nearly solid black; although without the contrasting colors and shades I typically like to see, I felt this would be worth trying to capture. This whole shoot-the-rain is something new for me, but I know I have to get somewhat competent with shooting in inclement weather for our trip to Scotland (the Highlands!) this summer.
I soon realized I did not bring my tripod, so no time-exposures with which to attempt to capture some lightning strikes. But as the skies unloaded overhead, I found that it would be foolhardy at best and dangerous at worse to stand outside with camera and tripod taking time exposures with strikes occurring only a mile or so away and thunder roaring overhead. All quite dramatic and thrilling!
I also learned that one cannot realistically capture images in a pouring rain. At least not me. So, with this type of pop-up thunderstorm, one works the edges of the storm, shooting toward where the rain is falling, but not standing in the rain where there is virtually no visibility. So, check these out. They were shot just west of Champaign near Bondville – the elevators on the horizons of most of these images are, indeed, the Bondville elevators.
On this Memorial Day, 2014 in America, summer has arrived in full force with the usual hot and humid weather. The flowers like it, though, especially after a seemingly unending winter. All these images are from my back yard.
Over the last couple of days that I’ve been out in the Illinois countryside, I decided to make some panoramas by using Photomerge in Photoshop (Elements). Most of these are stitched from at least 5 images, some more. These are not true panoramas in that I simply hand-held the camera and rotated my point of view, rather than using a more sophisticated nodal point panoramic system. Maybe someday…but until then, these work pretty well!
I returned to some of the same territory I visited two days ago when I pondered whether color or black & white was preferred. Many of you “liked” the post, but did not comment. Please feel free to let me know what you think, like, or don’t like. I “like” a fresh perspective! Today’s post includes photos in color, no black and white…although one is pretty monochromatic, as you will see. I thought the weather was going to break, and it did in a way, with bright blue skies showing through openings in parting clouds. But, the weather did proceed to close in and I could see rain falling in the distance. As much as I wanted to stay out, I decided to head for home and try mowing (or should I say baling?) the 6 inches of grass in my yard before it got wet once again.
I went out this afternoon thinking the weather was breaking and I’d catch some sunlight on the emerging corn. Well, that didn’t exactly work out, but the clouds made for a dramatic backdrop. The sky also lent itself to a black & white treatment, so I’ll ask, which do you prefer, color or black & white?
It’s been cold here in central Illinois…like never getting above freezing during the day and down to single digits at night. Four to six inches of snow is expected tonight. Brrr….
To shake off some of this pre-Christmas winter blahs, I recall that I never posted some photos from last spring (I think some of these did appear on Facebook, but that’s a different audience). All of these images were created in the backyard of a woman here in town, reflecting several thousand bulbs of various kinds, but mostly tulips. The variety is astounding. I’ve taken photos here before but this was the first time I actually was able to leave the sidewalk and get deep into her yard. I’d love to do this at our home, but unlike her, I can’t afford a full-time gardener. So, I’ll take it a little slower (I did plant about 70 bulbs this past fall, can’t wait for spring).
I returned to the Emiquon early last Saturday, catching light on Thompson Lake before the sun actually broke through. And, on this fine morning, a full moon setting to the west. Still no major flocks of birds, other than the hundreds of coots that were present two weeks ago. Hunting season has started, but I imagine those fellows holed up in their blinds must have been bored as hell. Maybe it just has to get a bit colder up north to send our winged friends on their journey en-masse. Some colder weather/frost would likely help with the fall colors as well.
Returned to the area north of town that I visited last night with the hope to capture another sunset and more importantly, the official “full” moon. Unfortunately, as the sun was setting, the western horizon clouded over and basically washed out the sun and color. I did catch a few shots before it succumbed to the clouds, though. So, I turned my camera around and waited for the moon to rise over a low haze to the east. Almost missed it to some un-combined corn (8 feet tall!) but it came up on schedule (thank god!).
Took a ride north of town this evening. The light was filtering through the clearing clouds and casting a beautiful golden light, made even more so when lighting the yellow-gold corn stubble left from recent combining. I knew the moon would be rising as well – tomorrow night is the official full moon, but tonight it was so nearly full that I think it passes on the “fullness” scale. So, look west to the setting sun and east for the rising moon. The first full moon after the last full moon (the Harvest Moon) is called the Hunter’s Moon. Tomorrow night promises to be clear and maybe I’ll go back out…
Most of my captions are self-explanatory, except the one entitled “A Tree for Harry.” I saw this tree and thought our of artist-friend Harry Breen and a recent photo safari we took together. He was interested in photographing fence rows and gnarled trees that he can work into future paintings. This one is certainly one he’ll like and maybe I’ll see it again in oil on canvas!