Friday, April 14, 2023

Photo Play #8: What Caught My Eye?

I'm still about a month behind on posting on my photography lessons and practice.  This post covers the practice shots from the first couple of weeks in March. By then, we were starting to see some signs of spring, though it was still really cold most days, especially at the start of the month.  I just bundled up and went for my photo walks. Depending on where I walked there might or might not be something new to photograph, so that learning to see a photograph in the ordinary was still a big challenge.  

All the photos in this post were taken with a Canon 70D equipped with a Tamron 18-400 telephoto lens.  The photos have not been edited other than to reduce the file size for posting.  

The floral, fauna, and wildlife along the local walking trails continue to be my main subjects.  

I've tried many times to capture the stark white branches of a white birch in a photograph, but the results have mostly fallen flat.  But this one works for me.  I'm not 100% sure why.  I like how the white shows through, but doesn't dominate the scene.  The black branches make a nice contrast and break up the view.  The red leaf buds add more texture. It is a busy photograph, but in some ways it's almost abstract.  Definitely not a shot I would have taken in the past.  

I went back and forth over adding this one to my favorites file.  I've taken a number of these type of photos, shooting along the trunk up to the tree branches.  What kept drawing me back to this one is the texture on the bark and the pale color against the background of the blue sky.  

This is one of my favorite shots from March.  Cardinals are my favorite birds, I just love the brilliant red color of this guy. It's possible that my love of cardinals has something to do with where I grew up, the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team was well loved by my maternal grandfather.  This one gave me several opportunities to get a good shot. Wildlife is the hardest to shoot because they move so fast.  This guy didn't exactly pose for me, but he didn't flit around too much either.  This photo gives a good sense of just how brown things were at that point in the year.  

A road trip to Tulsa to get the routine maintenance done on the car opened up an opportunity to visit a new hiking location.  I spent a rather cool, but clear afternoon at the Oxley Nature Center located near the Tulsa Zoo.  

The golden yellow of these Western Soapberry tree berries against the blue sky has a lot of contrast and texture.  Blue and yellow is one of my favorite color combinations, so that is probably why this one made the cut.  I'm not thrilled with the out of focus berries in the bottom left, but I couldn't really find a shot that would zoom in on just one bunch.  The 400mm range on the telephoto lens is nice, but sometimes it's just not quite enough.  Still I like this photo. 

This hike was another chance to practice photographing wildlife, not one of my strongest skills.  However, My Guy excels at this, he's well known in the local birding community for his photographs.  So I'm always thrilled to get a shot that looks anything like what he might have taken.  This is a female red winged blackbird.  She may not be brilliantly colored, but I love the complex patterns of her white, gray, brown feathers.  One thing I've learned is how to get my camera set up to capture these opportunities, you don't have time when they just show up on a branch next to you. 

This last shot isn't from one of my hikes, it's one of those times where something visually interesting presented itself and I tried photographing it. 

My Guy made cheesy bagels the weekend before.  What caught my eye was the lacy piece in the center, which is just barely visible in this photo.  Out of the photos I took, this is my favorite.  I like the colors and textures in this shot.  This is another one of those shots that looks like ad copy or a photo from a cookbook.  And yes, this bagel went very well with the roast beef and cheddar cheese.  That may be another reason why I like the photo.  

My learnings from these photos:

1. Assess the conditions before you start your walk and set your camera accordingly. My tendency is to just start walking and not realize the camera isn't set correctly for the conditions.  So one of those good photography habits that hasn't taken hold just yet. 
2. Taking the time to learn your camera settings does pay off.
3. Take the time to go get the camera.  I'm a task oriented person most of the time, so even if I see something cool to photograph, I'm not likely to stop my task to go get the camera. This is another area My Guy excels at, he'll temporarily stop what he's doing if he sees something he thinks will make a cool photograph.


Sara said...

I think you're doing really well. The shot of the tree looking up is especially interesting, along with the cardinal. Our neighbor next door is a professional photographer and also a birder. Before retiring he did the photography for businesses, like advertising. But now he really focuses on wildlife photos, and I really enjoy seeing how he photographs the same critters and birds that pass through my yard and his.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

I like the photo looking up the tree trunk! We have had fun doing that when hiking in the redwood groves in California - and those trees go up and up and up. I love how how those beautiful cardinals stand out in the bare branches of winter, too!

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

What great photos - I think they all have an element that just makes them appeal to you - can't tell you exactly what it is - but I agree with your favorites. The two bird ones are wonderful - sometimes birds just don't sit still long enough!

Marti said...

Great photos! Your skills are continually improving. I love the tree trunk best of all these pictures. I like the contrast of smooth and rough bark on the same tree. You said you didn't like the out of focus soapberries, but that is why I like that picture.

Barbara said...

Beautiful cardinal photo. I like the soapberries too. I was able to get some shots today. Finally, we’re getting some wildflowers.

Melisa- pinkernpunkinquilting said...

Great photos, Kate. I love looking up into the branches of the trees especially when there are few leaves. I would have never guessed the last photo was a bagel unless you told me. Lol. Have a great weekend.

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Kate, your photos are amazing. When I don't see anything interesting, I tell myself to look like an artist would - the details, the textures or colours. Since I don't have anything but my phone, and only know how to zoom in or out, it means that I tend to crop my pictures a lot. But that's all I do, except to reduce the size once it's cropped. It's amazing how just that helps... but remembering to take my phone out when I go for a walk, even to pick up the mail would be a good habit to take. I can leave it in my pocket if I don't see anything, but at least I would have it :-) Thanks for sharing your learning.

Jennifer said...

Great pictures - really like the birds and the bagel!