Fall larch colors and storm clouds/North Cascades

Started Oct 19, 2017 | Discussions thread
GeorgianBay1939 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,044
Re: Fall larch colors and storm clouds/North Cascades

Old Listener wrote:

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

I prefer photosites where the photog has taken the time to describe the contents and/or what "caught his/her eye". The context is often very instructive. I guess it is my background in teaching that biases me towards photography that I learn from and photographers who share their knowledge. Some finished products are often very engaging, but become more so when a context is shared.

You are, IMO, a master at that mutual symbiosis of art and science.

Thanks. For me, the subject matter is what interests me. If I perceive that a subject has beauty and interest, I'm trying to capture those elements in the photo. The flower or insect is supplying most of the art.

Bolding is mine. I think that all that we photogs contribute is to (re)present the art. Please see Making Pictures .

I read that blog post. I needed to stop every few sentences and think a bit. This thought produced one of those stops

"It is physically impossible for a camera to record what a human sees....""

In one sense I agree. However, my mind is quite selective about what it pays attention too. When I'm concentrating on seeing flowers or insects on them, I might overlook something much larger and more obvious to someone else.

and this thought made me stop and think

"When I use my camera I usually spend some time considering what it is about the scene that engages me?"

For me, the decision is usually very quick and not based on a reasoned set of questions and answers. We take many pictures at unplanned stops along back roads. We see something interesting or just decide the spot looks flowery. We get out of the car and walk around finding and photographing everything nearby. For each subject, we are making decisions as we approach the flower or insect.

It would be more truthful if I said:

"When I use my camera I usually TRY TO spend some time considering what it is about the scene that engages me?"

I am trying to develop a discipline to capture whatever it is that engages me.  Although I often just compose & shoot extemporaneously in a gut sort of way, I find that encouraging myself to determine what made me stop in the first place helps me to slow down and see.

Hopefully, that discipline will help me develop the techniques that you and Lesley use to such good effect.

A good example is the patch of windblown Milkweed seed pods that I saw along the roadside a couple of days ago.

I found that I was most interested in partially open pods showing both the delicate plumes and the orderly array of packed seeds.  I made about 20 images of about 15 plants --- which resulted in half a dozen good pictures.

This is one of the better ones, I think, as it conveys the delicacy and orderliness that engaged me in the first place.

The photo reminds me of what   felt/thought (about the magic of nature) when I  saw it from my car window.   I don't know what the photo does for anyone else.   I guess that may depend on his or her life experience.

This one was a fluke, as I had never seen those little snails on milkweed pods before.

I wanted to show that there were lots of snails on that plant, hence reducing the EFL to 200 mm , closing down the aperture to f/11 (f/22 DOF Equivalent) and propping hand-held at 1/30 sec.

For me, it is all closer to muscle memory than to a slower, reasoned out process.


"Instead I try to present an image which represents the excitement, the delicate lighting, the spectacular colours, the moods, the grandeur of what engaged me in the first place. I don’t create the scene I just (re)present it."

I'm just trying to perceive what's present and capture that in photos. I think that in Gary's posts in this thread, there is a sense of joy in being out in nature. I certainly feel that joy when I'm out on our trips. I get that sense from your blog posts as well.

Great!   I get the same feeling from your photography also.

Painters commented on the light in the west in the 1800s. I think our light adds to the beauty of nature in our photos.

It's hard to beat our autumnal late afternoon light illuminating a patch of cattails in a typical northern Ontario swamp:

The picture pleases me and I don't think that I'd get anything like that in California.

That is about 46ºN Latitude.  So this time of year we are starting to get a lot of back/side lighting.  Nice light to illuminate fluffy cattail seed heads and interesting clouds.

I am finding that many libraries are still using analogue VGA projectors --- which results in crap on the screen. A 50" flat screen HDTV works fine.

Before Lesley went off to deliver a talk on creeks issues, I worried about her having the right cable. When she got there the tech guy plugged a USB device into her laptop. It looked to the laptop like a display and sent the video data to the projector wirelessly.


I was spoiled by great fishing up in the "real" Northern Ontario. More fishers than fish where I live now.

Wow. It is very quiet up here now. Some dragonflies, Whitefaced Meadowhawks on their last egg-laying.

For about a 7 year (2000-2007) period I used drive my ancient AMC Eagles back and forth across the Continent. A couple of trips a year with my two doggies.

Breakfast in Oregon Fog.

A very atmospheric picture.

I really enjoyed the American SW and usually travelled off of the Interstates. I recall a comment attributed to J. Steinbeck in the "Travels with Charley" exhibit in the beautiful Steinbeck Center in Salinas .

Here is the quote :

I sought out U.S. 90 [actually, I-90], a wide gash of a super-highway, multiple-lane carrier of the nation's goods. Rocinante bucketed along. The minimum speed on this road was greater than any I had previously driven. I drove into a wind quartering in from my starboard bow and felt the buffeting, sometimes staggering blows of the gale I helped to make . . . . Instructions screamed at me from the road: "Do not stop! No stopping. Maintain speed." Trucks as long as freighters went roaring by, delivering a wind like the blow of a fist. These great roads are wonderful for moving goods but not for inspection of a countryside. You are bound to the wheel and your eyes to the car ahead and to the rear-view mirror for the car behind and the side mirror for the car or truck about to pass, and at the same time you must read all the signs for fear you may miss some instructions or orders. No roadside stands selling squash juice, no antique stores, no farm products or factory outlets. When we get these thruways across the whole country, as we will and must, it will be possible to drive from New York to California without seeing a single thing. [Emphasis added.]

I suspect that there is a lesson for photographers in the above.

We drove across the country and back in 2008 and again in 2011. About 11,000 miles on each time I think. On interstates when necessary and on more interesting roads when we could.

If, perchance, you expect to be around Georgian Bay, ON , please let me know. I could point out a few nice places for you.

Thanks for that offer. We might get up your way before too long.

Good.  I would enjoy that.

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The best part of growing old is having the opportunity to do so.


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