Thursday, October 31, 2013

Up north . . .

I was on my way to northern Wisconsin and noticed that lots of tamarack trees looked really colorful.

For years I had hoped to make some decent images of tamaracks and since the trees were looking so good and the sun was out I decided this would be the day. 
The cool thing about tamarack trees is although they're coniferous, their needles change to a beautiful golden color in the fall and then drop to the ground.
This particular tree was in a bog just off the road near Prentice Wisconsin. By using a circular polarizing filter I was able to capture the actual colors of the tree and sky.
I headed towards Clam Lake and found more great looking trees just off highway 77.
So I parked on the side of the road and spent the next hour trying to capture some of the beautiful colors,
and different perspectives and compositions.
Tamaracks like to grow in wet conditions so I was walking around in a bog of some type with lots of moss on the ground.
There was a small lake nearby and I was lucky to catch this image of the tree's reflection as light filtered through the forest.
I made several close ups of the beautiful golden needles against the blue sky.
The weather had been mostly overcast and rainy for the last couple of weeks, and I'm glad I made the time to photograph these distinctive trees while I had some sunlight and blue sky. It was a great fall afternoon in northern Wisconsin.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

With a little light...

It has been overcast and rainy here for awhile and there doesn't seem to be a lot of good color this fall. Even the trees that do look good seem to lose their leaves faster than I can find some light and make decent images.

So I felt lucky to have good oaks and maples in beautiful light for about half an hour the other day.
I'm finding it's all about the angles and light when it comes to  leaf photos. By moving the camera just a few inches I'd lose the vibrant color on these sugar maple leaves.

And back lighting can work great for creating dramatic images, as with these leaves from a Japanese maple.
Finding a decent subject (in this case good looking oak leaves), working with the existing light, and paying attention to the background can produce beautiful images.
These maple leaves haven't started to change their color yet.

A few sumac leaves isolated with green trees behind.
I was pleasantly surprised by the number of colorful, and striking images I was able to make. With only a half dozen trees and a little bit of time I like the results. I guess it's catch as catch can with regard to fall color in my neighborhood this year, but even a little bit can go a long way.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A little fall color...

I was up in the Clam Lake area looking for elk about a week ago. I didn't find too many elk, but I did find a little fall color.

Like these oak leaves in good evening light against a blue sky. 
And these beautiful maple leaves.
Here's a little more.
Even a wood thrush showed up to hunt small insects amid the fall color. 

I went back and lucked out with a beautiful sunrise, 
and sunset. All in all I found quite a bit of fall on what seems to be not the best year for fall color in northern Wisconsin.



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Some days are better than others..

I drove an hour hoping that sunrise would be special.

I got to the lake and worked my way along the shore, finding a spot I liked before any light reached the clouds.

I couldn't stop smiling as I composed my images and watched the beautiful colors and clouds changing as the sun came up. 

Once the colors faded I hung around long enough to create some images of fog rising off the lake with beautiful clouds and sky above.

I ended with this tamarack tree (Larix laricina) silhouetted on the lake shore.  Another great morning in the outdoors.

Spa day....

On a cold and wet afternoon in Yellowstone Park, just days before the government shutdown, a sow grizzly walks in a golden meadow.


She crosses Obsidian Creek and heads over to a gravel bar where steam was rising from a geothermal area. 
And started rubbing her neck, shoulders, and belly on the ground.
Although there were dozens of people watching and photographing her from the park road, she seemed perfectly relaxed. 

Only taking a brief break to check her surroundings.
Before the back rub began.
After a couple of minutes rolling on the gravel in the steam she stretched out and layed there. 

Resting her head on the ground she started to doze off.  I watched for a little while longer and then left while she was still resting. What a great way to spend a wet afternoon in Yellowstone.