“Reflecting Angles”

On a recent foray out into the wilds of Ann Arbor 😉 , I went in search of architecture, and architectural details to photograph.

There are so many great opportunities for all types of architecture there! Historic, modern, art deco, and just about anything you can imagine. All within a few miles of each other including on the Central Campus of the University of Michigan.

I love to get angles of many types of subjects, and of course of those is buildings. This image comes from an area of the C.S. Mott children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

It was a very busy time of day, on a weekday. Which probably isn’t the best time for shooting, so I spent my time focusing up rather than down. I liked this angle not only because of the lines and shape of the structure itself, but for another reason. What started out as a cold, but sunny winter day, suddenly transitioned to a cloudy and snowy one! What you see in the upper left hand side of this image, is an area of clouds, which was the leading edge of the transition from sunshine and blue skies back to clouds and snow.

The beautiful blue of the sky was reflected in the windows of the structure, which I really liked. I continued to do many different shots as the sky changed, but this one is my favorite because of the timing. I also converted this to a monochrome image which will be on my site. The monochrome also has a nice punch to it! Very deep and dark!

Stay tuned for more architecture!! 🙂

Architectural Details
Architectural Details

“North Winds Blew”

Not that long ago, on one of those wet and snowy kind of days. I ventured out to get in a few shots of the snow. The wind had been coming in straight from the North, and what started out as a cold rain from the previous night, turned into a very heavy snow.

You can clearly see how the snow has collected on, and stuck to one area of the tree trunk, and left a bit of an empty spot with grass showing directly behind it.

I first processed this image in color, but as you can see, there really isn’t much color to be had. So I then decided to do a black and white version. I thought I’d post both of them up here for you to see.

To me what I love so much about these two simple images is the fact that you can see exactly where the storm came from, or at least where it landed, and also the winter wonderland of snow covered branches in the background!!

I keep thinking, and hoping, that I’ll be posting fresh and new spring images of nature, and landscapes, but so far spring, although it has come by the calender, it hasn’t quite made its way to my area yet!

As I gaze out the window while writing this. I have snowflakes swirling around outside, and dark heavy clouds looming in the distance. We shall see what that will bring!!

Winter in color.
Winter in color.
Winter in B&W.
Winter in B&W.

“Solarization: A How To”

After doing several images recently, that were monochromatic in nature. I was asked by quite a few people just how I made the images. I thought I’d give a short explanation of what I did with this image.

This will give you a idea and an example of what you could achieve using this particular method in monochrome. This can be used in color also, but I was going for something very different in an abstract, and chose to go with monochrome.

In this first image of the lovely succulent, what I assume is a type of Aloe Vera. I initially imported in into Lightroom, made no adjustments at all, but sent it directly into Nik Color Efex Pro. There I gave it a standard tonal contrast, and boosted the highlights and saturation a bit. I then used the Solarization setting. I scrolled down to the first setting in monochrome in the row, (after already having experimented previously with other settings). I slid the slider for saturation from 50 back to 20, and then experimented with the time lapse slider setting until I was satisfied at 39. Doing this gave me what I wanted in general. I knew all it needed was just a bit more fine tuning.

I then sent it back into Lightroom and straight into Nik Silver Efex Pro on the standard setting. I then took the brightness and toned it down to -8, I changed the contrast by sliding the slider down to -4, and then boosted the structure just a bit up to +8. At that point I knew it was ready for some toning. I chose to go with number 4 Selenium. I like the Selenium a lot for certain images. It has a nice metallic shininess to it!

Finally after sending it back into Lightroom for the last time, I boosted the clarity up by +22, and the vibrance by +1, I also took the exposure down to -0.05. My image was then ready to export!

So, in the first image “Thorns of White”, you’ll see a pretty Aloe Vera plant of green, with red tips, and white spines or thorns growing all over it, almost like little teeth!

In the final version in which I had used solarization, the image is called “Thorns of Black”. As you can see it took on an almost metallic and shiny feel to it, with a smoother look in general. Also the thorns, or spines became black, which gives it a nice contrast!

I hope you enjoy these images. I certainly had a lot of fun working with them!!

Succulent- color version
Succulent- color version
Succulent using solarization and monochrome toning.
Succulent using solarization and monochrome toning.

“Octopus” mono

Well, when you look at this image you’ll probably guess that this is not an actual octopus. I decided to have a little fun and do a some experimenting in processing an Aloe Vera image.

Ideally I should show you the original and then this processed one, but I’m saving that for another time.

I was at our local conservatory a couple of weeks ago, and spent most of my time in the arid, desert climate section. One of the plants I took several shots of was an Aloe Vera.

I first took the image from Lightroom into Nik Color Efex Pro, where I added some toning and brilliance. Then I applied the solarization setting in a monochrome, and pushed the timelapse slider way past 50%. I’m not quite sure of the exact number right now.

I then sent it back into Lightroom bumped up the clarity a bit, and sent it into Nik Silver Efex Pro, where I did some fine tuning and added a selenium tone to it.

I really like the way it turned out. I know its not for everyone, but for something a bit different, and a pretty big take on an abstract in nature, I think it works well, and it does resemble an octopus!! 🙂

I hope you enjoy the image!!

Abstract Photography
Abstract Photography

“Winter at Parker Mill”

This image is of historic Parker Mill during the wintertime. The Mill was originally built in 1873, and at that time was used to grind flour and corn for the Parker family and their neighbors. In 1887 a second building was added to press apples into cider.

It is one of the historic treasures of Washtenaw County located in Ann Arbor Michigan. The grist mill is still in operable condition and also still has the original milling machinery that was left in it when the Parker family stopped operation in 1958.

On weekends in the fall you can tour the mill, and talk to the really knowledgeable and helpful guides as you watch the grain being ground. If you ask, they will also give you a small bag of ground corn to put out for the wild birds in your yard!

There’s something so special about old buildings like these. One of the first things to me is the heavy scent of old wood. There’s nothing quite like it!! Another thing is just imagining how the people who built, owned and used the mill were. What they did,and how their lives were!

To me I find it so wonderful that places like this are still preserved for future generations to see, learn about and enjoy. Especially a place like Parker Mill, which is still in working condition!!

As you can see, it’s quite a beautiful place with it’s huge and colorful stones as the foundation, and a light mustard yellow colored wood on top.

It is beautiful in any season, but I like it especially well in winter, when nothing obscures the view! Enjoy! 🙂

-Winter at Parker Mill-

“Sunset’s Path”

I grabbed this shot a few weeks ago when we had quite a bit of snow. It’s a seemingly strange angle for a sunset, but I wanted to get the rocks and all the snow on the lake in the frame with the warm glow that was cast all around from the sun. I used my Canon 10-22mm lens for this image.

The timing for the beauty of this sunset was so fleeting! I grabbed as many shots as I could from every angle. I really like this one as something a bit different. You can see deep footprints in the snow that went all along the edge of the lake, and the sun at a very low angle, just ready to dip down below the trees.

For those of you who didn’t get much snow this year, or for those that just can’t get enough winter. Well here’s some winter for you, with an added touch of golden warmth!!

Enjoy! 🙂

Warmth of winter sunset!
Warmth of winter sunset!

“Bearing Winter’s Weight”

You know, whenever it snows I have two thoughts in my mind. One is hmmmm I need to go out somewhere and capture some of that beauty on camera. The other is lets go have some fun in the snow, like skiing or sledding.

Well the snow you see in this image was one of those from a storm that brings in really wet snows. The kind that starts out as sleet and rain, gets really windy, then dumps a bunch of snow that clings to everything!!

It’s really beautiful to look at, gorgeous to capture, but not good for much else, especially when it brings down power lines, trees, and also melts rather quickly.

The weight of the snow on these trees and bushes was quite a load. Everything was drooping. As I sloshed through the extremely wet snow and water, big blobs of melting snow would come off of a tree and plop on the ground all around me. I knew I had to work quickly to get in some shots, and to prevent my camera from becoming covered in wet snow!!

This path seemed very inviting as I walked along. It turned out to be quite a bit more messy than I anticipated, but at least I captured the beauty and magic of it all before it melted into oblivion!!

So for now…… enjoy this little bit of Winter Wonderland, and keep thinking thoughts of spring, because it’s heading our way soon, and these little tastes of winter will only be distant memories!!

-Bearing Winter's Weight-

“Good Night Farm”

This image came about as the result of trying to be somewhere else at sunset. Earlier in the day the sky here was totally clouded over, but as the afternoon wore on there began to be a few breaks in the clouds. Some bits of sun peaking through. A good sunset began to look possible!!
Well, as soon as I saw that, I decided to make a plan to head out a couple of hours before sunset to reach a beautiful lake area and try to get some good shots in.
As things often go, that didn’t quite work out. The time was getting late. I was out driving around, but no where near where I had planned.
I decided to head over to the closest place I could think of, and actually get there in time.
This spot here just jumped out at me, as the time for any good light was quickly fading. I love the white fenced area, the field, and buildings you see that look like a farm. These are actually part of a school, with a church behind them.
The clouds were beautiful, but sun was poorly lacking. It did give some pretty hues to the sky though! So in the end, I did catch the sunset, just not quite the place that I had planned on, but that’s just where I was meant to be, and that’s okay with me!! 🙂

Sunset over Domino's Farms
Sunset over Domino’s Farms

“Once Upon a Hill”

A lovely poem about trees by Joyce Kilmer. The poem is titled:

“Trees”

“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.”

— Joyce Kilmer,

To me this is said so beautifully by Joyce Kilmer, and what better to show the beauty of a tree, than a wonderful old Oak tree. One that has lived and seen so many years. Felt the wonder of all four the seasons, the dread of drought, the warmth of the spring sun, the beauty of her fall foliage, and the loss of most of her leaves in winter.
Yet, in the twinkling of an eye. Winter soon starts to fade, the image you see here, beautiful in it’s own right. Will soon be replaced by the tender growth of a new spring season. A season that gives hope and rebirth to all living things!
This tree of many years, lives yet to see another, and hopefully decades, and maybe even hundreds of years more!!

"Once Upon a Hill"
The story a tree can tell.
“Once Upon a Hill”
The story a tree can tell.