“Best of 2017”

This year has gone by really quickly. So much so that I didn’t think I would actually have time to get together my usual end of the year post. These ten images are my personal favorites for the year, or my “Best of 2017”.

This is the 6th year that I have done a “Best of” at the end of the year,  and I would like to thank Jim Goldstein for graciously hosting the Best Photos Project each year. You can check out mine and many many other photographers end of the year posts on his blog!

If you would like to see my “Best of” for 2016, you can find that here.

Also if you’d like to go back to 2015, you can check that out here.

“Silo Sunset’
One of my favorite sunsets of this year!

After a very stormy spring day in SE. Michigan I was happily surprised by an amazing array of clouds as they moved quickly by during a sunset on a local farm!

 

“Peace of Autumn’s Song”
Beautiful reflections on an early autumn day!

You’ll see this lake featured twice here in this post. This image was on a cloudy and extremely still, fall day. The trees, especially the birches gave beautiful reflections in the water!

 

“Leaves in Gold and Bronze”
Fallen leaves in shades of gold.

After all of the leaves had fallen and nothing was left except the crunch of brown and gold underfoot I decided to make just a few images of these beauties!

 

“Effervescent Glow”
Lovely sparkling dewdrops on the grass in the early morning!

I had a lot of fun during a couple of fresh and dewy mornings this year photographing the sunlight as it danced off of the dewdrops in the grass. As a lot of you know, I love nature abstracts!

 

“In Love with Life”
Lovely tulips at the 2017 Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan.

I was extremely happy to have had the opportunity to go to The Tulip Festival in Holland, MI. this past spring!

 

“The Stones”
Beautiful and very colorful stones from Lake Superior!

Every time I’m in Marquette, Michigan I always enjoy the beautiful assortment of rocks and stones in the area. These colorful stones on Presque Isle are some of my favorites!

 

“Presque Isle Sunset Glow 2”
A wonderful sunset from Presque Isle Park in Marquette, Michigan.

While at Presque Isle Park I almost always make time to stay for the sunset. It almost never dissapoints!

 

“Munising Falls Gold”
A golden start to autumn at Munising Falls in Munising, Michigan!

Munising Falls is beautiful no matter what time of year, but fall is always my favorite!

 

“When in Love”
This was an especially beautiful day along Lake Plumbago in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!

Lake Plumbago is one of those places I pass by quite often while in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I would have to say that for me it has almost always been foggy and or raining when I pass by. That of course has its own beauty, and I have plenty of photos from that type of weather, but this time there was a striking difference, and actually quite welcomed!

 

“Windermere Hotel Mackinac Island”
One of my favorite places to stay on Mackinac Island!

I have always loved the look of yellow houses with white picket fences, so naturally the first time I set eyes upon the Windermere Hotel on Mackinac Island, it became a must for me to stay there! It is filled with Victorian charm and has such a lovely presence on the Island.

It just happened that this year while on the Island I was graced with bright blue skies which made a wonderful contrast to the beautiful yellow color of the Windermere!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed a tiny glimpse into the year of 2017 with me. I wish all of you a very Happy and prosperous New Year, both in your lives and in your photographic adventures! 🙂

 

I’d like to end this post with one of my favorite quotes.

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.  ~ Edward Abbey ~ 🙂

 

 

 

“Autumn in Abstract”

This past year was a big one for me as far as abstract images go. The combination of stunning colors and dazzling light gave me many opportunities for motion blur abstracts. I have done a favorite abstract images post in previous years, so I thought I’d put together some of my favorite autumn abstracts this time. You can take a look at them here. I have a short description below instead of writing a full post. I also put a couple of beautiful autumn quotes at the end of the post!  Enjoy “Autumn in Abstract” !

 

"Pure Joy" A beautiful and colorful flow of autumn color in abstract!
“Pure Joy”
A beautiful and colorful flow of autumn color in abstract!

 

 

"Holiday Dancing" These colors can give the feel of the holiday season or autumn.
“Holiday Dancing”
These colors can give the feel of the holiday season or autumn.

 

 

"Movin to the Groovin" A gold and green magical light filled abstract!
“Movin to the Groovin”
A gold and green magical light filled abstract!

 

 

"Sweet Potato Mash" One of my favorites in fall of 2015. You'll also so see this in my 2015 Year in Review.
“Sweet Potato Mash”
One of my favorites in fall of 2015. You’ll also so see this in my 2015 Year in Review.

 

 

Here’s a beautiful quote that gives you the feeling and excitement of how autumn feels to me!

“October’s Party”

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came,—
The Ashes, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The sunshine spread a carpet,
And every thing was grand;
Miss Weather led the dancing;
Professor Wind, the band….
The sight was like a rainbow
New-fallen from the sky….

~ George Cooper ~

I am struck by the simplicity of light in the atmosphere in the autumn, as if the earth absorbed none, and out of this profusion of dazzling light came the autumnal tints.
by ~ Henry David Thoreau ~
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“2015 My Year in Review”

Here we are at the end of 2015, and what a year it’s been! As I’ve done for the past four years in a row, I am posting my favorite images of this past year. Not necessarily the best, but my personal faves. It was hard to narrow it down to only ten, but I finally did after a lot of going back and forth. These are not in any particular order and are of several different subjects. I hope you enjoy them! If you would like to look at my 2014 year in review you can check that out here. Best of 2014

Jim Goldstein in his Blog Project has hosted the year in review or top 10 images on his blog for a number of years, and I always look forward to it!  There are photographers from all around the world with amazing images! I hope you’ll check out his blog and take a look at the wonderful array of photographers and gather inspiration from their images! His post should be up in the early part of January 2016!

"Kayaking at Miners Falls" Gorgeous blue waters of Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore in summer!
“Kayaking at Miners Falls”
Gorgeous blue waters of Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore in summer!

 

"Great Lakes Autumn Waves" A beautiful and windy day on Lake Superior near Munising in autumn!
“Great Lakes Autumn Waves”
A beautiful and windy day on Lake Superior near Munising in autumn!

 

"One Very Fine Day" This was a fabulous day in Marquette Michigan on Presque Isle Park!
“One Very Fine Day”
This was a fabulous day in Marquette Michigan on Presque Isle Park!

 

"Life is But a Dream" This was one special sunset on Lake Michigan! The waters were like glass, and the whole world seemed alive with the colors of sunset. There were several people kayaking and canoeing on the smooth water! Dreamy!
“Life is But a Dream”
This was one special sunset on Lake Michigan! The waters were like glass, and the whole world seemed alive with the colors of sunset. There were several people kayaking and canoeing on the smooth water! Dreamy!

 

 

"My Sweet Lady" This year was a great year for peonies! I particularly loved this huge specimen!!
“My Sweet Lady”
This year was a great year for peonies! I particularly loved this huge specimen!!

 

"Grape Hyacinth"2 One of many beautiful Grape Hyacinth this spring!
“Grape Hyacinth”2
One of many beautiful Grape Hyacinth this spring!

 

"Beautiful Cedar Falls" I had the opportunity to go to Hocking Hills in Hocking County Ohio this summer. The many waterfalls in the location and the amazing rock formations were wonderful! The summer was a dry one, so the water flow wasn't as strong as I would have liked, but it was beautiful to me anyway!
“Beautiful Cedar Falls”
I had the opportunity to go to Hocking Hills in Hocking County Ohio this summer. The many waterfalls in the location and the amazing rock formations were wonderful! The summer was a dry one, so the water flow wasn’t as strong as I would have liked, but it was beautiful to me anyway!

 

"Afternoon in Shades of Gray" This scene in late fall with a beautiful snow just begged for black and white processing!
“Afternoon in Shades of Gray”
This scene in late fall with a beautiful snow just begged for black and white processing!

 

"Sweet Potato Mash" I had a year with a lot of motion blur abstracts, and this is one of my favorites!
“Sweet Potato Mash”
I had a year with a lot of motion blur abstracts, and this is one of my favorites!

 

"Song of Light" A bokeh delight in the fresh summer grass! One of my favorite bokeh- nature abstracts this year!
“Song of Light”
A bokeh delight in the fresh summer grass! One of my favorite bokeh-licious abstracts this year!

 

As we end this year and head into 2016, I’d like to wish everyone and their families all the best in the New Year. I wish you all good health, good times, plenty of adventures and family to enjoy it with!

I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes:

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.  ~ Edward Abbey ~

“““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`

 

 

“Crystal Plumage”

The title of this post might seem a bit strange when you see this first photograph of some beautiful yet very simple leaves on a row of plants. In fact, I have no idea what these plants are.

I had originally gone out looking for some late summer flowers. Unfortunately it turned out to be a pretty windy day. The few flowers that I found weren’t very cooperative in the wind.

As I went around to the other side the garden I found rows of these leaves. They had a really nice flow to them. My first inclination, after making one simple photograph was to do a long exposure and have a nice motion blur effect. I made three photographs using different exposures.

My favorite out of the ones I made was the second image you’ll see here. It had just the right silky flow that I envisioned in my mind.

Please scroll down to see that image and also the image that gave me the idea for the title to this post.

These are beautiful leaves by themselves with a nice flow.

"Long Leaves"
“Long Leaves”

In this image I used a slightly longer exposure to blur the motion and give it a soft, silky, and flowing feel.

"Ride the Wind"
“Ride the Wind”

What I did in this next image is a different story altogether.

"Crystal Plumage"
“Crystal Plumage”

After I had processed the previous photograph in Lightroom, I decided to reprocess it again in Lightroom for a totally different effect.
I played around with solarization a bit, which I have done many times before with certain types of plants, especially succulents and cactus. However I almost always process these in monochrome.                                                              This time as I was trying out the different colors and effects, I found that I really liked the way the blur of leaves took on a look of bird plumage! Maybe some exotic bird from a far away location! The colors are of course totally unlike the original, but to me they looked like Crystal Plumage!

So if  you are a Lightroom user, but haven’t yet tried out the solarization panel,  I advise you to give it a try for something really fun and different!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos! 🙂

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“One is Not Like the Other”

It’s summer and it’s such a great time of year to get out in nature so I’ve been taking full advantage of the warm days and great things happening in the garden and other local green areas!

Here are a few photographs of my recent nature abstracts from the garden. I hope you enjoy them! 🙂

Ferns in a simple but beautiful pattern.

"Fern"
“Fern”

Green ground cover with a few of the rosettes having bloomed yellow.

"Yellow on Green"
“Yellow on Green”

Green ground cover in the shape of rosettes.

"Living Green"
“Living Green”

These purple flowers have just begun to burst forth.

"Never Ending Dream"
“Never Ending Dream”

Here’s the one image that is not like the other! These purple flowers are just starting to bloom. There are rows of them dreamily layered behind each other!

Have a wonderful week everyone! 🙂

“If This then That”

Maybe you’re wondering what I mean with the title “If This then That”. Well many times when I see an object, which in this case is the (This), my mind immediately goes to the idea of (then That). Which translates into making that object an abstract. As some of you might know, I really love free flowing form!

During the fall there were many times I’d see really colorful trees, but not the kind that would make a beautiful macro, or even a full tree photograph. These trees or leaves were not without a lot of flaws, they might have been diseased, or maybe it was really low light as it was almost dark.

Here below are two examples of  simple trees with fall color, and also two examples of the abstract motion blur images that I made out of those trees.

If you enjoy abstract photographs, then I think you’ll enjoy these!

 

Here are the fall leaves, I honestly have no clue what kind of tree this is.

"Fall Leaves"
“Fall Leaves”

 

Then this is “Pirouette”, a free form, flowing abstract.

"Pirouette"
“Pirouette”

 

These are yellow leaves of some sort, and red berries.

"Yellow Leaves and Berries"
“Yellow Leaves and Berries”

 

Then this is the golden yellow abstract I made called “Swirling Autumn”

"Swirling Autumn"
“Swirling Autumn”

If for some reason you’ve never tried any abstract photography, motion blur, tree panning, or anything with a longer shutter speed. I urge you to give it a try.
The subject certainly doesn’t have to be leaves or trees. You can literally take just about anything and make into something very free-form, light spirited, and fun!

Get out there and have a great time! 🙂

 

 

“Palm Fronds and Shadows”

Last spring, after the long winter we had experienced in the Midwest, I felt that I needed to see something that looked like spring, even though it surely didn’t look or feel like it outside!

I took a day to myself and went to the Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids Michigan. I walked leisurely around the entire inside of this wonderful sanctuary, away  from the winter doldrums, and finally ended up in The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory.

There were lovely tropical plants and flowers everywhere. I enjoyed everything, and of course photographed too many flowers and plants to count, but sometimes it’s the little things that really capture your attention.

In this case I was strolling past some very large palm fronds. The light from above was just barely shining through. I looked up and noticed the shadows of leaves of another plant as it hung above the palm leaves. What a lovely sight! I just had to make a few photographs of these fronds and shadows! If you know me, you’ll know that one of my other favorite things is finding nature abstracts. This to me fit the bill! 🙂

The image to me imparts a hint of mystery and also a feeling of peace. The combinations of green hues and  the darker but subtle shadows of the leaves, seemed just perfect!

Enjoy!

"Palm Frond"
“Palm Frond”

“Winter’s Weight”

"Winter's Weight" Snow laden tree branches form a perfect abstract in nature! Winter still hangs on here, but with the arrival of spring this week (LOL) I'm hoping to see some real melting going on! :)
“Winter’s Weight”
Snow laden tree branches form a perfect abstract in nature! Winter still hangs on here, but with the arrival of spring this week (LOL) I’m hoping to see some real melting going on! 🙂
"Winter's Bench" 2 Taken just a few hundred feet away from the tree branches sits a single lonely bench piled high with snow.  Both of these images were taken while it was still snowing. I kept a rain sleeve on my camera during most of my walk. After a while it became so impractical that i just said forget it, and dried all of my gear afterwards. I truly love the look of freshly fallen snow. The only problem is that we've had soooo much of it this year!  The Great Lakes will be happy though! :)
“Winter’s Bench” 2
Taken just a few hundred feet away from the tree branches sits a single lonely bench piled high with snow.
Both of these images were taken while it was still snowing. I kept a rain sleeve on my camera during most of my walk. After a while it became so impractical that i just said forget it, and dried all of my gear afterwards. I truly love the look of freshly fallen snow. The only problem is that we’ve had soooo much of it this year!
The Great Lakes will be happy though! 🙂

“Cosmic Marbles”

I have had the opportunity to do a little more experimenting with some oil and water abstract photography this past week, courtesy of the horrendously cold weather we’ve been having. LOL 😉

I have also been doing a lot of macro flower work, but that is another post entirely.

I went in search of better glass for my oil and water work, but didn’t find it. I’m still searching for the perfect glass with no imperfections! I tried more than one type of setup for this work, but in the end these two images came from the same type of setup, but turned out very differently.

I wish I had photos of how I worked on these but alas, I don’t. What I can tell you is that it is much better to have 2 coffee tables or two stools to be able to put your glass dish on, and better yet, a perfect glass topped coffee table! 🙂

In both of these images I took two 12 packs of Pepsi, stood them up straight, then I cut a long piece of wrapping paper with colorful print on it, and slid it between the boxes making sure to have lots extra in length.

Next, I took a glass dish and very carefully put the edges of the dish on the ends of the tops of the boxes. Making sure that is was straight, I then poured in a small amount of water, and added tiny drops of oil. I ended up moving the oil around a bit as the bubbles moved and changed positions.

I set up my tripod, a cropped sensor camera with a 100mm macro lens attached, and a remote shutter release plugged into the side.

I fixed a small bendable lamp posed on the floor for extra lighting. I tried doing it two ways. One with the wrapping paper on top of the light, the other with the light shining on the paper.

I got quite a few shots, some at f2.8, others at f3.2, and some higher. I also pulled the wrapping paper into different positions to utilize the many colors available.

Here are two of the examples. I personally like “Moon Drops and Peaches” better than “Cosmic Marbles”, but I thought I’d share both.

I plan to keep having fun and experimenting with these and other macro images, especially while waiting for spring to arrive. I encourage you to do it too. You don’t have to have the perfect setup.
Just work with what you have. Take your time and enjoy! 🙂

"Cosmic Marbles"
“Cosmic Marbles”
"Moon Drops and Peaches"
“Moon Drops and Peaches”

“Colors of Abstract”

Tonight’s post is going to be a quick one. I haven’t had much of a chance to get out and do anything outdoors recently with the weather we’ve been having this winter, plus I am still processing tons of last years images.

Several days ago after seeing some beautiful oil and water macro images done by Beverly Everson, I decided to do some messing around with it myself. Here is the link to Beverly’s initial image that inspired me, which is very beautiful!: http://www.eversonphotography.com/2014/02/oil-and-water/

I was lacking in some of the essential items, but I decided to do it anyway. I came out with this and a bevy of other abstracts. None of them were quite what I had hoped, but they have a beauty of their own.

I wanted to get this one up for those people who had requested it, and for those that are also messing around with oil and water too.

I’ll be doing more of these in the future, but first I need to find some very good glass baking dishes, not the ones I bake brownies in! 😉

 "Colors of Abstract" 1
“Colors of Abstract” 1