“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,ย  and I would like to thank Jim Goldstein for graciously hosting theย 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 outย 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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. ย ~ย Edward Abbey ~ ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

“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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

“Autumnal Warmth in Abstract”

“Rustling Color”

-Rustling Color-

“Lively Rustling”

-Lively Rustling-

Every autumn when colors glow anew I always try to take as many images of the gorgeous foliage as possible. In addition to regular landscape or nature photography, I enjoy making motion blur abstracts.

Both of these images are from the same vibrant tree. Leaves ranging in color from gold to orange, green to brown,and red to yellow!!

I love the feeling of dancing, rustling, and swirling that these images evoke.

It may be just a few days away from official winter, and we may already feel as if we’re in the deep freeze in many places, So I offer to you some autumnal warmth for your eyes and soul!!

Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

“Free Form”

Going back to last spring, we had an abundance of beautiful flowers and blossoms. Thanks in part to plenty of snow in winter, and lots of rainfall in early spring. I have just finished processing all of my floral images from that time period! Finally! ๐Ÿ˜‰

These two images are a Magnolia abstract. I first processed the color version, then decided it would do well as monochrome too.

I like them both equally. What do you think? Are the deep hues of pink and burgundy better with this subject, or does it take on a different quality in monochrome?

Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

-Free Form-  mono

-Free Form-

“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!! ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you enjoy the image!!

Abstract Photography
Abstract Photography

“Strand”

An abstract image I shot during late autumn. Minimalism, simplicity, and abstract beauty in one! I loved the robins egg blue background with the straight sunlit strand!

Abstract-minimalism
Abstract-minimalism

“Abstract Photography”

As many of you all know. I’ve spent quite a bit of time doing abstract images this fall. I have really enjoyed doing them, and plan to continue with them as well as doing my usual landscape, nature, and other types of photography.
I think from what I can see. Abstracts are something that you either love or hate. Feel a connection to or just want to dismiss.
For me, each image can be seen and thought of in so many ways. They can tell many stories. I could tell you exactly what the images are of, where they were taken, what the weather was, etc., but that takes all the imagination out of it.
I prefer to leave my abstracts for each individual to put their own ideas or thoughts into it. Imagine whatever they want it to be.
I’ll leave you with some of my latest abstracts. See how you like them, or not. It’s all up to you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Relax your mind, let it flow……
A free flowing black and white image……
A bright and vibrant abstract…..