September round-up

I haven’t posted for a loooong while… partly because the summer was hot (or maybe I’m just a giant wuss) and I haven’t been out a lot… and partly because, as usual, I’m doing far too much.

Anyhow, here is a round-up of some photos I’ve taken over the last few weekends, just so folks know I’m still shooting! ;)

Nasketucket Bay State Reservation:

Painted ladiesPraying mantisGrass

Praying mantis

At work:

Praying mantis

AC Moore parking lot

Painted lady

Allen’s Pond Wildlife Sanctuary

MonarchMonarchsMonarchsMonarchMonarchMonarchsMonarch

Painted lady caterpillarBlack saddlebags dragonflyKingfisher

Asters

Scusset Beach

SanderlingsSanderlings

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Butterflies are free

It’s been a while since I posted anything new here – I’ve been working my tail off on my new Etsy shop, http://www.etsy.com/shop/SpringAzurePhotos – but I just had to post some of the butterflies I spotted today at Nasketucket Bay State Reservation.

I hadn’t even gotten out of the car when Ulysse spotted a Red-spotted Purple in the parking lot. I’ve only ever seen them in Dartmouth; I’m hoping they get a foothold at Nasketucket.

Red-spotted Purple ButterflyRed-spotted Purple Butterfly

Viceroys are becoming a common sight at Nasketucket, which must mean they’re getting to be well-established there. There is a lot of birch for them to feed on.

ViceroyViceroy

This is the best picture I’ve gotten to date of a Viceroy. I think they must have all just hatched; their colors were beautiful.
Viceroy

And then there were these guys. I looked them up and believe they are Mourning Cloak butterfly caterpillars.

Mourning Cloak caterpillars

I took one home to raise and see what it becomes. I had to go fetch him some willow leaves at the park, and then set him up in a tank with them. I managed to drop him in the tank, where he just lay in a puddle, and I thought he was a-gonner, but then I managed to get him onto a spoon and really look at him, I realized the poor guy was just trying to molt his skin when I half-drowned him. He seems much better now.

After all that walking, I had to go to A.C. Moore, and damned if I didn’t spot a black swallowtail feeding on some clover right next to the parking lot! By then my feet were killing me, but I had to at least try to get a few shots of him since he was right there. (A strong breeze did not help matters.)

Black swallowtail

Almost beach weather…

It was a bit windy to be on the beach today, and of course the sun didn’t come out until we were driving home (rrrrr!), but it was still nice to be ON A BEACH.

I started and ended my day taking silly photos of my newest Blythe doll:

Blythe dollBlythe doll

I then took some black-and-white photos of the dunes using a circular polarizing filter:

Sand dunesSand dunesSand dunes

Know what a Saluki is? It’s a beautiful, slender dog with a long, thin, super delicate face and long, silky fur. This is “Daisy”:

Saluki

There were more shells, and more of a variety of shells, on the beach than usual:

Shell and featherClam shellShellsShellCrab legCrab legShells

There were also tons of sandpipers about, but the light wasn’t great and those little buggers are FAST!

SandpiperSandpiper

Adventures in black and white

B&W  Color Magazine has another single image contest coming up, this one for black and white photography, and I am seriously considering entering at least one photo in it, even though it’s $30 for one image and then $15 for each additional image, which is kinda steep to someone like me who doesn’t like to gamble with her money. However, from the issues I have browsed through (my mom got me a subscription for my birthday), I’m not seeing anything so extraordinary as to be out of my reach. I mean, wildlife photography contests get discouraging because I don’t live in the Canadian Rockies, and my little frog photos or little praying mantis photos, no matter how good, can’t compete with, say, a hapless salmon leaping into a bear’s gaping mouth.

Anyhow, I’m finding I really like black and white photography. I feel like it’s gotten me out of a rut. Because I don’t take a lot of wildlife photos this time of year, I don’t take a lot of photos this time of year. I’m indoors a lot, doing other things and dreaming of spring. But now I can grab my camera and go someplace specifically for black and white photos. Today I went looking for decrepit old factories, but wound up having the most success down at the waterfront (which should not surprise me, since it’s one of a handful of places I always find interesting things to photograph, no matter the time of year or time of day, for that matter).

You have to train your eye to take black and white photos, because a photo that really pops in color may be super dull in black and white if there is no difference in tones. A lot of the textures I love down at the waterfront don’t translate well to black and white – but a lot of them do.

I also think black and white photography is like the original abstract photography, because it’s definitely not what your eye sees. Black and white photography can transform what is to the eye an extraordinarily ordinary scene into something mysterious and dramatic. It’s what gave film stars of the ’30s and ’40s their otherworldly glamor. Even Lucille Ball and Angela Lansbury photographed like a flawless Bernini sculpture.

Here are some rocks on the beach with great shadows on them from a bit of netting:

Beach

Here is a photo of a storm taken from the top of the parking garage by my work (with thanks to a co operative sea gull for the added interest):

storm clouds

Some buildings downtown:

wall abstractfire escape

An abandoned factory building:

Windowbuilding

And, finally, fishing boats:

Fishing boatsFishing boats

I really like these two for a contest:

Fishing boatsFishing boats

Plate photos and stock images

About a hundred years ago, iStock accepted me as a contributor, which was a huge honor because iStock is the BEST. (I know, because I am a graphic artist and often go to their site for images.) But the letdown was, they accepted very, very few of my images.

Today I thought I’d give it another shot, and set out to photograph some of my jewelry-making stuff to submit to them. That went OK, but… I soon got distracted with photographing the plates I’d set my jewelry on.

Now, this is what generally happens when I’m making pictures, especially still lifes – as I get more and more absorbed in what I’m photographing, I start to see my subject(s) in a different way. I started out photographing plates, but eventually I was photographing the patterns on them.

I haven’t submitted these to iStock yet, but I feel hopeful that some may be accepted because they have a lot of negative space, so they would be appropriate for ads, and because they are different than just photographs of china.

Here are a few of the images I made today, that I’m super pleased with:

Nippon plate

Nippon plate

Nippon plate

On the Beach – in February!

We took a walk on West Island yesterday, and it was just what the doctor ordered – warm sun, clear, calm water, some little sandpipers feeding amongst the rocks and Brandt geese galore – heaven!

WaterIceRockConchGeese

All of these were taken looking through the water:

Sea weedSea weedSea weed

And this one is my favorite for the deep purples and reds (also for sale on my Etsy shop):

Shell