It is a fact known to my family, friends and associates. But I haven’t in any formal or public way made the announcement: after 36 1/2 years of being a classroom teacher, I am retiring. I am down to my last three days with “my” students in “my” classroom.
When I was younger, I used to think that retirement meant being “put out to pasture.” Thus, I offer today’s photo. But having watched friends and colleagues who have retired, it seems that life sometimes gets busier after retirement.
So the question I get is: “What am I going to do now?” The answer: “More photography, of course.”
This is the fifth in a series of HDR Black Hills photos taken in April, 2013. This was actually the first place I stopped the first time I went out hunting. This is not the first time I’ve taken a photo with weathered grass dominating the foreground, a distant horizon and an intriguing sky. (Lonesome Lake) But when you’ve found something you like, why not wear it out? (I will say that in the year since I did the Lonesome Lake HDR photo, I’ve gotten better – or at least I’ve found a formula I like better. In fact, I can think of a lot of things I can do better now than when I was younger. Except sit-ups.)
(PS: If you look closely, you’ll see Mt. Rushmore in this photo.)
I suspect that there is nothing all that special about prairie grass, unless, of course, you live where there is no prairie. Or, like me, live where there is no living grass right now. And, as I know I’ve said, when I am feeling SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) kick in, I go looking for photos I took in better weather.
This clump of grass lived on the bluffs overlooking the Little Bend of the Missouri River on Lake Oahe. In late July, 2012, I took close to 50 photos of this grass one morning, mainly because the wind was gusty and the grass wouldn’t sit still. I imagine that taking photos of children might be like that. Though children offer considerably greater diversity, don’t they?
Nature provides the canvas, the subject and the paint. The photographer furnishes the frame. And the technological medium applied by the photographer sometimes enhances what nature provides and often diminishes it.
You’ll make your own judgements about this particular photo. All I can say is that this place is one of my favorite places on earth and my feelings affect what I see and do here. Every time.
I was cruising the backroads of Iowa with my good friend BZ looking for one of my favorite subjects – an Iowa cornfield. The cornfield wasn’t hard to find, of course. What is a little more challenging is finding other things that make the corn a little less run-of-the-mill
In the case of this photo, the sunrise helped and so did the built-in HDR processor my Canon 5DIII has. I shouldn’t point this out, but I think there is a compositional flaw in this photo in that I think it would be better if A) the sun lined up with the rows of corn or B) I had given a little more room to the right of the sun when I framed the shot. But, as they say, “It is what it is.” And, to paraphrase the Rolling Stones, “It’s only a corn field but I like it.”
So here’s and example of what I was talking about yesterday when I said the sunflower had amazing textures. The plant has a bit of a gothic appearance. And, no, this is not a cousin of the man-eating plant that stars in “The Little Shop of Horrors.”
Once again I ventured out before sunrise this morning. My wife and I were at the Spring Creek marina and when my wife told me to make less noise so she could sleep a little longer, I grabbed my camera bag and tripod and went driving.
I headed to the two trees that I photographed last summer thinking that I might get something a little different. And I did. What made this shot special, of course, is the rain shower that is happening miles off in the distance. And I should admit that one of the reasons I went back to the same two trees is that I wanted to try to get an HDR photo that does a better job of exposing the relatively dark foreground. And I got what I wanted. Because of that, there’s a lot of texture in this photo. Maybe too much?
Sometimes, when I’m out at Lake Oahe in central South Dakota, I don’t go sailing. On this particular morning, I woke up well before sunrise and at first light saw that there were some clouds off in the east that looked promising. So I packed up my camera gear and went driving. I ended up on the bluffs above the Little Bend area – an area I have been to many times before.
It may seem obvious but a sunrise photo isn’t about the sun – that looks pretty much the same every time. It’s about the clouds, the terrain and the atmosphere. And in all of these cases, I got what I was looking for.
This photo, incidentally, is an HDR photo, which means that it’s really two or three photos sandwiched together into one. I experimented with a process that gives this photo a bit of a surreal look. Compositionally, this photo does what a landscape photo should do: there is something in the foreground, the middle ground and in the back ground.
I wish you could have been with me when I took this photo. It was an amazing moment in an very special place.
Well, I liked the quality of light so much in the photo I posted yesterday that I went back to the same spot 6 mornings in a row to see if I could get something better. In particular, I wanted more shoreline water to show. And this is my next best effort. The casual observer may see little difference between this photo and yesterday’s post. And, in fact, there probably isn’t – except that I liked the clouds in the previous post better. But I like the dark, wet shoreline in this one.
One of the good things about my job is that when I give a photo assignment I often go out and do the assignment myself. Such was the case this past weekend. My particular mission was to shoot an HDR photo or two. I have spent about 10 hours on this task and, of the 300 photos I took, I’ve ended up with one HDR composite that I like. That’s not bad for a day’s work!
I have posted an HDR (High Dynamic Range) to this blog before but I thought I’d do it again. In simple terms, an HDR photo is really one or more photos of the exact same subject with varying exposures layered on top of each other and adjusted so the whole photo is well exposed – from the very bright to the very dark.
Incidentally, this photo has been selected as this year’s choice for my LATI Festival of Trees donation. It will be among many things that are donated and offered during the silent auction for the annual LATI scholarship fundraiser on November 18 at the Ramkota.
Finally, if you are still reading this, you may be seriously interested in HDR. If that’s true, go here to see a YouTube video I made on this subject.