Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

Fauna.

A tiny, brightly colored juvenile Eastern Newt, commonly referred to as a Red Eft, crawls along the forest floor. It's bright orange skin stands in stark contrast to the surounding litter of leaves, twigs, and bits of tree bark. All seemingly insumountable obstacle for this delicate little amphibian.

You won’t find a much more delicate creature roaming the forest floor than the juvenile Eastern Newt, commonly known as the red eft. This little guy (gal?) was only about 2 in. (5cm) and very hard to miss, with such bright orange skin, as I was strolling along the trail. The adults are much less showy in color, and can reach a length of 5 in. (12.7 cm) and can live between 12 – 15 years in the wild.

Flora.

A single pink rose pagonia, a wild orchid found in peat bogs, itsdelicate pink petals covered in morning dew

Photographed on the same day as the Red Eft above, this Rose Pogonia (Pogonia ophioglossoides), a wild orchid found typically in fens and bogs. Also known as the snake mouthed orchid, this beautiful specimen was beautifully crowned with dew when I photographed it.

The clock is ticking…

Don’t forget to cast your vote for your favorite Jeff Sinon Photography image from 2012! Details and rules HERE.

Sunday’s Hidden Treasure.

Awaiting The Launch.

Not long after sunrise, large groups of photographers gather for the morning launch of the hot air balloons at the 2010 Pittsfield, NH Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Mist covers the glass smooth water reflecting the clouds that are colored in shades of pink and purple from the rising sun. A small island image left, about a third of the way up frm the bottom has a flag pole with the U.S. flag on it. Among the shoreline trees on the point of land behind the island stands several photographers eagerly awaiting the launch of the hot air balloons at the 2010 Pittsfield, NH hot air balloon festival.

 

Canon EOS 1D Mk IIN

Canon EF 50mm f1.4

iso 100, 6 seconds @ f11

Waist Deep in Water Lilies.

Wading In A Sea Of Pink, White, And Green.

This post is also serving double duty as my entry this week in the Weekly Photo Challenge. This weeks theme is “Inside.” The image below shows the outside of a soon to bloom fragrant water-lily. The image following that one shows the “Inside.” See, pretty sneaky huh?.

The Outside.

To Get Close…

To get close to one of my favorite floral photo subjects almost always requires getting wet. It might be only ankle-deep, but to get to that “perfect” flower, I’ve been known to go over my waist in the wet stuff. “Why not use a canoe or a kayak?” you might ask. One word, waves. In a kayak, no matter how still you think you’re sitting the boat will move creating camera movement along with ripples on the water, ripples that in turn cause subject movement. Add the two together and it gets pretty tough to get a sharp photograph.

…You Need To Get Wet.

So in the water, tripod in hand, I go. Once I’m set up and the image composed in the viewfinder, I simply stand still, it takes but a few seconds for the water to settle down enough to get your shot. The lily pads also help as a natural buffer to the water’s movement.

If you’re a little leery of the muck and any creepy crawlies lurking in the water you can wear waders, but I prefer to wade wet. Usually a pair of shorts and my Vibram Five Fingers is all my water-lily shooting wardrobe consists of.

The Inside.

Special Note: While looking through the viewfinder at the bright yellow stamen, you can actually see them unfolding as the flower opens. Pretty cool. 

Surprisingly, one of the hardest things I have to deal with when photographing these beauties isn’t getting to them at all. What makes getting good images of them is the light. These flowers are particularly sun-loving and don’t open up until the sun is well above the horizon and the light is starting to get harsh. A nice overcast day is your friend, but when the sun hits the flower just right they almost seem to glow from within. Wind is another enemy of making a good photograph, as it acts on the flower itself, as well as on the water, which in turn acts on the flower. If there is more than the occasional slight breeze, I go home to return another time.

One last piece of advice for anyone who wants to get wet for their water lilies. Make sure you empty your pockets of any and all valuables that don’t play well with water. Your wallet and cell phone will thank you.

Lastly, be careful, you never know who might be watching your every move.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

The Challenge That Wasn’t.

Since it seems there is no “official” weekly challenge forthcoming from the powers that be at WP, Ailsa over at Where’s My Backpack? decided to throw down the gauntlet and present us with one.   http://wheresmybackpack.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/reflections/

Reflections.

Here are a few of mine.

Pink Fragrant Water Lily.

Boathouse, Chocorua Lake.

Masts In The Mist

Memorial Remembered.

(The Memorial Bridge, connecting Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, ME has recently been torn down and is slated for replacement).

Weekly Photo Challenge: Journey

I got nothin’

At least I thought I didn’t. I was really drawing a blank for this week’s challenge. In fact I had pretty much given up and was looking forward to Friday for the next challenge so I could redeem myself.

Thanks to Paula, from Lost In Translation, who gave me a “motivational push,” I was able to find something hiding in my archives that I could squeeze in for this week.

The Journey,

Every one begins with a single step, as they say. My journey through the Saco Heath began with a nice stroll through the misty woods before coming to this boardwalk that winds through the bog itself. Before you ask, the walkway is more sturdy than it seems, but I did have to watch my step. Since I had timed my visit to coincide with the rhodora bloom, I was willing to brave a few rotten boards. I couldn’t have asked for better conditions either. The mist and fog were perfect for photography in a bog.

Saco heath bog, Saco, ME.

Thanks for the push Paula, this one’s for you!

Doing The Happy Dance

Time to gloat.

Sorry, I can’t help it. For those of my blog followers not following me on Facebook as well, (we’ll get to the why on THAT in the future :-)), I just had to share this. I have just received what I consider a glowing critique of one of my favorite photographs from one of my favorite photographers. Recently, Jerry Monkman, who writes regularly for Outdoor Photographer magazine, and others, and has many books to his credit, featured this photo, “First Light On The Auto Road,” for the image critique for the Week 5 Composition – Perspective, Depth, and Scale assignment. To have someone at his level in the “photography game” take notice and have, what I consider at least, nothing but good things to say about one of my photographs…

Well, I gotta go, cause it’s time for more Happy Dance! :-D

Thank Jerry!

Pink and blue sunrise over the Mt. Washington auto road

FYI, following one of Jerry’s suggestions in his critique I brightened the road just a touch with the adjustment brush in Lightroom 3.