The March hare has scrambled back into his hole while the robin ventures farther north and Russian thistle drinks what groundwater is left here in California. Time to review the month's pictures and enjoy the changing season, where green is the color of the day. Don and I were both able to 'adventure' into the known and unknown, looking for scenes that matched the Challenge themes: SILHOUETTE, SUNSET, SHADOWS, SPRINGTIME, SHAPES AND SIMPLE. An alliterated amalgam of choices for the brave of heart and sentient of soul.
Hey, it's spring again and time to relish the greens, the flowers and the warmth of a special sunset. Or sunrise. Dave starts out with a SPRINGTIME theme - a sunrise capture of grasses in the foreground and a nice set of clouds overhead. Hoping for more color in the sky, I was disappointed since the morning before was a blazing red here in the valley. You never know what's going to happen at sunrise or sunset - that's half the fun of shooting them. I purposely placed the sun behind the tree trunk to eliminate any glare or blown highlights. Shooting manually, I chose a couple of exposures - one for the sky and one for the foreground - then married them in Photoshop Elements to bring out the rich green of the grass and trees starting to leaf out. There's also a bit of a silhouette here, but not a 100% black subject. Nikon D90; 12-24mm lens @ 12mm; 200 ISO; f8; 1/160.
We're going to mix these pictures up this month for a little variety. Don is going to liven things up with this nicely balanced sunrise photo of three blooming daisies for another SPRINGTIME submission. It also fits the SHAPES category. Nikon D300; ISO 400; 1/2500 sec.; f10; 95mm.
Dave's annual jaunt to Knight's Ferry wouldn't be complete without a few covered bridge pictures. This one is inside right after sunrise and features the plank board shadows framing a band of sunlight, fitting the SHADOWS theme. Note how shadows rob the color of the wood and cool the overall feel of the photo. D90; 12mm; f8; 1/4 sec.; ISO 200.
Here is Don's interpretation of SHADOWS - a Morro Strand selfie of him and Janet. Pretty cool composition and color. D300; f8; 1/250; ISO 200; 18mm.
Dave's SILHOUETTE is purposely underexposed so the oak tree loses it's brightness, color and detail. When shooting a silhouette, try to render it as dark as possible while retaining the background color and brightness. I really don't like this shot, except for the shape of the tree. The contrail is really distracting, the sky isn't blue enough and there's no interesting detail in the foreground to see. D90; f8; 1/320; ISO 200; 18mm.
Don's SILHOUETTE on the other hand is beautifully composed and exposed. He definitely gets the top prize for this shot! I hope to see it on his wall the next time I visit. That's Morro Rock to the left. Wow, Don! You must have grabbed some incredible shots that night. D300; f11; 1/500; ISO 200; 31mm.
Adding to the SPRINGTIME and SHAPES themes, Dave was intrigued by this solo light colored bush lupine surrounded by the darker blue species. It may be what they call chick lupine, but I'm not sure. Taken on the old Stanislaus River bed, just west of the covered bridge at Knight's Ferry. I was struck by it's light magenta color and shading. D7000; f11; 1/500; ISO 400; 220mm.
Don's next picture reminds us that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is on parade everywhere, especially on vintage fences that have a modicum of moisture during the year. He didn't specify a category on this one, so we'll use SHAPES as a good guess. D300; f11; 1/50; ISO 100; 18mm.
These Yanks have been routed from their attempt to capture an artillery cache at the Civil War re-enactment at Knight's Ferry on the 21st. They're retreating into the SHADOWS of the covered bridge. This young soldier is looking back at the battlefield, wondering what happened. D7000; f7.1; 1/640; ISO 800; 210mm.
Ah! The proverbial doorknob in all of its worn and wizened glory. Don has captured its SIMPLE SHAPE perfectly and framed it with a reddened weathered door. It's always good to tell a story if you can or offer a mystery to be solved. Did someone remove the screws and try to pry the plate off, too? Or did they fall out from old age? And who and how many times did they enter here and when? God only knows. D300; f13; 1/160; ISO 100; 48mm.
Dave's final photo is another SPRINGTIME/SHAPES rendering. Ithuriel's spear is a striking floral setting. I saw these about 25' from the large Confederate cannon at Knight's Ferry. I wish I could have been there earlier, before the sun was directly overhead. There was a dark clump of shrub in the background which I positioned for the best contrast. This shot is a little overexposed, with the highlight on some of the petals somewhat too bright, but I'm not complaining. It was a fun find and a fun shoot. D7000; f7.1; 1/500; ISO 400; 195mm.
Don's almost final picture portrays the warmth of another SUNSET, a fitting way to say 'thanks for looking' and 'until we meet again.' D300; f7.1; 1/200; 90mm.
Don's final final picture is another SILHOUETTE/SUNSET entry. This oak portrays a wonderful character of age and grace in a world full of chaos and confusion. Let it remind us of the strength and faithfulness of a God who hears our prayers, forgives our sins, and puts a song of praise on our lips. "O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens!" Psalm 8:1. D300; f16; 1/1000; ISO 500; 42mm.
The monthly Challenge for April will be an easy-peasy, care-free FREE FOR ALL. Just go out there and have fun shooting your favorite subjects. If you want to give your pictures themes, that will work, too.
- FREE FOR ALL (whatever you want)