Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sometimes You Get Lucky - The lucky shots of 2014

Butterfly on Flower

Another photographer friend who does the 365 day challenge with me brought up the concept of doing a few blogs on the best of her photographs. This is not a competition because she is a better photographer. But I welcomed the opportunity to look back at the 365 and see if I could pull out 5 or 6. Would you believe 32?

That is a bit many for one blog so I decided to separate them. These are the lucky shots which stood out during the year. They are not a culmination of my skill but of familiarity where I live and my equipment and plain dumb luck.

I am not a tripod sort of photographer. Not enough patience. But I have learned a lot of yoga like bracing moves, I have a new 55-300mm lens which I love, and together with my 23 megapixel camera I am able to get some nice macros at a distance. On the particular day I captured this butterfly on a flower I was about 15 feet away and leaning against a support of a deck so I could take pictures of flowers in a bit of a breeze. I was totally surprised when I got home to find the details were clear enough to see the center of the butterfly's eye. It is rather like the fish that didn't get away this summer.

Hummer taking a break

This was another of those surprise captures. A bit of a chilly morning on a busy feeder day and this tiny, smaller than the average, hummingbird was all fluffed up taking its time getting in line at one of the feeders outside my studio. I grabbed the camera and braced myself against the door jam and took just a couple shots before he got annoyed.

Two Red Tail Hawks on a power pole

And this lucky capture was at the Maxwell National Wildlife refuge. And the two hawks (mother and offspring?) did not stay on this post for long. I had a tripod in the car I was in, but I ended up bracing the camera across the hood. I think hawks look ever so much better on tree limbs but a photographer never looks a gift shot like this in the f-stop. I can go back and look up the specs on this shot. Nikon keeps them all on the image file but when a friend first asked I said, "whatever the camera was set on when I saw the birds."

Darkeyed Junco on Hollyhock stalk

I was in the studio painting this December when I noticed the Juncos and mountain sparrows were going crazy over the suet cakes hanging where the hummingbird feeders had been this summer. They were all on the other side of double pane windows that had been through several storms without being washed. Who am I kidding? I think I last cleaned outside and inside in June. What the heck, the camera was there and with digital you do not pay for film. I was shocked at the clarity of the photographs I took. Sometimes with digital cameras you reach a sweet spot on the focus where even a dirty lens does not register. I have one long lens with a horrid scratch right off the center and it very rarely registers on an image.

Hollyhock in a morning shower

This was the summer of flowers. Taking flower pictures is my sister's forte and not mine but I decided to practice this year. I will be doing another blog of the flowers of this year. But this one was really special because it was gently raining as the sun broke through the trees one morning. I was standing under the deck trying to keep the camera dry. My long lens captured this distant hollyhock against the dark forest. Because of the light and the focal depth I ended up with a black background and dawn illuminated raindrops. Oh, and again braced against the deck pillars to make the low light exposure work.

These are all favorites of mine from the 365 posted photographs this year. Not necessarily the best technical shots but the luckiest in my opinion.  My favorite photograph this year, however, is the one below. I have photographed the buffalo on the Vermejo Park Ranch which runs along the highway a lot. First you are lucky when they are in the field.

The Crown Prince

But lucky part of this photograph was how close the herd was to the fence given that there were several young calves. The cows were so very intent on the great long grass they forgot about us. The calf was very interested indeed, however. It made for a fantastic composition, and without that buffalo are just big furry beeves. Which, I am reminded, can go through from standing still to 40 mph in a very short distance.

1 comment:

I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.