A Different Perspective on Trees

Living here in the desert Southwest, one of the things that I miss most are the green trees and forests of my native Mississippi.  A few weeks ago when I went home for a visit, it rained almost every day we were there, but I didn’t mind a bit.  It just made all the foliage that much fresher and the greens more vibrant.

Tall Tree with Vine 1Tall Tree with Vine 2

As I took a stroll down the lakeside road with my camera, I drank in the beauty of the tall trees that shaded the road and the lakeside homes.  I laughed at the squirrels that played in the branches, and whistled back at the birds that were building nests in the treetops.

I wanted to try and capture the beauty of the bark and the leaves, but I didn’t want the typical wide-angle view of a tree. When I came upon this specimen with a vine embedded in its trunk, I knew immediately how I wanted to frame it. The vine just naturally leads the eye from the bottom of the tree to the top, and so I positioned the camera near the bottom of the tree and pointed it upwards, focusing on the vine about six feet up and letting the bokeh do what it does best.

A slight repositioning of the camera to the right and left allowed the late afternoon sun to highlight different textures in the bark and the vine. Not the way I normally photograph trees, but in this case I captured exactly what I saw and loved.

A true Zen moment.

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Sign of Spring

Just a quick post tonight, then some exciting news (at least it’s exciting for me!):

Last Saturday I stopped by the Thunderbird Conservation Park’s viewing blinds on 59th Avenue to see what kind of wildlife might be around the water this time of year.  There were lots of ducks and geese, but they were all on the other end of the lake from the viewing blinds, so I didn’t get a lot of great shots.  However, there were plenty of bees buzzing around where I was sitting, so I decided to make lemonade out of lemons.  Using the 55-200mm zoom lens gave some great depth of field to this shot:

Sign of Spring

I used the Frame presets in Paintshop Pro to give it that little extra interest around the edges.  It’s a simple shot, but it has a Zen quality to it that I rather like.

And now for the news…

Last night I ordered a new camera body and two new lenses.  On Wednesday I should be receiving:

Did I go overboard?  Most definitely.  But over the past year my love for the art of digital photography has only gotten stronger, and I want to give myself every possible opportunity to produce the best images that I can reasonably afford to produce.

My biggest challenge this week will be forcing myself to go to my day job when I know there are thousands of photo-ops just waiting out there.  With any new equipment there comes a learning curve, and the sooner I can get comfortable with the new camera and lenses, the happier I’ll be.

We’re planning a trip to Vancouver, B.C. in July for our 20th anniversary, and I want to be somewhat proficient with this gear by the time we go.  I can’t wait to get started!!

If you like my work, please subscribe to this blog and feel free to offer comments. You can also find me on Facebook at ZannWalker Photography.

Bees on the Brittlebush

Tonight I went back through some photos that I took a few weeks ago but never processed.  When we visited the Estrella Star Tower, the wildflowers were just starting to bloom, and as usual, the brittlebush was one of the first species to show its spring colors.  I took some close-ups of some of the blooms and then noticed that there were lots of bees buzzing around them:

Now, normally I don’t particularly like bees, but it was pretty obvious that these guys were much more interested in the flowers than they were in me, even though I was within just a few inches of them with the camera lens.  You can see from the photo above that their pollen sacs were full, so they were pretty preoccupied with what they were doing.

I just used my normal 18-55mm zoom lens for these shots without any filters, and at the 55mm focal length I was able to get some pretty decent bokeh effects.  The flowers weren’t the prettiest ones on the bush, but I was after the bees anyway.

So, enough of the bees.  I have a couple of projects in mind for this weekend.  First of all, a small carnival has set up in the parking lot over at Glendale Community College, which is within walking distance of here.  My plan is to go there tomorrow night to see if I can get some experience shooting night shots with motion–you know, the typical turning ferris wheel shot.  Then, on Saturday morning, we’ll leave for an overnight visit to Arcosanti, where I hope to get a ton of great shots of the area, including some of the red rocks around Sedona.  Should be a busy, productive weekend!