October 1999

This was a good month to get some great shots.  The weather is cool in the mornings and evenings causing ground fog and other phenomena that modify the light for interesting pictures.

Mauve Stillness

This is the pier at Patriot Lake.  The atmosphere was strange on this morning; there must have been some particles in the air that caused this mauve color.  This is just before sunrise and the air was very still.  I am amazed how the lake takes on the same colors as the sky when it is still like this.  I love these monochrome images.   It is nice to have some foreground object like this pier to give the image a focal point even though the point of the picture is the color of the light.

Yellow Orange Sun

This image was taken about fifteen minutes later than the image above.  You can still see the mauve color in the pond and sky.  It is unusual to be able to look directly at the sun like this and not hurt your eyes.  There was just enough dust or fog in the air that the sun look liked it was colored with crayons in the sky.  On a really foggy morning, you would not have been able to see the sun, just like you can't see the sun behind a cloud.  The reflection of the sun in the water was positioned just right to show just the lower orange portion of the sun.  I like the framing of the diagonal line of the bank of the foreground and the way the lake forms a point with a red-hot tip.  I was very conscious of using the rule of thirds in composing this picture.  I must confess that I did use the rubber stamp tool to erase some headlights of work-bound automobiles in the distance on Walnut Grove Road.

Low Water Pier

We had a very dry season the summer of 1999.  The water level is down about a foot and a half at the end of the summer .  It was another still morning.  You can see the scum on the water at the lower left of the frame.  It takes rain to clean this kind of stuff up.  This was another disappointing morning since the sun never peeked out.  But I kind of like the monochrome effect of this image and also the faint outline of the trees on the far shore.

Lake Silhouette

I like the bronzed look of the water reflections.  This picture was taken from a vantage on a hill which affords the right angle to get this shot.

Front Line

This is another lake at Shelby Farms. I look at cloud formations and I wonder how the patterns came to be.  There was no real change in weather moving in.  Just before sunrise and just after sunset are when the colors in the sky are potentially the most beautiful.  I framed this picture to get the diagonal of the cloud pattern spanning across the frame.

Mississippi Sunset

I was coming home from Little Rock on a Friday afternoon and I was wanting to take a few pictures.  I did not think I could make it to the Mississippi River in time for the sunset so I was looking along the expressway for any opportunity.  Nothing great turned up so I decided to race the sunset to the river.  I crossed over the Old Bridge and made it to the park on the river just to the south of the bridge.  I worked quickly to get my gear out and ran with my extended tripod to this location.  I was just in time and it was worth it.  It is always nice to get some foreground objects in to a landscape scene to give it some sense of depth.  I noticed the trees on the left and how the branches seemed to circle and and lead into the sun.  I chose a vertical format to get the highlighted clouds in the frame too.  A minute later and the sun was gone behind some low clouds on the horizon.

Old Bridge

After taking the previous picture, I was able to turn around and get a shot of the old Memphis Arkansas bridge.  This was what I was primarily after but I knew the sunset was the first priority since it would be gone in a second.  This picture has been undoubtedly taken thousands of times before but I had been recently inspired by a friend of mine, Jim Going, who had printed some note cards of a black and white he had done of this same shot.  I cropped the picture to get the diagonal lines of the top frame of the bridge going as nearly from corner to corner as I could get.  I like the clouds and their reddish glow.  I was rushed but this was perfect timing for these two shots.

Saturated Sunrise

I probably take more sunrise shots than sunsets for two reasons. I can control the available time better in the early morning and two because there are more vantage points for a sunrise around the several lakes of Shelby Farms. This shot was bracketed and I chose the underexposed image because the colors were so saturated. It almost looks like the glow of  a nuclear blast. Come to think of it, that is exactly what it is! Every time I take a picture of this pier I find myself wishing I could get a little higher view point so that I could get the top rail of the pier to contrast against the lighter lake. As it is, the top rail is always disappears into the silhouetted land in the background. One of these days, I may set my tripod up on top of my truck. Of course, I'll have to be very still since the truck is on springs. This year of studying sunrises and sets, I have just realized how much the point at which the sun rises or sets on the horizon really changes a lot with the seasons, giving opportunities for different backgrounds for a sunrise or set from the same spot.

The large version of this picture does not look like it should when viewed in a browser window. There should be a smooth gradation of color change from the center yellow orange of the sun at the horizon radiating outward to the edges of the frame.  I have determined that there are more colors necessary to make this graduation look smooth than what is available in the master color palate that the browser uses. I don't know this for certain but if you download this same image into an image viewer such as PhotoShop, the gradation appears much smoother. The browser shows distinct arcs of rather wide color bands.

Daisies on Black

I learned a neat trick with this shot.  I was carrying a reflector that I had just received but I had not found a use for it on this outing yet, until I was setting up to take this macro shot and realized how distracting the background was.  I was pointed pretty much down on this flower group and the ground was too close to render as an out of focus blur using a wide aperture.  I realized that on one of the four available sides, the reflector was black (white, silver, gold, black.)  So I laid the it down black side up behind the flowers to get this high contrast shot.  It is the same principle a jeweler uses when he displays his diamonds on a black velvet cloth.  This winter I can use my black fleece sweater to do the same thing.

I love how the petals are interwoven with each other and how the flowers form a V shape (pointing up to the right).  I had to crop out a corner that did not get covered by the black cloth, but it helped to to get this cluster of flowers so prominent in the frame.

Still Brush

I had come for a Saturday morning board meeting in Little Rock and noticed that the air was very still.  That is the only time you can get great, slow shutter speed shots of wispy foreground objects.  I did not even get my tripod out since I was in a rush, but I grabbed my camera and held it against a light post and snapped this shot.

Underwater knot

Early morning after looking for a sunrise shot, I noticed this rope in the water and how the dry part was highlighted.  I used a polarizer to cut the reflection on the surface of the water and got this final shot of the morning.

Strings of dew pearls.

I have always loved pictures of dew laden spider webs.  To get a good one, several things have to come together.  It needs to be backlit yet have a dark background.  The air must be very still because even the slightest breeze can cause the fragile strands to move.  There is only one time of year to get such a shot and that is in October when the spiders are still very active but the days are warm and the mornings are cool enough to cause a heavy dew.  I did not get all of these this time but I will try again next October.

Moss and Foilage

This moss and foliage was growing on the side of a tree.  I remember removing a piece of a dead leaf on the left side before taking this shot.  Apparently I nudged some of the leaves that had been stuck on each other just enough so that they dislodged just as I snapped the picture, hence the blurred double exposure on the left.

Downtown View

I was fascinated by the fact that you can see the downtown Memphis skyline from Shelby Farms, over twenty miles away.  This would not be so amazing were it not for the fact that Memphis is so flat.  There is a gradual knoll on Mullins Station road from which you can get this view.  This is a close crop of a 300mm telephoto shot.  You can even see the top of the Pyramid on the right side of the frame.  The smoke stack and cell towers are in the foreground.

S-curved bank

The S curve of the bank highlighted by the posts makes for a pleasing composition in this picture.  It just moments after the sunrise over my left shoulder.