Monday, August 18, 2008

Chumps and nitpickers

A couple of days ago we had a really nice evening here in Lancaster. The moon was very nearly full, the sky was mostly clear, and the temperature was in the 70's. And when we have weather like that I feel like a chump if I spend much time I went outside – and took my camera and tripod with me. It was pretty much dark – most of the light was coming from the moon (or from the sun reflecting off the moon, I should say to please any nitpickers in the crowd) so the tripod was a must because there would be no way in hell that I could handhold a 30 second exposure. I took a bunch of pictures and the two I put on here were the best of those.

I did some canoing on Sunday and took my camera with me. It was an awesome day. I got to the landing and on the water at around 10 a.m. The water was pretty low (I was at the Mississippi backwaters) and I had a hard time getting around in my canoe because there were spots that were too shallow for my canoe (or the water was only 3” deep which is plenty to float the conoe but it's hard to paddle in only 3” of water). I usually try to go in places where powerboaters can't go (they're noisy, smelly, make waves, etc.) – and that wasn't much of a problem. There were some deeper channels that the powerboats were confined to – they couldn't really go lots of places.

Moonrise over the Lancaster golf course.

These leaves I happened to see as I was done taking pictures (or thought I was done) and heading home. It was dark out but I didn't use a flash at all. I used the light from a street lamp to light things. The leaves are green in daylight but they look orangish here because of the way that the camera “sees” the light (different types of lights have different wavelengths...which is why pictures taken under fluorescent lights make people look like zombies).

I had found a little sandbar on a little side channel and beached my canoe and ate some lunch. I noticed a reddish/pinkish flower that looked interesting so I decided to walk over to and take its picture. As I was walking towards the reddish/pinkish flower I turned back and looked back towards my canoe (it's amazing how often you can see interesting things that you just walked by by just turning around and looking) and saw that the way the sun was hitting the Arrowhead leaves was pretty cool. So I took a picture - and this is it. I have read that its usually a good idea to have the sun behind you so the things you take pictures of are well lit. Well that may be true much of the time but some things look pretty cool when they're backlit. For this picture I was facing directly into the sun and the sunlight was coming through this leaf. And the picture I took of the reddish/pinkish flower was out of focus and pretty boring.

Some people might not find this picture all that appealing. And I wouldn't blame them – it's a dead leaf stuck in mud for crying out loud. But I must confess, I kind of like it.

I was walking around in the river and decided to take a picture of my feet like I do fairly often for this blog. I walked a ways and when I walked it stirred up the mud. I was going to wait until the mud was washed away in the current to take the picture. Well, the current was awful slow and after a bit I reasoned thus: “This is the Mississippi. Its supposed to be muddy. I should take a picture to represent that...and plus I am sick of waiting for this damn mud to clear.” So I took the picture with the mud clouds in the water. [You can see my reflection in the picture. No I wasn't wearing a shirt. Yes, I got sunburned.]

I always thought that this flower was a just a plain old Water Lily. But according to my Peterson Wildflower Field Guide it's an “American Lotus” that's in the water lily family. There are a huge amount of them growing in the Mississippi backwaters and when you're in water that's shallow and the bottom is muddy it's pretty likely that they're going to be around. They can make getting around rather interesting...but they're another barrier to keep powerboats away from me. This is another example of a backlit picture.

PS If you are interested and have a Facebook account you can go to it and see some more of my pictures there. Just put something about this blog in your friendship request.

Friday, August 15, 2008


This last weekend my mom's side of the family had a family reunion...which was timed to coincide with my cousin's wedding. So I got to travel to exotic Lansing, MI and got to take a few pictures there. Although I didn't take all that many pictures I did take a few. And those, along with the non-bark pictures that I took when I was taking pictures for the all-bark blog entry, should be enough to make a blog entry.

The leaf in this picture was directly between the camera lens and the sun. It makes for good lighting to see the veins of the leaf. This was taken during the photo shoot for my "bark" entry.

These are maple seeds and leaves, this was taken when I was taking pics for the all-bark entry.

This is chicory growing on a roadside near my aunt and uncle's house near Portland, MI

This sunflower was in my aunt's garden.

On the way back to Wisconsin we stopped at a rest area along the interstate and this plant (is it some kind of ivy?) was growing up all over the place.
So I took a picture or six and this was the best.

These leaves were growing on small trees growing off a stump.

This is water from a small stream in Memorial Park here in Lancaster. This was taken along with the bark pictures.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


This was the picture that got the wheels turning in my head that an all-bark blog entry might be cool.

So I was walking around Memorial Park this morning and was just out taking my usual mix of random subject pictures and happened to be taking a picture of some birch bark when it kind of seemed to me that it would be an interesting photographic endeavor to to a whole blog entry of just different kinds of bark. I didn't really think, seriously, about actually doing it right at first. But the idea kind of grew on me. So I made it a point to take as many pictures of bark (different kinds of trees, different light, different aged trees, etc) as was reasonable. I got back to my house and looked at the pictures and decided that they're good enough to put on here (a few of them anyway). So here y'all are: an entire blog entry on a subject that some people would say is pretty mundane.

Some of the pictures were taken of small trees and so were taken kind of close up so that the trunk would take up the whole of the picture. This picture is taken of an absolutely huge oak tree...and I had to stand about 4 feet away to get this picture.

This was taken last winter at Governor Dodge State Park. I just think that the bark looks kind of cool. It's taken at what used to be an old homestead (the "refridgerator" [springhouse] is still there) and the family living there had planted a bunch of white pine trees that were much older than the rest of the trees around. This is a picture of the bark of one.