Posts Tagged ‘Leaves’

Four images

Even though temps are in the low 80’s this week and humidity is high,  the signs are there if you are paying attention.





Next week: A full week (I think) of fog shots

Having read the title to this post, I’ll bet you are already yelling “I know! I know! Wabi Sabi in the Prairie with a macro lens!”

And you would be correct.

I posted earlier that the wind and rain were going to wash any remaining color from the landscape and they did indeed. However, having recently rediscovered my 60mm lens, I wasn’t quite ready to give up on crawling around in the underbrush.

Was I doomed, a Crash Test Dummy with a Camera,  to run heedlessly and headlong into a Wall O’ Brown?

(Are you feeling a certain frisson of fear as you read this?)

Not to worry:  what was lost in the brilliant color department was more than compensated for with an abundance of textures, shadows and forms. New stars stepped up to take their own turns in the spotlight.

The lovely trio above is a collaboration of two goldenrod and one of the myriad variants of Prairie Sunflower that populate this part of the arboretum. (Officially, this section is called the Keith White Prairie.)

I think that the leafy stalks which follow are all goldenrod.

The next gentleman needs to stand alone, regal in golden armor, every inch a nobleman.

*** *** *** ***

A couple of follow-ups:  I drove to Shawano Monday morning  to see my student teacher and I brought my camera so I could revisit the Farmers’ Brewery downtown.

I circled the building a few times (carefully skirting the burr-laced backlot) but as so often happens, I realized that I’d already taken all the exterior shots that I wanted.

So I took myself to lunch. Am I flexible or what?

On my way home, I discovered that there are flash mobs of milkweed dancing exuberantly all along Highway 29.  Patch after patch. Big patches. Appears that this has been a banner year for good old  Asclepias syriaca.

Today was just a veritable carnival of learning.

Now I am going in search of large brick and cement and glass structures, just to balance off the last run of macros.

This will take a few days.


I was so pleased with the results of my 50mm walk that I thought I’d take my 60mm out for a stroll. The 60 was my favorite and I used it often…until I set out to learn the 50.  They both are so similar that I had forgotten just how exquisitely the 60mm can capture macro shots.

So, I was back in the arboretum Tuesday afternoon,  shooting a leaf here, a twig there and the odd berry in-between, just trying to get the feel of the lens again.

I did a lot of squatting, kneeling and crawling around trying to get the plants from the best possible angles. I mention this because I don’t generally use a tripod. I absolutely know I should but I hate schlepping it around: it’s heavy, I’m lazy. A gentle breeze can have the crazy jerky effect of a windstorm on a leaf viewed through a macro lens, so I had some “oh, drat!” moments, trying to frame up some of the pictures.  Ultimately, I’m happy with the results, despite often finding myself in Extended Triangle position trying to get up close and personal with a pod.

When I found the first patch of milkweed, I knew it was going to be a good day.

Today, the Big Picture. Tomorrow, macros.

Most of the milkweed stalks were stripped bare at this point, but just a few still had leaves, albeit dried. I think the mottling looks like runic markings.

Or snakeskin.

Or milkweed tattoos.

In early fall, you can often find actual piles of these milkweed bugs on some plants. This loner hung around long after the party was over. (Probably fell asleep in the bathroom. Awkward!)

Next up: Milkweed Macros, followed by Milkweed Glamour Shots

Continuing that walk in the arboretum…

The last post focused on details. This time, I just want to share color.

Sidebar: I’m shooting with a Canon 7D, using a 50mm f1.4 lens. I shoot everything in RAW so that I can correct exposure and balance in the computer. (And, that’s mostly what I confine myself to for my blog pictures.) If you’re not familiar with the 50mm at a wide-open aperture, these pictures are pretty good examples of what you get: such a shallow depth-of-field that the leaves, twigs, and anything else directly behind the subject are transformed into lines and smudges.

Sumac really comes into its own in the fall. And, once the brilliant red stage is past, there’s this:

I  think of them as sumac prayer flags.

There’s white oak:

And once again, I’ve saved my favorite for last:

Next post: The 50mm walk was so much fun, I decide to take a 60mm walk as well.  

A walk in the arboretum with my 50mm lens.

When I bought this lens, I opted for the 1.4 version and I’m glad I did. I generally shoot with the aperture wide open because I really like that shallow depth of field.


The resulting blur and/or bokeh effects give a nice painterly quality to pictures.

I walk in the arboretum several times a week, but I rarely bring a camera, even my point and shoot. I know me: I  would just wander around following the next flashy leaf or alluring seed pod and a 3 or 4 mile walk could end up being timed with a calendar, not a watch. However, Friday made me realize that one more heavy rain will probably wipe away any remaining color.

I only brought my camera with the 50 already on…no gear bag.  This meant, of course, that I couldn’t properly catch the turkeys who hung around, coyly ducking behind trees when I aimed the camera at them.

New career path: Poultry Papparazzo.

Saved my favorite shot for last: