My thinking at the time was that after 1997, it would be some time before I had another year like that. And, until starting in about 2004, it seemed like that was the pattern. I went several years without much memorable production. But still, most years, there were keepers in my archives. While I did get out some over the next 5 years, there were no real dedicated photo excursions.
I did ramp up my bird shooting. I found a raptor rehabilitation center in southern Michigan that sponsored captive bird photo shoots to raise money for its programs. I attended several of these and had an opportunity to photograph birds that I would likely never be able to get close enough in nature to shoot. Two of these birds had injuries significant enough that they would never be released. The Red Tailed Hawk and the Great Horned Owl were both “regulars,” used to being handled and shot by photographers, and pretty easy to shoot. The Red Tail even had some personality. These were fun events, and an opportunity to shoot with other photographers and compare notes.
The Black Capped Chickadee species became a special favorite. Michigan’s state bird has always been the Robin (my friend, Phil Dolinger’s absolute favorite bird species. Everything looks like a Robin to Phil 🙂 ). But for a period of time, there was a movement to re-designate the state bird to the Black Capped Chickadee. Found throughout the state, this little bird is a very gregarious species and has virtually no fear of humans. I have had them land on my hand (as the photo here demonstrates). They are active, colorful, and a fun subject to study and shoot. The two with the bird on the branch were both taken through my office window during the winter months. Unfortunately, with a glass window along with my mediocre Tokina 80-400 lens, they are not as sharp as could be. Indeed most of my avian images suffer from a lack of critical sharpness. I am never going to compete with Arthur Morris. :-).
Flowers continued to continued to be a frequent subject, even getting more creative in some instances, with more closeup shooting. In the case of the white day lily, I was specifically interested in the rain droplets. I also ventured out of the backyard and into some natual areas, with a series of wildflowers. In may of 1999, I did a quick weekend trip, following a business meeting in northern Michigan, to shoot the state wildflower, the White Trillium. Along the way, I also found Pink and Yellow Lady’s Slippers, Columbine, Swamp Iris and others.
When he was younger, my son and I did a late summer, annual camping trip. I don’t know what it is about sleeping out in a tent. When I was a kid, I loved it. As an adult — not so much. But it was father and son time. This year, we camped in a National Forest campground in lower Michigan’s Huron National Forest, near a small lake named Horseshoe Lake (one of many so-named lakes in the country). Waking early, stiff from a cold, damp morning and lumpy ground, I got up and built a fire. My son had no problem sleeping, and while I waited for him to wake up, I wandered down to the shore with my gear, to take some sunrise photos. When the image here showed up on the light table, my first thought was “oops.” On closer inspection, this shot seemed to have some potential. It became my second best selling image. The Velvia film used for this image had a tendency toward blue color cast in conditions like the ones that morning.
Filed under: MUSINGS, PHOTOGRAPHY | Tagged: Andy Richards, birds, color, Columbine, exposure, fall color, flowers, Great Horned Owl, Light, LightCentric Photography, Michigan, Nikon, PHOTOGRAPHY, Photoshop, pink lady's slipper, raptors, red tail hawk, sunrise, swamp iris, water, white trillium, wildflowers, Yellow Lady's Slipper |