Been working on my microscapes this year. Experimenting with light mostly. Including dappled sunlight, trying for some drama and separation. That’s what the sunlight does in the woods, it highlights certain things and shadows others. It’s some of what makes the woods magical, at least to me.
Here’s one of a medium-sized painted turtle I found on a trail the other day. Boy was it feisty. Raring to go.
It was cooperative and surprisingly unafraid (compared to the Blanding’s turtle this one was posing!) so I carried it to a disused trail I knew to have a large vernal pool next to it. Before letting it go I had a little portrait session, deliberately putting the turtle in the shade with some sun to highlight the top of the shell and that great curve. It took a few minutes because try as I might, that turtle just wouldn’t take direction. Then it just stopped and gave me the stink eye. Perfect.
This next one is kind of fun. I love ferns as you’ve probably noticed, and these Christmas ferns are no exception. I found them on a trail that I took by mistake. Aren’t happy accidents great? The sun lit them up and I thought of seahorses. Someone else suggested dragons. The sun moved fast though and the shots I took right after this (I mean seconds after) don’t have that great highlight on the new fronds. It really was right place, right time. I copied the leading fern from last year from another shot I took earlier in the month that didn’t work out well. This time I think it does.
Both shots were done with my standard Zuiko Digital 12-60mm lens and both had some work in Lightroom done with the adjustment brush and the graduated filter tools. As I worked the fern image I realized the color version wasn’t cutting it. It had no punch unless I slid the saturation slider to ludicrous. So I switched to monochrome and yeah, baby, that was it. A little work with the color level sliders and I had what I wanted. I think it brings up the texture and shapes more than the color one does and that was what caught me in the first place. That and the ferns themselves all lit up. Ah spring, it is magical.
On the vacation side we’ve got a few more details buttoned down. Driving from Reno to Bishop on Sunday. I’m sure we’ll stop A LOT along the way. Highway 395 through there is supposed to be one of the most beautiful drives in the country. I read that another photographer tried to get to a trailhead outside Bishop the other day and was stopped by a 7-foot wall of snow in the road. It will definitely be an adventure. We’re going to try for Convict lake and canyon at any rate. Then a day at Mono Lake (OMG!!!) and some time a Bodie the preserved mining town. We’ll be a day in South Lake Tahoe and the options there are almost mind-boggling. Whatever we do I’m sure it will be great and I’ll try not to be an obsessive photographer.