Monday, November 3, 2014

Putting it All Together 3

This is the last in the series of posts about elements I try to incorporate into photographs I create.

A friend of mine lets me use his dock which is directly on the Chesapeake Bay to film birds in he winter. I appreciate his generosity. There are an awful lot of pictures I would never have gotten if not for his kindness. When I go there, I have to dress much warmer than I normally would. I can't judge what to wear by going outside at home because if it is cold at home, it will be really cold on the Bay. The open water offers no respite from the wind and because the water cools down so much, even when the weather breaks and it warms up nicely on a day, the air does not warm up near the water.

Large container ships use a shipping lane on the Eastern Shore of the Bay to access the Port of Baltimore. This ship is actually heading out of the Bay. The mix of bright sunlight breaking through a cloud-covered sky lends the image a very moody look. Despite its more industrial nature, the photo contains most of what I am looking for in a picture.

The last image reminded me of this similar picture taken on another day. It is a much more high-key image having a much different mood. I like the juxtaposing of the dock and ship which seems to imply that the ship left that dock. You know that can't be true. So, in my mind it has kind of a whimsical effect. The weather vane pointing south is also a nice touch. Bahamas here we come!

Meanwhile, back on the river, two Great Blue Herons are doing what they do best. In other environs, I have seen them tolerate being near each other but, on the river, it is rare to see two close together like this. There might be a parent-child relationship or perhaps they are mated. You may recognize the two deadfalls as favorite spots to perch for a variety of birds I have presented here.

It is another example of a photo where I felt like almost everything I look for has come together.

Property owners on the water have a constant struggle with birds like osprey and Great Blue Herons taking advantage of them. It is a fine line where you want to accommodate the birds, but you don't want them messing up your stuff. One year, I watched two osprey assemble an impressive nest on the Bimini top of this boat - which was up at the time. In this photo, the owner has a boat cover on the boat to keep the birds from landing and fowling the boat's interior. You can also see a spike strip they have attached to the aluminum support above the boat to discourage (especially the osprey) from landing there. (Despite the strip, I have seen osprey perched there.) In addition, they added spike strips to the arch on the lamps a while after this photo was taken. You may not have noticed but, in addition to the osprey perched on the lamp in the center of the image, there is a kingfisher perched on the arch of the lamp on the right side of the picture. The pyramidal aluminum caps on the tops of some pilings may be meant to discourage birds from perching also. Birds don't like to stand on the flat aluminum caps either as they can't grip them like they can bare wood. The caps also serve the purpose of keeping rainwater from sitting there rotting the piling, so it may not be just a tactic to discourage the birds.

I know, I know. I have a thousand pictures of this same spot. Well, make it a thousand and one. I couldn't resist the lighting and two birds on a lamp beats one in the bush. Or something like that.

Here is an image from the same series a couple of days ago except the Great Blue Heron is still in the frame here. It was not happy that the eagle was perched on the tree where it wanted to land. That pose with it's neck stretched out straight is not it's normal posture when it is flying. If you look close, you can see that it is also croaking out a complaint.

The only thing that keeps me from liking this photograph more is the bright, featureless water. A gray day will cause the water to look gray like this and sometimes it is almost impossible not to shoot into the brightest water.

A friend of mine raises Frisian horses. Black horses can be difficult to shoot. That is probably why I reduced this image to grayscale, although I truthfully can't remember what my thinking was at the time. What I am saying is that color is not a prerequisite to achieving the look I hope to capture.

This particular morning was one of the most amazing displays of atmospherics I have ever witnessed. It started out with the fog being so thick you could hardly see the river in front of you. I'm not sure what the engine was that was driving it, but the fog moved to the middle of the river and coalesced into columns that sucked it up into low-lying clouds which ultimately completely dissipated on, what turned out to be, a clear blue sky day. This photo was taken late in that event. It has always reminded me of a Rorsharch chart.

It contains most of the elements I try to include in my images.

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