Monday, April 28, 2008

Fire Flowers

Coe Park is awash with green in the fire-affected areas. Just 7 months and a single spring since the wildfire and we're seeing all kinds of exciting things happen.

Significantly, we are seeing some rare fire-following plants. I had the chance this weekend to photograph these pretty Whispering Bells in fire-devastated area, where normally there would be manzanita and chamise.

Also in the oak woodlands, we're seeing an explosion of bulb plants, brodeas in particular. I also am finding shaded oak hillsides abloom with vetch and fiesta flower.

Here are just a couple photos from my weekend in the Coe backcountry with the public for the annual backcountry weekend. More to follow...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wildflower Season

The wildflower season is starting to wind down, but I'm not yet, lol. I've been to the mountains this past weekend looking for the first evidence of their wildflower season and it's not looking very good, according to the locals up there.

Nevertheless, I did find some nice poppies in Red Hills. It reminded me that I'd spent quite a bit of time on my belly a few years ago photographing some pretty poppies in an area under development. I'll share those with you as well as the collage I made from photos taken on my ramble yesterday.

California poppies, yes, even the cream-colored one, a natural but unusual variation.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wildflowers Abstracted

The more time I spend in the outdoors this year, the more adventurous I've become with my style of shooting. Beautiful light is absolutely the most obvious requirement, but the ability to push my limits creatively has been greatly improved by the amount of time I spend out there.

So, if you want to take your photography to the next level, get out there often. Get to know the area you wish to photograph. With a compass in hand, find out where the sun will rise and where it will set. Then go out during the golden hour and mine all of the possibilities.

Does this shot work for you? Leaving Coe State Park late in the afternoon, I knew that the last light would be working beautifully for me half of the way up the Blue Ridge, so I timed my trip out to coincide with the golden hour. This scene surprised me and I had to work it furously on a very steep slope without the luxury of my tripod which just would have taken the last of this moment to set up. I leaned against the bank with my whole body and layed the camera across my forearm, resting on the bank and shot. Is it completely in focus and But I like the dreaminess of it. I'll let you decide if it works.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fraternal Twins

I had the pleasure of photographing fraternal twins today. A boy and a girl, 6 years old.

My mother is an identical twin. It's been really interesting growing up with a mom who has a sister who is so close.

These two were a lot of fun, but like fraternal twins, quite different. Natalie was a bit more reserved, Kyle was typical rambuncious boy.

I think I've photographed four sets of twins recently, all of them fraternal.

I liked this toned translation of Natalie's portrait....and loved this one of the two of them together.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ships out on the ocean

Since I do most of my work outside of the studio, I sometimes get asked if I will do that kind of work. Yes, I would love to bring my studio background, lights, stands and all that jazz to your home if we can find a fun way to work with your children. I really like to capture children as they are. They shouldn't be asked to sit passively for a portrait session. It isn't very likely that your young child is happy to sit passively for a photo shoot. If I can somehow find a way to make it fun for them, I'll be happy to work with your family on a studio backdrop. It needn't be boring or static.

I have to say that I just adore these clients. I've been working with them now for some time. Mom, Dad and kids alike are easy and fun. I had the pleasure of photographing Max and his sister Madeline just the other day.

I call this portion of the session "Ships out on the ocean." Because we dreamed up some play with Max and even dropped bubble stars out of the sky for him. After that the kids changed clothes and we went outdoors to finish the shoot in the wildflowers.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Golden Hour

As a volunteer for the State Parks, I sometimes have the pleasure of leading photo walks. I just lead two walks at Henry W. Coe State Park this past weekend. It's so beautiful up there at that hour most days.

Next walk I lead will be at the Backcountry Weekend but late afternoon rather than the golden hour. I plan to offer another golden hour walk in July. Stay tuned.

So, in preparation for Golden Hour I like to spend a couple of sunsets up at the park to see what I can photograph during that special beautiful time of the day. I like to challenge myself to take something new and special within a few steps of the Visitor Center just to prove to both myself and visitors that you can make really nice images without going very far.

Here are some grasses literally ten steps north of the Visitor Center, catching that special color of the golden hour.

Last Light

Sometimes leaving Henry Coe State Park right around sunset means that we get to linger over last light on the way down the hill. If I see something setting up, I call a halt and Bruce cheerfully pulls up to give me the time to try to capture the scene. Things happen so fast during these last few moments that I often miss my shot.

Here's one I caught. One minute later and it was gone.

Spring's color palette

I love this season. Bright blue skies, still a few clouds from the lingering storms, soon to pass, vibrant greens on the black oaks. Others just coming into bud. And last year's grey cones on the ground.

This was taken at Henry W. Coe State Park where I spend about 50 hours each year working the visitor center. On a quick break, I dropped down over the side of the canyon to photograph this scene.

It's springtime. I'm spending less time in front of the computer and more time out there. There's just this one spectacular month of spring and I don't want to miss one minute of it, so between outdoor sessions with kids and high school seniors, I'm getting lots of fresh air in our local parks which are simply spectacular this time of the year.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Spring Wildflowers

I spent quite a bit of time on my belly in this amazing patch of wildflowers this past weekend. I have to dig out my flower book to identify the pretty pink one. The yellow is Goldfield. And the pretty blue flowers with the blue anthers is Birds Eye romantic is that name !!