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Archive for April, 2011

When I published “Broken Tree: Ceres 2010” at the end of March, I promised I’d be going back to Ceres soon — to see what became of the leaning Atlantic Cedar. I went back to Ceres twice since mid-April.

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The tree fell sometime since last summer. All that remains standing is a splintered stump. You can see part of the tree just to the right of the stump.

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Here’s another shot. You can see the tree on the ground behind and to the left of the stump.

I took both pictures around the middle of April this year on a bright sunny morning. I like the contrasty light and the textures in these two images.

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What a difference in only two weeks. I took this photo yesterday morning. The lighting was softer (it was cloudy and the sun was in and out). And the new growth softens the textures of the trees.

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I think this image is my favorite. I was ready to snap this shot but the sun wasn’t cooperating so I waited and caught the light just right.

All four of the photos were taken with the same camera, my Bessaflex that takes old screw mount Takumar lenses. The first two were taken with a 28mm lens and Fuji Neopan 400 rated at 640 ISO, three and four were taken with my 50mm and Tri-X rated at 1250 ISO.

So what was I doing out in the woods in the sunshine with 1250 TX? Good question. I started the roll on Easter. I was experimenting because some of my shots with TX have disappointed. I was pleasantly surprised how well these two turned out.

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What is this thing I discovered lurking at the edge of perception? What wonderous forms did I find when I visited Cedar Lake several weeks ago?

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When we see the familiar we respond to visual clues. When we can ‘name’ things we satisfy ourselves thinking we’ve seen the essense of something. But have we really? People who supposedly cannot draw have made remarkable reproductions when asked to copy an upside down drawing. They are responding to shapes and lines instead of labels.

Sometimes it’s wise to tell your left brain to just shut up and go away. Sometimes it’s fun to invite your right brain, your dragon out to play.

I was playing last night (I love to play) and rotated this image of the opposite shore of Cedar Lake 90 degrees. A giant insect with dozens of legs? A kaleidoscope? Many things come to mind. Fun isn’t it.

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Here’s the original image of the opposite lake shore. Oh yeah. Trees are supposed to look like this. It’s a reflection. When I first saw this scan I was a bit disappointed but I played until I found the essence.

I shot the original in portrait orientation so I cropped square. Then I printed dark. I added a warm tint to the image. Then I rotated the photo just for fun and decided I like the rotated image. Yes, fun is good. My dragon is amused and so am I.

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Julia & Tracy

I tapped into my archives for this week’s portrait. The image, taken about 4 or 5 years ago, was converted to B&W from a scanned color negative.

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This is Julia, one of our six granddaughters, looking over Tracy’s shoulder.

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I took my mom for a second visit to Red Bank Battlefield Park a couple weeks ago. I was determined to get some decent images this time out and I did.

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This magnificent tree dominates the picnic area. It’s the largest tree I’ve ever seen. My 24mm lens would have come in handy but I only had one lens, a 35mm so I moved back further and further and further…until I found a decent composition.

If you look carefully, you can see a small group of people standing behind the tree on the left. You can just make out the flagpoles in the background. Yep, this tree is that big!

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This shot includes the south side of the James and Ann Withall House. Can you tell I had trees on my mind that day? I had fun with all the forms and shapes in this shot.

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I zoomed in with my feet for this one to get a closer look at the house and the tree on the right.

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Here’s a shot looking northwest (to the left of the house scene) toward the Delaware River. The Girard Point Bridge is on the horizon. The path is a nice place for a walk, or pull up a bench and watch the river.

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This shot looks directly across the river. What do you know? More trees. Who would have thought?

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And finally, the rear of the Whitall house (1748) — and still going strong. This house was used as a military hospital after the battle of Red Bank (October 22, 1777).

All the photos were taken under harsh midday light, not the best for good photography. I prefer the longer shadows of morning or late afternoon but you work with what you have at the time. I used my Nikon N8008s loaded with Ilford FP4+ film,  35mm AF lens and yellow contrast filter (to separate the clouds from the blue sky) for all shots. I like traveling with one camera and one lens. Life is a lot simpler — no fuss.

One of these days, I’ll have a look at the ruins of Fort Mercer and the monument in the north end of the park. If you want to know more about this famous battlefield, simply do a web search for Red Bank Battlefield Park or the Battle of Red Bank. The Colonial Army kicked Hessian butt that day.

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I found another reflection image taken during my stint in Vietnam 45 years ago. Maybe I’ve been saving this one (unconsciously) for Earth Day? You can’t get more basic than an oxcart.

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The young driver looked my way as he passed in his oxcart. I wonder if he knew I was taking his photograph? He was looking into a dark bunker. Glad I had my camera that day.

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Sometimes you just get lucky. Of course it never hurts to have your camera on hand to capture the moment. I got lucky twice — with my twin granddaughters, Maddy and Livvy.

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I took this photo three weeks ago. We were sitting at the table, I had my camera out, Maddy looked at me and… I captured a precious, spontaneous moment.

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This photo of Livvy was taken back in November, 2010 at the twins second birthday party. Liv was absorbed with her doll, completely unaware of me and my camera.

Both images came from the same roll of Tri-X rated at 1250 ISO — no flash.

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I went on my first photo expedition of the year last week — finally. Ceres park is only one mile from my home. The morning was sunny bright. I couldn’t resist.

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I’m fascinated with the patterns on the water in the morning sun — swirls, shadows and of course the reflections of the trees. This shot and the one following were taken with my Nikon F3HP and 50mm lens. I had been shooting with my 24mm lens but wanted to get a bit closer.

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I turned about 90 degrees to my left for this view. The swirls and shadows are more pronounced and almost veil the reflections — almost.

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Here’s a wide angle view (24mm lens). It was the first shot of the cedar swamp.

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You can tell it’s spring. Plenty of rain makes for interesting puddles along the trail.

These photos were from the second roll I shot that day. The first roll nearly gave me heart failure because over half the frames had a vertical bar on the same spot. I thought there was something amiss with my trusty F3.

I rewound the second roll after only 9 frames so I could develop it (with my fingers crossed!) Whew — Every frame came out. I suspect the earlier roll was misloaded somehow or maybe a bad roll of film?? Who knows? Glad my F3 is working the way it should.

I just finished processing and scanning another roll of film that I shot yesterday. More reflections for next week. Stay tuned.

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