Anne’s challenge to us this week is to photograph wildlife close to home.
The Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw, South Carolina rescues wounded and sick birds of prey. They offer Photography Days several times throughout the year which allows unfettered views of the birds in natural surroundings.
Several years ago, my daughter and I attended and had four hours to photograph the birds and take a tour of the Center.
Our host this week is Tracy and she has asked us to create some marvelous surrealism mayhem with our photos. This sounded like so much fun so I decided to play along this week. It also meant brushing up on some Photoshop techniques and getting creative.In any event, don’t believe what you think you see.
First up is a photo I did of my grandson several years ago. I think he was around 3 years old. I was learning how to move and transport images in and out of photos and thought it was really cool to place him with this red dragonfly.
The image above is one taken on a typically crowded day at the beach. To be honest, the original picture is nothing to write home about but I like the painterly touches added and especially love the woman in the blue hat.
The photo above was taken several years ago and is one of several of a series of a great white egret coming in for a landing on a very gray day. Here, I’ve duplicated the bird, reflected it and smoothed out the reflection in the water to make it appear as if they are dancing or at least going in for a hug.
This photo started out as some overhead beams and using a Photoshop effect I’ve not used before, I think I’ve given this an underwater effect.
And lastly, I had so much fun with the technique above, I decided to try it again. This photo started off as a psychedelic gradient I did years ago and I think because of the colors, it’s my favorite from the series – but then again, it could be the egrets.
Thank you Tracy for the prompt. You’ve inspired me to play some more with Photoshop.
Our prompt this week is “Local Vistas”. I dove into my archives on a scavenger hunt.
At the southern tip of Pawleys Island is a public park where we frequently take our grandchildren when they come to visit. The ocean side is perfect for long walks, playing in the water or relaxing under the tent.
The creek side is much calmer. You’ll find families on jet skis, fishing, boating or trying to catch bait.
Just north of the park are private homes and you can see where groins have been placed to prevent beach erosion. Since this photo was taken in 2017, several hurricanes have hit this beach and caused severe erosion. A large renourishment project in 2020 widened the beach pumping over 1 million cubic yards of sand on the beach. The groins are no longer visible which can give you an idea of the size of the beach widening.
More private homes are just south of the park/creek. Lawsuits have been filed recently accusing the beach renourishment project of causing severe erosion to the beaches and property to the south. You can read more here: https://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/article262480702.html
We’re in hurricane season again and NOAA forecast calls for 14 to 21 Named Storms with 6 to 10 becoming hurricanes and 3 to 6 becoming major hurricanes. Even the milder storms cause erosion so my local vista is constantly changing.
This week our theme is three of a kind. Sometimes when you think you’ve got the perfect photo, it seems that something is missing – the photo needs fleshing out to capture the soul of the subject. For me, this always occurs when I’ve found a large beautiful field of flowers.
Outside my office, wisteria blooms a couple of times a year. It’s one of my favorite flowers and I would always take time to take some photos before I left work for the day. On this particular day, there was a mild wind – just enough where I couldn’t get a clean shot. So I crawled inside the wisteria bushes and snapped away at the wisteria surrounding me.
I visited Brookgreen Gardens in April 2017 and I couldn’t believe the fields of foxgloves in bloom. They were planted throughout the park and it’s been my favorite design to date.
The prompt this week is Light and Shadow – one of my favorite topics. The right lighting makes a picture perfect but it can also be one of the hardest skills for a photographer to learn.
Getting the light right is something I struggle with every time I pull out my camera. There’s no strict formula – at least one that I know of. It’s usually just a “guestimate” and then a couple of clicks one way and then a couple a clicks the other way until I’m satisfied with what I see in the viewfinder.
If you look closely enough, I swear this turtle is giving me the evil eye.
There’s so many features to consider – aperture, shutter speed, angles, ISO, distance etc. One certainty is to try and avoid the sunniest part of the day but I got extremely lucky with the two photos above.
The photo above is the window where my dad and his Sunday School class sat during church. I was visiting mom one night and when we went out for dinner, I saw the church lights on so I was able to get my first stained glass photography. That took lots of trial and error before I got it right.
Our prompt this week is “serene” – a wonderful choice for year end.
I frequently am at Brookgreen Gardens and enjoy the sculpture there. There’s something about finding a bench and enjoying the tranquility and serenity of the gardens. It’s the perfect example of the “stop and smell the roses” quote.
One of my favorite subjects in the garden is Diana – the Roman goddess of wild animals and the hunt. Diana was a popular subject of the artists as there are several interpretations of her in the gardens. The photo above and two photos below are of a sculpture done by Augustus Saint-Gaudin. There is always a fantastic seasonal floral display around the sculpture.
The Diana sculpture below was done by Anna Hyatt Huntington. She and her husband – Archer Huntington – purchased the property and transformed it into the first sculpture garden in the country.
Anna Hyatt Huntingtonsculpted the twolions above also.
On one visit, I was able to get a photo with the sunset in the background. I’m especially happy with this photo as I was able to photoshop a couple of pesky tourists out of the background.
With the end of 2021 around the corner, our prompt this week is celebrating. Our biggest celebrations in our backyard are the 4th of July and the Night of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens. I’ve shared photos of these events before and you can find them through searching my site.
Instead, I’d like to tell you about another celebration our family had this year – in fact, just last week. One of our daughters, Melissa, and her boyfriend, Tim, finally tied the knot after 10 years together.
They decided they did not want a big wedding and it was only the two of them and the official – who just happened to be one of their friends. A few days later, I took photos of them in White Point Garden in Charleston and we had a dinner for them. With her permission, I’m sharing a few of these photos.
This week we are asked to tell a story with just one photo. We can tell multiple storiesbut eachstory can only use one photo.
A friend and I were at at the beach to catch the rising of the orange moon. There were several groups of people out including the two in the photo above – a father and son fishing in the ocean. All is not as it seems though. In talking with the man, he said he had no idea who the boy was! The boy came up to him earlier to see if the man had caught anything and stayed.
Polo anyone? This was a first for me. We actually went because there were going to be hot air balloons after the games. But by that time, the winds had picked up and the balloons only went 10 to 15 feet off the ground. But despite that disappointment, we had a good time with my daughter and her boyfriend. One thing we learned about polo though – the players don’t bring their horses with them. It’s too difficult and expensive so they use the horses at whatever location they are at.
This photo is my first attempt at shooting fireworks. The fireworks are shot from a barge in the inlet and the timing is coordinated with the tide. The marsh walk is always crowded so we usually take our chairs to the church adjoining the marsh walk. Everyone brings their chairs or blankets and there are plenty of “ohs” and “awes” from the crowd.
Our prompt this week is shapes and designs. Shapes and designs are all around us although we usually don’t slow down long enough to see them. When was the last time you stopped to watch a butterfly?
I absolutely love photos of butterflies (and bees). If I get photos of them, I’ve had an excellent day. Nothing tops butterflies and bees except sunrises and sunsets, pictures of family – well, maybe butterflies and bees are in the top 5.
For me, butterflies are more difficult to catch than bees. Bees are heavy workers and will stay burrowed into a flower long enough to take a picture. Butterflies are more elegant. They skip from plant to plant just long enough to take a few sips and then move on. It requires some stalking to get a good butterfly shot.
Butterflies are so beautiful. Their colors are so bold and the designs they present are so clear, so symmetrical (I’m very OCD about symmetry) that I could follow them all day. All the designers at Fashion Week, etc can’t hold a candle to what Mother Nature can do.