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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

While they have been out of town, I have been watering the flowers in my neighbors’ garden and watching (and feeding) their three cats. The garden was planted by my photography mentor, Cindy Dyer, who always selects particularly photogenic species. She asked me document some of the flowers as they bloomed in case she does not return in time to see them herself.

Yesterday I was particularly struck by the beauty of the different lilies that are now blooming. Some of them probably qualify as day lilies, but there is another cool variety that has blooms that face downward. The big star of the show, though, is undoubtedly an enormous cream-colored lily that just opened and is the one that is featured in the first photo.

Many of you know that I am generally in ceaseless pursuit of animate subjects, but it is good to periodically stop and take the time to smell the lilies.

lily

lily

lily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Blue Dasher dragonflies (Pachydiplax longipennis) are one of the most common and widespread dragonfly species in my area. You can get so used to their presence that you stop paying attention to them, which I think is a mistake, for in doing so you will miss their amazing beauty. The colors and patterns of this little dragonfly are stunning.

Here are a couple of shots of Blue Dashers that I captured this past weekend at Jackson Miles Abbot Wetland Refuge. This early in the season, when the dragonflies are newly emerged, the colors seem really saturated and fresh—later in the season the colors tend to become duller and more faded. I was shooting at the edge of a small pond and the water in the background turned into a neutral gray that gives the images an artistic feel, almost like they were shot in a studio environment. The uncluttered background helps to draw your attention to the dragonflies themselves and especially to those wonderful two-toned eyes. (The male’s eyes will eventually turn into a more uniform turquoise blue shade.)

In case you are curious, the Blue Dasher in the first shot looks to be a female and the one in the second image appears to be an immature male.

Blue Dasher

Blue Dasher

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I have spotted Common Yellowthroats (Geothlypis trichas) repeatedly this spring, but, despite my best efforts, have not been able to get a close-up shot of one. They seem to like to perch in the middle of a particular field at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and seem to taunt me from a distance with their sweet songs.

I love the distinctive black Lone Ranger-style mask of the male Common Yellowthroat that contrasts wonderfully with sunny hues of its eponymous throat. Even though I recently couldn’t get close to this yellowthroat, I managed to capture this image that has a painterly feel to it.

I’ll still be trying for a close-up of this species, but for now I am quite content with this environmental portrait of this beautiful bird.

Common Yellowthroat

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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On the last day of April I spotted a Blue Corporal dragonfly (Ladona deplanata) that was newly emerged and was not yet blue. This past Friday I went back to the same location at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and found a young male Blue Corporal that had already gained his blue coloration.

Additionally, he was now perching on some vegetation rather than on the ground, which allowed me to get a more artistic shot—I really like the arc of the vegetation and how it helped make for an interesting composition.

Blue Corporal

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Early this morning I spotted a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) in a distant part of a pond that I was exploring. I was worried about blowing out the highlights of the heron’s face and bill, so I deliberately underexposed the image. As a result the background became a bit darker than it was in real life and gave it a dramatic quality that I really like. The reflections of the heron and some of the background elements add a lot to the “artsy” feel of the photo.

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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One of the youngest viewers of my blog is a boy named Benjamin. His grandmother likes to share my photos with him and he especially likes bluebirds. Upon viewing some images of them and seeing their colors, he innocently asked why they aren’t called Orange Bluebirds. Why not indeed? This post is especially for him.

I too love Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) and am happy anytime I am able to catch a glimpse of their bright colors. Here are a couple of images of bluebirds that I spotted this past Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge (and there is plenty of orange to be seen).

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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We don’t often have daytime fog where I live—most of the time it burns off shortly after sunrise. Yesterday, however, it hung around all morning and visibility was very limited at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Except for a lot of gulls and a few geese, the birds seemed to have decided to stay sheltered until the fog dissipated.

It was a nice challenge for me to try to capture a sense of the moment in the indistinct shapes that were visible as I looked out into the water of the bay. Here are a couple of images that have a kind of abstract, impressionist feel that I really like.

foggy impressions

foggy impressions

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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