Advertisements
Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

As I drove through the gates at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge this past Friday, a thick fog (or mist) was hanging low over the fields. The sun was just beginning to rise and it was still pretty dark. Although my goal for the day was to photograph birds, I decided to make an attempt at capturing the feeling of the moment and quickly realized the difficulty of that task—it’s a real challenge to capture the delicate nuances of light and shadows and the subtle shades of the rising sun when there is so little available light.

I felt a bit uncomfortable as I was shooting these images, a clear indication that I was way outside of my comfort zone, but I think it is good to try new approaches and subjects in order for me to keep on growing and learning as a photographer.

 

misty morning

autumn mist

autumn path

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Read Full Post »

Some very creative people must work at the local pumpkin patch at Nalls Produce Center in Alexandria, Virginia. As I wandered about, I encountered numerous mini-scenes celebrating farm life and/or Halloween.

One of my favorites featured a crazed–looking cat in overalls conversing with a cow. I also really liked the jack-o-lantern made with all natural materials. I can’t recall ever before seeing a jack-o-lantern with hair.

Halloween

Halloween

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

How do you capture the beauty of autumn? If you live in a location where there are broad expanses of trees full of brightly colored leaves, it would be pretty easy, I think. In Northern Virginia where I live, the colors tend to be muted and isolated. There are patches of colors here and there, but it seems like many of the leaves go straight from green to brown.

On some recent trips to Huntley Meadows Park, my favorite shooting location, I tried to capture some glimpses of the changing season using my telephoto zoom lens. The colors and patterns of the fall foliage turned into abstract patterns when viewed through a telephoto lens.

Here are some of my favorite shots as I focused in on the autumn foliage. I am also including a final image that attempts to capture the feeling of walking down a trail in the crisp morning air with fallen leaves crunching underfoot.

fall foliage

fall foliage

fall foliage

fall foliage

fall foliage

autumn trail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Some folks might be surprised to learn that I continue to spot dragonflies, despite the cooler weather of late November. Autumn Meadowhawks (Sympetrum vicinum) are a particularly hardy species and in past years I have observed these tiny red beauties into December.

One of the challenges for the Autumn Meadowhawks is to warm up and I have noticed that they sometimes like to perch on one particular sign at Huntley Meadows Park, the county-run marshland park where I take many of my photos. The sign is angled to make it easier for viewers to read, making it perfect for a basking dragonfly.

In this image I was able to capture a favorite portion of the text on that sign and a cooperative Autumn Meadowhawk added a useful accent to the message. The last sentence sums up pretty well my view of nature and my aspiration during my visits to walk lightly.

walk lightly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Most of the trees have given up their colorful leaves by now, but one hardy young tree refused to do so and looked almost like it was on fire in the early morning yesterday at Huntley Meadows Park.

The tree really stood out and grabbed my attention and I wanted somehow to capture its beauty. Many of you know that I have very limited experience with landscape photography and I simply wasn’t sure how to approach this atypical subject.

My first instinct was to zoom in closely and fill as much of the frame with the details of the tree as I could. That’s my favored approach with both my macro and zoom lenses.  I was shooting over a field of cattails and across a pond and my first series of images looked like this one.

fiery tree

I moved further down the boardwalk and decided to try to capture more of the surrounding environment by shooting in landscape mode. I also tried to get a clearer view of the beautiful reflections my moving beyond the cattails.

fiery tree

In order to get a different view, I climbed up the observation deck and took some shots like this one with various objects in the foreground and some reflected sky showing at the bottom of the image.

fiery tree

I presented the images with only a slight amount of cropping to give you an idea of what I was going for as I “worked” this subject. How did I do? In my view, the middle image is by far the best and serves as a reminder to me that stepping back and zooming out can be beneficial. More importantly, perhaps, I can see the benefits of trying out different approaches and different subjects as a way of stretching and learning and, hopefully, growing in my skills as a photographer.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

The dragonfly population continues to decrease as we move deeper into autumn, but my little winged friends seem to have been replaced by grasshoppers. Whenever I walk through the fields of my favorite marshland park, I am preceded by mini explosions of insects. Most of the grasshoppers hop far away, but yesterday one of them chose a nearby stalk of grass and posed for me.

grasshopper

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

The autumnal equinox arrived yesterday, marking another change of seasons. I love the autumn, but there is something a little wistful about it, as so many of the bright summer colors begin to fade and the leaves dry out and fall off of the trees. Somehow for me it is a reminder of the inexorable passage of time and of the fragility of life.

Earlier this week I saw a faded male Twelve-spotted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula pulchella) that put me in a pensive mood, remembering how this boldly-patterned species really stood out in the spring. Now he has has almost become a part of the background, less notable, less distinctive, less likely to attract attention.

How many of us are like that? Our society worships youthful beauty and older people are often pushed out of the spotlight in favor of unblemished youths. It’s nice to have memories of the way we were, remembering our youthful beauty and capabilities, but I think it’s important to celebrate who we are and who we are becoming.

So here’s a look at that male Twelve-spotted Skimmer and a female Twelve-Spotted Skimmer that I observed last week. Wouldn’t you agree that they are still beautiful despite (or perhaps because of) their senior citizen status.

Twelve-spotted Skimmer

Twelve-spotted Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »