Posts Tagged ‘contrast’

As I was admiring the beautiful tulips in my neighbors’ garden, I noticed this fly perched on the edge of one of them. In a different setting he might have gone unnoticed, but here the details of the fly provide a nice contrast with the wonderful primary colors of the tulips in the background.

With spring here in full force, I am reacquainting myself with my macro lens, causing me to look more closely at details like the red compound eyes of this fly and his hairy back legs.  It’s fun too to note the details of his tiny little feet.

I am now remembering how much I have to pay attention to lighting, depth of field, and shutter speed when shooting macro shots, particularly because my macro lens is not image stabilized. Very minor problems can really be magnified when I try to get in this close, especially with an animate subject.


Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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One frosty morning this past weekend as I was was walking on a bike path, searching for a subject to photograph, I spotted a Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) sitting on a bush. The bird’s small head and long tail made it pretty easy for me to identify. I snapped off a couple of shots before the dove flew away. Following the bird in its flight, I watched as it gently took a spot on some powerlines, where several small, noisy birds already were perched.

I like the contrasts in the photo I took at that moment. The two small birds are shadowy and full of sharp edges, suggesting a kind of nervous, frenetic energy. The dove is larger, softer, and brighter and radiates a sense of gentleness and peace, undisturbed by the outside world. The parallel lines of the wires provide a man-made geometric structure for the natural elements and the sky provides a gradient-like backdrop to the entire scene.

Morning Mourning Dove

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I was photographing my typical assortment of flowers and insects at a local garden yesterday when I came upon a scene that grabbed my attention. A delicate vine was starting to wrap itself around an industrial-looking pipe. I was struck by the juxtaposition of the new life of the tiny leaves and the rusty, scuffed-up decay of the pipe. The scale of the two subjects and their very different colors also provided a sense of contrast.

I did not fully manage to capture the image I had in my head. However, I decided to share my favorite image of the pipe and the vine. Usually I crop at least a bit, but in this case I decided to use the full image as it came out of the camera, with some minor adjustments to the exposure. I composed it in the camera pretty much the way I wanted it to look (and yes I know I’m supposed to do that all of the time).

This was an interesting experiment in shooting something totally different, all part of a learning process as I seek to express myself in my images.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The petals of the lotus flower are delicately beautiful and I love to drink in their beauty. What I enjoy the most, though, is peeking past the petals of the open lotus flower into its very center, the home of its seed pod.

The solid, cylindrical shape and the contrasting color of the seed pod—sometimes green and sometimes yellow— provide for me a nice contrast to the texture and coloration of the petals. These is something intriguing to me about the protruding pod parts that gradually dry out and sink into the pod itself. (I’ll probably do another posting that focuses exclusively on the pods themselves, as they appear after the petals have fallen.)

I took these photos a little over a week ago at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington DC, a wonderful setting run by the National Park Service.

That same day I ran into my friend Cindy D. and her husband Michael at Kenilworth and they too were shooting photos.  Cindy later posted a gorgeous lotus photo on her blog and she also included amazing information about the lotuses at this garden, some of which are descended from ancient plants whose seeds were recovered in 1951 from a dry Manchurian lake bed. Check out her blog for the rest of the story.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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