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Posts Tagged ‘reflections’

It is a cool, rainy morning here as I sit here, trying to think about what I want to say as I begin the new year. I planned on watching the ball fall at Times Square at midnight, but dozed off on the sofa and missed the moment—I guess that is a sign that I am getting old.

I am feeling pensive right now as I think about the year that has just concluded and wonder what the new year will hold for me. I decided to share some photos that I took last week at the little pond that I featured yesterday. I was utterly fascinated by the reflections of some of the trees at the edge of the pond and the textures that appeared in the ripples on the surface of the water.

Normally I have much more of an identifiable main subject when I am taking a photo, but in those moments I was mesmerized, feeling a little bit like I was looking at a Monet painting. Sometimes I get into an “artsy” trance of sorts and I have no idea how long I stood there with my camera pointing down at the water on the opposite shore.

A few people passed by, but fortunately did not pose the sometimes annoying question that I am frequently asked about what I was photographing. I often have to bite my tongue and not reply with the words resounding in my head—”I was trying to photograph a bird that you spooked with your noisy arrival.” In this case, there was no live subject to scare away, but it would have destroyed my meditative concentration.

I have to admit that I am a little selfish when it comes to sharing my wildlife experience in person with others—I prefer to enjoy the beauty of nature in solitude. I often avoid locations that have abundant wildlife, if I know there will be crowds of photographers. As I like to tell my friends, I was avoiding people long before it became popular during this pandemic.

I will probably do some kind of more organized retrospective look at the postings of this past year in the next few days. For today, though, I wanted to share some musings and reflections.

Best wishes to all of you for a happy and healthy New Year.


ripples

ripples

ripples

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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In Northern Virginia, where I live, we generally do not have the spectacular changes in the colors of the autumn foliage that I experienced while growing up in New England, Instead, the leaves often seem to fade gradually from green to brown before they fall off of the trees and are trampled underfoot. I love the reds and yellows of the autumn and am constantly on the alert for patches of these bright colors.

This past Saturday during a visit to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens with some friends, I was very conscious of the transitioning seasons and I tried to capture my impressions in some of my photos. The first image has an almost impressionist feel to it, caused largely by the ripples on the surface of the pond. Although the colors may be the traditional ones of autumn, I believe that almost all of the yellow was a reflection of the goldenrod plants that were blooming in abundance.

The second image is a bit more moody, though you can still see some of the autumn colors reflected in the dark waters, where lotuses and lilies were blooming earlier in the season. The final shot showcases the heart-shaped leaf of a lotus plant that is well past its prime. I was really taken by the way that the light shining through the leaf from behind highlighted its veiny structure. The deterioration of the leaf gives this image a tinge of sadness, a poignant reminder of the inexorable passage of time and the inevitable changes that it brings—nothing in nature lasts forever.

reflection of autumn

reflection of autumn

reflection of autumn

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Some mornings when I am out with my camera at Huntley Meadows Park, I am simply entranced by the colors, shapes, and patterns of the reflections of the trees in the water. For extended periods of time I will become lost in the ever changing abstract world of reflected beauty.

Any wildlife that happens to come into the frame is a bonus.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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How can I show the beauty of the autumn foliage? As I was pondering that question, I glanced down into the waters of a small pond at my local marshland park and found my answer.

Impressionist autumn

The combination of the light, the reflections, and the ripples enveloped me in an impressionist world, where the forms were blurred, but recognizable. I love the art of Monet, and somehow the autumn reflections brought his works to mind.

Impressionist autumn

As i moved about, the scene would change, as different elements were reflected in the water.

Impressionist autumn

I’m often at a loss when trying to photograph landscapes—I am so used to focusing on the details of a subject that I have trouble seeing the big picture. Somehow it seemed easier when I concentrated my attention on the limited expanse of the water in the pond.

Impressionist autumn

Here in Northern Virginia, we usually don’t have the really vivid colors that I remember from my childhood days in New England, but the subdued colors are beautiful nonetheless. I find in these more restrained shades a kind of melancholic reminder that the days are gradually fading into winter.

Impressionist autumn

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Do you have a favorite spot that serves as a refuge, a place to which you can retreat and just sit and absorb the natural beauty that surrounds you? This winter I found such a place at a beaver pond in one of the remote corners of my local marshland park, a location reachable only by following a thorny, informal trail that was often muddy and/or icy.

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Often I would sit on one of the logs that surrounded one end of the beaver pond for extended periods of time and listen and observe. On occasion I was lucky and managed to get shots of an otter and a red fox from this spot, but mostly I would try to relax and clear my mind and reflect on life (I never managed to see any beavers here).

This spot has really beautiful light and sometimes I would marvel at the beautiful reflections that the trees across the pond would cast onto the water. I tried several times to capture those wonderful reflections with my camera, mostly without success. Last week, though, I took some photos that I like and here are a couple of them. They have an abstract quality that I find to be really appealing.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I waited for the sunset yesterday at my local marshland park and was treated to some cool effects as the last rays of the sun made their way through the trees onto the icy pond, creating some beautiful reflections.

My eye is really attuned to this effect because of a recent series of images by Stephen Pitt in his blog “Le temps d’un Soupir…” that show early morning rays of sun illuminating the forest floor. Check out his most recent posting by clicking on the name of his blog.

pre_sunset1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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There is a spot in a back corner of my marshland park that I love to visit in the early morning, when the light produces beautiful reflections in the still waters of a small pond.

It’s accessible only by an informal muddy trail, so I don’t have to share the moments of tranquility with the baby strollers and power walkers that interrupt my conversations with nature when I am on the boardwalk. Sometimes I will see ducks and geese here and I have even spotted a bald eagle perching in a tall tree, but the main draw for me is not the wildlife—it’s the sense of peace that envelopes me when I am here.

Sometimes I like reflections in which you can easily identify the objects being reflected, like the two trees in the first image. Other times, I get lost in the reflections themselves, which can result in a Monet-like abstract image like the second image below.

All of us are looking for an inner peace—this is one place in which I am able to experience a few moments of that peace.

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Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The Great Blue Heron was too far away for me to capture many details, but the light early yesterday morning was especially beautiful, so I decided to pull back and try to capture the landscape, something that I don’t do very often.

I love the rich bands of color that I managed to capture in this shot and the gorgeous reflections in the water at my local marshland park. The red color, I believe, is from buds that were stripped from the trees by winds and rain this past week.

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Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Preparing to leave “my” marsh yesterday afternoon, I looked over the frozen fields and waters and was struck by the beauty of the light and the reflections of the sky in the puddles. The scene was awash in shades of blue and gray. Somehow the photo of the scene is not quite as beautiful as I remembered, but I decided not to tweak it much.  In addition to capturing the moment, this photo also provides you with a view of part of the marshland where I take so many of my photos.

marsh_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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In the marshland park where I spend a lot of time shooting photographs, there is a small, shallow pond accessible only by an unimproved trail through the woods. It’s really peaceful there. At times there are ducks there or an occasional heron or deer, but usually it’s just me and the trees and the wind and the water. How do you capture that sense of tranquility in a photo? Here’s a modest attempt to do so.

Reflections

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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You might think that I am going to talk philosophically about a bee, but my title is meant to be taken literally. If you click on the photo, you can actually see reflections of the sky and bushes on the shiny surface of the abdomen end of this bee.

I am pretty sure that this is a carpenter bee for two main reasons. First, the abdomen area is shiny and hairless, unlike a bumblebee who is more hairy. Secondly, the bee is sucking nectar out of the side of the flower rather than going in from the front, a process sometimes referred to as “nectar robbing.” Carpenter bees are notorious for circumventing pollination in certain plants by slitting open the side of the flower.

Perhaps others can see more reflections on the bee. It’s like looking at clouds and trying to see shapes—it’s a lot of fun and everyone sees something different. Life is like that sometimes.

Click the photo to see more details

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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