Posts Tagged ‘shadow’

I have arrived safely in Bastrop, Texas (just outside of Austin) for a family wedding after a long drive from Virginia that turned out to be 1560 miles (2510 km).

I don’t have any new photos to post, but thought I would feature an image of a female Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) that I photographed a little over a week ago. I spotted this beautiful dragonfly at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and was delighted to capture the shadow that the little dragonfly was casting on a colorful fallen leaf.

Thanks to all of you who responded to my recent request to subscribe to the YouTube channel of young UK-based wildlife photographer Toby Wood. He has now surpassed the required level of one thousand subscribers and his channel is now presumably eligible for monetization on YouTube.

Autumn Meadowhawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I have always been fascinated by shadows and reflections, which often lend an additional element of interest to a more straightforward shot. When a recently emerged dragonfly, probably a Lancet Clubtail (Gomphus exilis), flew into a nearby tree, I was utterly mesmerized by the shadow that it cast onto the leaves of the tree. The shapes and patterns of the green leaves create an almost abstract backdrop for the scene that really drew me in.

Most of my images are detailed, realistic portraits of my wildlife subjects, but at certain moment I love to attempt to capture more “artsy” images like this one.

Lancet Clubtail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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At this time of the year especially, I can usually depend on seeing ducks, geese, and sparrows at my local marsh—other birds may or may not be present, but these three species are my constant companions. The ducks and the geese are often loud and occasionally obnoxious, but when the sparrows sing, it’s generally a more melodious song. The ducks and geese will often fly away when I approach, but the sparrows will just take a hop or two and continue to forage for food.

I take lots of photos of sparrows. They are usually within range and have a surprising amount of personality. Yesterday, on a cold and windy day, I captured this image of what I think is a Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia). The light was pretty good and the sparrow cooperated by lifting its head without turning, resulting in a pleasant little portrait of this pretty little bird.

CORRECTION: A number of more experience bird watchers have noted that this is a Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana), not a Song Sparrow. Sorry for any confusion—this is not the first time I have misidentified a species, and certainly not the last.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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It was early in the morning and I was walking almost directly east along a stream. The sun had already risen and was in my eyes, but I spotted a Great Blue Heron in the water. I was able to get a shot that I knew would turn out as a silhouette, but the heron was standing in such a way that I was pretty confident that his silhouette would be immediately recognizable. The glare caused the color to wash out almost entirely and there are all kinds of artifacts from the light, but I like the overall effect.

Great Blue Heron Silhouette

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The sunlight was pretty bright late this afternoon, casting dark shadows everywhere, and I was not at all confident that I would get any decent shots. A butterfly flew into view in a partially shaded area, where he perched on a leaf. He was pretty cooperative as he kept his wings open as I made a few adjustments to my camera.

I like the interplay of light and shadows in the image below, even if the colors are somewhat muted and some of the highlights are a little blown out. I probably should admit that I love shadows almost all of the time—me and my shadows.

Butterfly shadow (click for higher resolution)

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I have always been fascinated by light and shadows.

Shadows often hide or mask details of a subject, although they also may reveal elements of a subject that might otherwise be concealed. Sometimes shadows are an accurate reflection of the subject (like a silhouette), but other times they distort reality. Shadows intrigue me too because they often pick up characteristics of the surfaces on which they are cast in addition to those of the subject.

My musings on shadows were prompted by this photo of an unidentified wasp (I think it is some kind of wasp) that I shot yesterday morning. The wasp was back lit by the morning sun, causing a hidden part of his body to be revealed in the shadow.

A few months ago I decided to photograph the morning light coming through a small flower in my neighbor’s garden. As I getting ready to shoot, an ant started walking across the back of the flower. It’s not a technically good shot but I like the effect that was produced by the ant’s shadow.

Folks who follow this blog know that I love dragonflies. In early June I took some photos of dragonflies on a sunny day, resulting in lots of shadows. The dragonfly’s shadow makes me think of the position of a person hang gliding and it even looks like the dragonfly is wearing a little helmet.

The undulating surfaces on which the shadow falls really make a difference in the shape of the shadow. I especially like how the shadows of the wings fall on a separate leaf from the shadow of the main body. The shadows of the leaves themselves make this image even more interesting for me.

In this final photo a dragonfly literally is casting a long shadow. The distortion caused by the angle of the sunlight causes his legs to appear much longer and I find that this dragonfly looks much more menacing than is typical of a dragonfly.

Can a dragonfly actually look menacing?

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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