Thursday, July 19, 2018

More Lilies...Water Lilies This Time


I've had lilies on my mind lately, but this week I got the opportunity to shoot a different kind, the water lily.



A friend invited me to her lake property and said she had a patch of water lilies just off her deck.  I looked forward to photographing them.



Water lilies can be somewhat challenging to photograph.  They typically don't open up until mid-morning, and then they close mid to late afternoon.  Each flower lasts just a few days before settling under the water to rot.



As we watched the lily pads begin to open, I was excited to see their lovely flowers.



I was a little frustrated though because I was eager to see the inner workings of the lily.  I considered wading into the water to photograph it from the top, but my friend discouraged me from doing that because the water was mucky.  



Then I got a little help from the wind and a jet ski.  As the wind picked up and the jet ski created some wake, the lilies began to bounce around in the water in several directions.



I was lucky to catch the full view as the flower tilted in my direction.



Such a beautiful flower!  No wonder Monet made them one of his favorite subjects to paint.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

SPEED DEMONS


One of the highlights of the National Cherry Festival is the air show.  The military flight demonstration teams are often the focal point of that show.  Typically, teams from the Air Force and Navy alternate years in being part of the popular event. 



This year the Blue Angels were in town.  Aviators from the Navy and the Marines make up the team, which include six demonstration pilots who fly the McDonnell Douglas F/A 18 Hornets.



The planes used by the team are actually fighter aircraft that have formerly served in the fleet.  They've been modified by removing weapons and outfitting each with a control stick spring system that allows the pilots more precise control for their maneuvers.



If you've ever watched an air show, you know the close proximity in which the planes fly.  I try to demonstrate that in this image and others.  It's actually quite scary.



The team typically start out with two planes and then other planes are added in until they reach full strength of six planes.



Here the team flies at full strength in what they call its Delta Formation.  Of course, the more aircraft involved, the more dangerous the maneuvers are, especially flying at speeds of 400 mph. 



The aircraft are also outfitted with tanks of special smoke-oil, resulting in the beautiful plumes that trail the Blue Angels.  Here they fly low over Old Mission Peninsula.



When I shoot airshow pictures, I do so from a high spot on the edge of the flight pattern.  Here, I was lucky to catch the Blue Angels as they flew directly overhead with their vapor plumes trailing behind them.  

Thursday, June 28, 2018

FEASTING ON DEER


From the time I was a little girl visiting my grandparents who lived in the North Woods in the Baldwin area, I have always loved watching deer.  We'd go out after dinner and drive the back roads looking for deer.  We even kept a log of how many we'd seen each night.



I guess I still have that same behavior.  As I'm out in the country looking for wildlife to photograph, I'm always on the lookout for deer, especially as dusk approaches.  I almost always see one or two.



But this evening, I hit the jackpot.  First I saw this doe and her fawn grazing in a field of wildflowers.  The doe seemed on high alert with her tail coming up as I approached.  I expected them to bolt any minute.



And bolt they did, flying across the field with those beautiful white tails high in the air.  The young spotted fawn was learning what to do in the face of perceived danger.  Not that I was.



The next deer I saw was just emerging from a wooded area.  I actually drove by it and caught it in my side vision just as I passed it.  I stopped and backed up, a sure action that causes most deer to run off.  I was lucky, though, as the deer stayed until I had my fill of picture taking.



I drove on and spotted three young bucks grazing in this field of greens.  They were all sporting first nubs of velvet.  They held my eye and showed no fear as I watched them.  Finally, I drove off and left them to their evening feeding.



I saw over 20 deer that evening, although I didn't get usable photographs of them all.  This was my last image, a statuesque beauty grazing in another field of wildflowers.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

FIELDS OF SPRING HAY BALES


The Monday rains had washed away the heat, and as the sky began to clear, I headed out in the evening to take pictures of the countryside.



I passed a horse farm on my way and snapped this image of these hay bales which had been stacked near farm machinery all winter.



Imagine my surprise when I came upon this hill with fresh rolls of hay bales.  I'd always associated baling hay as a fall endeavor, but I learned it happens in the spring too.  The light and dark lines on the hill puzzled me, though.



When I came upon a field, plowed but not yet baled, I could see how the lines must have been generated.



As I drove on, I could see it wasn't just one field with spring hay bales.  Field after field along the road was filled with them.



I was really enjoying the scenes unfolding before me, and I began photographing the bales from various angles.



This one turned out to be a favorite.  Having exhausted my creative photography of the bales, I drove on and began taking pictures of deer, which seemed to be popping up everywhere.  I'll share those in another blog post.



It was time to head back home, and I swung past the hay fields one last time.  The setting sun was providing a beautiful backdrop for my final hay bales image.



But further down the road, I got a spectacular image of the setting sun.  No bales of hay.  Just gorgeous farm country.