Over the years living and kayaking around the Chesapeake Bay and the James River waterways, I have been fortunate enough to practice my photography using eagles, the great blue heron, egrets, and many other wonderful creatures as my photography subjects on a regular basis. This particular bald eagle was one of four eagles that I came across yesterday November 3, 2015 during my kayaking venture.
These particular eagles seem to have migrated to the Gordon Creek off of the James River for the fall. I have been watching them slowly work their way up and down the James River for the past few months. It seems this particular cluster of eagles have inhabited nicely along the Gordon Creek for the present. The food is plentiful and the eagles should be innocuous, but might relocate when hunting season starts in the next couple months. Until then, they will be an inspiring sight to watch as they put on an aerial ballet of awe-inspiring moments for photographers and nature watchers alike.
This is me kayaking yesterday on the waterways taking photographs. I purposely played around with the contrast and saturation for fun. My wife likes this picture of me; apparently I rarely smile. A short synapsis: Since my kayak is more than 7 years old, 9ft in length, and weighs just over 54pounds, in combination with my own body weight and gear, I am paddling around 285pounds of weight roughly 3-15 miles every trip. And, in the winter months 300+pounds (with the addition of cold weather gear) is the norm. Within the past two years I have logged over 600 miles of paddle time.
To give someone an idea from a navigational perspective just how far that is; the starting point would be kayaking from the tip of Gordons Creek, just off of the James River from Virginia to The Manasquan Inlet in New Jersey and still have a few miles to spare. The following quotes are a few of my favorite quotes. Enjoy!
Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
Everything you can imagine is real.
Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful, or to discover something that is true.
When I am photographing bees or different types of insects gathering nectar, it’s not out of the ordinary to have a few of them crawling on you as you’re taking their picture. With most of these particular shots, my camera lens is around one or two inches from the focal point, so having a reverent appreciation for their habitat and recognizing the dangers help out with being in such close proximity to nature’s miracles. With every organism there are inherit dangers, so when working closely with bees just keep in mind they may sting you out of defense.
With each of these photographs my preference is my Rebel T-5 camera with an 18-55mm lens and a XIT Pro Series Macro attachment lens. I enjoy trying to get the most in-depth angles achievable, when I am involved with macro shooting. The smallest detail can make a picture really stick out – i.e., a water droplet, or a clump of pollen that may have accumulated on the bees tiny little hairs from crawling over the flower.
I am used to having these little insects crawling on me; it just goes with the territory of taking their portraits. So, I just keep clicking away as they buzz around and meander up and down my arms. Until the colder weather truly arrives, the bees will continue collecting their nectar and the flowers will continue to show life, allowing me to continue practicing my photography.
Trying to take photographs of the bald eagle during flight is challenging enough, but imagine trying to capture a shot at an altitude of 10,000 feet at speeds of about 30 to 35 mph (which this bird is capable of achieving). Unfortunately for my Rebel T-5 and my 75-300mm lens, that is a little difficult for the types of shots I would really like to capture of this fascinating bird. So, when I am kayaking and see these magnificent birds a few yards away from the shore lines or circling above my head, I try to capture as many shots as I possibly can. I just sit there in my kayak and snap away trying to capture every detail of the moment, because these birds tend not to linger too long especially when and where I see them on a recurring basis. Over the years living and kayaking around the Chesapeake Bay and the James River waterways, I have been fortunate enough to practice my photography using these birds on a regular basis.
In this particular photograph I see a strong and powerful creature that glides across the sky with grace and has a domineering presence. This could be why these birds have been a national emblem of the United States since 1782, although perhaps Benjamin Franklin would disagree with this statement. Nonetheless, the Eagle is a beautiful bird to watch and to use as a wonderful subject to continue practicing my photography.
One of my favorite artists is Pablo Picasso. I know, cliché, right? However, to coincide with Pablo Picasso’s birthday on 25 October, I thought I would share a few points attributed to him – quotes that often run through my mind when I am photographing sunsets. A favorite is “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Nothing would be farther from the truth when it comes to sunsets, because the day’s end offers an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned from the day.
Another perennial favorite: “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” So true! I try to capture the essence of the moment, especially when the sun is reflecting and bouncing over the wrinkles of water, unleashing the stillness that seems to follow a sunset. “Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.” Picasso could not have said it any better. The colors and the elaborate ballet of light reflecting on the water remind me of the grace and precision of dancers on stage. I try to capture that one single moment, the pivotal point in that magnificent dance of time.
Technology is important for a photographer. As my wife would tell me, Alexander Gardner paved the way for photographers during the American Civil War. Currently, I use two types of Canon cameras, my original baby, the T-3 Rebel, a fantastic beginner’s camera for one who is just getting into photography and is on a very tight budget. The camera itself is versatile and light and can take a pounding. I have owned mine for 4 years and have taken over 20,000 photographs, dropped it, hiked and kayaked through multiple storms; it has weathered conditions ranging from 15 degrees below zero and temperatures above 100 and the camera just keeps on going. The Canon T-3 will teach the beginner patience. Every photographer wants that one shot that is the holy wow of shots. With the T-3 you will have to wait, anticipate, and shoot before the action happens. You see a bird such as a Blue Heron or an Egret spearing its head into the water for that fish or snake and then eating it. You want to capture that moment when the Heron or Egret is lifting its head out of the water and the droplets of water are spraying off of the neck and head. You will have to anticipate the shot and shoot, because the shutter speed on the T-3 does not provide a barrage of shots or the favorite photographer sound, the clicking shutter. The T-3 is a great camera; keep in mind it is not waterproof, however. Lesson learned.
My new favorite is the Canon T-5, an upgrade from the T-3. The shutter speed is just about the same as the T-3, but the picture quality is better. The megapixels are higher in the T-5 which will make the smallest of details stand out a little more – such as those water droplets spraying off of the neck and head of a Heron or Egret. Whether or not you buy direct from Canon or a store, the prices will vary, but the camera is a great investment for someone getting into photography. We found a great package deal at Amazon!
These are two cameras that will teach someone patience and assistance in understanding photography from a beginner’s point of view, instead of purchasing a higher-priced model right from the start. I feel one would come to appreciate what it means to be patient when taking photographs with these two models.
See you in the next post!
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When I am kayaking or on the water I am in my comfort zone. Even more so, when I have a camera in my hand. My fellow photographers may understand this feeling….I look at the environment and 90% of the time I am in a state of awe with what I see. My photos are a way to share these moments to hopefully inspire someone to believe in something when there is nothing left to believe in.
I take a lot of sky related pictures as well as flower pictures because those are the easiest mediums in which to perfect my art. When I look at the sky, I look back to my past and reflect where I have been and where I want to be. A childhood is meant to be cherished, not a haunting dream. It relaxes me to watch the clouds change form, or the trees swaying with the leaves bouncing around like they a part in a play or a musical note ready to sound off in a symphony. The sound of the wind whistling through the branches as they are creaking, the leaves falling like a sound of a potato chip being crunched are soothing elements to me. I love the ambiance of the solitude. I can be myself when I am clicking away behind the camera lens. I don’t have to hide what I feel or see, because I am trying to capture that single moment on a picture.
When I see a flower in the morning it is the same thing as when I look into to the sky. The dew or a slight mist dripping off the flower petals represents the transition between the morning that was and the day that is yet to be. The flower is cleansing itself to prepare the way for new beginnings. The photo capture of a flower dripping with moisture is sensual in nature and has a romantic quality to it. When love is dry it has no wonders to be discovered and has no desire to be something greater than just a flower. When love is dripping with water it has passion yet to be unleashed and the desire to survive in the harshest of conditions.
These still-life photos represent the way in which I see the world around me. This is my way to express myself in the midst of a world filled with chaos.
It is possible you may have stumbled upon my blog as a result of Instagram, so thank you for joining me on my venture into the world of blogging. The blog posts you will read here will contain the view of the world that I capture through the lens, as well as my musings – lovingly interpreted into blog-appropriate prose by my wife.
So, what kind of content can you expect? Similar to the Photo A Day challenge, my goal is to share a photo or two in a weekly blog post, as well as my thought process behind the photo. I often view photos and wonder about the photographer’s perspective. Yes, I am able to form my own opinion, but sometimes it is interesting to hear about the artist’s process, so that is what I will share here. Random musings, photography business photo shoots, and my thoughts on the world through my camera lens will be the theme.