Every Fall we have one or two Puffballs in our yard. This year we have seven! They grow into volleyball sized rounds almost overnight, but it takes several weeks for them to “puff” spreading trillions of spores into the air. Puffballs are fungi, specifically Calvatia gigantea. They are edible and quite tasty — if you know the right time to harvest them. Puffball Steaks, thick, found slices, can be sautéed with herbs and are a meal all by themselves.
I photographed the seven Puffballs yesterday, and surprisingly they were each in different life stages. Starting with the pure white globes and moving through the transition from white to speckled to spots to brown, and finally the dark brown, collapsed puffball which has loosed its spores into the air.
Challenged to look at the work of Josef Sudek’s photography and emulate it, I chose to capture Still Life images like he did on the windowsill of his Atelier, or Studio. I’d rise early to get the moody images, especially on rainy days. The windowsill in my kitchen offered indirect, filtered light in the morning with sky peeking through the leaves of the trees. I chose to use this to create a bokeh effect for the background. I converted to black and white and applied various filters and textures to simulate wet plate collodion plates and used either a sepia tone or cool tone. This was a fun project, very much influenced by what produce was available.
Imagine that our National Park landscapes have doors to realms if the imagination. What might the landscape look like? These composite images made in Photoshop explore the possibilities. I took an Advanced Photoshop class and worked on these composites for my final project. They are the beginning of a new work I’m excited to expand upon.
I followed them a female Monarch Butterfly as she flitted from milkweed plant to milkweed plant, laying eggs on the tender leaves. She stopped several times to get some nectar for energy. Then she flew down the street to lay eggs elsewhere.
This lovely native bush is in full bloom in early July. The blooms look like the brushes for baby bottles, hence the name. But this species is native to Illinois and its full name is Bottlebrush Buckeye. It spreads out and fills the shaded area. Some branches are low to the ground.
I got a gift of an Amaryllis for Christmas. I’ve been dutifully watering, turning it around and watching. The blooms are beginning to open. I got a new 35mm f1.8 lens, so I’ve been getting to know the lens and the Amaryllis at the same time. These are photos of the last two days.