Early Fall on the West Shore of Houghton Lake, Michigan, where the morning air is crisp and the sun rises with clouds, color and beauty. Every morning was different. Some mornings were so cloudy or foggy that the sun made a quiet, almost non-appearance for the day. Other days were glorious. Here is a taste of the last week of September, 2021.
We had landscaping done today. A dry shade garden full of plants to surprise and amaze. Lots of texture, colors and flowers and seed pods. All of my favorite things. So much to explore. Here is a brief preview of some of the details but there is more to come.
Sunrise on the lake. I’ll be visiting Dad every month this year, and the highlight of every morning is what the sun will do. Color, clouds, timing, brilliance, all can vary and I can’t predict it. In June, it occurs early and I can miss it. Today was not as dramatic, but I really liked it. There were the pastel areas surrounding the sunrise, cloud character, and sun color peeking through the fluffy clouds. The lake is slightly rippled so there is texture in the bottom of the images, and an overall smoothness in the sky as potential rain clouds come into visit us today.
When the phlox bloom in my yard, I know summer is coming. The blooms are tall and rise about four feet high. The color varies from pink to white, sometimes almost purple. For a week or two I watch the colors sway in the breeze. The color splash against the greens of the woodland always cheers me. This year I decided to make a triptych of close ups of three colors of the phlox blooming right now.
Well, the biggest snowfall so far, as weather reports say more is coming. I walked on the plowed streets. Then I walked in the back yard. Each step I took I had to lift my feet high, and then deep into snow that went halfway to my calves. The snow made gorgeous shapes and textures as it filled and covered everything. The late afternoon sun cast shadows on that textured landscape.
Much of northern Illinois was covered with heavy frost at the first of the year. Some was Rime Ice, a very thick ice that forms when a fog is present during winter weather. Some was Hoar Frost, ice crystals that form when the temperature is well below freezing and the moisture creates ice crystal growths that resemble thorns or hairs. It was a very cold walk that day when I ventured out to capture images. Eye glass wearers always struggle on those very cold days to keep their glasses clear. But add a mask for COVID and fogging up just won’t stop. As a result, quite a few images captured were not in focus. That didn’t stop me from trying, however! Every branch and twig was covered with Hoar Frost. It was amazing to explore and get up close to see the ice crystals. The weather conditions have to be just right for this phenomenon to appear. And within hours the sun had melted all the crystals. It was a special time to be outside and look at all the ways the ice crystals grew.
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.
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.