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.
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.
As part of Fleeting Moments Artists, I captures a number of images of shadows. The best of these will be in an online gallery.
I chose to make all of my images black and white with a platinum gradient effect. Shadows distort, enhance or camouflage a subject. The shadows themselves form a shape that is unique. Along with the shadows, we included a “selfie” shadow of ourselves.