Category Archives: Nature

Photography: Pattern

patterns web

 

In the last post I featured a photo that caught my eye based on the texture of the plant.  This plant was right next to it, also in a concrete wash next to Jay’s parents house, but in this case I was struck by the interesting pattern of the leaves and their shadows.

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Photography: Texture

fuzzy plant close up web

 

My style of photography is one in which I focus on the basics of texture, color, contrast, and patterns in nature.  Rather than capturing a scene, I usually prefer to compose a close up image that highlights one of these characteristics, sometimes obscuring the actual subject.  In particular, I like to draw attention to something beautiful or unique in the day to day landscape.  For example, the plant pictured above is probably just a weed, which was growing out of the concrete wash next to Jay’s parents house.  The plant drew my attention with the great contrasting textures of the thin stiff green stems and the fluffy soft exploding seed pods.

The Attention Getting Hummingbird

hummingbird close up web

The exact opposite of the quail, the hummingbird is surprisingly easy to photograph.  Their high pitched call is very attention getting, and as soon as you learn it you will be able to spot hummingbirds darting around the desert.  Although most people think about hummingbirds as quick creatures in constant motion, they actually spend a lot of time just sitting on Ocotillo or Palo Verde, practically posing.  I wonder if the quail and the hummingbirds have worked out a deal, because it seems like when I am stalking quail for a picture, I get dive bombed by hummingbirds diverting my attention.  A high pitched squeal, a bright flash of color, and a small bird whizzing by your head is very successful at distracting you from the bumbling bird hiding in the bushes.  I wonder what the quail offers the hummingbird in return?

The Elusive Quail

quail

 

As long time readers know, I enjoy bird watching and have spent much of the last year and a half learning how to photograph birds.  Throughout that time I have never been able to get a clear decent picture of a quail.  This photo from the Phoenix Mountain Preserve is the closest I have gotten.  Quail look goofy and walk around on the ground in a way that suggests that they would be easy to catch.  Not so.  For how unsophisticated they seem, they are actually masterful at hiding in the bushes and quickly darting from one safe cover to another, successfully avoiding predators as well as birdwatchers.

Squirrel!

Abert Squirrel at the park near our house

After surviving Super Storm Sandy in northern Virginia and leaving the east when it was 40 degrees and raining, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Flagstaff was experiencing beautiful fall weather.  High 60’s and low 70’s with plenty of sun.  We got back into the Flagstaff groove by going for a hike in our own neighborhood.  I’m always amazed at how you can get on to a narrow trail in the woods only minutes from your house.  Pictured is one of our favorite woodland creatures that we spotted near Buffalo Park.  This squirrel is unique to our area.  There is a great children’s book written about him called Rascal – The Tassel-Eared Squirrel.

Photo Review: Fall in Flagstaff

The pictures below were taken in September and October in the mountains that overlook Flagstaff, Arizona.  In Flagstaff, the primary fall beauty is the Aspens turning yellow and the contrast with the surrounding Ponderosa Pine.