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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Early this morning I spotted a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) in a distant part of a pond that I was exploring. I was worried about blowing out the highlights of the heron’s face and bill, so I deliberately underexposed the image. As a result the background became a bit darker than it was in real life and gave it a dramatic quality that I really like. The reflections of the heron and some of the background elements add a lot to the “artsy” feel of the photo.

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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One of the youngest viewers of my blog is a boy named Benjamin. His grandmother likes to share my photos with him and he especially likes bluebirds. Upon viewing some images of them and seeing their colors, he innocently asked why they aren’t called Orange Bluebirds. Why not indeed? This post is especially for him.

I too love Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) and am happy anytime I am able to catch a glimpse of their bright colors. Here are a couple of images of bluebirds that I spotted this past Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge (and there is plenty of orange to be seen).

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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We don’t often have daytime fog where I live—most of the time it burns off shortly after sunrise. Yesterday, however, it hung around all morning and visibility was very limited at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Except for a lot of gulls and a few geese, the birds seemed to have decided to stay sheltered until the fog dissipated.

It was a nice challenge for me to try to capture a sense of the moment in the indistinct shapes that were visible as I looked out into the water of the bay. Here are a couple of images that have a kind of abstract, impressionist feel that I really like.

foggy impressions

foggy impressions

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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The early morning sunlight was spectacular yesterday as it streamed through the trees at Huntley Meadows Park. I tried to capture this phenomenon as a kind of mini-landscape by using my telephoto lens and framing it just as you see in this image. It is a little unusual for me not to crop an image at all, but by composing it this way, I was able to include those elements that I found the most interesting, the light and shadows of the trees, and left out the things that I found less interesting such as the sky. I did include a little strip of grass in the foreground so that the image is not completely abstract.

early morning trees

When I first arrived at the park, the sun had barely risen and there was a lot of ground fog, which made the woods look really mysterious and a little spooky. One of my viewers on Facebook said the image looked like it could be the setting for the witches in Macbeth. The second image was a lot tougher to capture, because of the lack of light and my desire to capture a sense of the fog that was clinging to the ground. There is a slight blur to the image, which would normally be a shortcoming in a photo, but I think it works ok with an image like this one.

early morning trees

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Yesterday I took a break from bird photography and visited Green Spring Gardens, a county-run historic garden, with a macro lens on my camera rather than my long telephoto zoom lens. It is still a bit early for most flowers, so I was happy to spot these little purple flowers that had pushed their way to the surface. I think they may be crocuses, though I really don’t know flowers very well.

I got really low to get an interesting background and almost got stepped on by a runner—maybe it’s best not to wear a camouflage jacket when lying on the ground.

purple buds

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Composition does not get much more simple than this—a single subject with its reflection against an uncluttered, almost monochromatic background.

The skies were heavily overcast this past Friday and rain fell intermittently on me as I walked along the trails at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Most of the birds seem to have taken shelter from the inclement weather. One hardy heron, however, had waded out into the shallow waters of the bay and I was thrilled to be able to capture this image of it. I see Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) pretty often, but will always stop to observe them. Sometimes I am patient enough to see one catch a fish, but most of the time the heron’s patience exceeds mine.

Recently I have been watching a lot of videos on pencil sketching and watercolors and it struck me that the shadowy reflection of the bird in this photo could have been rendered using one of those techniques.

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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The light was so beautiful early this morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge that it looked like this male Bufflehead duck (Bucephala albeola) was swimming in the clouds rather than in the water, giving this image an almost surreal feel that I really enjoy.

bufflehead

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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