Tag Archives: photography

When the Clouds are Right

When the clouds are right, it’s hard to go out and not get half way decent photo’s as long as you include part of the sky.

Today the clouds were right.

But the wind wasn’t.

25 mph winds with gusts up to 50. Temps in the upper 30’s with wind chills in the low 20’s. If you don’t know what that’s like here in northern Illinois, it could best be described as unpleasant.

I knew this when I headed out the door and decided to drive the back roads in the lower Fox Valley, but I saw it as an opportunity to explore areas I haven’t been to in years and mentally mark them for further exploration at a later date.

Preferably when conditions might be better described as pleasant.

Controlling the car in the many open areas became a challenge. Wind gusts would hit the car and staying between the lines wasn’t easy. Luckily few drive these roads so traffic wasn’t an issue.

Pretty much all of the shots below are out the window shots. Of course a few times I had to get out of the car to get a better angle on something and I quickly realized what a mistake that was. Even at 200 pounds I’m no match for wind gusts of 50. Standing out in the open and trying to hold steady was next to impossible as I got pummeled. Even in the car it was difficult to hold the camera steady. A car parked on the edge of an open field and getting buffeted by high winds tends to rock back and forth, a lot.

In some of the shots, that’s not rain, it’s snow.

And not snow flakes, but snow pellets.

And by the time they were near the ground they were going nearly horizontal at anywhere between 25 and 50 mph.

And if you were stupid enough to be standing outside the car trying to get a better angle for a shot when one of these blew through and they hit what little exposed skin you had, it stung like a sonovabitch.

In 2015 I only took about 6,000 photo’s

In 2015 I only took about 6,000 photo’s, give or take a few. Which probably explains why I don’t have time to go back and play with them much.

Decided to start a project today. Went back to June 10, 2015 and a sunset storm I shot out at Silver Springs State Park that had some of the most amazing clouds I’ve ever seen. Took 209 shots that day.

I’ve set aside 6 single shots to play with, will probably go back for more. Also set aside 25 sets of 2 or 3 shots to make into panorama’s.

Picked out one of the simpler pano’s to start with. I try to keep the processing to a minimum and do my best to make it look like what I thought I saw. Then I turn it to black and white and make adjustments to that to make it have the same feel as the color shot.

We’ll see how this goes. Took a half hour to make the pano and get the colors the way I want. Took 7 minutes to turn it to black and white.

I need to retire and just play around. For just these 31 final images let’s say I spend an hour on each. It will take about 31 hours to finish this one little project. With a full time job eating up a good 12 hours a day, this could take some time.

That leaves me about 5,950 photos to go through and play with from last year alone. A rough estimate dating back to the year 2000 when I went digital shows I have about 25,000 more in my collection. Let’s say that only 5 percent may be worth playing with. That means I should be able to whittle it down to about 1,500 images to play with.

What am I getting myself into.

From here on I’m going to figure out how to make posts and galleries on my website for these. Might be a challenge. This site is reminiscent of the forums I’ve been leaving stories and pictures on for nearly 20 years. Takes no real effort on my part to put things here, it’s second nature.

For nearly five years I’ve had my eye on a paid theme called Photocrati that would work perfectly. That also shows how long I’ve been toying with the idea of making a switch like this. Each passing year has shown that my fishing stories keep getting shorter and the emphasis has been put on the images. I’ve always been image heavy, but now the images have a lot less to do with fish and fishing and the words keep getting fewer.

Well, I won’t fish again till the smallies start heading up the creeks some time in March. Which means I have some time on my hands till then.

But still, the thought nags…

What am I getting myself into.

What to do What to do

One of these days I’m going to figure out what to do with all these pictures I take.

I find myself out wandering just shooting with no real thought given to them.

Most turn out quite bland and yet, in my head is an image stew.

Back when I used to paint I used to paint images over images over and over again.

My head is telling me to start combining these somehow.

Orderly, abstract, disparate, just put them up together somehow, one after another, above and below each other, nice neat lines, sporadic and let the images figure out whether or not they play well together.

I open folders and browse, couple of seconds per image. Playing the possibilities out in my head. Putting things together. Rotating them. Flipping them.

I have a memory for images, not words.

I walk away and they keep playing in my head.

Wake up in the middle of the night and the slide show continues.

One of these days I’m going to figure out what to do with all these pictures I take.

If for no other reason than I need to get some sleep.

Year in Review

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a year in review.

Years ago I ran a fishing guide service out on the Fox River and keeping excruciatingly detailed records, then summarizing them at the end of the year, was pretty much mandatory.

Have to prove your worth.

Now, record keeping is at best sporadic. Probably still better than most, but not like it used to be. If you ever played sports as a kid, keeping stats in your head for whatever game you played was easy. Granted, there was always that game where a brawl ensued because of conflicting stat keeping, but this is just fishing. I still get questioned, criticized is a better word, for the stat keeping in my head, but I have a pretty standard response for that.

Yeah, well, whatever. It’s just fishing.

In the last three years we had near record drought, near record flooding and last winter was one of the coldest on record. Of those three, I’d have to say that the cold had the biggest impact on the fishing. Fish can adjust to high and low water, but freeze everything over and eliminate the oxygen and the fish tend to suffer.

I think that’s what happened and why this was one of the worst years of fishing I’ve had since I started fishing the Fox River in 1996.

I only fish for smallmouth bass, I consider everything else bycatch. Some are entertaining to catch like the gills, crappie, white bass and even creek chubs. The rest are just kind of annoying with carp topping that list.

This year I probably got out fishing 75 times. The wife says more, but I no longer fish the colder months of the year, so I’m not sure. She might be right, but 75 still sounds like a good number to me.

The bulk of the fishing this year was on the Fox River and five of its creeks. I made one trip about 60 miles west to Franklin Creek. Tough access, beautiful surroundings and decent fishing for the second half of July on a creek. I would imagine May could be much better, fishing wise.

I also fish alone. I got out once with a friend in 2014. I tend to go fishing on a whim. If I don’t feel like it, I don’t go. If I decide to turn left at the river rather than the right I had originally planned, then I turn left. If the morning sucks, I go in the afternoon. Hard to make decisions on a whim when plans are made, so I avoid plans. You’ll see the end result of this solitary fishing in the pictures below. No hero shots with fish, no grinning fish holders, no monster bronze bombers, no pictures of me at all. Now and then I’ll do an arms length shot of a fish or a close up, but that’s pretty much it. The rest is just stuff I come across that interested me at the time.

I do a lot of short fishing trips now. An hour or two and at most I’ll go for five hours. Years ago I’d go over a 100 times a year with the average trip being five hours.

Things change.

This year I know I caught at least 400 smallmouth bass, that’s about when I quit paying attention. I know I caught more, but I also know it didn’t get close to the 500 mark. With that ability to keep stats in my head, I also know I had at least another 200 smallies on that I got to see, but they were smart enough to spit the hook before I got to touch them. I quit paying attention to those stats when I hit the 200 mark.

Then there’s that small percentage of bycatch. At least I’m saying it’s a small percentage because I really don’t know. A bunch of other fish might be a good way to say it.

So yes, I know some would argue, but this was a bad year. A bad year in the past was a little over 500 smallies caught in about the same time frame.

I’m blaming the winter we had.

In the past when I did a year in review this is where I would go on and on with theories, strategies, equipment and lures used, but those days are over and so is my interest in elaborating.

So far this winter has been relatively normal. That’s a good thing. If normal continues, by mid March the fish will start moving.

Patience is not a virtue I have, but mid March is only 10 weeks away.

Tick, tock, tick, tockā€¦

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Photo Tip Number One

Okay, maybe I’ve put up a number of them that can be called Photo Tip Number One, but I’ll be damned if I can find them on my own site.

Don’t shoot into the sun.

Yet I continue to do it against all the advice not to.

I like the unexpected sun flare, the odd purple color radiating from that and the shadow streaks heading my way, more or less.

I like the way leaves get back lit, how the fallen leaves shimmer and shine on the forest floor and how the tree trunks turn brown black.

I like how the sky blue sky intensifies around the edges.

So, do as I say, not as I do.

Don’t shoot into the sun.

As for me, I guess I’ll never learn.