Oct 132013

“Ordinary” Magic ©2013 by April Siegfried

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I’ve enjoyed playing in the sandbox of Photoshop since the first version for Windows was released in 1992, and can imagine there must be a way to digitally create this image if I’d come up with the idea. Instead, what a pleasure it was to look up at this moment—“whoa!”—and simply click the shutter release. Instant gratification.

Nikon D300; 1/45 sec @ f11, ISO 220 (handheld);
18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 105mm (157mm EFL); focus distance 33.5m

Aug 092013

Storm №2

Nikon D300; 1/125 sec @ f8, ISO 560 (handheld); 18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 27mm (40mm EFL)

Storm №1 ©2013 by April Siegfried

Nikon D300; 1/125 sec @ f8, ISO 500 (handheld); 18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 26mm (39mm EFL)

Just the other day… At 6 a.m. I was standing on the end of a pier during a collision of weather fronts over Lake Michigan—marveling at the colors, storm light, and changing cloud formations. As the wind shifted from calm to whirling, it felt like I was in the center of a vortex.

When it finally began to rain, I retreated beneath trees in the park and realized I’d been the highest point on lakefront with the metal tip of my folded umbrella way above my shoulder. Probably not the smartest move.

But I didn’t get struck by lightning, and it was exhilarating to be there!

Jun 042013

Crabapple Blossoms ©2013 by April Siegfried

When I started practicing Miksang three years ago, we were instructed to “boycott your default position”. Sometimes, however, I just have to capture classic beauty in a traditional way. The light on these flowers was perfect, and the raw file needed very little post-processing. I love when that happens!

Nikon D300; 1/125 sec @ f11, ISO 400 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5–5.6 @ 240mm (360mm EFL); focus distance 1.78m

Feb 172013

three carp swimming in a dark pool

I like this image for its quiet nature and the blurring of lines between worlds. These fish aren’t actually swimming through plants in the pool, but through their reflections.

Nikon D300; 1/125 sec @ f11, ISO 3200 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5–5.6 @ 78mm (117mm EFL); focus distance 2.82m

Oct 272012

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What a pleasure to become immersed in this color and light for a time…

Nikon D300; 1/125 sec @ f9.5, ISO 200 (handheld);
18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 200mm (300mm EFL); focus distance .89m

Sep 082012

Cloud Play №7
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Nikon D300; 1/60 sec @ f11, ISO 560 (handheld);
18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 18mm (27mm EFL)

Cloud Play №6
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Nikon D300; 1/250 sec @ f9.5, ISO 200 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5–5.6 @ 70mm (105mm EFL)

At this time of year in Chicago, we get to experience amazing cloudscapes along Lake Michigan.

Sep 072012

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On an overcast morning after heavy rain, this fall of red crab apples was vivid!

Nikon D300; 1/30 sec @ f11, ISO 3200 (handheld);
18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 42mm (63mm EFL); focus distance 3.16m

Jun 052012

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Pretty flowers I couldn’t resist! The violet blossoms in the foreground are campanula, or “Bellflower”.  🙂

Nikon D300; 1/60 sec @ f5.6, ISO 3200 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5–5.6 @ 92mm (138mm EFL); focus distance 2.11m

May 252012

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I’m still having fun with my new lens. Just after surise the other day, there was zero wind, dew on the flowers, and a nice backlight on this subject. Classic, but who can resist such opportunities?!

Nikon D300; 1/125 sec @ f11, ISO 500 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5–5.6 @ 180mm (270mm EFL); focus distance 1.68m

May 092012

Spring Light
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Nikon D300; f11 @ 1/350 sec, ISO 200 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 220mm (330mm EFL); focus distance 1.68m

Prairie Fire
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Nikon D300; f9.5 @ 1/125sec, ISO 3200 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 165mm (247m EFL); focus distance 1.68m

“Dappled light” sounds pretty, doesn’t it? But high contrast and hard shadows have led me to dismiss it in favor of photographing subjects under soft, even lighting…

Until last month, during the Callway Gardens workshop, when a participant opened my eyes to possibilities I’d been ignoring. She was photographing the color and reflections of azaleas along a riverbank, playing with impressionist ripples in the water. What especially struck me, however, was the way she’d been drawn to one particular mound of blossoms spotlit by sunshine through a break in the surrounding trees. Ah-hah.

Thank you, for showing me the light!