Oct 272013

Cloudplay №10 (Mirrored) ©2013 April Siegfried

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Just the other day, shortly after sunrise, the waves of Lake Michigan were washing high over beaches near my home. Storm clouds reflected briefly in the backwash, before disappearing into the sand.

My first inclination, with so many beautiful images right in front of me, was to dive in and start shooting with the hope of capturing as many as possible. It soon became clear, however, that a scattershot approach wasn’t going to work. I was only getting frustrated.

Stop; breathe. What am I really seeing? Where? What shutter speed and aperture would best express that? Will I be satisfied with the ISO required to do so?

In landscape or nature photography, I always feel the pressure of time because conditions change so quickly. The scenes in this case were especially fleeting, never to recur in quite the same way again. Once I took a little time to just look and think about the technical questions, then I was able to slow down and perceive what was happening—ready to shoot when it did.

Nikon D300; 1/180 sec @ f16, ISO 720 (handheld);
18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 26mm (39mm EFL); focus distance 3.76m

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.

Aug 082012

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Sunlight breaking through clouds added beautiful dimension to reflections on water at Montrose Harbor this morning.

Nikon D300; 1/250 sec @ f11, ISO 1100 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5–5.6 @ 125mm (187mm EFL); focus distance 7.5m

Jun 092012

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On a calm day, Montrose Harbor is a great place to look for reflections. This was photographed about an hour after sunrise, when the light was still warm in hue.

Nikon D300; 1/250 sec @ f8, ISO 200 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5–5.6 @ 240mm (360mm EFL); focus distance 9.4m

Apr 112012

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Last week, I had the great pleasure of assisting Marti Jeffers during her Callaway Gardens and Warm Springs workshop. The area is wonderfully rich in photographic possibilities—from landscape through macro to vintage architecture—and it was inspiring to work with all of the participants.

Photographed in the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, I was struck by the peaceful quality of this intimate scene.

Nikon D300; f8 @ 1/125 sec, ISO 3200 (handheld);
18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 200mm (300mm EFL); focus distance 1.33m

Oct 302011

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Nikon D300; f8 @ 1/125 sec, ISO 200 (handheld);
18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 200mm (300mm EFL); focus distance .71m

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Nikon D300; f8 @ 1/350sec, ISO 200 (handheld);
105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm (157mm EFL); focus distance .45m

Two takes on one theme I’m noticing often at this time of year—as temperatures begin to fall, but the sun still has some warmth.

Oct 082011

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  1. The action of changing or the state of being changed into another form
  2. The changing of one element into another

Nikon D300; f9.5 @ 1/180 sec, ISO 200 (handheld);
18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 150mm (225mm EFL); focus distance 21.13m

Jul 202011

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Another photograph taken during the recent Miksang workshop in Boulder. As we endure 96F heat and high humidity in Chicago, this image struck me as especially inviting to process. 😉

The white flecks were puffs of cottonwood seed floating on the pond’s surface, but remind me of  falling snow or cherry blossoms.

Nikon D300; f11 @ 1/180 sec, ISO 720 (handheld);
18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 200mm (300mm EFL); focus distance 2.24m

May 282011

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With the forecast calling for partly cloudy skies, I decided to visit the Chicago Botanic Garden. Wouldn’t you know,  it turned severely clear instead! So I focused on the assignment “light” from The Practice of Contemplative Photography.

This was photographed in the Sensory Garden, which “celebrates fragrances, sounds, colors, textures, and movement.” Taking pictures was a great excuse to spend a lot of time in those surroundings.

Nikon D300; f8 @ 1/500 sec, ISO 200 (handheld);
18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 200mm (300mm EFL); focus distance 2.66m

Aug 102010

The hull of a boat floating within strongly patterned reflections.

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Captured in camera, this scene is not cropped and post-processing involved only tweaking for color and contrast.  Though I know what it is, I still have trouble parsing the image!

On a side note, my Web hosting server was attacked through Google’s FeedBurner yesterday, temporarily suspending my account and putting it risk for deletion. I’ve had to disable FeedBurner and delete the feed, so I’ve no idea if subscribers are still receiving updates… If not, and you see this note, you can re-subscribe using the orange RSS link above the right-hand menu column.

Nikon D300; f/8.0 @ 1/125sec, ISO 800;
18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 120mm (180mm EFL); focus distance 10.59m