Tree Line

Yesterday I took a short break from posting photos to write about our vacation planning for the year. Every once in a while I need to pause and acknowledge that my life occasionally involves something other than photography. Don’t worry though, I still have many more photos from our last (and probably final) snowfall.

The Lake Cornelia Nature Trail features a number of pond/wetland areas, in addition to the aforementioned lake. I took quite a few photos of the trees surrounding these areas, with the snow covered ice in the foreground. It was not always easy to get a clear view and I was a little hesitant to step too far off the trail, lest I sink into the swamp. Oops, I mean wetland.

While I was making some of these images, a jogger stopped and asked me what I was photographing. It’s a stupid pet peeve of mine that it sort of annoys me when people ask me that. Open your eyes and look around, beauty is everywhere.

Blue sky, fresh snow, winter trees – what do you think I’m photographing? The day was too gorgeous and my mood was too giddy for a snarky response. So I told him the truth – the trees, aka my current muse. Soon the stark branches will be bursting with new growth.

Got it Booked

As I mentioned previously, the ongoing construction of our new home is preventing us from traveling to Australia this year. Or taking any long vacations, really. Fortunately, our Australian family is coming to the U.S. in September/October. When my sister-in-law first told us about the trip back in mid February, they had only planned a few days at the beginning and end of the trip, intending to keep the rest of the itinerary pretty open.

That didn’t last long. They’ve managed to already plan out the first three weeks of their seven week trip. We are joining them for two of those weeks. We’ll be flying into Vancouver, taking a cruise up to Alaska and back, then taking a two day train ride to Banff and spending a few days there before flying back to Minneapolis via Calgary.

It’s a pretty ambitious itinerary that manages to include three things that have long been on my husband’s wish list – a cruise, a trip to Alaska and a long train ride. The best part is, the whole thing took almost no effort on my part. All I had to do was make a few reservations. We’re going pretty first class, booking a large cabin on the cruise and suites for all of the hotel stays. But it’s still only about half of what a trip to Australia would cost.

I also booked our next trip to Phoenix for the end of April and reserved Ripley’s boarding stay. So I have officially wrapped up all of our known travel plans for the year. Not that more trips won’t come up during the year, but for now I’ve got it booked.

A Different Path

Today I’m moving on from my backyard to the Lake Cornelia Nature Trail. You will recall this is a beautiful little wild area that I had never bothered to visit until two months ago, despite it being just a few miles from our house. Almost in the backyard.

I sort of gave away the ending from my second visit by featuring my three strongest images in the super quick post I put out last week. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot more good stuff to share.

You can bet this little nature trail is going to be a place I return to time and again, as the seasons change. There are a couple of different paths through the area. In January I stumbled across one through the woods and made some amazing images of the oak trees overhead, with leaves still tenaciously clinging to their branches. I intended to follow the same path last week, but didn’t. Instead I found a trail that went closer to the lake.

Again, the choice turned out to be fortuitous, as the new path ended up taking me across a wetland area with a lovely little bridge.

I don’t think there’s a bad option when choosing a path in this area. Even the asphalt path, featured here in my first and third images, can provide some great photo ops. No puddles offering reflections this time. Hmmm, that makes me realize I will definitely have to make it a priority to stop here right after a spring rain. Ahhh, spring.

Drop the Mic

As promised, today I’m featuring another round of hydrangeas ala Lensbaby. These are closer, more isolated and with cleaner backgrounds than yesterday’s images. Does that make them better?

Yes, but what really makes them better is the lighting. There was some sun shining through this section of the shrub.

That little bit of better lighting is what really makes the difference between today’s images and the ones I featured yesterday. It highlights all of the little veins in the petals. Dreamy stuff.

This is the last of my backyard Lensbaby posts for now. Tomorrow I’m moving on to the Lake Cornelia Nature Trail images.

Keeps Getting Better

Do not fear, I have not run out of backyard Lensbaby photos just yet.

Today and tomorrow I’m featuring color images of the hydrangeas in my yard. Because I have that many really amazing hydrangea photos.

Today’s images all have “messy” backgrounds and yet somehow they still work. At least, I think they do, which is all that really matters.

Not Letting Up

Yes, more Lensbaby work today and I’m back to my three image format. All is right with the world. Although I feel like I have a long way to go towards realizing the full capability of this lens, I can already see the huge potential. Not that it will replace the 50mm f/1.2 as my favorite lens. Today’s images are all stark black and whites. The first is an ethereal remainder of a coral bell plant in my back yard.

Next, is a few spindly dogwood branches. I really like the tree shadow in the background. A completely white background can feel a little sterile. I’ve had issues with mildew on these bushes, so I had to hack them to the ground last year. They haven’t made much of a comeback. The wispy branches really benefit from the Lensbaby.

My last image is a fallen tree branch that landed upright in the snow. I swear I didn’t plant it there. Not that there’s anything wrong with a little bit of staging. Artistic license and all that. This is my least favorite of today’s images. I think it’s the lack of any shadows that bring it down a bit. But hey, it fits the theme and fills out the third spot in today’s lineup. Which is nice.

More Lensbaby Love

I’m going to break my unofficial three image rule and only feature two today. I just didn’t have a third one that worked.

Consider yesterday a little appetizer that demonstrates what is possible with the beautiful Lensbaby Velvet 56. I’m still struggling with isolating my subject from the background noise, but these two beauties were totally worth the effort. Hopefully I’ll get this shit figured out before spring comes.

Commence the pushing in three, two, one…

A Small Step Back

When I quickly threw together last night’s post with three images from the trail near Lake Cornelia, I was jumping ahead a bit. My snow day on Monday actually started where it usually does, in my yard.

Even though I took these images first, they ended up being processed last because of the file name. The photos from my yard were all taken with the Lensbaby Velvet 56 on my 7DMII. The files for the 7D of course show up after the 5D. I just process the folder in order.

I converted all of these to black and white, but for some reason the first image looked better in color. It just lost a lot of detail in the black and white. Probably user error on my part, given the level of the abstraction. But I’m going with the one that worked better. I did a number of different angles on this little patch of stems and still ended up having to clone out a lot of distractions. My border patrol is pretty weak.

There is a pretty big learning curve with the Lensbaby and I expected (and got) a lot more fails than what I get with my Canon 50mm. Consider it all part of the experience.

I’ll Make This Quick

This is a high speed post for Jane. I am almost finished processing my images from Monday afternoon and there are definitely some serious push me down images. Here are a few.

These were all taken around the Lake Cornelia Nature Trail.

This is literally about two miles from my house and, until January, I had never been there. This was my second visit.

I took a slightly different path through the woods this time. It did not disappoint. Don’t worry, I have lots more to come. Love you Jane!

More From the Creek

Miracle of miracles, we woke up to fresh snow yesterday morning. It started Sunday afternoon and by the time it ended, most of the metro had received two to four inches. I was positively giddy.

Yes, I went out with my camera. Of course I haven’t finished processing those images yet, so today’s post still features the little section of Minnehaha Creek that I photographed after our last tiny snowfall.

I’m just so excited to have new images in the queue so I don’t have to start stretching out my material again. I just hope this freakish weather doesn’t decimate the plants and trees, which were starting to show signs of spring much too early.

Because as much as I’ve been motivated to get out and photograph the winter wonderland, it pales in comparison to my intense desire to start documenting the beauty that is the arrival of spring.