New Jersey Nature Photography: Tree Shadows on Snow

“Tree Shadows on Snow”, New Jersey nature photography from Morris County.

“The art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface.”  – Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Elusive wildlife and scenic vistas can make outstanding photos, I like to shoot them often.  Don’t forget to capture the small things either.

NJ snow photo

On a cold winter day, the long shadows of bare trees stretch across and empty canvas of snow. #Nature #photography #minimalism

Florida Nature Photography: American Alligator

It is always a good idea to “work the scene” when out performing nature photography.  Our instincts may lead us to shoot a subject from a specific angle that has worked well for us in the past, or maybe even to mimic what we have seen in a magazine.  However, there are nearly infinite ways to image an animal, plant, or landscape when we factor in using different focal lengths, varied camera angles, and also begin to think abstractly.  One alternative type of shot is  to fill the frame with nothing but the texture of a live animal’s skin, fur, or feathers.  In this case we are looking at the “business side” of an American Alligator’s body.  Yes, the animal is both free and alive.

Alligator photo

An intimate view of the ridges atop an Alligator’s body. All other contextual clues are eliminated from the frame. #Photo taken with the #Tamron SP 70-300mm VC lens and the #Canon 6D.

New Jersey Art Photo: Cedar

The below featured photo was taken two days in Morris County, New Jersey.  I employed a few different shooting techniques that day, ranging from Impressionist strokes (ICM) to straightforward lock-down shots on my tripod.  Some photos are successful, majority were not.  I expect many photos to be compositional and technical failures, it’s part of the journey and if creating good art was easy it would be less gratifying.

Moving along… the shot below was taken handheld with a very slight vertical hand movement aka Intentional Camera Movement (ICM).  This photo works for me because the composition looks balanced and the details like the tree bark are very visible, yet the photo is inherently soft.  A slight white balance shift completes the piece.

NJ Art Photo

An #art photo of a cedar tree, executed in an #Impressionist manner. Photo taken with the #Tamron 16300mm VC AllInOne lens and the Canon EOS 50D DSLR.

Exposure settings: 2s F/22 ISO 200 + Intentional Camera Movement

New Jersey Nature Photography: Currents

When outside creating photo art, it can be extremely important to previsualize individual shots as segments of a cohesive set or exhibition.  It isn’t necessary to complete a themed set in one outing, one week, one month, or even in one year.  You also do not need to be working on just one theme at a time, but it is important to stay the course so that your artwork can be perceived as a visual study with impact.  Below are some photos I took on Saturday, and while very similar at first glance there are compositional difference throughout.  I’m not sure that this set is complete, but I will use this to contact local art galleries to get feedback on my concept.

NJ Art Photos

A recent series of #nature extract photos taken in New Jersey. Taken handheld with the #Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens and the #Canon EOS 50D DSLR.

All above photos were taken handheld with the Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens and the Canon EOS 50D DSLR.

New Jersey Nature Photography – Unsettling

I’ve intentionally been taking art photos with just enough intentional blur to retain definition on the subject matter, but also enough to cause some ghosting within the frame.  One man honestly stated that my photos could make him nauseous if they were hung on his walls.  I couldn’t help myself from chuckling.  One word that came up in online discussions is “unsettling”, and that helps me remember why I began taking these photos.  Unsettling is the goal.

NJ Art Photo

A row of phragmites spirals and reaches in front of tanks and a bare tree. Art photo taken at Mill Creek Point in #NewJersey using the #Tamron 14-150mm All-In-One lens and the #Olympus PEN E-PL3 m43 camera.

Art Photo: Traffic

I guess you could call this one street photography?  The technique was admittedly little more than a random snapshot, but whenever I look at this I like it more.  I’d like to shoot a series of similar snapshots.

PA Art Photo

A lucky or unlucky snapshot of cars and their headlights in #NewHope Pennsylvania. Photo taken handheld with the #Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens and the Canon EOS M mirrorless camera.

Photo taken handheld with the Tamron 16-300mm VC lens and the Canon EOS M mirrorless camera.  Exposure settings:  0.8s F/5 ISO 200

New Jersey Art Photo: Leaf Detail; Late November

While foliage is most often photographed in Autumn to capture the vivid coloration, there are certainly reasons to also take such photos in Spring, Summer, and Winter.   In my photo featured below, I was drawn to the slight gradients of brown tones in the leaf.  The patterns in the holes of the leaf also take on a life of their own from this macro view.  Looking at the subject even further, one can see a bit of fine detail on the leaf’s surface.  I took this photo handheld to achieve both a level of sharpness and also a bit of photo Impressionism.

NJ Art Photo

A macro view of a worn leaf in a forest provides a study of aging and wear. Photo taken handheld with the #Tamron SP 180mm #macro lens and the #Canon EOS 7D.

Photo taken handheld with the Tamron SP 180mm macro lens and the Canon EOS 7D DSLR.  Exposure settings: 1/4s F/10 ISO 200.

New Jersey Art Photography: Smartweed

I am probably way off on the ID of this small ground plant that I photographed today… ID corrections appreciated!

Anyways, this was the final shot I took today out of ~30 frames.  I do often find that the last frame I shot, or next to last ends up being my favorite from the day.  I guess I decide to call it a day after I think I’ve made 1 or 2 quality capures on a local day in the field.  When doing nature photography, of course, I may hope to get 8-12 distinct keepers per day.

Initially I took photos of this plant from my tripod as I often do.  At first, I experimented with slow shutter speeds to have the leaves blow through the frame.  Not being satisfied with the results, I then lowered my shutter speed from 15s to 2s and simply handheld my camera and let the small effects of “hand shake” do what they might.

NJ Art Photo

The glowing of small blacklit ground plants glow against the dark woodland floor. #Photo taken in New Jersey with the #Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens and the #Canon EOS M mirrorless camera.

New Jersey Nature Photography: November Trees

I’ve been reading more about the founding painters of the Impressionism movement, and one of their effects I envy most is that the brush strokes almost imply movement in stagnant subjects.  In my recent New Jersey nature photo below I think the tree branches are nearly boiled down to their essences because I moved the camera during the exposure.  The premise of the photo is really the shapes of the ends of the branches, everything else is just an embellishment.

NJ Art Photo

An impressionistic view of a New Jersey forest in mid-November. Photo taken with the Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens.

New Jersey Photography: Electrical Towers

Below is a conceptual art photograph I took outdoors today in Essex County, New Jersey.  I think we all interpret electrical towers as looming and seemingly dangerous objects.  One can’t help but ignore their unmistakeable hums and huge physical dimensions.  To my eyes, this multiple exposure photo adds extra drama to create a menacing industrial scene.

NJ conceptual art image

Conceptual art photo of a vivid mid-day sun and large looming electrical towers in New Jersey. Photo taken with the Tamron 16300mm VC AllInOne lens and the Canon EOS M mirrorless camera.

Photo taken with the Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens and the Canon EOS M mirrorless camera.  Exposure settings: 30s F/22 ISO 100, 50mm