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Colors of Summer

I thought I would take a break from my black and white endeavors and post some color.  Shooting black and white film can be addicting especially with Kodak Tri-X 400 on medium format. Recently it may seem that I only shoot film but that is not the case. It so happens I just had several roles developed and actually still have a few more to go.

I love my little E520 DSLR. It is a very capable camera in the right hands. Between my wife and me, we have three E520’s. It’s small and very customizable and I have an assortment of lenses to shoot just about anything. I have to admit that the sensor technology on this DSLR is dated, but this is coming from a guy who shoots film cameras that are 40 plus years old. The only reason I want to upgrade my DSLR is to increase the resolution. The E520 only has 10 megapixels. This is plenty given that most pictures taken in the world live in cyberspace and are never printed. However, I have been getting more request for my pictures and some clients want to make large prints. With my film scans, I can pack 30 or more megapixels into a photograph. This is easily done with medium format scans, but 10 megapixels falls a little short for large prints. I will save the upgrade talk for another time; now back to the real subject of this post.

I love the rebirth of Spring and Summer and all the life and colors that come with them. I used to shoot a lot of nature shots when I first started taking photography seriously. I have gotten away from that, but every now and then, I like to catch Mother Nature in the act.


Blue Skies Ahead – Olympus E520, Olympus Zuiko 14-54mm f2.8-3.5

After getting home from work one evening, I decided to head to a location I’ve been wanting to check out. The thing that drove me was the robin egg blue skies and the puffy white clouds. I have always loved skies like this. There is just something refreshing and uplifting about blue skies. While driving down the road, I happened to glance to my left and briefly caught a barn scene that looked appealing. I turned the car around and took the shot above. This is an HDR rendering of 3 frames. I am not a big HDR shooter, but I do shoot HDR on occasion.


Little Fisherman – Olympus E520, Olympus Zuiko 14-54mm f2.8-3.5

The picture above is at the location I was headed when I got the barn shot. You can’t see it from this angle, but there is a spillway along the left side of the frame. A shot from that angle was what I was hoping to get, but the light just did not work out. I made a note to myself to come back one early morning. Anyway I walked around to the other side of the spillway and noticed the colorful reflections in the water. I found my composition, setup my tripod, and metered the scene. Before I could finishing metering and plug in my remote cable release, I heard a car door shut and the pounding of little feet headed my way. A little boy with fishing rod in hand, ran right into my frame and started fishing. After chuckling to myself, I decided that I now had a model. The challenge was that I was going to shoot 3 frames to render an HDR image. Those of you familiar with HDR, know that your subject has to be perfectly still or you are going to have ghosting that would ruin your image. Some software do a good job at removing ghosting, but severe movement can’t be repaired. Thus, I had to wait for an opportunity to catch him being still. That moment came when he had to made adjustments to his line. In my opinion, the image with the boy is a more interesting image than without.


Feels Like Somebody’s Watching Me – Olympus E520, Olympus Zuiko 70-300 f4.5-5.6

I got up one morning a took a look outside in my backyard. I noticed something poking out of the grass. I did not think much about it until I thought I saw it move. My initial thought was that it was a snake. Further investigation revealed a turtle. I grabbed my camera and mounted my 70-300 which is also a macro lens. He was the perfect subject. I made sure I didn’t make any sudden moves so he wouldn’t retreat into his shell. After our photo shoot, he made his way to our neighbors yard. This is one of the many little things I love about living out in the country.


Hay Day – Olympus E520, Olympus Zuiko 14-54mm f2.8-3.5

The hay field scene was taken while I was headed out to the lake not too far from my home. Once again I found another shot while heading for another destination. This is quite often the case. This shot is also a HDR rendering of 3 frames.


Open Road -Natchez Trace Parkway – Olympus E520, Olympus Zuiko 14-54mm f2.8-3.5

The shot above is one of my favorite sections of highway on the Natchez Trace Parkway. This isn’t my first photograph of this scene. I love how the road winds through the frame and vanishes into the trees ahead. I get a sense of adventure when I look at this photograph. My wife and I have talked about driving the entire length of the Natchez Trace Parkway one day all the way down to Mississippi. I can’t wait for that one!


Classic Tennessee -Baker Bluff Overlook on the Natchez Trace Parkway – Olympus E520, Olympus Zuiko 14-54mm f2.8-3.5

After taking the Open Road shot, I headed on West to the Baker Bluff Overlook. This is one of my favorite scenes on the Trace. I was really digging the sky and light. The fields of greens really popped out. I wanted a shot that showed the wooden fence but at the same time showed a big enough view of the barn such that you could see some detail on the barns and silo. The only way to do this was to compress the shot with a telephoto. I shot this at 54mm which is equivalent to 108mm on my four thirds body. I had to back up quite a bit to get the composition I wanted. This is also a 3 shot HDR image. This is a classic Tennessee scene.


God’s Country – View at the Tobacco Barn on the Natchez Trace Parkway – Olympus E520, Olympus Zuiko 14-54mm f2.8-3.5

The farthest West I wanted to travel that day was out to the old Tobacco barn. Upon arrival I walked around for a while and just didn’t see a shot that would include the barn. I’m sure there was something there, but I didn’t see it. Sense I was losing light as the sun approached sunset, I settled on the overlook area that showed the view of the countryside. I really liked the cloud play and the burst of light from the sun as clouds passed. The shot above is also a HDR rendering of 3 shots. As I mentioned earlier I don’t do a lot of HDR shots and I am not really a huge fan of the really exuberant HDR renderings that give HDR a bad name. However, I did like the exuberant feel of the image above so I decided to keep it. It has such a majestic appearance. After finishing that shot, I headed back to the car and noticed the burst of rays illuminating some dandelions in my path. I got down low and framed the shot below.


Glowing Dandelions -Scene at the Tobacco Barn on the Natchez Trace Parkway – Olympus E520, Sigma 30mm f1.4 EX DC HSM

Lastly on one my lunch breaks last week, I took a walk in the park. I have not done this in a while. This is always a nice break during the day, especially when you have had a rough morning. I caught the little guy below resting on a flower.


Dragonfly – Olympus E520, Olympus Zuiko 70-300 f4.5-5.6


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