A Perfect Foggy Bottom Marsh

On Monday I decided that Wednesday morning I would go out photographing the fall color in the marshy areas along country roads close to where we live. I slept a little later (7:30) than I had wanted and almost decided not to go but decided I needed to go out even though the sun may be a little higher in the sky than desirable. I needed to go out because I hadn’t gone down early morning dirt roads since Julie, my photography partner, moved away two years ago. I’ve been afraid, I’ve procrastinated, I’ve slept in too late, I’ve decided to have a second cup of coffee, it was too hot, it was too cold. The bottom line, though, is I’ve been afraid to go out alone – and I’ve missed the times of solitude Julie and I shared. I’ve missed the joy of the hunt for the perfect subject with the perfect light, and hopefully the perfect settings on my camera.

It was a beautiful, cool (temp in low 50’s F), end-of-September morning with light fog and no breeze. There isn’t much color in the trees yet, just a few branches here and there, but the earth is definitely telling me that here, close to 45 degree latitude in the northern U.S., the vegetation is preparing for winter’s dormancy.

I was thinking this morning that I live in two residential locations during the year, southern Michigan and southern Florida, that were carved out of swampland. The first Europeans to walk this area of Michigan, mostly surveyors, described it as a mosquito-infested place that was uninhabitable. And the land I live on in Florida was raised up from the Everglades – a very wide (a hundred miles wide), shallow, slow-moving fresh-water river moving over grasslands, around pine, cypress, and Live Oak strands, and through mangroves along the ocean coasts. Southern Florida has so many mosquitos that they have a State Mosquito Commissioner and they have alligators. But these swamps are absolutely beautiful at all times of the year. I search them out and am working on capturing this beauty that I see.

As the sun got higher the fog dissipated, but I had plenty of time to fill my camera disc with the beauty that was feeding my soul. During the summer months photography becomes more difficult when the sun gets high in the sky but between now and early June the sun is riding lower in the southern sky and is soft and mellow.

I had a wonderful time on my first solo outing and plan on doing a couple more before we head south. My time photographing nature filled all my needs that I treasured with Julie, except I really missed her quiet, gentle presence and fun conversation. I also confirmed that I really love my mirrorless Nikon Z fc even though I don’t have a good zoom lens. I took my older Nikon along and used it to take photos at the spot that I took the photos for this post but realized I wasn’t as happy with using the camera and deleted most of the photos I took.

I continued down back country road for over an hour more, capturing color that I’ll be posting for the Lens-Artist Challenge. Stay tuned.

Patterns

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The normal landscape of Michigan provides beautiful patterns – patterns that touch my soul because I have been enjoying their beauty for many, many years. They whisper my history as the wind blows through and over and around the gently rolling hills.

I took the above photo on a frosty December morning when everything was touched by frost and the weak, soft light of a sun sitting low in the southern sky. There was a brisk breeze blowing the plumbs of grass seeds so I looked for a composition that would not only show the pattern of the seed heads, but also the pattern of the wind. The pattern of the rolling hills made a pleasant background and a wood lot provided balance on the right.

As I drive down country roads, I love the patterns of newly plowed fields, rows of crops…

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and especially the pattern of rows of corn stubble broken by gently rolling fields – on a misty fall morning as the sun is coming up. The hard part is finding a safe place to pull over to find the perfect composition of patterns and then to have enough height to see over the first hill to the second and third.

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I created this post in response to the 2020 Photo Challenge. The February theme is focused on the technique of using patterns.

 

Welcome to the Garden

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As I turn into the Naples Botanical Garden, there is a small pond to my left that catches the early morning light. It has always drawn me in – sometimes calling to me, wanting me to pull in the parking lot to the right, used by employees and volunteers, and walk over with my camera. I would take some photos, but most of them didn’t last through the winnowing processes.

When I returned this fall, it had been landscaped, or more accurately, “waterscaped.” Three large pillars had been added, with small waterfalls so the sound of water made music with the morning sun dancing across the surface of the water. Grasses and lilies had been added or maybe some of them had been there all along but the stone pillars gave them more importance in their supporting roles.

I lingered, even though I felt the pull of the garden. And I think I will have stop again on my next visit.

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