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.

September Garden – Up Close

I was afraid that the zinnia seeds I planted weren’t going to bloom before we have our first frost – they had a slow start. Probably because I was slow in getting them into the ground because of a very cold month and then a very hot month in the spring. Or was it the other way around? Not to worry – they are now blooming just when needed most for late summer color.

I love close-up photography so my zinnias and Cee’s Close-up or Macro call to photographers were perfectly timed for each other. Zinnias are a lot of fun to photograph because of their symmetrical petals that seem, at the same time, to be asymmetrical. And look at how a really up close photograph shows how the petals form. What a beautiful wonder right under our noses, especially if there is a camera between our nose and the flower!

A while back I was doing some research before deciding on a new lens and read an article about whether it was better to use a telephoto lens or to use a 50 mm dedicated lens and crop. This second photo was taken with my new Nikon Z fc and a 16-50 mm lens, taken at 50 mm. I have really been pleased with this camera. It is light enough so I can take hand-held photos and have them be acceptably sharp. If I ever wanted to enlarge them a lot, I would have to use a tripod. This serves as a really nice walk around, grab quickly camera – similar to how others use their smart phones.

I was surprised to see the little flowers within the unfurling petals when I processed this last photo. This one was taken with the 50 mm setting and I only cropped a little of the edges off for aesthetics. I have found I can get really close to my subject with this lens but can also get good shots to crop when I need to stand back so I don’t frighten butterflies away.