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A tree in the wind

(click to see a bigger tree with a nice black border)

Time for a nice little break from all the storm photos! So sometimes you get shots on purpose and most of the time it seems they come from unplanned moments or complete accidents.

While I was in Kansas awaiting a line of storms to move into my vicinity, I sat at a pull-out and took a nap. I hadn’t slept but two hours in the last 30, so I was beat. I woke up about 30 minutes later and of course had to use the restroom. There was a lot of traffic on the road, so I wandered away from my car around some haystacks to find a little privacy. Yeah, I took my camera. I dunno why, I think I wanted to make people driving by think I was actually out taking pictures, not trying to relieve myself.  Maybe because there was a gas station across the street, but I was just too lazy to drive over there. Who knows. I had just woken up!

Either way, I wandered around a bit and saw this tree moving with the wind. It was just a tree along this recently cut wheat field, but I think it was the way it looked swooshing around in this strong breeze that caught my attention. I also had my 50mm on the camera and opened it up to f/1.8 and focused on the nearest leaf to me, leaving the rest of the tree falling off into bokeh-ville. I saw it on my screen after shooting it and fell in love with it.

There is something beautiful to me about the sound of a tree blowing in the wind. I think I sometimes link it to the approach of a coming storm…where it’s been quiet, but the wind picks up, the leaves start rustling around and you know something is on the horizon. I watched the tree for a few minutes before moving on.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/1.8, iso 100, 1/1250th)

One man’s trash…

Downtown Phoenix Urban Trash Can

…you know the rest.

Taken after I took in a Suns game with my old man…dropped him off at his car, I stopped in quickly to see if anyone was still up at home, no one was, so I grabbed my gear and went out into the rain-soaked downtown Phoenix area.

Not too many wet spots in this scene, although you can see some puddles here and there. This bricked area has a large cover over the entire area, although it’s probably more of a screen than anything else.

Shot with the 50mm once again, I knew I wanted to capture the light and shadows playing off the bricks and leaves, plus isolate the focus on this lone garbage can standing watch over the whole area. There is something magical to me when I see fall leaves strewn about cobblestone, pavement or bricks…it’s hard for me to look away and not want to snap a million photos. Perhaps without them, this image wouldn’t have demanded I capture it…who knows.

Hoping to find a few more scenes like this on our early morning photowalk coming this Saturday.

Autumn in New York

Okay, it’s not New York, it’s Phoenix…but really, this is Phoenix?

The first day of winter is tomorrow, but down here in the desert, fall is in full swing. I’m not entirely sure what kind of trees these are in the picture above, but along with the Chinese Elms and others, the leaves have suddenly started falling all around the downtown area and it’s just beautiful. Having lived in the outskirts of town for awhile, we don’t really see stuff like this too often. Fall leaves, sidewalks that aren’t right on the curb…it’s more like a place back east. I wasn’t expecting to see this at all…and it’s been a joy to drive up and down some of the smaller downtown streets, checking out the older houses and the fall colors.

The more I live downtown, the more I love discovering the awesome little secrets Phoenix has and the moments I can capture on camera.

The golden treetops

I have a client at work (my day job) that resides in northern Arizona. Whenever they call to have me come up, I never curse the three hour drive…I relish it and enjoy the time I get to spend seeing this beautiful state. I usually leave around 4am and thus usually find myself at an interesting spot for a sunrise, or maybe a few places for night photography, and then a bazillion other things along the way.

Yesterday I made a trip up there and I was on the lookout for fall colors. I spotted a 10,000 foot mountain nearby and saw an entire hillside covered in golden Aspen…so I asked my client if there was a way to the top and she  said YUP! So I headed down the dirt road to the top and explored a few trails that led to these amazingly tall, golden treetops.

I have never photographed fall colors before…so this is all new to me. I knew I wanted some vertical shots of tree tops and other things, so this is basically a few attempt at that. For those wondering, it’s a single exposure HDR. I actually tried doing 6 exposures, then 3…but too much movement killed it. Plus…the colors just didn’t look right. Tried the single…and bam, it came together.

Hope you enjoy a little taste of fall from Arizona!