Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Wider View - Purple Pitcher Plant

July 2013

Looking down into a purple pitcher plant growing in a sphagnum hummock.  Otisfield Maine.


A Wider View- The Crooked River

July, 2013

Still shot at 10 millimeters, but without any subject close to the lens.  Yesterday's pickerel frog lived in the woods just above the Crooked River, a fine babbling river in western Maine, just down the road from my in-laws's place.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Wider View - Moving to Maine

Perhaps the best test of whether an ultra-wide photograph is successful is if it looks like an ultra-wide photograph.  Here's an image from the Crooked River in Otifisfield Maine that I took this past July.  While going through my images to create blog posts for this series, it isn't all that difficult to pick out my ultra-wide images.  With this one, however, I had to check the metadata to ensure that it was shot at 10 mm, the widest possible angle of view I can capture with my current camera setup.

Do you know pickerel frogs?  They seem to inhabitat cold places- think headwater streams and cold, boggy forests in Maine, like where I found this young frog hopping about on a rainy July day.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Wider View - Wood Frog

June 7, 2013

While visiting Tummonds State Nature Preserve in Portage County last June, I didn't have my ultrawide angle lens with me, but that didn't prevent me from using the wide-angle closeup technique.  The so-called "kit lenses" that come bundled with digital SLR's can focus quite closely.  With my lens dialed in to its widest setting, I moved in on this frog as close as I could.  The end result is an image that shows the wood frog and its habitat.  To me, this picture provides much more information than a tight shot of the frog only.


Monday, November 25, 2013

A Wider View- Common Lupines

May 16, 2013

Burying the camera in a clump of lupines gives us the view that a Karner Blue Butterfly might have as it searches for a mate.  Lou Campbell State Nature Preserve lies in Ohio's Oak Openings Region (which extends into Michigan), one of the the Great Lake's most fascinating ecosystems.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Taking in a Wider View - Daughmer Bur Oak Savannah

May 8, 2013

Can you see that small house on the horizon to the right?  What a spectacular place to live, eh?


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Taking in a Wider View - Daughmer Savannah State Nature Preserve

May 8, 2013

White this is just on the far edge of being a wide-angle closeup, I'm going to count it because I just really like this photo.  The closeup subject in to the right is a type of sedge, possibly Carex lacustris.  Daughmer Savannah is a true gem of Ohio that was dedicated as an Ohio State Nature Preserve in 2012.  A remnant of the Sandusky Plains, a visit here will give you some idea what Ohio's prairie areas looked like at one time.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Taking in a Wider View - Large White Trillium

Taking in another ultra-wide angle view at Collier State Nature Preserve in Seneca County.  The large white flowered trillium is our official state wildflower.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Taking in a Wider View - Drooping Trillium

Commonly mistaken for nodding trillium, drooping trillium is fairly common in Ohio, excepting the northeast portion of the state, where I can't remember seeing it.  Getting low and close was key again to this shot, which is quite similar to the image of mayapples from Davis Memorial.  These three specimens were growing at the base of a tree along a steep hillside, excluding them from deer herbivory.  Again, I used flash to add a pop to the undersides of the trillium leaves and flowers.

Collier State Nature Preserve, May 8, 2013


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Taking in a Wider View - Woodland Stonecrop - Not So Wide

Our eyes have lenses that let us see the world at a certain angle of view.  We can't zoom in or out like we can with a camera.  My go-to lens for wide-angle closeup work is Canon's 10-22 mm zoom lens.  This lens lets me get an image like I shared yesterday, which put this small clump of Sedum ternatum in context- it was growing out of the root ball of a tree.  When I zoom the lens to 22 millimeters, I can focus more closely on the plant itself, getting the entire plant in focus, which is very difficult to do with traditional macro lenses.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Taking in a Wider View - Woodland Stonecrop

Using all natural light this time, again during a site visit to Davis Memorial State Nature Preserve on May 3, 2013.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Taking in a Wider View- Under the Mayapples

Another one of my more successful wide-angle closeup images, this taken while laying on the ground at Davis Memorial State Nature Preserve on May 3, 2013.  To balance the light between the bright background and the shaded foreground underneath the mayapples, I used flash.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Wider View - On the Bog

July 2013, Otisfield, Maine
True acidic bogs are amazing places driven by moss- mosses in the genus Sphagnum.  Incredible little plants, they create the acidity of the bog ecosystem, allowing organic matter to build up over time instead of decay gradually.  We have bogs in Ohio, but ours are glacial relics of a climate we no longer have in Ohio.  In Maine, it's another story.


Something I Wasn't Expecting

Throughout all my wanderings in the East, I've never encountered a bat in the leaf litter.  That changed the day I was at Davey Woods this past April 17.  I believe this is an eastern red bat.  They migrate, and although at first I thought it was dead, it was entirely alive.  Hopefully it was just sleeping and resting, ready to move on when the weather improved.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Taking in a Wider View- Dutchman's Breeches

Again, from Davey Woods State Nature Preserve, utilizing a wide-angle closeup approach.

Taking in a Wider View

If you recall, way back in March, I set out to create closeup images of natural subjects that showed their place in the natural system, rather than isolated on a plain, smooth background, as is done in traditional macro photography.  This approach, known as wide-angle closeup photography, uses forced perspective to place the viewer right into the natural world.  The best way to view this type of imagery stick your nose right to the screen and immerse yourself into the scene.

Over the next few days, I'll be reviewing some of that work here, beginning with this image from Davey Woods State Nature Preserve in Champaign County.  This summer, as part of my work with the Division of Natural Areas & Preserves, I attempted to capture unique and interesting views of Ohio's State Nature Preserves.  If you haven't heard of the Division, it has helped protect many of Ohio's most spectacular places since the outset of the Ohio Natural Areas Act in 1970.  And, don't forget to follow us on Facebook.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Litchfield Beach Dawn and Dusk

Often when I'm photographing a spectacular sunset or sunrise, I get caught in the moment and focus on what I perceive is the most interesting photographic subject.  On this morning, I was up early and in the surf clicking away.  It wasn't until my father-in-law, who was also out for a walk, tapped me on the shoulder, pointing my attention to the rainbow that had appeared directly behind me.


Litchfield Beach Timelapse Video

While I can't say I've become obsessed with making videos, I have made an effort to use my camera to its fullest- and that means capturing time lapse and HD videos with my limited time.  I seem to find that vacations are now my time where I try new photo things- and our trip to Litchfield Beach this August was a perfect place to try time lapse.

Video has a big learning curve.  When I exported this video from Photoshop CS4, it rendered at 6 gigabytes.  Needless to say I received a message from YouTube with a link offering help how to better export my videos for the website.

When I set up my camera, I was expecting these billowing cumulus clouds to continue their upward development, when in fact, the opposite happened.  Although I didn't get what I had visualized, I really like this video- I had to watch it several times before I saw the man cleaning the pool.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Suburban Red-shouldered Hawks

I've been well aware that Cooper's Hawks have wonderfully adapted to life in suburban Ohio. In fact, most of my neighbors think that a peregrine falcon prowls "our hood".  Moving to buteos, I would occasionally hear the shreaks of red-shouldered hawks at my parents house in Summit County, but their neighborhood street lies next to a large wooded ravine complete with stream.  A few years ago, I began to see and hear red-shouldered hawks in our Worthington neighborhood.  Relatively densely populated, but with plenty of mature trees that have grown up since the late 1950's, red-shouldered hawks now prowl the area.  Megan and Brody spotted this one early today.  Have you seen an increase in red-shouldered hawks in your "neck of the woods"?

Obligatory Fall Color, 2013

Grab shot- Sitting on the couch, probably watching a football game, I noticed that a pin oak a few houses down was on fire.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mexican Gray Wolf

Mexican Gray Wolf - Columbus Zoo & Aquarium - Powell, Ohio

I was scrolling through my lightroom catalog, browsing for images of State Nature Preserves to keyword properly (for the day job) and this photo of the Mexican gray wolf subspecies caught my eye.  The RAW file was flat as flat could be, due to a smudged and dingy piece of glass that I was shooting through. But I thought the pose was just too good to let it sit on my hard drive.

From my brief bit of research on this subspecies- they were exterminated in the wild, and today, are extremely rare after reintroductions via captive breeding programs.  I typically focus my writings on bugs and birds- things that still exist in a landscape long after people arrive- but wolves are one of those things that would have been roaming the forests of Worthington several centuries earlier. Now, the closest I can get to one is the Mexican subspecies at our local zoo.


Monday, October 07, 2013


Last week I had the opportunity to attend the National Natural Areas Conference in Chicago.  I'd never been to the "windy city".  In fact, I never really understood what the hype was really all about.  Now I get it. Chicago is a fantastic world-class city.  Here are a few images that I snapped during my stay.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013


As of late, I've been cultivating my curiosity for timelapse photography.  There's nothing quite like spending thirty minutes scrolling through the amazing timelapse creations at Vimeo.  Over the winter, I purchased a device called an intervalometer, which allows me to program my camera to capture images at specified intervals over long time periods.  This Sunday afternoon, I pointed the camera skyward andprogrammed the invervalometer to capture images once per second for an hour.  Here is my first timelapse effort.  Consider this a contemplative look at the passing of time.  Watch as the clouds move from right to left as individual pieces tear apart and disappear.


Friday, August 02, 2013

Crab Spider vs. Ogre Fly

This action unfolded earlier this week on the flowering stem of little bluestem, right in our backyard.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

For the Adults

On June 5, I was on my deck, grilling on my Weber gas grill, and heard some buzzing.  I looked down, and this is what I saw.  Yes, I'm a little tardy with this post.  Does anyone recognize what species these creatures might be (i'm not even sure if they are bees or bee mimics), and what exactly we're seeing here?  I mean, I know what's happening, but I'd like to know the names of the parts and how everything works.... Help!

...edited:  Maybe this photo will help with an ID?  They sure look like flies that look like bees...


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tufted Titmouse Fledgling

Still a little rough around the edges, with anxious parents looking on, this little one peeped every ten seconds or so, just to let them know where it was.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Brody is my Bug Kid

Look what we found yesterday- all by rock flipping and looking closely at our natural garden areas, right here in Worthington Ohio, within the Metro-Columbus area outerbelt.

He has no problem holding things.  Not at all.