Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

May 17, 2009

Light and Texture

Filed under: composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, light, Non Birds — richditch @ 1:53 pm
Cottonwood leaf

Cottonwood leaf

Photography is all about light, and in the right light almost anything you see can be a good subject and make for a good image.

Although birds command a great deal of my interest and attention, I try to be alert to other interesting things wherever I happen to be. And, as with the birds, I’m more interested in discovering opportunities than in engineering images.

This cottonwood leaf is one example. I noticed it on the base of the cottonwood tree I was standing under on the edge of the pond while I was photographing the vagrant Little Blue Heron at the Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ, yesterday. In between shooting the LBH with my big lens on the D200 I’d also been taking a few shots of the cottonwood leaves littering the ground – I’d noticed years before that there were often interesting patterns and colors in this litter, but I seldom spend more than a moment at this spot as I scan the pond for birds. This solitary leaf that had landed on the base of the cottonwood was catching some nice light, so I gave it more attention and brought the D70 with 55-200 zoom into play. This was a quick shot at 90mm, ISO 200, 1/100th second and f/8 aperture priority matrix metered. I like the way the directional light brings out the texture of the leaf, where small ridges create nicely defined shadows.

Water Access Cover

Water Access Cover

This access cover is a much different sort of subject, but it is the directional light that makes it work for me. Its only a few inches in diameter, and easy to miss in a parking lot where I take my wife for physical therapy twice a week. But once I noticed it I had to get a photo. And all I did was back out of my parking space, open the driver’s door, and point the D70 with 55-200 zoom straight down at the cover. I didn’t even bother to reset the D70 from the “point-and-shoot” setup I leave it on while driving” full auto and ISO 400. Yes, the bright blue makes this eye candy, but it is the hadow cast by the direcitonal light that gives this flat subject depth and makes the image effective.

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