Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Duck Duck GOOSE!

On our most recent visit to Mud Lake, DW and I saw and heard so many varieties of birds—more than we had ever heard on any previous walk through this wooded wonderland.

DW has a new app on her phone that can listen to a birdsong, or several birdsongs, and come up with a list of what it hears. On this walk, we heard, cardinals, red wing blackbirds, and the usual suspects, but the app also detected warbling bireos, yellow warblers, and possibly an American redstart, though we didn't actually see it so can't confirm.

The app also provides pictures of the birds it thinks it detects.

We also almost always see ducks: mallards and wood ducks. And while we didn't see the wood ducks, the mallards were in full attendance.

Sitting duck.
I almost stepped on a female mallard that was lying in the middle of the path.

We were also treated on this walk by a few black-crowned night herons, which we spotted on our last visit to the lake but couldn't get a clear view. This time, they were close and even flew close by.

Unfortunately, I only had my 24–70mm lens on my camera so I couldn't zoom in. I'm still waiting to see how DW did but she hasn't accessed her photos yet.

As we were crouching low, near the edge of the lake, trying to get the best vantage of one of the herons, who was standing near a swimming muskrat, we noticed some Canada geese honking loudly at one another and one of them seemed to be chasing the others off, as though it was staking that part of the lake for its own.

It was strange that it was leaving the black-crowned night heron, the muskrat, and a few mallards alone.

We were focused on the heron so we didn't pay much attention to the aggressive goose. Though, we should have.

Eventually, the honking subsided and this part of the lake grew quiet. DW and I whispered softly to avoid spooking the heron. We both snapped away, even though I knew I was too far away form my lens.

And then, the heron took flight and passed within about 10 metres from us, or closer. I really wished I had my 70–300mm lens on me.

As we turned to watch the beautiful bird fly by, my eyes fell to something else moving in the lake. It was large and its body was low to the water's surface.

It was a goose.

Typically, Canada geese swim with their long, slender, black necks up high, but this goose had its head just above the water's surface. And it was headed directly for us, its beady black eyes fixed on us.

I've never been attacked by a goose (I've had one smack my cycling helmet as it tried to take flight and climb out of my path) and I wasn't about to let this day be the first time. DW and I backed away before it reached the shore and we continued on the path, back toward our car.

That was enough wildlife for the day.

I'll post my other photos sometime soon. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 5, 2023

Photo Synthesis

A while back, I mentioned that I will be participating in an art gallery, where I'll be showcasing some of my best photos with other photographers from the Ottawa area. I now have a date.

July 6 to 30.

The theme of the exhibit is Photo Synthesis—four photographers sharing their vision. For me, my photos represent an instant in time where I saw something that was fleeting: either I was going somewhere and couldn't linger or the subject was moving and would soon be gone. In most cases, it was I who was on the move but for my main piece, it was an instant that was never going to repeat itself and if I hadn't captured it, the moment would be lost forever.

Choosing the photos was the greatest challenge. I do like a lot of my photos but when it comes to printing them to a certain size and looking them in a frame, my whole perception of the photo changes. I sent one photo to be enlarged to an 8 x 12 print, and as soon as it was in a matted frame, I didn't like the shot.

My mom was visiting shortly after I put the photo in the frame, and she loved it so I let her take it home. (Funny: on the wall upon which she's hung it at her place, it actually looks pretty good, though I still don't think I could sell it.)

The Photo Synthesis exhibit is out of the way, as far as galleries are concerned. The event is taking place at Arbor Gallery, in Vankleek Hill, which is more than an hour away from my home. But I guess I've got to start some place, yes?

There's a vernissage that will take place on Saturday, July 8, from 1 to 4 pm, and Vankleek Hill is an interesting town, near Hawkesbury. Heck, even Beau's All Natural Brewery is here, for all you beer lovers. I'll be there to meet and greet so I invite you to make the trip and see what the gallery and the town have to offer.

I'll be reminding you about the exhibit from now until it wraps up. Fair warning!

Friday, June 2, 2023

Black and White and Red

When I signed up for a Goth/boudoir/BDSM model photo shoot, I really had no idea of what to expect.

I imagined a lot of black outfits but that's about it. And when I started thinking of ideas of what to capture, I didn't have a lot of things in mind but I did know that I wanted to explore strong light with dark backgrounds in black and white.

Colour didn't come into the equation for me.

I had only been to this photo studio once before, for the projection project, so I knew what space I had to play with. I wanted to get away from relying on my Nikkor 24–70mm f/2.8 lens, which I'm starting to think detracts from my creativity, so I affixed my 50mm f/1.8 lens to my D750 and told myself that I would have to be the one to move toward or away from my subject.

But I wasn't 100-percent confident with this choice, so I also grabbed my D7200 with an 18–105mm f/3.5–5.6 lens. I wanted a backup. In retrospect, I should have left my secondary camera at home because I found myself relying on it too often.

Take, for example, today's photo. I zoomed in to 98mm (manual settings: ISO 100; f/16; 1/125 s). Because the D7200 is a cropped-sensor camera, the 98mm translates to roughly 130mm on a full-framed D-SLR. But because of the composition of the image, I could have used my 50mm lens and simply closed in on Kelsey (our model for the evening).

The setup for these particular series of shots was my idea. There were five photographers for this meetup and we each got a chance to choose the lighting and situation, and then we'd all have a few minutes each to work with Kelsey. This shot is with an overhead spotlight with a long snoot to direct the light in only one direction. Kelsea simply had to make sure she was directly under that single beam.

Kelsey had brought a wide variety of lingerie and accessories that portrayed a soft yet kinky and edgy side, and the photographers were also asked to choose the outfit that Kelsey would wear for their shoot setup. I had absolutely no idea of what I wanted to see her in. I left it up to her.

She noted that red is her favourite colour. Indeed, besides black, the only other pieces she had were red, so I pointed to a bra and said, "This is nice." She found matching panties, grabbed a one-piece outfit of black leather straps, that would go over her bra and panties, and went off to change.

I still had visions that my photos of this shoot would be exclusively black and white, but the red of Kelsey's bra was hard to resist. So, when I processed this photo, I placed a mask over everything that appeared red before I added my black-and-white filter.

I softened the details, added a bit of a glow, and that's about it. What do you think?

I've said this before but I think low-key portraits are my favourite kind of studio photography. I plan to join more meetups through the year.

And I plan to only bring one camera with a prime lens. I need to get out of my comfort zone.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 1, 2023

A Writer's Dozen

It's hard to believe that The Brown Knowser has lasted for 12 years. There was a time, four years ago, when I thought I was done.

Apparently, I have more to say.

To those of you who have been reading since the very beginning, when this blog didn't yet have a name but I called The Other Blog to distinguish it from the Brownfoot Journal, my first blog, I thank you for your support over the years.

To those of you who have only recently discovered my blog, or to those who are reading it for the very first time, I welcome you. I hope you find my blog entertaining and a positive distraction from the rigors of a hectic day.

Reflecting on 12 years and nearly 2,700 rants, opinions, thoughts, images, and more actually puts me at a loss of words. I've written posts immediately before publishing them and I have written posts days, weeks, and months* in advance. There are upcoming posts that I started work on more than a year before they will be seen.

And yet, when I look back on how this blog has evolved (sometimes, devolved) over these dozen years, I wonder where it'll go from here and how it will continue, and I'm speechless. There's no planning for The Brown Knowser. It just is what it is.

And I thank you for visiting it.

Looking back to the beginning of this blog, I noticed that the first three posts were without photos. I only started adding photos on the fourth post. These days, I'm loathe to not include at least one photo with the post, even if I have to pull up an image from a Google search.

So, for my 2,688th post on my 12th anniversary of The Brown Knowser, I'm including a Throwback Thursday with one of the first photos that I shared on this blog. The title of that post was taken from a song by Matthew Good of the same title. The song was in my head as I wrote that post and always returns to my head whenever I look at the post again (it's a very good song: if you haven't heard it, look it up and give it a listen).

Oh, and today's title? A baker's dozen always adds something more than the 12 of a standard dozen. This post is an anniversary post and a Throwback Thursday. But, as a writer who likes to be as accurate as possible, it means 12. Just 12. Nothing embellished.

Happy Thursday!

* I wrote this post in early February.