New Hanover County Arboretum is a gem of a day trip located in Wilmington North Carolina. These spectacular gardens host educational programs, publications, and events.
My visit was in July of 2019. It was a touch warm that day (lol!) but I enjoyed photographing quite a bit of the gardens, sculptures, Japanese Tea House, water gardens, and Children's Garden.
Here is a small gallery of flower photography from the flower gardens there. The variety of pollinators, that are very fond of these gardens, are minimally represented here as well.
I do not know the names of the flowers. If you know any of the names feel free to post them in the comments!
The New Hanover County Arboretum Water Garden's Dragon Sculpture.
New Hanover County Arboretum Water Garden's koi fish.
Tiny forest are essentially miniature landscapes that can be found almost anywhere if you have a lens that sees them. In this case I was exploring some old wooden fence post tops with a Canon 100mm Macro Lens
These little natural fungi and moss forest have quite an array of: colors (especially for February), shapes, and plant life. Here are some top down images of the tops of the posts.
Some side view images. The narrow depth of field is helpful to highlight one particular plant in the forest.
This subject is something I look forward to photographing more in the future. As the seasons change the variety of plant life must change with it so it will be interesting to go back to these same posts and see how they change.
The upper Delaware River is a treasure trove of wild animals and abundant fish species. I do not go out to pursue wildlife photography on purpose but I do happen upon some of our beautiful creatures when I wander the river areas. This week I'm featuring my collection of animals that swim.
A bird's eye view of fish in the Delaware River. The sunfish nest on the shallow warm waters on the banks. Those areas will serve as fish nurseries to protect from the larger predatory fish. The big carp was just passing through.
A crayfish and some fish fry enjoy a sunny day.
Beavers, turtles, and toads all live at least part of their lives in the water. Wildlife photography tips:
Animal Photography isn't something I have a tremendous amount of patience for so I rarely go out to photograph animals on purpose.
Generally I go on a photo adventure to a specific area to explore nature photography in that area. If there happens to be animals there (alive or dead) I'll photograph them. If not, so be it.
I never realized that I had amassed so many animal photos until I started looking to put things together for this blog post. There are hundreds!
So this will be Animal Photography Blog Part 1 about Animals That Fly. Featuring: birds, ducks, eagles, butterflies, dragonflies, and a variety of insects from the Kingdom Animalia.
The subsequent blogs will feature other animal related themes. I hope you enjoy them!
Mr. Robert Gallagher suggested that I go down and see the Veteran’s Memorial Park area of Airport Park in Matamoras and I finally got down there this winter. What a truly amazing park they have created!
You can't really see much of the park from outside the gates but when you get in there there is quite a lot to look at. The detailed work on the monuments is well thought out and worthy of much admiration so I was really quite interested in photographing that.
Here are some photos of just a few of the monuments you can see at this park.
This gallery includes more close up photographs of some of the detailed work on the monuments. It really is very well planned and thought out.
Go there. Look and learn about United States history and see the memorials built for the people who lived it.
The river bottom of the Upper Delaware River is an ever changing and diverse landscape. The general beauty of the underwater river world is that it is rarely the same but largely familiar. Small things tend to hustle along with the flow of the minor currents and large things tend to stay put unless the river really decides to force the point.
In the little shallow areas the fall landscape is scenic as it changes moment to moment. Things float into the frame and things float out. It's beautiful in how it is a moving natural collage.
The leaf litter introduced to the Delaware River from the trees along the banks, and it's tributaries, is a noticeable change from the more plant dominated summer riverbed. The fall foliage adds quite a bit of diverse colors and shapes as it moves along the river bottom.
The leaves collect and decompose as they are buried under the silt and broken down by the water and ice. As they are breaking down the leaf litter is releasing nutrients that is washing downstream and nourishing those areas.
High water in the Spring churns up the riverbed collage - taking things away and adding new things.
Enjoy more of my Underwater Photography collection at the Gift Shop.
Spring is a wonderful time to wander the picture perfect areas of Coastal Maine. Everything you love about this one syllable wonderland is available but without the crowds!
On this trip I was traveling to Maine in April 2019. On off-season trips I like to stay over in Portland Maine so I can enjoy an easy daylight ride up Coastal Route 1. In the summer the small towns can get congested so if you plan to go far up the coast it is often a better option to travel inland for a bit before going up the coast.
Regardless of the season, Coastal Route 1 is a delightful route to drive with its scenery, small parks, and all the wonderful hometown seafood to taste. :)
Wandering up the coast it is hard to miss the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. The bridge is a 2,120 feet (646 m) long, 447 foot high, cable-stayed bridge that spans the Penobscot River. There are observation areas on the tops of the towers and plenty of nice parking areas below to enjoy the views.
According to Wikipedia The Penobscot Narrows Observatory is the first bridge observation tower in the United States and the tallest public bridge observatory in the world. The tower reaches 420 feet (128 m) into the air and allows visitors to view the bridge, the nearby Fort Knox State Historic Site, the Penobscot River, and Bay.
The observatory is open May 1 to October 31.
About half way up the coast we come upon one of the jewels in the Maine crown. Springtime in Acadia National Park is as breathtaking as ever with just a touch of ice still left on Jordan Pond as we enjoy a day exploring and photographing the area.
The mountains in the background are called The Bubbles and create a wonderful reflection when the ice is gone and the sky is clear.
A good example of the sweet little picnic areas along Route 1 is this parking area by Long Cove Maine.
This area sits right on Route 1 and lies between Hancock and Gouldsboro Maine. The tides statewide are big so always keep an eye on the water movement. We happen to be there at low tide enjoying the granite boulders.
Destination: Cutler Maine - a classic coastal Maine town with breathtaking views, nature preserves, and hiking trails.
Walking through town is as pretty as it gets. It's everything you'd think of in a small, quiet, northern fishing town.
The local trails are beautiful, but also wet in the spring so plan accordingly - which I did not do so my hike on the Eastern Knubble Preserve Trail was limited and I didn't try the Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land.
I'll get those muck boots next time :)
Christmas brought me two light modifiers that I normally wouldn't have bought for myself and so far I'm quite happy with them!
Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible with Speed Mount (Generation 5) is first up for a review. This little dome is listed as a Top Seller and retails at B&H for a little over $50.
The box is pretty sparse so I wasn't real impressed when I opened it up. There is more info on the outside of the box than the small card found on the inside can fit and you are instructed to visit YouTube if you need any further product information. You won't really need anything through.
Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible with Speed Mount (Generation 5) is well worth the money. I know there is a million ways to DIY light modifiers at home, and that is part of the reason I hadn't bought one of these before, but you won't be sorry if you spend a little cash on this puppy.
I'll spend some more time working with it and do a follow up review with better samples in a few weeks. In the mean time.....
Macro Photography is photographing subjects that are often quite small in a way that creates a larger than life sized image. Macro can be for scientific purposes, or, simply a tool to explore the tiny little scenes that play out around us every day. It's a wonderful type of photography that opens up all sorts of new areas of interest but it also requires a little more patience and control with the camera. Check out my top 3 tips below!
Macro Photography Tips:
1. You will need more light than you think: If it's not a bright sunny day you may need to add some light. There are a few different types of Macro Flashes on the market but if you're not quite that dedicated to macro then simply get creative with whatever you have. You just need to bounce some extra light into the area immediately in front of your lens. On on camera flash modifier can work to do this as well as a reflector.
2. The DOF can be wickedly shallow: When you are in this tightly to your subject a good amount of background blur is essential in some cases. A sturdy tripod will be a good way to deal with the very shallow depth of field you may elect to use. If you subject is moving then simply move your body back and forth instead of continuously refocusing.
3. Shoot a lot of frames: When you think you may be done shooting your subject, shoot a few more frames. These small subjects and shallow depth of fields make even a half a millimeter off a very big deal.
4. Don't take it to seriously in the beginning: Jump in there, have fun, shoot a lot, and explore the tiny scenes on our planet!
My latest photographic journey has been exploring underwater photography and it has been simply fascinating! I have been casually working on the skills and learning about the available underwater equipment over the last couple years and this has spawned so many new photo adventures. I have become quite passionate about getting out there and seeing what there is to see under the surface.
So far, physically being in the water has pretty much restricted me to the warmer months. In the colder months I've been using my better photographic gear to photograph underwater scenes from the surface. It is an amazing (and very lucky) thing to have such clean water that you can photograph straight through with very little distortion. (I have a link at the bottom of this blog to those images.)
Right now the plan is to develop new skills in 2020 by taking a SCUBA class in the spring and I am REALLY excited about that. It will extend my water time and allow me to go into new and deeper areas.
The main bodies of water that I explore are the Delaware River, the Lackawaxen River, and Ten Mile River. The only real 'deep' one is the Delaware River and I know it has a lot to offer from it's point of origin all the way down to the Delaware Water Gap. Beyond that I'm not real familiar with this river......yet. :)
When you slow down and really look below the surface of these rivers you find all these sweet little scenes with the fish, the plants, and the rays of light on the rocks. It's amazing and it's always changing. The riverbeds are all different, the water levels rise and fall, and things wash into and out of areas.
I started off shooting last year with just my Android phone but I smashed that on some rocks so I graduated to an iPhone 10 with an AxisGO case for this year.
The AxisGO case is a very nice case. It works well and seems well constructed. I upgraded a bit and bought a dome for it but I did find that the dome scratches shockingly easily and one bump on a rock really made a big mark on it. It may be something that can be repaired but I haven't looked into that yet.
I don't know how much more I'll upgrade for phone cameras. If I get the SCUBA class done it may just be easier to buy a dedicated underwater camera so I have a flash, or, go all in and buy the housing for my Canon equipment.
This photo gallery is simply underwater plants in the Upper Delaware River region. In the future, I'll add new blog posts with other underwater themes such as "little fish". I know have tons of those!
For now, just enjoy these aquatic plants and the oxygen they produce, which is surprisingly abundant below the surface. If anyone knows the names of these plants feel free to list them in the comments below.
I have quite a lot of underwater videos as well so don't forget to follow my YouTube page and click the bell to get notifications of the videos as I upload them. I generally post once or twice a week.
I do have a few, more recent, underwater images that are of better quality and size for wall art, coffee cups, stock photography, and other products. These are included in my Fine Art America "Clean Water" collection and part of my Adobe Stock Photography collection.
- Thank you for reading. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below -
Exploring photography has been a life long passion.