This blog is discontinued

Due to changes by WordPress to their support for older browsers I am unable to continue this blog. I will be posting instead to my website: www.melmannphoto.com. On the home page in the upper right is a link named Blog. Click on that and you’ll be able to see my entries. Unfortunately there’s no way to subscribe so you’ll have to visit periodically to see what’s new. I regret this change and the inconvenience it causes but hope you will continue “following” me and my photography.

Thank you for your interest in my work. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Advertisement

This blog is no longer

WordPress, where this blog is located, has informed me their business model doesn’t support older operating systems and browsers. Due to this I’m unable to access my admin pages to post new images and content. This entry is being made using my phone, not a tool that is effective to manage the blog as I want. I will continue sharing images and content on the blog in my personal website. As promised, I will post a link to that in the near future once I have it set up.

Thank you for following this blog. It’s disappointing that technology companies abandon legacy systems and create dissatisfied users. Fortunately I have an alternative service to continue my sharing so I look forward to seeing your comments in the future.

Blog may be ending

I’m having problems logging into this site from my computer and there seems to be no help from WordPress.com that solves the problem (I’m using my phone to make this entry). I’ll give it a couple of days and if the problem isn’t fixed I’ll move this blog to my personal site: http://www.melmannphoto.com

If it comes to that I’ll post a notice here with a link. I appreciate all of you following me here; don’t want to leave you hanging.

The Best Idea

Started watching Ken Burns’ series on the national parks, which began with efforts to preserve Yosemite Valley. As usual with his presentation, Burns uses old photographs, paintings and drawings to emphasize the narration about the subject. It got me to remembering the times I’ve visited Yosemite and the photos I made while there. The first trip was in the mid-2000’s. Pre-digital days for me – my gear was an OM-1 with 50mm lens and several rolls of Kodachrome 64. I scanned the slides a few years after the visit and really haven’t looked at them since.

The visit was just at the end of spring so the high country was still snow covered but melting enough to fills the waterfalls. It’s a great time to visit as the crowds are less and the air is generally clear. Not my best images from the park but good memories of my first efforts to capture some of the unforgettable scenes.

Tunnel View
Half Dome
Yosemite Falls
Three Sisters
Vernal Falls

Still some color

Wandering around a local downtown to continue learning how to use the Leica V-Lux at different focal lengths and apertures. For a compact camera it continues to impress me with ease of use, ability to quickly get the settings I want and image quality.

This image was made from across the street, about 300mm equivalent, hand-held, ISO200, 1/640 sec., f/4. This would print at around 12×16″ at 300 dpi.

What attracted me is the contrast between the random chaos of limbs and leaves, and the structural linearlity of the street light. And of course the color! What impressed me about the camera is the detail in both full sun and shadow, sharpness of leaf edges and the color delivery. Not bad for a camera that weighs less than half what my usual fall color gear comes in at!

End of season

Fall color has pretty much peaked around here. Sure, there are oak trees that are still mostly green but they will quickly turn brown and lose their leaves. The strong winds of the past days are stripping off the past-peak leaves from the maples and birches, and making the other trees look ragged. Between the weather and temperatures this fall color season has lasted at least three weeks in our area. Would have been nice to get more sunny days but the ones that did turn out made photography good.

Just a few remaining, interesting images.

It’s all in the details

Every fall I go out looking for the “perfect” autumn photo. I drive on miles of road, hike on miles of trails, wander wherever hardwood is changing color. Been doing this for years now. I noticed in my photo catalog the other day I have over 8000 images keyworded as fall colors. In all of that you’d think there would be one or two images that satisfy me.

Unfortunately, no. Probably because I’m not really sure what it is I’m looking for. Yeah, sounds silly but it’s an actual issue for me. I “see” marvelous colors and great compositions in many places but when I get the images home and look at them there’s not that emotional rush I had while standing there looking at the scene.

Photographs should generally tell a story, usually about what the photographer was experiencing at the time. Especially great landscape images. I can tell a story about most of the images I have made but it requires me being there to literally tell the story. The images don’t broadcast that information on their own.

So I’ve taken a different approach. The beauty of fall colors is the changing of the leaves. Together they give a tree or forest a character that draws your eye. Looking at my images I realize the ones I do like show the fine detail of the leaves, where your eye can see individual ones that make up the overall color show of the tree. Well, today I decided to ignore the trees and study the leaves. Portraits of fall color.

Autumn in the park

The recent cool weather is urging the trees to hurry up with the color in just about every park I’ve visited. Fortunately there have been extended times of good sunshine amongst the cloudy times so I’m seeing pretty vibrant compositions. Around here there’s probably less than a week left of peak color so I’m anxiously watching for sunny times.

Winter ready?

This time of year wildlife is racing to make final preparations for the coming cold. Some simply leave for warmer places (although not enough of the Canada geese get that message) while some build out nests where they can rest insulated from the weather. Now that we’ve had a first frost the squirrels and chipmunks in the woods behind us are rushing around vacuuming up seeds and stashing them away for wintertime snacks. Not sure where they go but it seems most of them show up in the spring so their nesting places must be protective.

Speaking of nests, here’s one seeming solution to the issue of dealing with changing seasons.

Hornets build these large structures high in the trees, composed almost entirely of paper they make themselves. In the center is the “hive” where food is stored and young queens mature. Surrounding it are layers and layers of this construction material. Although this looks like a well designed structure to deal with winter by the fall it is actually empty. Cold weather kills off the old queens and workers, while the fertilized new queens burrow into old logs or the ground to wait out the winter. Come spring, they emerge and start building a new nest all over again.

Seems like a lot of work that goes wasted but it’s how hornets have evolved to propagate while handling spring to autumn weather. For the photographer fortunate to find one of these abandoned hornet cities it offers a great subject to highlight the fall colors around it.

Urban autumn

This time of year I’m usually on the road, wandering around the woods looking for that perfect fall color. Feels like it’s hit or miss, either with the degree of color or the weather uncooperating. This year I’m trying something different and so far am pleased with the change. My goal is to look local to see what’s developing right here near home.

The park system in Milwaukee is very extensive, stretching from the lakeshore out into the suburbs, from the north side to the south side of the city. The parks were planned and set aside decades ago with the intent of giving people places to get away from the city and enjoy the outdoors. Several of them still have beer gardens during the year, harkening back to the city’s German heritage of families enjoying a day in the trees with music, foods and refreshments.

In designing the parks there were a variety of trees planted, either to reflect the local fauna or to give texture to the setting. Those trees are now mature and in the fall display a variety of colors. I’ve been wandering around the various parks in the city to see what is happening and am pleased with what I’m seeing.

The great thing about looking locally is I can return to a scene multiple times to see how the colors are developing, all without hours on the road to some distant location. It’s great those past developers took the time to populate their parks with hardwoods we can all enjoy this time of year.