The days of yore, part five

pond scene lacking fall colors
Admittedly, these photos are not from very long ago at all – slightly over a week, to be forthright – so this isn’t terribly yorey, but that’s the title I’m going with. Mostly, I’m doing a little catchup from the past few weeks of thin posts while I tackled numerous other things, but really, I wasn’t shooting then either, so we have just a representation from a single outing. I’m not impressed with the photo above, but that’s the point – I’m illustrating just how unscenic it’s been, and how few autumn colors were visible, which is why I named the image, “FallColorSingular.” And now I’ll demonstrate how I virtually always end up working with such, since the trees in the immediate area all turn colors at different times, and there is rarely any such thing as a ‘peak time’ for colors here. Sure, other places can boast of those, but not here.

So see that one itty bitty little red American sweetgum tree (Liquidambar styraciflua) there on the shore to the left? Let’s use that.

Canada geese Branta canadensis in front of fall foliage on American sweetgum Liquidambar styraciflua
Working from across the pond with the Canon 100-300L lens, I had the setting, but I needed the subject, and waited patiently for the Canada geese (Branta canadensis) to swim into the frame – which took longer than expected, because they were dilly-dallying, or maybe lollygagging, and taking their own sweet time about it. I suppose that makes this a lollygaggle of geese, but regardless, I was mentally coaxing them along, which I’ve long ago proven does not work at all, though what else was I gonna do? Even if I had a bunch of bread crumbs with me, my throwing arm isn’t that good. Eventually, they came across and I got the framing I was after, then cropped it tighter for its use here, highlighting those colors enough to make it seem like they were more prominent than they were, as well as putting a little color into the water from the reflection.

Technically, this is the latter composition, because I started my circuit of the pond from the other side and thus passed right alongside that tree initially, so this was the approach then.

muscovy ducks Cairina moschata passing behind backlit American sweetgum Liquidambar styraciflua
I didn’t have to wait on these muscovy ducks (Cairina moschata) because they were entering the frame on their own, possibly following me around the pond in the hopes of a handout, but that meant that this time, I was quickly positioning myself for the framing. Facing into the sun now, the leaves were backlit for a brilliant effect, but the ducks became near-silhouettes, and yes, I framed the sunburst reflection in there on purpose; regrettably, this showed the residues atop the water very distinctly, making it almost appear like ice, when really they were barely noticeable. But it certainly made the most of one tree.

Now, there’s been a great blue heron (Ardea herodias) hanging around for several weeks, and it’s a spooky one, rarely allowing any kind of close approach and not posing very well. But this particular day I had more luck than all previous, and managed a few compositions before it flew further off like a whiny little girl. We’ll start with the wider perspective.

great blue heron Ardea herodias perched on piling in front of trees
Not exactly a representative autumn shot, but ignoring that, it works okay as a scenic in my book. I tried not having the heron on the centerline of the frame, but that introduced other distractions, so we’ll cope.

And then, as I continued around the shoreline, the elements lined up differently and I had a new composition.

great blue heron Ardea herodias with smidgen of fall colors and reflections
First off, there are two trees contributing orange colors to this frame, and they’re both in the previous one too, but widely separated there. equidistant on either side of the heron; marching on a few dozen meters allowed them to line up and give an impression of more colors than were really visible, as well as putting a splash of color right alongside the heron. Cropping tighter enhanced this considerably, and then shamelessly, I darkened the frame a little and boosted saturation just a tad to really bring it home, but I had also been shooting with the settings for high contrast in the camera, trying to handle the bright sunlight, and those reduce contrast and saturation. If you’re worried about such wanton editing, go read this.

Then I rounded a small point, drawing closer and producing entirely different lighting and effects.

backlit great blue heron Ardea herodias with sunlight reflections from water
No fall colors now; not a lot of color at all, really, because of shooting almost directly into the sun. And I’ll tell you a little secret: I boosted saturation by the maximum amount it would go in GIMP, just to illustrate that there was virtually none to begin with. As a comparison, the previous shot was boosted by “9” on the slider (percentage, perhaps; who knows? It’s unlabeled,) but this one was boosted by “100,” right against the stops – there just wasn’t much to boost.

Almost immediately afterward, the heron said, “Screw this” (or non-words to that effect) and flew off. I had been shooting at 300mm and the above image was slightly cropped, so it’s not like I was particularly close, but that’s how this specific heron behaves – not at all like the cooperative egret from a few weeks back. Back and forth goes the luck, which is profound, I know.