Exploring Local: Still in my Backyard and Looking for Light

I could tell you the exact number of days, hours, and seconds remaining until we leave for Utah. But that type of thinking causes me to develop two bad habits. One is the habit of overlooking the wonderful things right in front of me.  The second habit is one of wishing away time. Time is my most precious commodity and I want to be in the habit of enjoying every moment no matter where I am located.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I am making an effort to notice and photography all of the beauty right where I am.  Admittedly, that is not really a difficult thing to do considering where I live.

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This photo is taken from Ash Creek Road looking southwest.  The yellow hue in the field comes from millions of the tiny yellow flowers that are in bloom right now.  f/18 ; 1/100th second; ISO 100 ; 22mm.  Canon 16-35mm L-series.

Over the past few weeks of increasing my efforts to notice the beauty around me I have noticed one particular aspect of my “eye” improving.  That is my ability to see light.  Light is the most important element in any photograph.  An ordinary scene can be made extraordinary with the right lighting and a spectacular scene can appear drab without interesting lighting.  Because my focus in not on what spectacular new scene may be just around the corner, I am able to really analyze all of the details and nuances of the landscapes I see every day.  My sincere hope is that this improved way of seeing will improve my photography when I do come around the corner and see a spectacular new scene.

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Dogwood blossoms at Sunset.                                                                                                                      f/1.8; 1/125th second; ISO 100; 50mm; Canon 50mm  EF lens.

Another side benefit of being stuck in my backyard is the benefit of becoming more familiar with my camera.  This is especially helpful as I am learning more about night photography.  I am always up long before sunrise so I have taken advantage of this fact and the clear skies to take some photos of the Milky Way.  Nothing points out the things I don’t know about my camera more than trying to adjust settings in complete darkness.  I am embarrassed to say that I’ve had my camera for nearly a year-and-a-half and I still haven’t learned all of the features.

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Until I started pursuing photography, I did not know that the Milky Way was seasonal.  It is not visible in our area during the winter months.  This is unfortunate because the skies are so much clearer in the winter.   The light in the lower right corner is coming from Red Bluff.  It is truly amazing the amount of light the camera is able to gather.  f/2.8;  30 seconds;  ISO 3200;  16mm;  Canon 16-36mm L-Series lens.

So the reality is that being stuck at home has probably improved my photography. Sometimes I start feeling sorry for myself because I can’t travel and take pictures of amazing places, but if I use my time at home in the proper way I will be able to take better photos when I am able to travel.

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