April 13, 2018

Partly Cloudy, 38 Degrees, East Wind 5 – 15 mph.

It is a very pleasant morning as I leave the house this morning. The sun is trying to burn through patchy clouds and the temperature is mild again, for the second day, after weeks of cold spring. It feels like spring may finally arrive.

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Not sure why, but I love these cloud pictures. Maybe because you can sense the sun streaming across them?

This morning I awoke feeling tired and unsure what I would photograph this morning. It’s my first thought in the morning most days. I am feeling like I have photographed the same bare trees and brush forever now. It’s been over 75 days, so that’s not unexpected.

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Soft morning light as the sun shines through clouds. Not as dramatic as a cloudy or rainy day, but not as boring as full sunlight.

There is an idea that I read in The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People long ago called Sharpening the Saw. It means that you need to take time from your work or your project, whatever it is, to refresh yourself in order to be effective over the long haul. The metaphor is that if you don’t stop to sharpen your saw periodically, you will expend a lot of effort and not cut much wood.

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There’s a sense of optimism to these shots that I like.

I’m beginning to have more and more of that feeling that my saw needs sharpening, but the concept here is to shoot every single day, and that’s what I’m going to do, at least until it becomes clear that I am wasting my time. So, with the idea in mind that I need some refreshing, I took the Lensbaby to play with blur again, and I took an extension tube to have a look at the spring buds again and see how they have progressed.

The thing that is tiring and stressful for me is the idea of trying to make wonderful works of art worthy of selling in a gallery. That’s a hard one to pull off every single day. Mercifully, I’ve had lots of days when I feel like I’ve done it, but on those days when I don’t, I don’t feel good about what I’m doing.

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Think what you like, but I like these Lensbaby shots.

So, relaxing and fooling around with the Lensbaby and just documenting the progress of spring is a day of at least a little saw sharpening for me.

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When Jamie and I got to the woods, I shot some clouds for a few minutes, before putting on the Lensbaby and shooting some overhead shots of trees and branches. I really do like these shots. Maybe the lens is a gimmick, but I like the extreme distortion and the localized focus and I guess that should be enough. Why question it further?

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Not a wonderful shot, but I had to include it because it’s the first real green I’ve seen this spring.

I took a few Lensbaby shots of a few buds too, before switching to the 24 – 105 lens and an extension tube for some better closeups. The leaves are beginning to come out on some of the more advanced bushes, and it’s exciting to see.

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Same here. Actual green! Actual leaves!

It really is a nice day. When it’s this warm it’s a lot easier to relax and enjoy the outdoors. I can handle the cold just fine, but on days like this you feel much more like strolling and taking in the morning.

Walking down the slope toward the deep woods, I heard a turkey gobble. I immediately took off the extension tube in hopes of seeing it. I walked a little further up in the woods in the direction I thought the call came from, but I saw nothing. Then, returning to the trail, I saw two turkeys moving up a side trail away from me.

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Turkeys moving off on foot.

I got off a number of shots before Jamie saw them and took off in their direction. It’s funny, but even with a dog in pursuit, they prefer to run along the ground for a while before taking flight. I guess it’s real work to get those big bodies off the ground. They disappeared around a bend in the trail before taking flight.

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Jamie in hot pursuit, but the turkeys still on the ground.

I’m not sure if the shots I got will be of much interest. They were a ways off and, having switched the camera over from shooting closeups of buds, I forgot to turn on the auto focus on the lens. Lets hope it was set for a distant focal point.

Moving along, down by the marsh, the spring peepers and other frogs are croaking away. Add the birds to that and it sounds wonderful. I took a short video clip here in hopes of catching the sound. I don’t know if it will work, but I wanted to try to capture it. It would probably be good to capture the sound of the woods more often, but I’m not sure that WordPress allows the use of video.

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I’m starting to think these little flowers may bloom repeatedly as a Pine cone is made? I guess I’ll see later this spring.

From there, Jamie and I pretty much walked home. I took a shot of the road with the Lensbaby, but the light isn’t great when it’s this bright, and the Lensbaby is a wide lens, less than ideal for the road.

I did stop at one tree along the way that I know has huge buds that are just about to burst open. I shot a number of them with the extension tube. The wind was moving them around a lot, but I hope I got some good shots. You can see the husks of the buds splitting open along their centerlines and leaves beginning to emerge. It will really be cool when the leaves start to take shape.

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Here, you can see the bud split open and three leaves emerging.

That’s it for today. I do feel a little refreshed. I always feel better after a walk. I don’t know if it’s the endorphins or what, but it’s hard to feel crummy when you’re walking in the woods on such a beautiful day.

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