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Dragonflies (Four Photographs)

dragonflies-in-bw-4To view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

I was thinking about the pewter brooches you see of dragonflies and it made me think about doing some B&W dragonflies. Some will say these black and white images are not about the nature of the animal and they may be right. Sometimes we can have it both ways as photographers, identifying, getting action etc. But sometimes I think its useful just to focus on the photography.

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An Egret with an Appetite (Five Photographs)

egrets-with-dragonfliesTo view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

In the first shot the egret is eating a dragonfly though you can barely see it. In later shots (and I have included a color version as well) you can see some dragonflies that flew onto the back of the egret. I thought dragonflies were smarter! The two software packages I have to do conversion to B&W (Nik Silver EFX pro which is free for MAC and PC, and MacPhun Tonality CK for Mac only) have many tools to adjust and tweak the conversion. They also have presets to effect changes. I am working my way through MacPhun, my preferred program to find the styling and adjustments I find most useful. Each of the B&W’s here was processed differently. While I like them all I think the fourth in the series worked the best.

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Lilies in Black and White (Four Photographs)

bw-liliesTo view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

I chose to do these in Black and White because I knew the contrast, texture and color would lend itself well to B&W. My composition was focused on the subject and I kept the background natural by not removing all the detritus and none of the insects. However one looks at photography today, it’s still true that a lot of photographers began their efforts in B&W and some schools of photography insist on it. I recall a photographer whose clients were increasingly asking for color digital photography, getting a bit frustrated with the transition to digital, just as now some of us are in doing our first black and whites from color digital files.

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Black and White Landscapes (Four Photographs)

fuji-landscapesTo view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

These were taken with the Fuji XT-2, early on when I was learning to use the camera. I have applied my normal processing workflow, without noise reduction and the results were what I expected. New cameras always have challenges, and this one is working out nicely. With a firmware update coming I expect some more improvements. I certainly did not make enough time for landscapes this year. More landscape photography is on my project list for next year, probably not all in B&W.

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Seagulls (Five Photographs) and Some Words on Projects

seagullsTo view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

Professional photographers are always talking about how important self-directed personal projects are. They help them develop, get new ideas and build their audience. For amateurs the project approach can have the same results but I approach it slightly differently. Every year I look back and see what I could have done better or what needs more work and I start thinking about things I have yet to try. Last year I wanted to do more birds in flight which I have done, I will be featuring more in the future. I also wanted to learn more about B&W (or get more comfortable in using it). These seagulls capture some of both, the in flight and B&W. I have more work to do on B&W and it will be one of my “projects” going forward.

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Damselflies mating (Three Photographs)

damselflies-matingTo view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

In the first photo the damselflies are actually mating. In the second the male remains attached to protect the eggs he fertilized. In the third one the eggs are being placed in the water, where they live through the winter and emerge the following summer from their nymph state into full-grown damselflies before the cycle begins again. The three photos are of bluet damselflies, however, I am not expert enough to say which bluets they are.

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Great Blue Heron In Flight (Seven Photographs)

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To view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

The B&W, and its color counterpart below, with the complete shadow cast on the water are my favorites in this series. I said at the beginning of this year I would do more birds in flight, and I have achieved that goal in this and other series, some posted, some to come. Once you get the hang of swiveling with your hips, understanding the focusing settings in camera, there is still practice to get it all working and working well. Some birds give you warning they are about to fly off, but not all. At the park where I shoot I often go down a path, to a break in the foliage looking out over the lake. The opening is well hidden and while you have a clear view to the front, the sides are obscured by bush. One day, just as I arrived at this spot a Great Blue Heron banked a few feet in front of my face, I expect it had intended to land where I was standing and we were both startled. In that case I never got a shot off because after I caught my breath the bird was well away.

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