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Breaking all the Rules

Breaking all the RulesTo view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

The “rules” of photography are there for a reason, but they are a help in developing creativity and not steadfast rules. In this photograph the subject is front and center for impact with leading lines (another of the library of rules for creativity) guiding the eyes. To put it mildly, rules for creativity are an oxymoron. If rules were all there was to creativity we would all be coloring within the lines. A photography professor told me that it takes more time to know how to break the rules than to teach the rules themselves. Breaking rules for the sake of it is not the point, the point is to create photography worth looking at and the rule of thirds does not guarantee that.

Goose on a Log

Goose on a LogTo view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

Form and shape are important elements in a lot of my photography, so when I saw this goose with its wing out-stretched I was thrilled. What I did not see was the enormous amount of refuse in the water. Removing it was a trial and admittedly it’s not all gone. In color the form of the bird was lost to the waves and color in the water, so I decided to go for a monochrome treatment (Tonality Pro). Some creative blur to parts of the background helped. Overall this photograph took considerable time to process as I tried different techniques before finding the mix of solutions that got the result I wanted.

The Eyes Have It! (Three Photographs)

Mourning Cloak ButterfliesTo view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

These are Mourning Cloak Butterflies, the earliest butterflies you see in our neck of the woods; they over-winter and come out twice a year in the spring and again in the fall. There is a certain tree that leaks sap that attracts them in numbers. I noticed this last year and did a post about these butterflies. Their eyes have a checkerboard pattern and look a bit like soccer balls. The damaged wings show age.

I am a big fan of insect photography and would love to do it year round (not a hope in Canada). I used a 105mm lens and in two of the three photographs I used flash and a soft box because in the deep woods the light is poor. The edges of the wings suffered a bit under both natural and flash lighting. I was aiming for the eyes and kneeling in mud. Mourning Cloaks are dark-winged with only a bit of color in their wings; they are better camouflaged when their wings are closed. You often see them flying around defending turf or resting on the ground looking for salt. (You can see this in my post of 18 July.)

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Woody Builds a House (Six Photographs)

Woody Builds a HouseTo view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

Pileated Woodpeckers build their nests deep in trees. You can sometimes hear them inside applying the finishing touches. In this series, the bird made a hole dug down deep into the tree and is throwing out the chips. The tree was just off a well-used path and many people got to see the antics. Scenes like this are best captured when you can move about, get a different perspective and try to avoid a back-lit situation. In editing I cropped, used shake reduction, reduced noise and extracted detail with Nik Color EFX Pro.

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On the Lake (Two Photographs)

On the Lake-2To view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

This photograph was processed with only a few adjustments: cropping, sharpening, de-noising and some selective detail extraction. Shot at mid-day the light was coming from the left, the goose moved its head to where I wanted it to be. It’s a nice relaxed photograph. Shooting things on water gives an opportunity for reflections, great color and shadow highlights. However, lake water is usually full of debris and it’s hard to decide what is sensor dust and what is muck. In spite of the great color I decided to see what would happen with a monochrome treatment.

On the Lake

Sometimes it’s not always about the Photography (Six Photographs)

Walk in the SpringTo view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

I doubt I will ever get tired of photography. Looking at everything through a lens is not always the best way to go about life and many have written about it. Sometimes it’s about smelling the roses and enjoying the walk. Not every destination has a great photograph at the end of it no matter how much we try. We went on a long walk along a trail, and the photographic highpoint was a photo I posted earlier of two butterflies mating. The rest of the day was forest, flowers, and a deer that ran in front of our car. The trillium flowers were in abundance and the light was interesting but required a higher than average ISO. I made the best of what was to be had.

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American Robins (Two Photographs)

Robin-1To view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

Most birds hide in trees, a few like the robin like to be visible to potential mates while making their calls. This wish to be visible does nothing for the photographer if the background is not pleasing. Secondly it’s nice to get a catch-light in the eyes (of course we could put one there with Photoshop but that would be tomfoolery). You can see in these two photographs that a few millimeters makes all the difference for a catch-light. I think that for most bird photographers shooting a bird clearly standing out and doing something interesting, even if it’s only singing, is much better than nothing.

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