Every year the transition from August to September and September to October offers me the opportunity to reflect. Unlike most people approaching middle-age, I live the life of a student. Every spring I go to prom (as the coordinator), celebrate new graduates (as a teacher, advisor and mentor) and experience the elation of freedom that only a summer can offer. And, just as I've grown accustom to the nothingness of long summer days, I am rudely jerked into another school year destined to repeat these landmark events. Like the movie Groundhog Day, my life is an endless loop of predictability that is only interrupted by the changes I choose to create. So it is with this bizarre perspective that I celebrate the transition from summer to fall.
During the next few days I plan to post a series of images that convey the transitions I've observed from behind the lens. With each post, I'll describe my photographic approach as well as the impetus for choosing the subject. In this way, I hope to connect the dots between anticipation and excitement I always seem to feel at the end of summer.
About the shots: It is in late August that I begin to realize that the number of "free days" are diminishing at a feverish pace, and my typical response is to spend more time on long walks with the gear. On August 10th I found myself wandering about a nearby patch of protected land in search of something to photograph. I did not begin the walk thinking about macro subjects, rather I was searching for something large and feathered. Nearly a mile into the hike I gave up the pursuit and sat in a patch of big bluestem. After fruitless minutes of swatting at the local blood suckers, I stood up and realized that I was surrounded by color. I ditched the long lens for a macro and began to survey the area. My first subject was the pair of soldier beetles (Genus Canthariday) mating on some old bee balm. I could only imagine that the two knew that summer was quickly coming to a close and had better get on with things before it was too late. I positioned the tripod at the same plane as the beetles and waited for the occasional wind gust to subside. Shooting at f/8.0, I managed to get just enough depth of field to produce the sharp image pictured at the top. In contrast to the beetles, the jewelweed (Genus impatiens) was shot at f/3.5. The goal here was to focus on the clinging drop of dew while gently blurring the flower in order to emphasize the color and form rather than the details.
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