Photo Story: Wild Mountain Goat on Hurricane Ridge, 1976, Olympic National Park

Let's hear it for Kodachrome 64 and my old Nikon EL with it's 58 mm Nikkor F1.4 lens!  This is one of my dozen or so favorites from the 1970's.  For those that don't know this, Kodachrome was slide film with an ASA (ISO) of 64.  It came in rolls of 24 and 36.  Here the slide has been scanned to a 10mp file and then downsized to 750 pixels wide for blog posting.  I recently made a 24" print for my younger son, and it is plenty sharp.

"Mountain Goat"
Hurricane Ridge, Olympus National Park, 1976

Nikon EL film camera, Nikkor 58mm F1.4 lens
Shutter speed unknown, F stop unknown
ASA 64 (Kodachrome 64)

This image was taken on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park in July, 1976.  That was more than 40 years ago!

Mountain goats are not indigenous to the area. They were introduced in 1920, eighteen years before the area became a national park. I'm not sure how many were living in the park when I took this picture in 1976.  However, I have read that in 1983 there were approximately 1,100.

I love wild animals but it seems that the Park system is trying to figure out what to do with these animals, as it is reported that they are overgrazing the delicate alpine vegetation and soil.

Incidentally, seen in the distance, beyond the snoozing mountain goat, is Puget sound and Vancouver Island, Canada.


Photo Story: Tons of Maple Tree Helicopters

Our property is surrounded by maple trees.  One of the beautiful things that happens in the spring is that the maples sprout large quantities of little “helicopters”, as we called them as kids. In reality these are seed pods, and they appear before the new maple leaves arrive.

Beautiful colors eventually turn to brown:

Beginning with rich colors of green, pink, red and yellow, the helicopters eventually dry out and loose their color, instead turning to a dried-out tan or brown color.  At that point they loose their touch with the stems to which they’d been attached, and drop to the ground in a twirling motion.  This action is why they are often called helicopters or whirligigs. Where they drop will depend on the wind, as it is often high winds that “set them free”.

"A Squadron of Maple Whirligigs"
Olympus EM-1 with 12-100mm F4 zoom @ 54mm (108mm-equiv)
1/100sec, F4, ISO 200
Processed with Lightroom and Perfectly Clear

A reason for concern:

Of particular concern, however, is the number of helicopters produced.  This particular tree is so dense with seed pods. It’s a “bumper crop”.  But that may not be a good thing. We’ve had drought conditions the last few years and I have learned from an arborist that producing a bumper crop of seeds is often a tree’s way of continuing the species during times of stress, and before the tree dies off.


Photo Story: Driving Through Kansas in 1975

In the summer of 1975 I spent a couple of weeks traveling the USA with my graduate school roommate.  He’d driven to the west coast from Connecticut to deliver his younger brother to (as I recall) the University of California at Berkeley.  I, on the other hand, flew into Los Angeles for the purpose of riding shotgun for the drive back to New England in his green Mercury Capri sedan via Nevada Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, and from there pretty much straight through to Massachusetts where he dropped me off. The experience was terrific… all except the night I spent hanging over a toilet in a campground in Colorado after consuming burritos and refried beens in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Silverton, CO.

 Along Interstate 70 in 1975
Kodak Retina IIIC rangefinder film camera
50mm Focal Length
Kodachrome 64 (likely)

This photo represents my (unfair?) view of Kansas.  Flat as a pancake and a highway as straight (almost) as an arrow.  This photo was taken along Interstate 70. My recollection is that we were near Salina, and it was just after a thunderstorm blew through.  

One of my strange recollections is of spending the night in a campground off the highway.  We pitched the tent in a field. Usually, we would pound the tent pegs into the ground with any nearby rock.  But in Kansas we could find no rocks! Growing up in New England where farm fields are often lined by stonewalls, I found this rather amazing. I also remember it blowing like crazy all night and wondering if small dogs and young girls were flying through the air on their way to the Land of Oz.


Photo Story: To Spritz Or Not?

When I first became interested in flower photography, it never occurred to me to do anything artificial to the flower.  I was amazed when one friend told me of clipping a flower with stem, and bringing it indoors to photograph without wind and with controlled light and with an artificial background (ex. white foam board or black velvet fabric).  What a great idea that was. That strategy for creating good art had never occurred to me.  Another friend told me about using a spritzer bottle in the field to add the very appealing effect of raindrops or morning dew.  

Olympus E-M1 plus 60mm F2.8 Olympus macro
1/100sec @ F8, ISO 200

I definitely like the raindrop effect. It gives a little “something extra” to the image. But I have never actually taken the additional step of procuring a spray bottle and adding it to my gear bag.  

So, this image is completely natural.  It was taken outside my home after, you guessed it, a real rain shower. Perhaps a spritzer bottle in the hands of an experienced spray bottle aficionado could duplicate the appearance, but I’m thinking that may not be possible. I love the way the raindrops have lined themselves up nicely along certain lines on the blades of grass.

I do think that during this coming season of outdoor flower photography I will add a spray bottle to my kit.  It's worth playing with, and it should add some fun. On the other hand, using it seems a bit like catching a stocked trout instead of a wild trout. The wild trout is definitely a higher quality experience. Yet, it should be said that a stocked trout is better than no trout at all!


Photo Story: 8-Year Olds Love Chalk

Give an 8-year old some colored chalk and a paved driveway and it’s all about art and creativity. 

I think the above was the best of a ton of images I took of our granddaughter during her stay with us Monday and Tuesday. The background and foreground give a sense of the environment, without being distracting (IMO). I think that is a good thing. The 90mm F2.8 lens helped a great deal with blurring the background to help focus attention on the smiling 8 year old. Some vignetting might be useful, but I don't seem to use that technique much.  I feel I captured “the moment” here, and I especially like that it was done with an old manual focus, aperture ring manual lens.  

I used a 90mm Tamron F2.8 Macro (at F2.8, 1/500sec, ISO 100) mounted on a Sony a6000.  I am always pleased when I can get good focus with any manual lens; although, of course, our granddaughter wasn’t exactly in motion!

What was really amazing about this artistic experience is that we gave her the option to go to our local ice cream parlor for an ice cream cone before returning her to her parents, and she actually asked, “can I finish up my art project instead?”  Amazing girl.

BTW, buy triangular chalk sticks for your kids or grandchildren.  We’ve concluded that they don’t break as easily as the round ones. Ours are called “Chalkables”, and we just ordered more from Amazon.  The brand is OOLY.  They come in a box with 8 colors.