Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2008 Leftovers

It's been my habit every January to drag out those photos from the previous year that never made the cut, but were close.

In February the Texas Mountain Laurel trees bloom in SA--our first concrete sign of Spring. We planted one in early 2005 that was under 2' high, and by 2008 it was much taller than I and blossomed for the first time. The resulting seed pods are still on it today--I suppose they'll drop soon, but maybe not until next year for all I know. As kids we would take the ultra-hard red seeds and rub them against the street or curb until they were incredibly hot, then press them against our friends and laugh at their reaction to the burn.
These lovely clusters of purple smell just like grape candy and really brighten your day as you pick up the scent drifting throughout the countryside.
In fact, before ours finally gave us some flowers I would creep across the alley and cut some from a tree at the back of a neighbor's yard just to have the scent in our home and cars.
I liked this off-camera flash photo a lot, except for the almost-microscopic bugs.
Taking out my leaf-blower seemed like too much trouble at the time.

This shot was an attempt at adding to my series of motion studies using playground equipment, first seen here.
It's okay, but didn't measure up against the others.
Not dramatic enough, too many leaves on the ground, boring light.
Trying to recapture the feelings of youth in a photo isn't easy, and neither is getting time by yourself in a playground with no kids or parents around who might freak-out and call the cops thinking you're some perv. When the light is good the playgrounds are full unless it's hot enough to burn your skin, and I don't really enjoy shooting in those conditions.
This series will continue, someday.

This is one of my unique female guppies.
Starting with a dozen or so fancy guppies my brother gave me, I soon built up a school that was much too large for their 5-gallon tank. Over the past six years or so, natural selection has created a strain of females that haven't been seen before.
Not only do they have color in their fins while most females are plain silver/clear, the tails of my girls have slowly elongated into scissor-tail status.
It's taken generations for the majority to evolve, and it's interesting to note that many of my males (which are usually the "fancy" ones) have at the same time become less fancy, as if the evolution of the sexes is destined to meet somewhere in the middle.
True equality of the sexes.
(Hillary would have taken credit, but this is entirely a Bush Administration Project).

There are always exceptions, with new males and females born all the time that resemble the original stock.
It's a fun experiment, but I don't put much work into it.
Nature takes it's course and proves Darwin was correct.

I never used this photo before simply because it isn't sharp enough to suit me.
These fish are little and hyper and never stay in one place long enough to get a focus-lock, and when I'm anywhere near the tank they get even worse since I'm the giver of food.
Using remote flashes to freeze the action helps but there's no practical way to also add enough "hot lights" to help with autofocus on such a small aquarium, and even then the particular fish you're after will have moved by the time your shutter/flash trips so focus is lost. It's a depth-of-field / arrangement-of-furniture / never enough light nightmare that's based on lots of experimentation ruined by bad luck and twitchy fishies.
Don't even get me started on the problems of reflections inside a glass fish tank.
Literally hundreds and hundreds and even more hundreds of shots over the last 2 years and this is the only one that even comes close to showing what's happened in my little ecosystem, but it doesn't really measure-up to the portrait quality I'm after.
And it's only worthwhile to try again when the tank is truly clean, which is a condition that's never even seasonal.

I haven't given up entirely, but it may take two more years to solve this problem in a satisfactory (cheap) manner.
On the plus side, my stock of unusual female guppies get better looking every time I try.

No comments: