Happy Place

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge asks: ” Where’s your happy place?” For us,  it’s that place where the rising sun’s rays skim across the mountain folds, and updrafts sustain the wind play of vultures and hawks. It’s that place where birds fill the ears with chirps and whistles and hoots, and buck snorts add exclamation points to the Ouachita Mountain soundtrack. It’s also the place that has served as a bird blind, galactic observatory and deer-watching platform. That happy place is our deck.

Sunset Sept. 19, 2015.
Sunset Sept. 19, 2015.
AUTUMN FOG -- Fog fills valleys in the Ouachita Mountains. Taken Sept. 15, 2016.
AUTUMN FOG — Fog fills valleys in the Ouachita Mountains. Taken Sept. 15, 2016.

Feeling a little black and whitish

Of course, these are not truly black and white, having been shot in living RGB on digital point n’ shoot. When framing a shot for eventual conversion to black and white, or specifically infrared-ish, there is still the challenge of evaluating the color and contrast in the viewfinder and filtering it through your brain, hoping the resulting image will match your ambitions.

The first lesson I had in this area was in the pre-digital days. As wire editor for a newspaper chain, I’d watch as The Associated Press LaserPhoto machine spit out, on a special paper, color photos as color separations. There were four images for each photo and though they were black and white, each represented the yellow, black, cyan and magenta components of a full-color image.  When aligned correctly and run through a four-color press, magically, a full color image would appear.

When shooting through an RGB device, your imagination has to substitute for those CMYK separations — taking it a step further and using only three mental filters, red, green and blue.  Of course, if your image doesn’t meet your ambitions, there’s probably a fix in Photoshop.

Cypress growing in a backwater.
Cypress growing in a lake near the Arkansas Forestry Commission nursery east of Little Rock.
5-24 Cloud rays BW
Clouds spread out like rays from the north.

This was originally shot for this weekend’s In the Background photo challenge, aiming for a little bird in a tree in the background. Once downloaded, the clouds just leapt from the frame.

In Aunt Betty’s Garden

Aunt Betty in Minnesota has a terrific garden.  Beautifully balanced between shade and sun, all surrounded by that lush, deep green northern grass that southern lawns can’t grow. It is a lovely refuge from everything stressful.

Garden butterfly
Butterfly in Betty's garden.
White hydrangea, backlit
"Pure" is the only word that describes the light shining through this white hydrangea.
Orange flowers
These orange flowers stood out among the green in the shade garden.
Grandpa Ott morning glory closeup
The rich violet velvet of this Grandpa Ott morning glory trumpet, contrasted with its white throat, makes it seem to radiate its own light in the morning.
Orb spider
This slender orb spider rests in its web strung between black-eyed susans.
Hosta leaf
A hosta leaf captures a shadow in the afternoon light of a late summer day.