Roadside Memorials

Black And White Photography, Photography, Steven

Roadside Memorial © Steven Willard

I have no idea how many roadside memorials I’ve passed in my travels. I’m seventy-two years old, and I’ve driven all over America, and some foreign countries too, so the number must be pretty high. Some were probably too small to notice while traveling at highway speeds, others such as this one, certainly caught my eye. Some clearly mark scenes where accidents took place, dangerous curves or poorly marked intersections. Others are placed on perfectly straight highways, begging the question of how someone managed to run off the road. I rarely stop, they appear too suddenly unless it is on a section of road I travel frequently. I don’t think the mourners expect us to, it’s something more personal than that, or perhaps more desperate. A cry for people to notice that a friend, or child, has been take away from them. It’s something for us to think about, at least for a few miles.

 

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At the shore

Black And White Photography, Photography, Steven

Whale spotting

Well, it might have been a whale! Sometimes we see what we want to see.

Olympus Pen F with Zuiko 25mm f1.8 processed in Snapseed.

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Lunch Break

Black And White Photography, Photography, Steven

Ornamental Grass © Steven Willard

I remember sitting in my car eating a sandwich, watching the effect of the passing clouds on this clump of ornamental grass. With every cloud the light would change; with every slight adjustment of my head, the composition changed.

When my sandwich was gone I picked up the camera from the seat beside me and stepped out of the car, made perhaps a dozen exposures, then time to go. Lunch break was over, time to get back to work.

Olympus OMD EM-1 with 40-150mm f2.8 zoom, Processed in Snapseed.

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Inversion Therapy

Black And White Photography, Photography, Steven

Inverted, © Steven Willard

We have a tendency to look at things from the bottom up. Generally we scan buildings from the ground up, and landscapes from near to far, which usually means bottom to top. Of course there are exceptions; dramatic images of clouds or mountains for instance, or portraits where we usually are drawn to the eyes first regardless of where the eyes are in the frame.

As an exercise, I’ve been trying to make photographs that turn things upside down, that draw the eyes first to the top of the frame, then work their way to the bottom. It produces a tension we aren’t used to in seeing in images. Finding these images is not as easy as it sounds, and I offer it as a challenge.

These bare branches hanging down from a clump of pine needles reminded me of roots working their way deeper and deeper into the earth; the textured wall in the background serving the visual equivalent of earth. While this image was photographed as presented, it works almost as well when inverted. Try looking at it that way.

Olympus OMD EM5 file processed in Snapseed and Stackables on my iPad Air.

Viewpoint

Black And White Photography, Photography, Steven

A different point of view

I don’t know the name of the plant featured here (can anybody offer offer a name?), but usually I see them from below the leaves. Today, however, I was searching a bit of wetlands from a pedestrian bridge using my longest lens-the 40-150mm f2.8 zoom with a 1.4 teleconverter. This yielded a focal length of 210mm on micro four thirds or 420mm on full frame. I’m happy with the results hand held, and like the new view of the subject.

Olympus OMD EM-1 WITH OLYMPUS 40-150 F2.8 zoo + MC 1.4 Processed in Snapseed.

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Spring meadow

Black And White Photography, Photography, Steven

Spring wildflowers and hay bales © Steven Willard

I had driven past this spot countless times knowing there should be a picture here, but always finding it lacking something, until this day. The wildflowers in front, the rolls of hay beyond, all lit by a soft overcast provided a shadowless effect.

Olympus OMD EM-1 with Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 zoom, processed in PS Express and Snapseed.

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The Conversation

Black And White Photography, Photography, Steven

The Conversation © Steven Willard

Panasonic Lumix GX85 with Lumix 45-150mm f4-5.6 zoom.

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My Side Garden

Black And White Photography, Photography, Steven

My Side Garden © Steven Willard

I have always liked the English country garden. Do you know what I’m talking about? Not the formal prissy things that need a full time gardener. No, I’m talking about the sort of garden one might find in front of a thatch roofed little place in some Cotswold village. The flowers would all be old fashioned, not something you are likely to find in the front pages of popular catalogs. The gardens always look just a bit disheveled, maybe “casual” is nearer the mark. I picture Miss Marple with an ancient trug* on her arm gathering blossoms for her table. The light is soft, just a slight breeze and the sound of a few bees working late as the sun starts to set on a late Spring evening.

*No, that is not a misspelling.

Olympus OMD EM5 with 15mm body cap lens. I processed the in camera black and white jpeg in PS EXpress and Snapseed. Can you tell I paid less than $20 for the lens? The gardeners among you will no doubt recognize that everything growing in my little patch is a weed, but aren’t they lovely?

Along the Housatonic River

Black And White Photography, Photography, Steven

River Pothole, Kent Connecticut © Steven Willard

Just upstream of Bull’s Bridge, a covered bridge across the Housatonic River a few miles south of Kent, Connecticut, is a diversion dam operated by one of the electric companies. When the need arises they can virtually shut off water to the natural riverbed, and in the process, reveal a number of river potholes to the curious photographer. This is one of those locations that could keep a photographer coming back over and over, finding more potholes and perspectives, the limit being the alarm that sounds when they open the sluice gates and the sudden rush of water.

Pentax K10D with kit zoom.

Cabin in the woods

Black And White Photography, Photography, Steven

Cabin in the woods © Steven Willard

Wouldn’t you like to have a quiet spot just big enough for one comfortable chair and a lamp to read by? Close enough to walk to easily, but far enough that you won’t be distracted by everyday stuff. No phone alllowed!

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