Today was a lovely reprieve from summer’s humidity and it put me in the mood to photograph something. I recently had lunch at this cute little bistro SAP in Appleton, WI with some friends and as we were leaving I was drawn to their glass displays filled with pretty little deserts. I didn’t get a chance to bring any home with me that day, but vowed to stop back. Today was that day and I picked up this gorgeous little raspberry tart. In hindsight it might have been fun to try something with multiple tarts but such is life. Next time. I had just bought some lovely purple linen fabric and it made a fantastic backdrop for these shots. I tried a couple other backgrounds as well, but these few were my favorite. Can’t wait to eat it for desert tonight.
I’m constantly writing down ideas for photographs. Recently, I was watching a video by a couple of fantastic food photographers on Creative Live and became really inspired by their work. I love food photography and started writing and drawing all the ideas that came to my head. One image was of nectarines in a wood bowl on a dark surface. I went out to a couple of thrift stores and searched for the right kind of bowl but I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Undeterred, I found this pretty honey colored ceramic one instead. Using window light and a reflector I brought to life the image I saw in my head. Beautiful oranges and reds against rich browns, filled with texture.
I had bought way too many nectarines to photograph and couldn’t eat them all before they would go bad so I cut them into chunks and froze them. I love to make this strawberry frozen yogurt and thought making it out of nectarines would be a great way to use the extra fruit up and perfect for a hot summer afternoon. I thought it would be interesting to show the nectarine frozen yogurt in a different way than I had photographed the nectarines in the bowl. I created the opposite of that darker more dramatic image with this light, summery scene. Working with quickly melting food takes some forethought but I was able to get the shot and eat it before it was mush. It was delicious by the way. Find the recipe here http://www.justataste.com/healthy-easy-peach-frozen-yogurt-recipe/
One of many great things about the Fox Valley Photography Meet Up group is exploring new places. On a sunny Saturday morning in July I waited for members of the group to show up at the Butterfly Gardens of Wisconsin. http://www.butterflygardensofwisconsin.com. Jack, one of the owners of this little gem of a place, came out with tall flowers in big pots. As he came by us waiting outside, he stopped and showed us the monarch eggs placed by the butterfly on the underside of the milk weeds’ leaves. His passion for these tiny creatures was immediately evident, and only increased our excitement to be there.
Upon entering the little gift shop area we were given a quick rundown where one of Jack’s daughters taught us how to tell the difference between the male and female monarch butterfly, the male has a black dot on his wings, how they mate and lay eggs, their life cycle, and about their yearly trek to South America in September. Besides getting a chance to photograph these beautiful butterflies it was so interesting to learn more about them, giving me an even greater respect for the wildlife around me. An important thing to note is that besides being killed off by predators, the chemicals we use on our lawns and around our houses are destroying creatures like this, not just the weeds that annoy us. Food for thought.
It was a day I felt very fortunate, to be a part of this moment, to be a part of this photography group, to be in this truly amazing place, and to be able to photograph these gorgeous creatures.
Butterflies mate end to end.
As a female butterfly was laying it’s eggs, Jack’s daughter pointed it out to me and I was able to photograph her while she was laying them.
Trevyn, I, and the pups spent a recent Friday night at Point Beach State Park. I had been planning to go for about a month, with no moon that weekend my hope was to do some star photography. There had been thunderstorms and rain all week and that day was claiming more of the same. It had only been a little cloudy and warm during the day so we decided to make the hour long trek to the park, figuring if it did start storming we weren’t too far from home.
I had never been to Point Beach State Park and what I’m starting to realize, after 34 years of living in Wisconsin, is that we have some amazing state parks. I got my first state park sticker this year and hope to make it to several more through the summer and fall. We hope to go back to Point Beach, sans dogs, to check out their bike trails too.
When you first pull in to the park all you see is trees, no water. The mosquitoes were bad, accosting us as soon as we got out of the car. Trevyn, I think, was immediately regretting his decision to come along on my little adventure. We followed the dog trail down to the beach. It was a short walk, maybe five minutes, but it was like being transported to the east coast. Having spent a summer near the coast of Maine, many years ago, it was a bit nostalgic.
As a photographer I was finding all kinds of interesting things to photograph; feathers, weathered branches, the lighthouse, water, and my little family. As you can see by my sandy pups, they were having a fantastic time. Lu trying to chase the water and running like crazy when it would come back to get her. It was a gorgeous afternoon and with mostly clear skies I found a little spot to set up to photograph the lighthouse as darkness started falling. Behind us, in the distance, we could see lightning. The storm never came, but kept on it’s northeasterly track, just passing by us. After I photographed the lighthouse, I went back to the beach to try to capture the storm. In the image below you can see lightning flashing in the clouds. My exhausted bunch slept the whole way home.
Earlier in the night, around dusk I caught this version of the image above. I always think it’s interesting to see how much the light can change in such a short time.
Occasionally I can’t find a backdrop in the color that I want, so I got these thin lightweight boards that can be painted any color I want. They work great as a makeshift wall for children, pet, or close up portrait photography. I have painted a couple in pale pinks and yellow that I haven’t been able to find in rolls of paper. I saw a beautiful shot of a still life done on slate, but slate is heavy and expensive. So I decided to diy a version of my own with black chalkboard paint. It obviously doesn’t have quite the same texture as slate but it dried to a dull sheen and has some nice texture to it. I emphasized the texture by brushing some chalk dust over the whole surface. In the images below I’m experimenting with some beautiful herbs, trying to see how the texture and reflection works in different light.