Monday, September 7, 2015


My wife and I have been good friends with three other couples for over 30 years.  We all watched as our and our friends' children grew up to become adults who are now the age that we, the parents, were when we first became friends.  Two of the couples own second homes in Spring Green, a small town in the beautiful Driftless area of southwestern Wisconsin that, among other attributes, is home to a world class repertory theater.  For each of the past several summers the four couples have spend a weekend together in Spring Green to enjoy its natural beauty, the theater, and each other's friendship.  I thought I would post here a few of the photos I took during this past weekend's get-together.

This year we stayed with our friends, the Deans, at their home just off one of the greens of a golf course that their property borders.  Here is a shot looking out the back of their home of some deer browsing on and just off the green.

The Deans have a beautifully manicured yard that includes a profusion of perennials.

These shots share something of a misty look, one intended and one unintended.  When I took the shot of the spent flower, the morning was very humid, and I realized after the shot that my lens was fogging up from the humidity.  I didn't think the effect was too bad when combined with the shallow depth of field I was using, so I kept it.  In the second shot the reason for the misty look was post processing.  The shot was a bit soft to begin with, in part because of the shallow depth of field (f/5.6), and I thought I would just add to that quality by reducing what's referred to as "clarity" in my Lightroom software.  OK, I thought.

The following shot is not exactly "floral" but I liked it anyway for its composition.

Again, this was taken at a wide open f/4 aperture, using the closer plants as subject and keeping the background plants blurred but just sufficiently identifiable to create an overall effect.

We spent our final evening at a private recreational park on the nearby Wisconsin River, and I took a few shots of the river in the fading evening light.

The scene on the river was beautiful, but I have learned that landscape (in this case "riverscape") shots can usually benefit from a foreground element or at least a point of interest, and I tried to do that with these.  I could have used more of a telephoto lens, as I found myself substantially cropping these shots.   Just OK, I thought.

After sunset, we were treated to what felt like a private fireworks show.  The park had advertised the show and put it on even though my estimate of attendees was 40-50.  We literally had front row seats.  I have not attempted to photograph fireworks before, and really didn't know what I was doing.  Even so, I wound up getting a few OK shots.  Eventually, not sure what to do, I kept the camera on aperture priority, set the aperture at f/9, and ramped up the ISO to 3200.  I tried to time triggering the shutter for just when one or more flares were launched.  That allowed the fireworks to provide most of the illumination and, as it turned out, resulted in exposures ranging from 1/10 to 1/20 second for these handheld shots.  Here were the photos that I thought worked OK.

The two individuals who engineered the show can be seen in the lower center of each image.  A bit amateurish but it really helped that we had such a unobstructed view of the show.


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