Outdoors Magazine

Portraits of Plants and Rocks

Posted on the 27 March 2015 by Hollis
This is a story of light,
Portraits of Plants and Rocksspecifically light inside a box,Portraits of Plants and Rocksspecifically light inside a light box, which I made.Portraits of Plants and RocksThe project began a little over two weeks ago when I saw Amanda Peters’s beautiful photos of larch cones.  I asked her about them, as did others, and she then explained the process.  The light box was inexpensive and simple to build, but using it was another matter.  I had to experiment … a lot.  Most of the 366 shots from the first session ended up in the trash.

I learned a fair amount from my trials and errors.  Of course I could have consulted some of the many webpages on the subject, and I will next time.  But honestly, I enjoyed exploring on my own.Portraits of Plants and RocksBecause so much of the scene is white, a camera in Auto mode underexposes, making the subject too dark.  Fortunately last month I learned about exposure compensation.  For most of these photos I set EC to +1, or even +2, and everything in-between (three increments per step).  Yet I still had to adjust in iPhoto.  Maybe it's time to start checking photo histograms after shooting.My light source was sunlight through a window.  But the day was only partly sunny, with clouds sailing by.  More light would have been nice.  A tripod might help, allowing photos with longer exposures to be more in focus.But even after severe culling, I still had enough photos for a modest exhibition.  All post-processing was done in iPhoto … nothing fancy.Portraits of Plants and RocksI’m strictly a wild plant botanist.  I've never learned the names of the house plants that I bought 24 years ago, along with a house.Portraits of Plants and Rocks
Portraits of Plants and RocksThis is the sagebrush that's traditionally burned in women’s sweat lodges.  It’s also called fringed sage, Artemisia frigida.Portraits of Plants and RocksRabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus) in my yard has green stems through the winter.  I spotted the buds when I was composing the photo.Portraits of Plants and RocksOne can never have enough pebbles … nor enough pebble-searching.Portraits of Plants and RocksNever!!!Portraits of Plants and RocksPortraits of Plants and Rocks
Portraits of Plants and RocksTreasures from the Lunar Crater Volcanic Field in central Nevada.

Portraits of Plants and RocksSand ripples from tidal flats 250 million years ago; San Rafael Swell, Utah.
Portraits of Plants and RocksIn 1875 Grove Karl Gilbert studied Mount Hillers in the Henry Mountains in Utah.  He called it a “laccolite” and thereby made it the type locality for structures now known as laccoliths – uplifts formed by shallow intrusion of magma.  Gilbert was one of the greatest early geologists of the American West.

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