I took a walk recently along the Rock River, from the River Road bridge on the southern edge of Janesville, Wisconsin in the USA, toward the little town of Afton, Wisconsin. It was a beautiful warm summer morning in August, 2015. It was pleasant to be beside the river, and just generally nice to be alive. It was perfect.
I wanted to make some landscape images of the river and the trees that line its banks. Eventually, the sun had risen high enough that the nice soft golden hour light was replaced with the (seemingly) x-ray glare of mid-summer on a hot day. I headed back and along the way I chased some bee pictures, photographed some flowers, and just generally had a super time.
If you click on an image you’ll see a larger version.
This is the Rock River, just North of Afton, Wisconsin. It was a perfect morning. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. This view is looking out from the bridge embankment below the River Road Bridge on the Southern edge of Janesville.
This is an alternate version of the Perfect Morning photo. It’s very similar, except it’s missing the frame of foliage in the foreground. It was made from the deck of the bridge instead of from the bridge embankment. I think the image is technically ok, but I like the other one better.
This was the last bit of golden hour on the River. That slight magenta tint to the water was disappearing as the sunlight became much brighter. The temperature was going up as well.
The angle of this image just manages to keep the sun out of the frame. The leaves looked beautiful with the sun shining through them. This one is a little messier than “Good Morning Sunshine” (next), but it’s got more of that amazing green glow too.
The sun is up on the Rock River. The view as it lights up the leaves on the trees is amazing.
I chose this image over “Sun Glow” because it’s a little more subtle and tidy. It’s approximately the same view as that in the “Just for Fun” abstract, coming up next.
I read an article about using camera motion blur as a component of photographic images. I had some nice light coming through the trees, and wanted to give it a try. This was the best of several attempts. I think it has a certain abstract oil painting feel to it, or maybe abstract finger painting is more like it.
We’re looking into the morning sun. Sunglasses might be helpful, but who can complain on such a beautiful morning?
This truly is looking almost directly into the sun. You can just see its glow in the reflection from the water. Once the golden hour is gone, everything takes on a slight bluish aura when you look close to the sun on a hot, perfectly clear summer day like this one. Can you see it?
Here, we’re looking north from Afton, toward the River Road bridge. What’s left of an old pier makes a nice visual prop.
This image is looking directly away from the sun, from about the same spot that “Sunglasses would be Nice” was made. The blue glow is gone when looking in this direction. Can you see the difference?
I found these sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa) as I walked back along the River from Afton, after the sun got a little too strong for landscapes. These blossoms were everywhere.
I preferred this image, even though the main blossom is not at the most advantageous angle. The combination of the three blossoms looks a little like a holiday ornament, don’t you think?
Along with the sundrops, there were quite a few Black Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) blossoms near Afton.
These little raggedy mop-heads have the most exquisite color. When the sun hits them, they are quite striking.
Common Chicory (Cichorium intybus) blossoms always make me think of blue jeans, due to their color and the texture of their petals. The little stamens remind me of q-tips with their cotton-swab like anthers at the end of a translucent filament. I saw quite a few as I walked back from Afton.
Chicory is an interesting plant. It’s a native of Europe, but is naturalized in the United States and Australia. The root is often dried, ground, and used as a substitute or extender for coffee. The leaves are edible, although somewhat bitter. The bitterness can be reduced by boiling them and discarding the water. The greens are an excellent source of vitamins A, B5, B9, C and K. Chicory is also a highly digestible forage for livestock, and the root is an excellent substitute for oats for horses.
This is the seed head of a grass the on-line resources tell me is called giant foxtail (Setaria magna). It was next to where I parked my car along the River Road Bridge over the Rock River. The sun caught it just right and it had these beautiful red highlights. I couldn’t pass up an image like that.