Landscape #3

Tuesday was one of those days where the light and weather was not what I was looking for to make images of downtown so I opted instead to head out to the country side to create photographs. Being spring the weather tends to be turbulent for most the days. In the latter half of spring into early summer the number of storms that produce tornados grow substantially. As Iowans, we tend to live by the weather. The farmer’s success is tied to the favor of the weather so it is common place that we keep one eye on the sky while going about our daily lives. And in the spring when the weather turns bad and storms roll across our plains we don’t always head for shelter. Instead sit out on our front porch and watch the violence of the wind, rain wrapped in thunder and lighting and the few tornados carve paths of destruction in our fields.  Only when the danger is truly baring down upon us do we seek shelter only to step out and face the destruction head on.

As bad as the clouds look it was one of those spring days where it could not make up its mind wither to rain and be nasty or just look that way. Many of times on days like these I couldn’t help be drawn to stand out in a field and watch the clouds race by. It’s the drama of the sky and the energy that swirls and builds in the atmosphere. It’s watching the clouds move one way or another and as they did the light change giving them and the landscape character rather than flat grey like winter.  

For me Spring is change, the energy that is building to push the life from the ground. I could feel it standing there as the clouds passed overhead creating a friction between land and sky, anticipating a spark, a bolt of lightning discharging the color of the planet breaking the monochromatic spell of winter. Just stand there and you will feel it.

Triskaideka's Spring Portraits

Today is the first day of spring and what better way to celebrate the season but to take spring photos, Triskaideka’s Spring Portraits. We had an idea of what we wanted but not entirely sure or set on a specific props. Buffey and I felt that the props should be spring like in nature but not Easter specific. We wanted to be able to put the portrait up for longer than a few weeks and if we shot it with Easter baskets or with cute bunny ears then the portraits display life would be short.



So after a cup of coffee we were off to a local craft store. We started off by just walking around to see what was available. We knew that if we started to pick up the first thing we saw then the chance of the portrait being hokey was very likely. Once we took in all the possibilities we started to weed out the trite and home in on the white washed box, plants in the pots and tin vase, and finally the pussy willows.


The setup was simple. We set the box and plants up on a card table that we covered with a piece of white background paper. We set the pussy willows in a five gallon jug setting behind the table. I placed my lights in their spots and after a few test shots we were ready. My wife, Buffey, place Triskaideka in the box and used a feathered toy to get his attention while I took the portraits. It did not take long before we knew that we had a handful of shots that will work.


We placed them into Lightroom and started the process of elimination and soon we narrowed it down to two portraits. I sent one photo to Buffey and the other I worked on. After a few minutes I created this portrait in which I am very happy with.


Triskaideka is so easy to work with because he is our cat and he is in his home. I know that is key to the success of this and other portraits we have done of him and our other cats. Think of how many times you take your dog or cat to the vets or any other place and suddenly they become shy or totally unsociable. Triskaideka becomes withdrawn at the vets believe it or not. This is why I believe it is necessary to have me go to the pet rather than the pet come to me.

Now that we have Triskaideka’s Spring Portraits done we will have to generate ideas for his Summer Portrait Session. Have you had your Pet Portrait Session done? Or having a portrait session of your family being done? Don’t forget to include your pet they are family too.