Sunday, February 5, 2012

I'll Take Potpourri for $200 Alex...

A variety of topics for today's post...  Each not quite deserving of it's own page, so will cover them all at once. 

In Illinois we live less than a mile from the Tekakwitha Forest Preserve, so it is a natural destination when getting in a walk to "get back to nature" or just a chance to almost get lost in the woods.  It has been a pretty mild Winter here, with lots of cloud cover if not downright fog and mist.  Not great conditions to get pictures, but I took some to put my new mosaic software to work.  Shown here is a 3-frame panorama showing the bike path down the east border of Tekakwitha that leads down to the Fox River, then across it on a bike/pedestrian bridge.  Even when you only have a few minutes to walk, the quarter mile walk down the hill to take in the views of the Fox is always worth it.  Over the last few years I've seen deer wading across the river, watched egrets and herons feeding in the shallows and cedar waxwings reducing the local insect population.

The bridge pauses at a mid-channel island before finally finishes its cross-river trip.  Normally overgrown with vegetation in warmer months, this week I followed a trail in the mid-stream island down to the water line.  There was a cool shot of the bridge from below and a fallen tree amongst a patch of ice and snow.  And then I saw it - another downed tree - this time one of my favorites... 

Some people might chose a favorite tree for it's shape, abundance of shade, fall colors, that sort of thing.  I REALLY like the hackberry tree (Celtis occidentalis), not for any of the above characteristics, but because of its really remarkable bark!  A relative of elm trees (very similar leaf shape), the bark is described as "warty" online, but some varieties here locally show the strong ridged structures shown here.  This one had ridges nearly an inch high, with micro-layers that for the world looked like growth rings.  You gotta agree it is pretty amazing!

Of course, a tree and bark like this calls for some 3D action, so I took a few frames to put together in Photoshop.  The frame at left is a stereo shot of the same section of tree  as above, at right is a different part of the tree.  As with the rest of my 3D posts, cross your eyes slightly so you are looking at the right image with your left eye, and the left image with your right eye.  You will then see a center image that displays depth.

And while we are on the topic of 3D pairs, here is a leftover of our December trip.  I was returning from a walk about sunset and saw the moon coming through the gnarled branches of an oak tree a few dozen yards from home.  Taking one shot, then moving a few inches and taking another, I got a stereo pair that shows some changing depth among the oak branches, then places the moon in the far distance.  Over the remainder of our December stay I tried to improve on this shot, but as is often the case, the original shot, almost accidental in nature (I just happened to look up), turned out to be the superior version.  I think that must be some law of nature combined with Murphy's Law!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yup, it's the law of "do or do not, there is no try!" (yoda) RFG would have told you the same.

I have often found that my ordinary life events, become the stuff of memory and legend. "trying hard" is just me getting in my own way.

so yeah.... can relate to the serendipity of a glance by chance.

on another note, very nice photos