Monday, December 29, 2014

Best of 2014: October

Autumn's Alchemy
In October, I attended the Arkansas Native Plant Society meeting in Texarkana, Ark., at the invitation of Eric Hunt, a faithful participant in Wildflower Wednesday, a photo theme I started and curate on Google+. Eric is not a botanist but his knowledge of plants and his photo skills are both extraordinary. I was honored when he invited me to attend the ANPS meeting and had a wonderful time hanging out with him at the meeting.

We went on two wonderful photowalks Saturday, in the morning to White Cliffs Natural Area and in the afternoon to Millwood Lake. I came home with hundreds of images, many of which I have not yet had time to process and share.

I have come to appreciate the subtler colors of autumn in the south. Here, a Great Egret (Ardea alba) hunts in the shallows of Millwood Lake in western Arkansas, directly north of Texarkana.  

Interestingly enough, another of the images from that trip is the first photo I have shared on Google+ that received more than 100 +1's. In fact, it has received 349 plus-ones so far! For comparison, the photo in this post has received 77 +1's. (For you Facebook friends, a +1 is equivalent to a "Like.")

So... why didn't I choose the more popular image as the Best of 2014 for October? I had to think about that for a minute, but...: 

1) Popularity is not necessarily equivalent to "quality." The more popular photo is a macro shot of a wild orchid blossom, and it is nice, but in my view, macro shots of flowers are kind of "cheap shots" in the world of photography. It's not that they do not require skill. They do. But even poorly done ones tend to generate oohs and aahs. 

2) The shot with this post was, in fact, quite challenging due to distance from the subject matter, lighting conditions, and having to dodge trees to get the angle/point-of-view I wanted, and in editing, to bring out the subtle colors without making them surreal. Moreover, the egret was a moving target--not very fast, but moving nonetheless.

3) And maybe I'm just a bit of an art snob? As in,  'if it's too popular it can't be that good'? Whatever. My year-in-review selections must satisfy me first, and then I'm delighted if you like them, too!

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