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"Noir et Blanc" (Sullivant's Milkweed Pods) Nikon D300, 42mm, F/10, 1/60s, -2.0EV, ISO 320, Silver Efex Pro Filter

Behind our home lies a pond that I, up until recently, didn’t have full access to since it was located on private property. When the property was sold, the old residence torn down and a public learning center erected, I thought it was going to be a terrible situation. Gladly, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as now I have full access to the pond as well as to a grove of woods behind.   

Photo opportunities await!   

Walking the water’s edge, I came upon this solitary stock of milkweed pods and was struck by the interesting form. The light quality was great but the background was horrible, so I removed my dark brown coat and draped it behind, knowing I could darken the color in post.  

Just goes to show that in the field, you have to be willing to adapt or lose the shot altogether! 🙂



  1. It looks solitary, silent, elegant, poised… beautiful!

  2. The lighting is perfect. Would make a good start to a series of photos like this.

    Since you like taking photos like this. Find a black and a white cloth you can easily carry with you. Another trick is to wear a plain white shirt/t-shirt/sweatshirt which can be used to reflect light on to subjects.

    • Thanks, Scott. I have an easy-to-carry reflector/diffusor (black/gold cover for white diffuser) that I just didn’t happen to have with me. I also usually have a bag that has other lenses, tripod, etc. I thought I was going to be doing more landscape-type shots and this caught me completely off-guard (ain’t that the way?). 🙂

      • Yes, and you did some quick thinking to salvage the shot. However, now, others know about what you carry and why. 🙂

        Do you have brand name with that reflector/diffuser of yours? I don’t have one yet.

      • Yes, I guess now they do. 🙂

        I have the Lastolite 18″ 8-in-1 Tri-flip Collapsable Diffuser/Reflector Kit. The base is a 2 stop diffusor (I believe) and I have some easy-to-slide-on reversable covers (black/gold, black/white, silver/gold, etc.). It always seems to have the black/gold cover on it since that is what I use most.

      • Thank you, Tracy! I’ll add it to my wishlist.

  3. Yes, it looks very elegant. The top part almost looks like a bird with its wings spread.

    You have it wrong, though. You don’t have to be willing to adapt… you have to be willing to FREEZE! 😉

    • Thanks much, Michaela! I thought “bird” as well…wings up top, duck bill on lower left.

      You are correct about the FREEZING part! I am notorious for arriving back home soaked and shivering from outings like this as, for some reason, I seem to have to either kneel or sit or lay on the ground to get the right angle. I was wearing three layers on this outing and I still just about froze my butt off! 🙂

  4. See, its photos like this one that make me want to flush my camera right down the toilet and take up industrial basket weaving as a hobby. 🙂
    That’s my way of saying: Great catch, Tracy.

    • You crack me up, Dave! 🙂 I think you should stick with photography. Afterall, spiders like to hang out in reeds and straw and around grapevine…

      That’s my way of saying: Thanks, Dave. 🙂

  5. kiwidutch had the perfect word to describe this shot…elegant. I love it! And I’m always happy to learn more tricks of the trade (especially since I don’t know very many to begin with!) 🙂

    • Thank you so very much! You and kiwidutch are obviously very smart and insightful ladies. 🙂 I’m always trying to manipulate the background…sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. What I did here wasn’t ideal (should have had my black diffuser/reflector with me) but it gave me a starting point.

  6. What a stunning shot, seriously. One of the BEST I’ve seen!

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