Photo of the Week – September 18, 2015

There are reasons I am primarily a bug and flower photographer.  One of the biggest of those reasons is that bug and flower shot compositions are pretty simple.

Look – a flower!

Or Look – a bug!

Or sometimes Look – a bug on a flower!

One subject, simple background. Piece of cake.

Ants looking for extrafloral nectar on annual sunflower. Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, Nebraska.

Ants looking (I assume) for extrafloral nectar on annual sunflower (Helianthus petiolaris).  The sweet substance produced by sunflowers and some other wildflowers attracts ants, which – in turn – may help repel herbivores.  Nebraska Sandhills on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge.

I admire good landscape photographers but I feel completely inadequate every time I pretend to be one.  While I’m composing landscape images I usually spend a lot of time fretting and second guessing about foreground, horizon line placement, and other factors that don’t come into play with close-up photography.  For whatever reason, my brain is wired such that composing close-ups of bugs and flowers comes intuitively but landscape photos are mentally painful.

That said, there are times and places when even I can take a decent landscape photo.  Last month, I was on a ranch in the Nebraska Sandhills, possibly the most scenic grassland landscape in the world.  The light was great and I had a little time, so I aimed my camera at a windmill and hay bales to see what I could do.  I took a lot of shots, and though I kept feeling like I wasn’t quite capturing the essence of what I was seeing, I liked the photos well enough.  After about 20 minutes, I had about 100 different images that were all very similar to each other and the next challenge was to narrow it down to my favorite.  I almost got there – I got down to two.

Windmill and hay bales on a ranch in the Nebraska Sandhills. Composition 1.

Windmill and hay bales on a ranch in the Nebraska Sandhills. Composition 1.

Option 3.

Composition 2.

Maybe you can help.  Let me know if you like either of these two images, and if so, which you like more. In the meantime, I think I’ll go look for a bug.  On a flower.  Something my brain can handle.