Story Behind Image

On a Golden Pond by Todd Henson

On a Golden Pond - A male Long-tailed Duck in Northern Virginia on April 6, 2019.

What type of duck is that?” I thought as we watched this beautiful duck repeatedly diving below the surface of Lake Gardiner at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia. I had never seen anything like it in the area. It had very distinctive coloration around its head, and it had a very long tail.

I didn’t have my long lens with me, but I did the best I could to capture photographs that would be good enough to identify the duck from field guides. On the way home I was able to identify it. We had seen a Long-tailed Duck, which is a sea duck, on a small lake in Northern Virginia. This was very unusual. I’d have to come back on the weekend with my longer lens and see if it was still there.

Thankfully, when I returned on Saturday the Long-tailed Duck was still at the park, and still diving in the same small lake. I spent almost the entire day circling the lake, watching and photographing this lone duck. Others had heard of it, drawing a small crowd at various times around the lake. But the people never seemed to bother the duck. It swam around the lake in circles, sometimes getting fairly close to the shore, always diving to the bottom, sometimes coming up with green plants hanging from its bill.

This particular photograph was created later in the afternoon, when the sun provided a nice glow to the duck, and reflections of a blooming tree on the opposite shore turned the water a beautiful golden color. I’d been watching this stretch of water, waiting and hoping the duck would swim through. Not only did it swim through the golden water, but it turned its gaze towards me, allowing me to capture this wonderful moment of a rare Long-tailed Duck spending a little time in a small lake outside its normal range, making at least one local birder and photographer very happy.

If you like this photograph you can purchase it at my online store. On a Golden Pond is available as wall art and on a variety of products.

Fine Art Prints by Todd Henson


Up at the Jefferson Memorial by Todd Henson

 

Up at the Jefferson Memorial. Washington, DC. 3/30/2019

 

One of the highlights of visiting Washington, DC is stopping by some of the many memorials around town. One of these, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, sits along the Tidal Basin and is a very convenient stop when walking the Tidal Basin viewing the spring cherry blossoms.

The Jefferson Memorial can get very busy and crowded, and this was certainly one of those days. But I found one way of minimizing the crowds is to look and photograph UP. Of course, it helps when you’re using a fisheye lens capable of seeing both up and into the memorial. This let me capture both the statue of Thomas Jefferson and the ceiling of the main entrance into the memorial. You can see the heads and shoulders of some of the crowd down below, as they fill the memorial, admiring the statue and the writings on the inside walls.

A fisheye lens can introduce a lot of distortion to a scene, creating curves of what would normally be straight lines. I did correct a small amount of this curvature in Lightroom and Photoshop, attempting to straighten the columns as much as I could. But I left the rest of the curvature because I liked the way it looked.

Next time you visit a memorial take the time to look up. Maybe you’ll find something interesting to photograph, even if you don’t have a fisheye lens with you.

If you like this photograph you can purchase it at my online store. Up at the Jefferson Memorial is available as wall art and on a variety of products.

 

Photography Prints by Todd Henson

 

Cherry Blossoms 2019 - Washington DC by Todd Henson

Soft Cherry Blossoms. Washington, DC. March 30, 2019.

One of the early highlights of the spring season in the Washington DC area are the thousands of cherry trees that burst into bloom. There are many locations to see cherry blossoms in the area, but the most popular has to be along the Tidal Basin where you can view the cherry trees with the many monuments and memorials along the way.

Cherry Blossoms. Washington, DC. March 30, 2019.

This year I went into town with a goal of creating photographs of smaller, more intimate arrangements of blossoms. I was looking for details, trying to showcase the beauty of the cherry blossoms, excluding most of the background and throwing elements out of focus. I brought along my Lensbaby Velvet 56, a soft focus lens, to help create a more ethereal look to some of the images, to give them that soft, dream-like quality I had in mind.

We took the first train into town which arrived sometime around 8 am. By the time we walked from the station to the Tidal Basin the sun was up and, unfortunately, the clouds had departed. This type of situation usually results in strong contrast, harsh sunlight and deep shadows, which is fine for some types of photography, but not well suited to creating that softer, dream-like look. To work around this issue I looked for blossoms in shade, giving me a soft diffused light similar to what clouds would’ve provided.

After creating a couple of the very soft focus photographs of the fully open cherry blossoms, I began looking for the smaller, unopened buds. Many trees have these growing directly off the main trunk, something I always find fascinating. So I focused on a couple of these, in one case showing the unopened pink buds against the dark craggy bark of the tree trunk, and in another focusing on a smaller cluster of buds beginning to open.

Cherry Tree Buds. Washington, DC. March 30, 2019.

Bud to Bloom. Washington, DC. March 30, 2019.

At the end of the day I was very happy with the photographs I created. And, as so often happens, even if none of the photographs had turned out I still had a fantastic day walking the Tidal Basin with my brother.


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