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Steve Foss

Rain, a blessing upon the land

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I awoke to the sound of rain dripping off the eaves this morning. It's been a dry few weeks, and we need any rain we can get. Happy about that, I considered my workload, projects to do that are yet undone, and shrugged, dumped my camera gear in the 4Runner and headed up the Echo Trail.

Rain, you know, turns tree trunks black and enriches all sorts of colors. What it offers in terms of photo opportunities outweighs the challenges it presents the photographer. I was most gratified it stayed cloudy and there was barely a puff of wind.

Ranging from Ely as far out the Echo as the Hunting Shack River, I found 27 subjects today. Seemed like everywhere I turned there was something else to shoot.

Here are 10 of them.

All with the Canon 30D, Canon 17-40 f4L, Canon 70-200 f2.8L, Canon 100 f2.8 macro or Canon 400 f5.6L.


100 macro, iso400, 1/125 at f11, tripod, remote shutter release


Red pine bark

100 macro, iso100, 1/3 at f16, tripod, remote shutter release, mirror lockup (MLU)


Leafy-mouth ruffed grouse

400 f5.6L, iso400, 1/800 at f5.6, monopod, 430EX flash set on high-speed synch, -1 1/3 flash exposure compensation


Eastern kingbird

400 f5.6L + Canon 1.4 teleconverter, manual focus, iso400, 1/400 at f8, monopod


A black spruce bog, wet from top to bottom

100 macro, iso100, 1/13 at f16, tripod, remote release, MLU


Bunchberry, clintonia and jackpine

17-40 at 40mm, iso100, 2.5 sec at f20, tripod, remote release, MLU


Mullein in company

100 macro, iso200, 1/500 at f4, handheld


Serendipitous fly (landing while I was set up to photograph the raindrops)

100 macro, iso100, 1/30 at f6.3, tripod, remote release


Ferns amid mosses on an erratic boulder

17-40 at 32mm, iso100, .5 sec at f18, tripod, remote release, MLU, diffusion disk to dampen ambient light



70-200 at 200mm, iso400, 1/250 at f5.6


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Very nice work Steve, way to spend a rainy day. My favorites are the fireweed, bunchberry, mullein, and the water drops. I thinks its cool to see the trees and sky in the water drops!

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All awesome shots, especially the grouse. Then again, for some strange reason, that fly appearing to step on a raindrop, really captures my interest. The ferns and mosses have to be my 3rd fave. You're right, rain does certainly have it's rewards.

We received almost an inch this afternoon, in a very short time. This was the best rainfall we have had for a long time. It was welcome.

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Thanks so much, everyone, for looking and commenting. Your thoughts are, as always, a boon and a value to me.

I figured there'd be a little something for everyone in here. X-T, it's amazing that you admitted liking an image that didn't have a bird in it! gringrin

My personal faves? I'll wait awhile for that. grin

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X-T, it's amazing that you admitted liking an image that didn't have a bird in it! gringrin

I even shocked myself. shocked The way that fly has his leg just touching the raindrop is just so cool. Without the raindrops, it wouldn't have done much for me. The timing really makes the shot. Of course, focus, exposure and comp had to be in the equation, too. grin

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Mullein in company and the fly are my favorites but the pic of the grouse kinda makes me laugh because it look so stupid standing on one leg with the leaf in the mouth and those center tail feathers all beat up. Makes me wonder what you did to that poor bird just to get that shot grin

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Great shots Steve. I really like the Serendipitous Fly photo. I like how each raindrop is like another lens projecting the image of the surrounding landscape. Nice clean background makes the stem, raindrops and fly pop. I also like the fly "walking on water".

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Thanks again, everyone.

That fly pic sure was wild. I was all set up with my tripod and remote shutter release, lens inches away from the raindrops, making sure all the drops were parallel to my sensor so they'd be in focus. I just liked the way the drops work, and their reflection. And just as I was getting ready to shoot, the fly landed without even disturbing the drops, and as soon as the grass stalk quite swaying I fired a burst and shazam!

I used a blending technique in Photoshop to get the exposure right. The highlights in the original were slightly blown in the raindrops, so I recovered them in the RAW converter and opened an image that was very dark in order to get the highlights right. Then I opened the same image but much brighter, so the fly and grass were exposed right, and blended them in PS for this final image.

I DO wish it was something other than a nasty fly, though, something like a ladybug or a bluebottle fly or a damselfly, something people are attracted to.

I know why this one landed, too. It was eyeing a tasty snack of stfcatfish blood and planning its attack. gringrin

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I know why this one landed, too. It was eyeing a tasty snack of stfcatfish blood and planning its attack.

And everyone thinks the life of an nature photographer is all peaches and cream!

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I did not smell like either peaches or cream when I got up from laying on my back in the black spruce bog sphagnum to get that pitcher plant image in the other thread.

Decidedly stinky, methinks! Good thing I was in the company of other photographers. They understood perfectly, and after they did the same thing they stunk, too. gringrin

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