LANDSCAPES

LANDSCAPES

North American Lanscapes

FLOWERS

FLOWERS

Flowers of All Kinds

ARCHITECTURE

ARCHITECTURE

Buildings & Landmarks

ABSTRACTS & PATTERNS

ABSTRACTS & PATTERNS

Colorful Abstracts & Patterns

BENDING LIGHT

BENDING LIGHT

Reflection & Refraction

ANIMALS

ANIMALS

Animals of All Types

INFRARED

INFRARED

Infrared Images

PLANTS

PLANTS

All Kinds of Plants

VEHICLES

VEHICLES

All Kinds of Vehicles

STUDIO SHOTS

STUDIO SHOTS

Images Shot in the Studio

RUST & DECAY

RUST & DECAY

Rusty & Decaying Objects

PHOTOSHOP ART

PHOTOSHOP ART

Art Created with Potoshop

BLACK & WHITE

BLACK & WHITE

Black & White Images

MACHINERY

MACHINERY

Machinery of All Kinds

ODDS & ENDS

ODDS & ENDS

Images of Various Subjects

Image

Hi, my name is Mike Stoy. I am a photographer living in Placitas, New Mexico. This is my photography website, where I post my photos and comments about photography. You can contact me at: stoyfineart@gmail.com

I am also a studio potter and you can see my work on my pottery website at www.stoypottery.com

 

Flowers are one of my favorite subjects to shoot. My wife and I have always had extensive gardens at al of our houses (you can see my website for our last garden in Seattle here: www.stoygarden.com ). In addition to enjoying gardening I have also taken advantage of the garden as a photography opportunity. Since we moved to our new house in New Mexico a little more than four years ago we have been working on our new garden. Our current lot is quite a bit smaller than the last one we had in Seattle so the garden is smaller as well. In addition, the climate here in the desert at 5,400 ft is much more challenging to grow plants in than Seattle was. We have small walled gardens in front of and behind the house which are watered a couple times a week and have more familiar garden plants in them. The remainder of the gardens are either xeric or native plants. That means a lot of cactus, yuccas, sage and the like. Although there aren’t as many flowering plants as we had in Seattle there are still different flowers that bloom from March through October.

I had planned on doing some woodworking this spring after I packed up all my studio photography gear from my winter shooting. However, the COVID-19 problem has prevented me from driving out of town to get rough sawn wood for my projects. So , I decided to do some more shooting in my studio/woodshop. We have some Daffodils in the yard but for some reason most of them didn’t put up flowers this year. There were still enough to bring some into the studio. We also have a fair number of different Bearded Iris and Siberian Iris which I also brought in for some photos. Hopefully the social distancing restrictions will be lifted soon so I can get out and shoot at  some other places I was planing on visiting this year. Till then – stay well.

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I have always loved abstract patterns found in nature. In particular the patterns created by the reflection and refraction of light fascinate me. Over the years I have shot a lot of images of soap bubbles, refractographs and waves. Reflections in waves can create some beautiful images that range from slightly distorted, nearly realistic images to completely abstract images.

A dozen years ago or so was the first time my wife and I stayed at the WorldMark resort in Indio, CA. This resort has a lot of man-made ponds, streams and waterfalls. The outsides of the buildings in the resort are all stuccoed in a range of colors some of them pretty bright. I noticed on that first trip that near sunrise and sunset the light hit the building walls but not the water in the ponds in a lot of places. That created really vibrant reflections of the buildings and surrounding landscaping in the water.  Over the intervening years I have taken reflection photos of the buildings in the ponds on numerous occasions. Even though I have done it in the same location many times I still find it endlessly engaging.

There are typically only a few spots and a few angles in the resort that produce interesting reflections. On some occasions there is a fair amount of debris like

flower petals and grass clippings in the water. If that collects at the spots where the reflections are good then you can’t get any decent images. When the conditions are right however the images can be striking.

On this trip most of the week was fairly typical so the best images were near the waterfalls and the edges o f the pond. The waves were of a fairly long wavelength – maybe six inches to a foot. This produces images with larger areas of color. I also like to occasionally include something on the surface of the water to give the image some extra point(s) of interest.  My favorite thing for this is the bubbles that are created by the waterfalls.

The morning of the last day of the trip, just before we packed up to leave, I went outside and the wind was blowing really hard. That created some very different wave patterns with much smaller wind waves superimposed on top of the longer wavelength normal waves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since the images are rather random I usually shoot three or four shot bursts. All told I probably took a thousand images of waves on three separate mornings of shooting during the week. After reviewing them all and deleting the ones that weren’t as good I still ended up keeping about one hundred images. A few of them are shown here. I hope you enjoy viewing them.

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My wife and I just returned from a one week vacation to Indio, California. The Coachella Valley (in which Palm Springs is located) is one of my wife and my favorite vacation spots. We have points in the WorldMark (now Wyndam) condo system and they have a really nice resort in Indio on the east end of the valley.  Nearly every time we stay there we visit the Sunnylands Center & Gardens. I have taken a lot of color photos there in the past but when we were there last week I took along only my infrared camera. Currently I am using an IR converted Nikon D300. The nature of Sunnylands makes it an ideal subject for infrared. Even if you aren’t shooting during magic hour you can still get nice images with IR.

Sunnylands is the former Annenberg Estate, in Rancho Mirage, California. The entire estate is 200-acres and is currently run by The Annenberg Foundation Trust. The part of Sunnylands I like best is the nine acre gardens. The landscape was designed by The Office of James Burnett, with horticultural consultant Mary Irish. The garden design was inspired by the Annenberg’s collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings which they bequeathed  the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1991.

The gardens are unlike nearly any other public gardens you will see in that each of the beds are composed of a single species of plant. All told, there are more than 70 species of native and arid-adapted plants from North and South America, Africa, and the Mediterranean. The adjacent beds blend beautifully together to create a wonderful and very sculptural garden.

If you are ever in the area I highly recommend a visit to Sunnylands. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that admission is free. Pretty amazing in today’s world!

 

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Sandhill Cranes flying at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

Winter in North America is a time when a lot of birds migrate to their winter locations. New Mexico hosts a lot of migratory birds. Perhaps the most famous of these are the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese that winter over at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro. In recent years the refuge has had issues with the available grain and the number of birds there has been down. On the other hand, another refuge about an hour to the north of Bosque is the Ladd S. Gordon Waterfowl Complex and it has seen increasing numbers of birds for the last few years. The Ladd S. Gordon Waterfowl Complex is composed of the Belen, Casa Colorada, Bernardo, and La Joya Waterfowl Areas. The Bernardo Waterfowl Area contains a wildlife trail complete with viewing and photographic towers and is open to the public. It has become a popular site for birders and photographers.

For the last few years I have made trips to Bernardo with the birding group I am a member of and with other photographers. This year was no exception. In addition to the birders trip, three friends and I made a two day trip to Bosque and Bernardo in mid January. The weather was perfect for that time of year and we got some really nice shots. The pre-dawn was really good but the morning blast off from the main pond at Bosque happened pretty early. I’m not sure what spooked the birds but there was too little light to get and good mass ascension shots. We still managed to get quite a few nice images over the two days.

Sandhill Cranes flying south over a pond at the Bernardo Waterfowl Area at sunset

 

Sandhill Cranes flying in to Bernardo

Snow geese flying in to the Bernardo

Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese at Bernardo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closer to home there are several nice locations to photograph birds in the winter. One of there is the Albuquerque Biological Park. There are three areas at the park that I like in the winter: the back ponds at Tingley Beach, the duck pond at the Albuquerque Zoo and main pond at the Albuquerque Botanic Garden. This winter I have gone on photo shoots a couple of times to both Tingley and the zoo. The weather was great for all four trips and we managed to get some good images each time.

Canada Geese flying past the moon

Male wood duck

Female wood duck

American Coot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The migratory birds have already started heading back north so soon it will be time for the summer species to show up. My favorite among those are the hummingbirds. More about that later…

 

Mike Stoy

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Feather and water drop on plexiglass with gel lights

For me winter is a chance to shoot in the studio. I have a large woodworking shop and every December I like to do a complete cleaning of the shop (a good idea once a year on general principles). This is long effort spread over three days since every time I make a cleaning pass I need to let the dust settle for eight hours or so before the next pass. I don’t want to leave any wood dust around to get into my camera body when I change lenses.

Since my studio work is all  what would be called table top work I set a full sheet of plywood on my table saw to act as a shooting table. Next I bring all my studio gear into the wood shop. I don’t have the kind of gear that a portrait studio photographer would use. Instead I have a lot of small stands, clamps, table top tripods and the like. I do have three normal sized mono lights but most of what I do is done with Nikon’s macro light system.

Scotch bottle and glass

Stop motion water drops

Bowl and plate with marbles on plexiglass

Wine bottle and glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soft focus Alstroemeria

I am interested in shooting a wide range of small objects with different lighting set-ups. A lot of what I do is very high contrast or back lit images with fully saturated colors. I like the bokeh of my primary Sigma 150mm macro lens so I shoot quite a few shallow DOF images as well. I also really love to shoot flowers although the selection available in the winter in Albuquerque is a bit limited. I am a member of the local photography club, the Enchanted Lens Camera Club, in Albuquerque. I am also in one of the portfolio groups in the club and my project for this year is “Ethereal Flowers”. I’ll try and write a post about it when I finish the portfolio.

 

Refractograph

Another of my favorite subjects is reflected and refracted light. Over the years I have done a lot of experiments with this from water drops to soap bubbles. Just last year I tried doing refractographs for the first time and found that fascinating. I am planning on doing some more of them next winter and I may choose that as a portfolio project for next year.

 

 

 

I just packed up all the studio gear for this year so I can tackle some woodworking projects. So unless I get really motivated I won’t be doing any more studio work until next winter.

 

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Sunrise – Mt Erie

Greetings,

Welcome to my new website. It has been a very long time since I last updated the design of my photography website. The previous version was created in DreamWeaver more than a dozen years ago and was basically a set of static pages and galleries. Since then there have been a lot of changes in web design. Two of the new options that interested me were animations and responsive page designs. I decided to create my new site in WordPress since I have used it on other sites I have been webmaster on and like the interface. There are also a lot of predefined themes available.

I chose a paid theme designed for photographers from PremiumCoding.com called LandScape. Unfortunately, this has been the most frustrating web development project I have ever worked on. The documentation for the theme is not particularly detailed but the biggest problems were with the two main plug-ins the theme uses: Revolution Slider and Essential Grid. Both of these are big selling plug-ins with generally good reviews. I found the documentation to be really poor for both. Worse still was the fact that Revolution simply does not work correctly. The whole effort required a lot of trial and error and brute force to get the website up and running.

I am happy to say the site is now up and running. I am still chasing down some performance problems, particularly with the responsive behavior on cell phones. I hope to resolve these issues soon. Also, I have thus far only loaded eight photos per gallery in each category. I will be loading a lot more content in the next few weeks. I plan to write periodic blog posts with information on what and where I have been shooting and any other interesting photography topics I feel like commenting on.

I hope you enjoy my new site. If you have any questions or comment please drop me a line. I’m always happy to discuss photography.

Mike Stoy

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