Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Paint It Red

Why paint it black when autumn is here and you can paint it red?

I was recently in West Virginia’s Blackwater Falls State Park when I saw a small grove of trees whose leaves had turned a fiery red and felt that an abstract generated by intentional camera movement (so-called ICM) would transmit the feeling of the changing season better than a ‘straight shot’. Of the twenty or so images that I took this was by far my favorite.

Paint It Red © Howard Grill

Paint It Red © Howard Grill


Intentional camera movement can be very ‘hit or miss’, meaning that it is difficult to predict what the results will look like because there are so many variables involved, from shutter speed to the speed and angle at which you move your camera. It can also be hard to tell if the result is what you’re after just from looking at the small LCD. For these reasons, when trying the technique, is it always wise to take a series of photos to choose from.

Interestingly, it was at this location that a young woman came up to me asking for some photographic advice. But that will be the subject of the next post.

Pete's Lake And Red Rock Falls At Northland Adventurer

I am pleased that the website Northland Adventurer, the mission of which is "through illustrious photography, art and story we bring the awe of the Northland to you, wherever you may be", has recently written articles using three of my photographs from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The site defines the Northland as Northwest Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, most of South Dakota, Noertheast Montana and Northern Iowa.

The three images used were among my favorites and are shown below.  Click on the link to read the two articles about the locations and while you are there check out the whole website. It's pretty neat, and a fun place to browse!

Autumn scene at Pete's Lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.


Sunrise at Pete's Lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Rock River Falls in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Here's the short article on Red Rock Falls from Northland Adventurer.

All Images Are Copyright Howard Grill

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By Howard Grill Another of the images I made during my recent fall photograph excursions.  This one is a motion blur abstract.  You have to take many of these at the same spot with different degrees of motion and different shutter speeds to come up with one that 'works'.  This one seemed to work for me.

Copyright Howard Grill

The Farmhouse

By Howard Grill A few days back, I mentioned that I had taken a week off to photograph fall colors in Western Pennylvania.   I also mentioned that this year was perhaps the least colorful that I can remember since having moved here.  But that won't stop me from posting some photos from the week.  This is from our first day out....the warm up phase, so to speak.

After two friends and I were shooting from the side of a rural road, the owner of this house drove out to us because he thought that perhaps our cars had broken down and he wanted to help.  When we told him that we were photographing the question (you can predict this one) was "Well, what are you taking pictures of"?  We explained we were taking pictures of the trees and fall color.  He looked a bit puzzled at that idea but was nice enough not only to offer us the unneeded car rescue, but also to invite us onto his property to photograph the trees and forest up a hill he owned.  By that time we were already starving and about to pack up for lunch (and didn't see any stupendous scenery around) so we thanked him heartlily for his kindness and went on our way.

Interestingly we picked a random and pretty isolated place for lunch.  It looked like it might be a dive and so it was with some trepidation that we went into Rachel's Roadhouse.  It turned out to be an absolutely fantastic place for lunch with great fresh cooked food and the inside looked like anything but a dive.  I would go back there in a heartbeat and the folks making comments on Trip Advisor seem to agree!

The Science Of Colors In Autumn Leaves

Western Pennsylvania has some amazing fall color, generally speaking that is.  One of my friends and I had a week we had scheduled to take photographs of the usually dazzling fall color in our area.  But something seemed to go awry this year. It seems as if the color was not only muted, but also lacking in reds.  The yellows trended more towards the dryed out look and many of the trees seemed to have lost their leaves rather quickly.  And there seemed to be no progression.  There were patches of trees that contained trees that were still green and trees that were already bare in the same little area. I'm not complaining; we still had a great time and I was able to take some photos that I really is just that it was different from what we had been used to over the last severeal years.

This, of course, got me thinking about the parameters and processes that are involved with the development of fall colors in general and, more specifically, what factors play a role in the intensity of the display.

So here it is, and I thought I would share it.  Direct from the United States National Arboretum......"The Science Of Colors In Autmun Leaves". Definitely worth a read and nicely discussed in straightforward layman's terms!