Before I really dive into this week’s picture, I just want to take a minute and thank everyone who has been a part of Weekly Fifty over the years. This post marks ten years of this blog–slightly more, in fact, because the first post was on March 5, 2013. In the months and weeks leading up to today’s picture I thought about ways to comemmorate the occasion: a look back at my favorite shots, a highlight video of my best audio descriptions, a Buzzfeed-style list like the Top Five Things I Learned About Photography…you get the idea. In the end I decided to not really do anything except this writeup that you are reading now (or listening to, as the case may be) and just sort of continue with business as usual. I think it’s good to mark and take note of occasions like this, but sometimes I feel like the best thing to do is just keep the status quo going. I certainly have learned a great deal, and taken many shots I’m proud of, and gotten to meet so many encouraging, helpful, curious, and just plain nice people over the years (Special thanks to D. Welker, who follows me on my YouTube Channel, for sending me a 2023 calendar of his amazing pictures of Utah) and largely it’s that community that keeps me going. Your comments, questions, words of encouragement, and helpful tips over the past decade have been downright inspiring and I don’t think I can adequately express just how much I have appreciated all your input and support. Weekly Fifty wouldn’t be the same without you, and I’m so glad to have you along for the journey.
With that being said, I do want to, you know, talk about this week’s photo since that’s kind of the whole point of the blog :) I have tried shots like this from time to time, occasionally with my close-up filters and sometimes with a normal lens but cropped way in, and they have never quite worked out how I hoped. With the former I could never seem to quite get my shot composed properly, or focused right, or just…looking good. With the latter, well, cropping is fine but it’s not a great substitute for a true close-up lens. But when you have a macro lens…*chef’s kiss*
I took this photo while my family and I were out hiking at Lake Carl Blackwell. I brought my D500 and 105mm f/2.8 Macro lens (The former in case I needed to fire off lots of picture of wildlife in rapid succession, the latter in case I saw any opportunities for close-up shots) and while I never did encounter any fauna worth photographing, I did stumble upon a couple of opportunities for shots of static subjects such as the one you see here. We were rounding a bend in the path: water to the north, open fields to the south, and a thicket of brambles on our left that reminded me of one of the most difficult levels of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest. A level that, to this day, has one of the most mesmerizing soundtracks I have ever heard in a video game.
I thought it would be fun to try to take a close-up picture of one of the thorns, particularly with of its deep red color paired to a beautiful backlight as the sun crept downward. I asked my oldest son to hold one of the branches steady while I lined up a shot, and while I fidgeted with aperture values he told me about some boss battle strategies he has been using in Breath of the Wild. (Side note for parents: video games make for outstanding conversation topics. Just show a bit of interest, ask some questions, and your kids will happily share all day long. It’s great.) I angled my field of view just a bit to get some foreground and background blur on the branch, and thus direct the viewer’s attention directly to the prickly spire in the middle. I did have to crop the picture just a bit to get the result you see here, but I think it turned out about as well as I could have hoped and, as is often the case, this picture does give me some ideas of things to try next time :)
And with that, I just want to thank you again, dear readers (and listeners), for being part of Weekly Fifty for what I can now accurately say describe as more than a decade. When I look back to my early shots and think about how much I have learned in the past ten years, it makes me extraordinarily optimistic for what lies ahead. In some ways I feel like I have only just begun to learn about photography, and I’m glad to have you along for the ride :)