What March is Like in West Virginia

Since I don’t think we’ve ever done a documentary themed assignment before, I got excited when Nature Friend Magazine had the idea to publish photo essays of The Month of March in your corner of the world! A demonstration video had to be filmed before March began, so I chose 7 days near the end of February to explore my neck of the woods and document what it was like!

Day 1 – Ice Crystals

Since there was no frost on the ground, I honestly had no idea what I would try to photograph when I ventured outside to take pictures that first day. And that’s when I ran across those incredible ice formations under the picnic table! They were like, right there! And I never would have even seen them if I hadn’t been out looking for something to photograph.

Being so small, they weren’t easy to capture! It was hard to know if they were properly in focus or not.

230218_James Staddon_2808 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 50 mm, 1-125 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 200

I think focusing on the tip would have made them feel more in focus. That’s what I did with the intriguing formations below, and I think it looks better.

230218_James Staddon_2792 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 50 mm, 1-100 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 200

It was really fun to edit these photos too. While the above photo looks very natural, I discovered if I completely desaturated the greens, then it brought more attention to the ice crystals, and it has a more fantastic feeling!

230218_James Staddon_2795 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 50 mm, 1-100 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 200

230218_James Staddon_2801 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 50 mm, 1-100 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 200

Day 2 – Crocus Flowers

It’s amazing how dramatically the temperature fluctuates at this time of year! Photographing ice crystals one day, and then photographing flowers the next! But such is March.

The sun goes behind the hill very early in the day during the winter months out at the farm, so I was a bit disappointed to find the crocuses already in shade when I arrived. And in that spot, before complete shade arrives, the sunlight filters through the forest providing a soft, warm glow over everything. But we had arrived too late for that, so I just had to make due with what I had, focusing on composition, choosing a portion of flower that was eye-catching, and trying to keep my backgrounds free of clutter.

230219_James Staddon_2818 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 50 mm, 1-80 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 200

230219_James Staddon_2841 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 50 mm, 1-60 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 200

For the yellow crocuses, now closed up for the day, I thought putting the dark side of a reflector in the background would help eliminate busyness.

230219_James Staddon_2821 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 50 mm, 1-50 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 200

230219_James Staddon_2832 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 50 mm, 1-60 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 100

Day 3 – Belted Kingfisher

Julianna and I had fun looking for the Belted Kingfisher, though we never did see one that day. It was a huge surprise to see one a week or two prior, clear as day, sitting on a little stump in that vicinity on the way to church. They don’t normally stick around all winter, as far as I can remember. So I guess we will have to return on a different day. Maybe at a better time of day too?

Day 4 – Worm

You already know about this little backyard excursion from the last blog post, The Guy in Orange. Smile Since March is such a rainy month, and since we associate worms with robins that return in early spring, I figured I could get by with a subject that was a little less quintessential to the month of March.

230222_James Staddon_2903 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 50 mm, 1-80 sec at f - 2.5, ISO 200

Day 5 – Wind

I really had a tough time trying to capture a photo that showcased “wind”. At first I thought it would be easy! The concept in theory is very easy. But to actually capture an image that showcases the concept artistically, especially in a place like my backyard that offered limited subjects, it was really tough.

230221_James Staddon_2871 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 165 mm, 1.0 sec at f - 22, ISO 100

This one almost works, but the main tree I was focused on I think was moving too! So it’s not tack sharp, and that bothers me. Needed to find something a little more grounded.

230221_James Staddon_2855 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 125 mm, 2.0 sec at f - 32, ISO 100

230221_James Staddon_2843 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 95 mm, 2.0 sec at f - 32, ISO 100

It was a really good challenge for me. I’m learning new things all the time. Smile

Day 6 – Bare Trees

Back on Day 2, after photographing the crocuses, I noticed something on the way to evening church. The evening light shone uniquely on some bare trees beside the road. I thought it would be a good place to return to if I wanted to try and capture “bare trees” in an artistic way.

Well, that’s what I decided to photograph on Day 5. It had been partly sunny all day, and I crossed my fingers as we drove out to the spot. Sadly, it was too cloudy out in the West for there to be any unique sunlight playing on the bare trees beside the road. So I worked with what I had.

230223_James Staddon_2935 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 135 mm, 0.4 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 100

Though not as dramatic as I would like, it’s still a photo that showcases “bare trees”. Smile

I don’t know if I like any of the other photos I took, but here they are anyway.

230223_James Staddon_2948 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 200 mm, 1-50 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 200

230223_James Staddon_2950 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 78 mm, 0.5 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 100

At least I did get a nice photo of the sun peeking through the clouds earlier on the drive over!

230223_James Staddon_2923 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 135 mm, 1-250 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 100

Day 7 – Mud

If there’s anything that’s prevalent in March in West Virginia, it’s mud! How could I let this assignment pass without photographing that?! Plus, I had never tried showcasing “mud” before. Never thought it showcase-worthy! Imagine that. A beautiful picture of mud?

230224_James Staddon_2984 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 135 mm, 1-125 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 640

230224_James Staddon_2967 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 16 mm, 1-160 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 100

And that’s what made this assignment so much fun! I photographed so many things I never even thought to photograph before.

Now It’s Your Turn!

What is March like in your corner of the world? Use your artistic eye to document what it’s like with your camera, write up a short (or long!) story about your experiences photographing it, and then submit your photo essay for a chance to be published in the March 2024 issue of Nature Friend Magazine! Be sure to check out the details for The Month of March assignment to see how you can win both Lenspiration’s and Nature Friend’s prizes. Looking forward to seeing your photos!

One Comment

  1. Anna March 14, 2023 at 7:49 pm #

    These photos are beautiful!

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