Painting is just another way of keeping a diary ~Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 31

We had a fun birthday celebration today and a late night too, because we celebrated by watching the new movie, The Help.  But not before enjoying some lemon cake with 18 candles!  I struggled with lighting here.  The cake looks good, but everything else is too dark I think.  I need to do a little research on how to shoot in this lighting!  f/2.8 at 1/320, ISO1000, 26mm.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August 30

I was really lucky to be driving by our neighborhood park and see a father and his two sons flying this train of kites.  There are 40 kites altogether on the string, although I couldn't get them all in the shot.  They said they had gotten these two weeks ago in Beijing.  I was amazed at how lightly they flew; we just had a gentle breeze.  I only wish I had showed up about 10 minutes earlier, because I think they really would have been pretty before the sun set!  f/4 at 1/160, ISO400, 86mm, vivid.

Monday, August 29, 2011

August 29

A sentimental choice for today:  A first day of college photo.  We figured this bridge crossing the American River would be a good drop off spot, and it was.  Plus it's a pretty walk to campus each day.  As far as the photo goes, I think the bridge makes a nice metaphor.  Couldn't help but notice I was the only proud mama photographing her college student.  I don't usually feel self-conscious with my camera, but have to say I did this morning.  I didn't realize until viewing photos  on the computer that my camera was still set to vivid from last night.  f/4 at 1/1600, ISO 100, 34mm, vivid.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 28

Working the August sunset color to full effect behind what I think is some sort of cement plant in Dixon.  I wanted to photograph the Campbell's Soup Processing Plant, but I couldn't come at it from the east side (looking west), so I opted for this structure instead.  I had about a three minute window where the colors glowed this brightly.  This photo was taken at 8:02pm, and I think sunset was about 7:45pm.  Also I've used my picture style "vivid" which intensifies the colors.  This is really how it looked, but my camera recorded it duller in "normal" picture style.  f/5.6, 1/60, ISO400, 92mm.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

August 27

I really liked the early morning light and reflections at the lily pond in front of the retirement community today.  A rose bush at the far end of the pond made the bright pink reflection.  I wish this water lily was already open, but it looks nice as a bud.  I'd like to come back and try this shot again, with a faster shutter speed (around 1/500), so maybe I'll wait until it's open.  Although like the Robert Frost poem, I'm saving that shot for another day, knowing full well how way leads on to way, because I rarely come back to photograph again.  And I think that's because I don't really like re-posting the same scene on the blog.  It's a weakness.  So I'm making myself a promise to try this photo again, even if I don't post it here...   f/5, 1/160, ISO100, 200mm.

Friday, August 26, 2011

August 26

I've been thinking about the types of photos I've been drawn to recently, and realized that I rarely take the calendar shot.  And that is something I need to work on.   I thought of that tonight when I spotted this barn.  We don't usually have glorious sunsets here, especially in the summer, but the light was pretty tonight just after the sun set.  I messed around with my white balance for a while, trying to get the color of the grass to look right.  It was either too yellow or too white.  This one was the best.  Also the best saturation of the sky color.  I'm frustrated to see that my white balance setting here was auto!  Oh well.  When I started there weren't any sheep in the photo, but they came my way pretty quickly.  I was thinking they liked the music from my radio!  So I ended up opting for a quicker shutter speed so they wouldn't be blurs.  The bad thing is that made the fence in the front too blurry.  I'm ok with this photo, but definitely going to be "looking" for more panoramic scenes to photograph!  f/2.8, 1/25, ISO400, 44mm, vivid.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

August 25

The bike rack at the local elementary school I pass on my walk with Clover looked especially sparkly this morning.  Lots of bright new bikes for the start of the school year, and 8:30am sun.  I zoomed out, which caught all the sun on chrome.  Maybe it looks like bike fireworks.  Or bike confetti.  f/22, 1/40, ISO100, 38mm.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 24

I had a dinner is San Francisco today.  I didn't want to pass up this photo opportunity, so I left early and came in from the north over the Golden Gate Bridge.  I could see fog around the bridge from a distance, and I was hoping the conditions would be the same as my magical first trip over this bridge last year, but this turned out to be too much fog.  Still I had fun experimenting with camera settings, slowly figuring out to overexpose (by about 4 or 5 stops), and to increase the saturation (Nikon picture style "more vivid").  Ultimately I tried a slow exposure to blur the traffic.  When this girl walked into my shot I knew I had my favorite image.  I love how it looks like everything is disappearing into the fog.  Problem...I didn't have my tripod again.  This time I accidentally brought it into the house.  It's supposed to stay in the car.  So this should definitely NOT have been a hand-held shot.  Otherwise, I'm really happy with it! f/22, 1/6, ISO125, 45mm, more vivid.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August 23

I can't believe today was the first day of school!  Where did summer go?  This is an unlikely first day of school photo, but my youngest child, who likes to remain anonymous on the blog, is also not wild about having his photo taken.  I had this great morning shot in mind, with a long shutter exposure and rear curtain flash of him taking off on his bike (no school buses in Davis).  But he took off like Lance Armstrong trying not to get photographed by his mom on the Tour de France, and my one shot photo didn't turn out how I envisioned.  So here he is coming in this evening.  Love the long late-day shadows cast in our garage!  Think really hot, because that's what it's like in our garage late in the day.   f/13, 1/500, ISO100, 38mm.

Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22

I thought the blog could use a splash of color today.  I photographed this rose bush last August too.  It's just one street over.  Most of the roses are just pink and white, but on the right side of the the bush the roses bloom with yellow centers, and the colors are so amazing!  f/5.6, 1/250, ISO400, 26mm, 10+ macro filter.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August 21

I was in midtown this afternoon, and decided to try a photo while I was here.  Midtown is my favorite part of Sacramento...shady tree-lined streets, old Victorian homes, niche businesses and plenty of alfresco dining.  I took this photo in the window of a restaurant in the 1800 block of L Street, but my lens is focused on the window's reflection of the restaurant across the street. The reflected restaurant title was backward, as a mirror image would be.  So this photo has an adjustment I made using photoshop.  I've flipped the image horizontally so the reflection reads from left to right.  My objection to this photo is that it's a busy image, but there are no diners at any of the tables.  3pm photo hazard!  I'll have to come back in the evening sometime and try again.  Maybe enjoy the dining myself while our 90 degree days last...
  f/4, 1/100, ISO160, 40mm.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

August 20

This photo makes me laugh.  I was taking Clover to the country vet where she got her stitches last week (yes she's out of the cone of shame now), and saw two roosters having breakfast by the side of the road.  I took some photos, but everytime this rooster made his cocky rooster pose the top of his tail was hidden by the fence.  I was just thinking I needed to get out of the car to get a lower angle when he went behind the fence post, and so I waited for him to come out the other side because there was a really nice sunbeam there and I thought his rooster comb would look nice in the light.  This is the face he gave me when he peeked around the fence.    f/3.5, 1/500, ISO400, 200mm

Thursday, August 18, 2011

August 18

Hooray!  The Yolo County Fair is finally here!  We went for the first time tonight and got to the midway too late to figure out my best camera location before the sky lost its twilight glow.  This was the first midway photo I took, and it's almost too dark in this shot.  On the bright side, if I'd gotten here earlier I probably would have walked right through the gate without stopping to make a photo, and I think the welcome sign worked really nice as a frame. f/13, 1.0, ISO 100, 26mm

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 17

So I have some issues with this photo, I'll admit.  But I'm going to start with what I like about it.  I like the composition.  And the subject matter.  Luna has always loved a box, and we placed boxes around the house before we went on vacation so she could have fun while we were gone.  I also like that she's actually looking at me, because she doesn't like having her photo taken.  I think she's actually worried about Clover, who was loping around the corner with her cone of shame, banging into furniture and corners.  Luna is ready to spring if Clover gets too close.

What don't I like?  The ISO.  I have a similar photo of Luna from last year, and my shutter speed was 1/10, which is too slow without a tripod, and it showed.  I've been slowly working my way through the Todd and Brad Reed 365 Project (see Referenced Links on right).  I'm noticing that they often bump the ISO up pretty high, and yet I can't see it at all in the photos.  In fact there's a rose hip photo that hangs on their studio wall, probably 24x36, and the ISO on that shot is 1000!  So I'm trying to get comfortable with making ISO adjustments to compensate for low light.  My settings, however, are f/4.5, 1/60, ISO3200, 55mm.  3200 worked the other day on my photo of Daisy's Woods, but it doesn't work so well here.  I don't like the shadow to the left of Luna, and I don't like Luna's coat. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August 16

Our sprinkler runs three mornings a week. On the days it has run I'm greeted with water droplets glistening in the early morning sunlight when I step outside for the newspaper.  I think this is my first time photographing the roses in our front yard.  We have pink roses too, but I really wanted this photo to be a variation of shades of white.  I love the lighting here!  f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO640, 55mm, +10macro filter.

Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15

Poor Clover returned home from the kennel with the Cone of Shame :(  She snagged her ear on her cage and had to get stitches.  She's actually falling asleep here...she's not that upset about the cone, and manages to get around ok.  Stitches come out on Saturday.  f/4.5, 1/60, 34mm

Looking at attacking the daily post with renewed interest after having a conversation with two professional photographers in Ludington.  Todd and Brad Reed.  I'll include a link to their website with my other links.  They also did a photo a day for a year.  Called the 365 Project, they started January 1, 2010 and between them published 730 photos.  What was most interesting to me was that Jim Brandenberg was also their inspiration!  And while most of the photos were strikingly artistic outdoors photos, many were mundane, everyday things, or around town.  It made me feel like, not only could I do that, but that I should do that.  The trick for me will be not to take too much time on any given photo.  I get a tremendous amount of insight and growth practicing everyday.  And if I'm not too critical of my photos, then I think posting everyday ought to be doable for me...maybe.  Anyway here's hoping...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

August 13

Heading home from my last early morning photo walk at Hamlin Lake for this year.  Low lighing here even in the middle of the day.  And no tripod.  I brought it in the suitcase and then never used it.  That's just laziness!  I could have used it here, maybe.  The ISO is 3200.  On the other hand, the graininess maybe gives it a dreamier quality.  I think as a "big picture" I captured it about how I see it.  The "little picture" would be all the daddy long legs running across the path as you walk. 

I had a heavy mood on this photo shoot.  Partly because it was the last day, but mainly because Jay's dog Daisy passed away the night before.  She was old, but it was still unexpected.  I felt like Temple Grandin in her movie, wondering where did Daisy go?  She was there and then she was gone.  So that's what was on my mind when I took this photo for Daisy...

Friday, August 12, 2011

August 12

Ok how cute is this?  I was just saying that I hadn't seen any deer up here, and today begins Day Three in Ludington.  So that's a long time to go before spotting deer in the woods!  I caught this one having breakfast this morning.  Probably 7:30 am.  It's low light, so my settings are f/2.8, 1/60, and I had to push the ISO to 1250 with no tripod handy.  Love the catch light in her eyes.  And love the mouth! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

August 11

This is the big bluff at the edge of Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and Lake Michigan.  I love the textures in this photo, and the sense of depth.  This was bright lighting again today, and windy!  Although it doesn't really show on the water.   I used my prime lens because the polarizer fits on it, so that cut most of the glare on the water.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 10

A lone birch at the edge of Hamlin Lake.
Summertime in Northern Michigan...

Monday, August 8, 2011

August 8

Swallowtail butterfly on the bergamot.  Such an easy photo today!  It fluttered right up next to our car as we were loading, and stayed long enough for me to get this photo.  And a yellow/purple photo is a rare combo for me, so I like it. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August 3

Ummm....could it actually be? The elusive American Bittern? I used to hear this bird all the time at McLane Creek in Washington. It's got a call that's like an ominous fog horn sending out a warning to the whole pond. And I've seen a group of binocular-clad birders go ape over a sighting of this bird. But I've never actually seen once myself (except in photos, which of course is what I've produced here). I thought it was a green heron at first, so I was really surprised to find an American Bittern out in the open like this. And I don't think it was that shy or retiring or any of the other things you hear about the Bittern. It hung around for a while allowing me to photograph from different angles. And so my bird pokedex expands yet again :) ...

One additional's post marks my 200th photo entry!  A far cry from the 365 I would have finished in April, but still,
no small feat :)