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

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Change of Pace

A different scene for today...sort of. This is another view from the horse trails, which is an easily accessible hike for me and Clover. I absolutely love walking out here, but have the hardest time with photos. The woods are just so thick and overgrown, and busy for the camera. I liked this photo though, because just as I was taking it, a lady and her dog walked into the scene. I really like leaving people out of photos, as a general rule, but she offers a nice sense of scale, which I'm happy to share.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Staying Balanced

Always a good idea if you can pull it off!
My apologies for the repetitive subject matter this month. I usually try to make the blog topics more varied in content, just because I think it's probably more interesting to the viewer.  But I'm awfully busy this month, and really am curious to do a more in depth study of some photos.  Today's photo...balance.  I definitely like the compositional balance here, but the depth of focus is really a frustration, so I'm going to focus on that (technical info to follow...) One thing I've learned doing this blog is that if I use my 80-200 lens and I zoom to 200, then I can pull the depth of field to almost nothing.  I've used this to my advantage for the most part, but sometimes it's really a double-edged sword.  Here is a perfect example.  The leaf on the left is annoyingly out of focus.  From the image, it looks like it's closer to the lens, although I'm not exactly sure what the difference in distance is between that left balancing leaf and the three on the right (where I focused the lens).   I'm at 105mm focal length, which is about half of what this lens can do.  The distance between leaves can't be more than a foot and is likely about six inches; this just isn't that big of a tree. I'm at f/9 which should be a pretty good depth of field, and my estimate for the leaf distance is probably five feet.  How can the depth of field possible drop off that much when I'm only zooming to 105mm?  Why can't I pull all the leaves into focus?  I don't really want to slow the shutter speed down because it's such an awkward camera angle.  Technical help welcome!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Looking Up

An informal study of a favorite tree of mine.  I photographed it last week (and last year, and the year before), but just feel like focusing on it this week.  I'm reserving the right to change my mind, but for today it seems like a nice theme.  I like the idea of looking up, because this month is really kicking my butt.  And I like the idea of a narrow focus, because...same reason.  Plus we're moving in a month (mind you, just a few miles away on the other side of the highway), but it's not likely that I'll return to this tree once we've moved, so that's about it in terms of excuses.  Looking up this week...I like the large heart-shaped leaf.  I considered bringing all the branches to the end of the frame to give it more of a grid feel, but I liked the open space on the right better.  Big-hearted view for today.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Aimless Wandering

You are lost the instant you know what the result will be.  ~Juan Gris 

Sunday, October 25, 2015


A rainy day, finally!  Time for a reprieve of the "through my rainy windshield" series.  Today, the ginkgo; I couldn't help noticing the yellowing ginkgo trees in the grocery store parking lot when I was running errands.  The ginkgo is such a cool tree.  I love the leaf shape, and how the leaves sprout out like fur along every branch.  I think it's got a pretty unique shape for trees. Turns out it's a very ancient tree, native to China, with fossils dating back 270 million years.  Common in the US for several hundred years, I mainly see it along easements and in parking lots. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Forest Floor

Look what I found on the forest floor this morning.  Even though we haven't had much rain yet, I'm starting to see mushrooms popping up.  I love mushrooms, but know nothing about picking them.  Maybe someday I'll take a class.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Settling Pond

There are settling ponds at the end of every street in my neighborhood. Lots of care taken here in the Pacific Northwest for protecting wildlife habitats, and especially for the salmon. This tiny pond is next to a newly constructed playground behind our subdivision.
Linking to Weekend Reflection.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Familiar Scene

A favorite neighborhood tree of my, revisited on the blog again this year.  This is my third year photographing these branches for the blog.  The last two were the first week in November, at the point where I publicly proclaim my love for the month, and when there are only one or two leaves left.  This year I guess I thought to look up a little earlier.  For a view of the previous photos, I'll include links for 2014 and 2013. I have to say, I like the more barren branches better, and probably 2013 is my favorite.  Maybe I'll try this shot again in a few weeks...

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Yellow Wood

A more colorful section from yesterday's walk.  This is Northridge Loop in the horse trails.  It's a well-tended path; I can always see plenty of foot and hoof-prints along the walk, but don't usually see anyone on this trail.  Still I always keep Clover on the leash because the trails are really for horses, and I'm always worried that she'll chase them.  Yesterday we saw four horses on our loop! I guess it won't be too long, and these leaves will be trodden black, as the poem goes.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Little Bit of Color

I decided to try to get out to the horse trails at least once a week this fall, to follow the progression of color change. Not a lot of potential for change in this particular scene, but I did like what was going on and the light was nice.  Peaceful as always on this path. It's a quiet forest, and often the only sounds are birds chirping and water dripping from the branches.

Friday, October 16, 2015

I See You!

Heading out to pick some tomatoes from my garden this morning, I was startled by this little toad trying to blend in on the arm of a patio chair.  He didn't think I could see him, I suppose, because he let me come in real close with my 10+macro filter.  I got about a dozen shots, but this one had the best focus on his eye.  (I love that his eye looks like a copper coin from some ancient civilization!) He never budged the entire time, except for that breathing flap under his chin.  Eventually he figured out I could see him, and he hopped into the tomato bush.  I'll pick the tomatoes later on this afternoon.
Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thin Slice

Right now I'm listening to the audiobook Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, and he's just discussed the concept of thin slicing, which is a way we gather a lot of information in a very small slice of observation. It's quite effective for the most part, but of course doesn't always work. The drive to the campus today was just one of those times. Patchy fog was lingering. Lots of elevation change in this area, and it was such a thin layer of fog that it was sunny and clear both below by the highway and above at the campus. The thin little band of fog gives a very deceptive view of our weather, but it did make for a nice range of value in such a small space!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Lacy Duck Pond

Today I found a new parking area to access the Salmon Creek Trail. This little pond sits adjacent to the creek along the trail. I was eyeing it on my way out, the algae a bright green and the water reflecting the trees on the far side, but didn't stop for a photo. On the way back though, the back lighting made for a ready-made black and white. Guess I just liked how the algae looked like lace in this light.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Setting Goals

Coming back to the blog after a summer break, I set a goal for myself: to post everyday for the next few months at least.  Even if my photo is just a quick snapshot like today.  I can see it will be challenging, because I've gotten myself busy with some other projects, and now (drum roll...very exciting news) we've purchased a house!  I'm sticking with my goal though.  At least for now.  I like the self-discipline of it, and the habit-creating potential for me, and the fact that eventually I'll have to make time for a few photo field trips.  I've got some busy months ahead of me, so as for the photo goal, one day at a time.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Late Bloomer

Caught between seasons here.  It's starting to feel like fall, but it still looks a lot like late summer.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Reading the Leaves

Falling leaves were making interesting patterns on the pavement when I was walking Clover and Georgie yesterday. I was imagining it as some sort of code, like reading tea leaves. If there was a message to be found, then maybe they were warning me that a downpour would arrive once we reached our furthest point from home.  I was totally unprepared; no rain gear. One good thing I learned though: my camera fits in a doggy bag! 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Quite Time

Nothing like a nice quiet walk in the woods to refresh the spirit! 
I was expecting more fall color by this time in October, especially given our extra dry summer, but I'm glad that our recent rains have greened up the moss a little.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Turning Over a New Leaf

Or rather, an old leaf revisited. It's been building for a few weeks now.  My break from the blog is coming to an end, and I'm feeling really good about it.  Refreshed, inspired, ready to learn again, to create, and to connect.