A Beetle and a Dragonfly

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ss 1/125 f 7.1 ISO 400

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To view an image of the dragonfly in black and white please visit Monochromia.

Bars of Light

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ss 1/80 f 4.5 ISO 500

About this photograph:  I am teaching a teen photography camp this week.  I have 15 students ranging from 11 to 15.   The camp sessions are from 9am to 3:30pm Monday through Friday.  During the morning hours, we simulate a classroom setting and I teach the students about photography.  Thus far we have reviewed manual settings and the technicalities of cameras, which none of the kids had previously been using, composition and light.  Today well talk about posing human subjects.   After the lessons, we venture outside to experiment with cameras and use the information learned.   After talking about light yesterday, we took a hike to a near by covered bridge.  In between answering questions and guiding the teens on how to use their cameras, reminding them of compositional “rules”, and pointing out light and it’s qualities, I took a few shots myself.  This photograph is taken of one of the walls of the bridge.  I noticed the light peaking through the slats, between the boards.  Instead of focusing, I intentionally decreased the focus so that I could create a bit of blur to capture the circles of light in each strip, which the shallow depth of field helped create.  As I was shooting, my intent was to convert the file to black and white.  I do think I like that edit better than the original, but the green and white strips of light are also appealing to me.

To see the photograph in black and white, please visit my Thursday post on Monochromia. Which do you prefer?

Independence Day ~

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“Those who won our independence… valued liberty as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.”

~ Louis D. Brandeis

I took the liberty to play in Photoshop this morning and create a unique, vintage American Flag to post for Independence Day.  I cropped and rotated the flag and added a layer of texture using Adobe Paper Texture Pro.  Opacity was adjusted on the layer level.

For comparison, I included the original below.

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Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

“Bashful”

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Last week when I was coming home from a run I noticed that my beloved peonies had all but wilted and the petals been discarded. At the time, there were only a few remaining flowers. Spring has been so rushed and harried with work and activities for the kids that I had almost missed the joy of photographing the peonies.  That afternoon, instead of ironing and doing the banking, I cut the last of the living peonies and did some still life work. This was a time to be inspired, to create, take a deep breath and recharge my soul.

I didn’t have time to go to the studio, which means I didn’t have any back drops to use.  I knew that for some of the shots I wanted a white back drop.  I could have used a white table-cloth, or a sheet and hung them from a door, but, I didn’t feel like going to the trouble and I knew I could create the white back drop myself using light.

Using my Nikon D800 and my Nikkor 105mm 2.8 lens I set out to create.  I grabbed some props, antique prescription bottles, an antique miniature milk bottle, a white cheese cloth, a black stool, some ribbon, and some sheets of music.  I don’t know how long I moved around in front of my front door playing and creating.  I lost all sense of time and felt so relaxed.

To create the white back drop effect I used only natural light.  I metered my exposure on the flower so that it would be properly exposed and the backlight would be blown out.  To avoid flare, I angled my lens down just enough to allow some haze, but to eliminate flare.  I wanted this shot to be flawless and dreamy therefore colorful flare spots were not welcome.  My settings are below for your reference:

ss 1/100 f 5.0 ISO 400

I could have worked with the above scenario for hours.   But, alas, the kids needed to be picked up from school and driven to activities, and, honestly, my equipment is so heavy that after a considerable amount of time, my neck and arms begin to tire.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my equipment and the Nikon cameras and Nikkor lenses that I have give me great flexibility when working in the various areas of photography that I focus on.  I do love them, but I have recently been evaluating mirrorless cameras, especially for travel and street work.   Lighter weight cameras and lenses would be fabulous when having to hold or carry them for any length of time.   In addition, I just recently came across a new camera that I found interesting.  Light, is a compact camera that appears to have many features.  I don’t know that it has the flexibility I need, but I think it is worth checking into for travel and street work.  I thought I would share the link with you in the event you might have interest in a compact camera that appears to have a lot of great features.

To compare this photograph in black and white, please visit my Thursday post on Monochromia.

To view more of the photographs from this still life session, check back on the blog soon or follow me on Instagram.  I post to Instagram much more frequently there.

The Porch at 560

The Porch at 560

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This home was once grand, beautiful and well-maintained.  In more recent years it was the Mill Creek Bed and Breakfast.  Until, someone purchased the “mansion” next door and later purchased this historic building to tear it down and build a garage.   The town of Nashville, IL would not allow this and the new owner is letting the building grow into ruin.   It saddens me to think that someone would let this happen just because she didn’t get her way.   The former owners of the Inn are wonderful, kind people and would never have sold it had they known what was going to happen to it.   Can you imagine living across the street having to see the building you poured so much love into a crumbling, mis-happened mess?  This building was the location of many special occasions in my youth…bridal showers, baby showers, and more.  Despite the dilapidation and ruin, the building still has character, charm and is fascinating from a photography perspective.

To see a close-up of the door and the “letter” box on the outer wall, see my post on Monochromia.

 

Nature’s Tears…

…Glistening in the sunlight.

Nature's Tears

ss 1/800 f 7.1 ISO 200

Nikon D810, Nikkor 105mm 2.8

This photo was taken Monday morning after the rain clouds cleared.  The sun was warm and gorgeous, can you feel it?  To see a more high-key photograph of this subject, a yellow daisy, visit Monochromia.  Which do you like better?

In Honor…

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“137 years later, Memorial Day remains one of America’s most cherished patriotic observances. The spirit of this day has not changed – it remains a day to honor those who died defending our freedom and democracy. ” ~ Doc Hastings

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