Monday, October 31, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Points of View

 In 1908, E.M. Forester wrote a novel set in Florence, Italy, 
A Room with a  View. 
The protagonist is booked in a room with a view of the courtyard, but preferred the sweeping majestic view of the Arno River. 

I think as photographers we would welcome the challenge to photograph either point of view, Arno River or Courtyard.

Our assignment to photograph an item from multiple points of view, perspective, composition, settings was very enjoyable. And as usual, I took on something too complex, large, oversized.
So I have edited my photos drastically and put my attention on one
item, a beautiful, flowering kale in the midst of an array of autumn gourds, squash, marigolds and leaves. 
This display is on our front porch.

(I promise to get off this autumn roll I have been on, but this fleeting season of settling in, is simply too beautiful to not use for my last time.)

Midnight on porch. Tripod, flash with diffuser, manual setting. 

Full morning sun, under exposed to achieve the darkness surrounding subject to make it pop.  

Same intense sun, creating deep shadows. Macro lens and tripod.

Heavy cropping in camera to reveal striated ridges and furrows.

The sun kept playing peek-a-boo, but I wanted to stick with natural lighting,  and macro lens. The tripod was cumbersome when shooting the amazing underside of the plant.
This resulted in me shooting hand held, difficult for me in macro settings.

Note to self: when searching for a subject to photograph, take time to shoot from various angles, heights, distance, lens and settings.  

Idea: Carry a plastic bag at all times in case you are down on your back looking UP!

Heart Thought: " It seems to me we can never give up LONGING and WISHING while we are ALIVE. There are certain things we feel to be BEAUTIFUL and GOOD, and we must hunger for them. "  
     George Eliot

Enjoy the last drifts of autumn. sharon

Friday, October 28, 2011

Revisting with Eyes Wide Open

"Great things are done when men and mountains meet."                                     William Blake
                                 (Must add women who are often beside or leading the men.)

A few days ago I posted our travels to the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway. (here) We went straight to the highest peak, over 6,000' in elevation...gliding into the crystal air, organza clouds, and stiff winds. With eyes wide open we marveled at shriveled  seed pods and dried flower heads crystallized into diamonds to rival those of Tiffany. It was breathtakingly inspiring. There is so much to see at "foot level." 

I can't leave you stranded in the cold, so lets dip down to the valley's slightly fading colors...think gentle tea dyed lace, gracefully formed clouds with lavender edges, and warmer breezes.

Nature's living room window.

Sky coins.

A branch of garnets.

Autumn's final moments.

Before winter's deep sleep.

".....even the oldest of the trees continues its wonderful labor....he is there for the white blossoms and the secrecy. The blossoms could be snow, with a dash of pink.....everything has dreams, hope, ambition."
excerpt, Someday by Mary Oliver

Heart Thought: What is the Greatest Gift?

Warmly, Sharon

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Checking Out my Shopping Cart

 Hi Ya’ All....that is because we moved south. smile. Today’s journey of inspiration with Kat, is really pretty cool. Mostly because I am excited to read what YA AL’ post!  Nothing like peeking into another’s camera bag!! Today’s questions are much like filling a shopping cart with sundry  items.
 So first in my cart is my equipment. "Big Mama" camera, Canon 28-135 IS (workhorse), Canon 75-300 IS (really heavy) Tamron 60mm F/2  Macro 1:1, Canon 50mm Prime, one Lensbaby I seem to never use.  Tripod that I really struggle with, always tripping on did splurge on a monopod but haven’t tried it out....then all those little Professor Kobe’s Light Scoop (really cool for diverting camera flash. All equipment is in one backpack style camera bag mainly for STORAGE, believe me I do not walk around with this on my back. I found a nifty solution at Target for 5.00 when I needed something protective of water and sand at the beach. So into my cart:  A really cute LUNCH BAG shaped like a "PURSE."  It is plastic lined!!!  I can get "Big Mama" and two lenses in it that not cool. And it doesn’t the area. 
There are times I truly  miss my little point and shoot with its accompaning  anonymity. But NO going back.

Yes, I have found a focus and am gradually developing my personal eye and choices, but I am not in anyway super sure of myself. BUT I do love love love to take photos, so I click along and maybe someday....  
 Travel photography is probably my biggest thrill. So fortunate to travel to many places and always take a camera and shoot away. 

I prefer the unusual shots with different angles, capturing texture and color. 

I enjoy overfilling the frame...definitely not a minimalist ......but will try that some time.

My focus is on the culture of where I am visiting...the people, religious sites, working farms and markets, artisans, homes, landscape......the nitty gritty of dailiness in their lives. It is important for me to be fully aware of how others live ...and all the goodness that it brings to my own life and perspective. 

Macro shooting with a steadier hand is something I am working on now. 

My other great joy in shooting, is of our extended family and the Funny Bunnies (grandchildren) who live around the block. Love to capture their individual personalities, the glow in their eyes and the magic of their smiles. And in two weeks there will be a new Funny Bunny...and I hope to capture the beauty of this new born with my camera....believe me I will practice before hand...wish me well. ..any tips much appreciated.

Shooting at high noon is never easy, but with children.....ugh! poor little F Bunnies had to squint the entire time...then I moved to the tented area.  relief.

A practical use for my photos are reference points for my paintings. Also I use "Big Mama" to photograph the completed paintings for website/prints/cards etc. 

I spread out which settings I am going to use.  My biggest challenge is to take photos at NIGHT and INDOORS at night...will I ever get that figured out?????  

Much more comfortable in diffused light, such as cloud cover or early morning/evening. 

WHAT WORKS AGAINST ME: I have an inner tremor that can’t be controlled and it is my biggest handicap for sharp photos. I have learned all the tricks to be more steady, but mostly they don’t help. This is why I need to use a tripod/monopod and shutter release more often. 
 You have probably seen more than enough in my cart.  I imagine we all have similar equipment, but use it differently as we develop our OWN INDIVIDUAL STYLE. This is one BIG reason Kat's FYE  is so super......opening our eyes to new possibilities and gently nudging us to take time to think through what we are doing and where we are going. I know it has helped me tremendously. And I love to read about your own journey.
Happy snapping!  Sharon

Heart Thought: if you could only take one World Class photo, what would your chosen subject be?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Texture Tuesday: Frosted Leaf

 Since we are totally into autumn, "me thinks" I SHOULD work a little texture magic on a photo taken on a walk along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. Looking UP and  DOWN, So much to see and explore.  

This solitary leaf was alone, frigid and frosted with true FROST!  

Definitely needed some adjustments: cropping and levels) then on to the fun texture stuff.  Kim's textures 1. Stained 2 2.  KK the Leaf 

This is one ordinary photography that steps into the extraordinary with a little help from Kim's wonderful textures. Be sure to visit her if you like this ARTSY WAY WITH PHOTOGRAPHS.
Now that it is posted, I an see that it might have helped to make the words more opaque…this is how we learn.  

Heart Thought: think of someone who might be having some difficulties in their life, send good wishes their way. 

 Until next time, smiles Sharon

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Seeing with Eyes Wide Open

"There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country.  A fine landscape is like a piece of music, it must be taken at the right tempo. Even a bicycle goes too fast.
Paul Scott Movrer, Journalist/Poet

We drove to Asheland, NC, reveling in the autumn colors. A kaleidoscope of rust, bronze, lime green and ruby red blurred past our car windows.
Asheland is a cross between Audrey Hepburn meeting the Beatles. Sophisticated Hippie-dom. LOVE IT!! 
Ladies slim and tall wearing the most fashionable outdoor wear, fur trimmed, high heeled leather boots; young girls swishing multi-hewed flowing skirts with torn hem lines, Birkenstock shoes-thick wool socks; guys in patched, torn levi's,
too small of army jackets and heavy dreadlocks with knitted cap.
Everyone fits in. Probably no one wants to leave. It is a truly amazing town nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Yes, Kat asked us to get out and walk, be inspired, look for those "littles" that can be overlooked...those special serendipitous moments.  A fabulous assignment in seeing with eyes wide open.


Let's start LOW, foot level, as we walk through the sodden landscape.

At the lower elevations, mushrooms still popped up, 
like fingerprints, no TWO alike. 

Gripping the steering wheel, we went from 1,000' elevation to 5900' in less than 30 minutes...ringing ears anyone? 

 From glorious sunshine to snow-laced clouds, we bound from our car, bundled from boots to hat, eagerly walking into a diffused cloud of ice and wind. Once more, we started exploring at "shoe level."

You can almost hear the crunch of our boots upon the frozen permafrost. 

Jewels from Tiffany, can't match the splendor of frozen particles of rain sent directly from the heavens.

The Waltz of the Ferns

 WIND is one of  Mother Nature's favorite tools, creating unparalleled beauty. 

No not pinecones, but pine NEEDLES, each slender slippet of green, ensconced in its OWN crystal ball.

A lonely wooden post. Now a work of beauty to catch the eye. 

 Can you see the bit of green lichen on the branches? 


There will be a sequel. For our WALK/RIDE took way too long to post in one writing. Besides I can't leave you out in the COLD!

Next post will drop you into a wonderland of fall foliage.

To bridge the way....a last photo.

Where we have been, where we are going. Coming this week.


In retrospect, my only regret was to not take my tripod!!  I always trip on tripods, get embarrassed setting up in front of people, and find cumbersome. 
if I had used my tripod in the gusty winds my macro shots would have improved!!  I returned home and purchased a monopod.
Now to test it out.

This has been such a fun assignment, Kat. Thank you so much. 

Find Your Eye Journey of Inspiration.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Learning from Life's Experiences

I love to get up in the morning and see what Kat has to share with us; and in turn she "asks" us to think deeply about our personal journey. The cherry on top is reading what other photographers are sharing.
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
Anais Nin

About two years ago, I was gifted with a terrific DSLR camera. It was unexpected. I was overwhelmed. I was very worried.

For as long as I can remember, I have taken gazillions of photos...just great pictures that bring back amazing memories, no more reason than that.

I was content. Or was I?

To face the challenge with nothing to fall back on, I gave my good point and shoot camera to our son. 
Suddenly taking photos became an ALL or NOTHING proposition. 

Nothing magical happens, unless I put in time and effort.
I am not gifted, nor have special talents, or even learn quickly.
It all takes time, thought, patience and effort.

Cloudy Days, Gray Days

For too many years I thought I couldn't take good photos if it wasn't sunny, a few lofty clouds were okay, but don't rain on my parade. How would I see colors, purely? How would I capture detail?

It took a lot of experimenting, and falling back on painting theory, but I now love to shoot on gray, inclement days.
You can make gray/overcast skies work for you, not against you.

In a canvas painting gray is used to advantage. Gray is a mixture of every color left on your palette. It can lean towards warm or cool, strong or weak, can have overtones of red or blue or green, etc.  It is an important part of a painter's palette. 
 Mix gray into any color and you change its values by toning it down...muting...making more monochromatic. 
Place gray next to a pure color and it "pops" that color.

The following photographs were taken on very gray, overcast day at the beach.
The surroundings were quickly neutralized, very monochromatic in feel. 

Patiently I waited, hoping the waning sun would peep through a bit, 
I wanted a spectacular sunset.
No blazing sunset, but a very serene photo with glimpses of blue, pink and yellow reflected in the pools of water.
Beautifully simple.

Here are neutral surroundings combined with heavy cloud cover, next to warm flesh tones and clothing. Gray creating a "pop" in color I would not have gotten on a super sunny day. You can tell how cloudy it was by the lack of strong shadows.

Wonderful reflections in the water, despite lack of sunlight. 

One can almost feel the chill and rain in the air. Very moody ambiance. Lovely way to focus upon the child, who is staring skyward in her own daydream.

The  focus of this photo are the kayaks. The primary colors are strong, bold and brilliant. No sun glare, no reflections or heavy cast shadows competing with pure color.
All thanks to an over cast sky.

Tomorrow we head for the Carolina 'mountains.'
 The foliage is sublime, we are told. 

Weather forecast tonight,
RAIN and SNOW in the higher elevations!!!!

I can "shrink" or "expand" to the challenge. 

Thanks for dropping by.  Sharon

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Little Garden of Delights

Every once in awhile, we drop into "little gardens of earthly delight," places we could linger, stay awhile and bask in. Such was a very special garden shop in Hilton Head, SC. A place of pure heaven, all tossed up with Halloween finery

There was no way I could take these photographs and not share with you. The care and artistic touch of the gardeners combined with color, texture and atmosphere just begged to be shown off.    

No commentary is necessary....just enjoy the moment and bask in the beauty of a tiny patch of land, far from home.

Here lounges the real force behind this garden paradise....the PRINCESS. She kept her apple green eyes on us the whole time we wandered around. 

IDEA: these wonderful ceramic pumpkins have oodles of designs we could all incorporate onto our own pumpkins. Wash pumpkin with water and tiny bit of soap. Dry thoroughly. Spread out papers to put pumpkin on. Paint with acrylics. If the first coat isn't bright enough, let paint dry then repeat. Could even spray with a little varnish to make nice and shiny. 


Keep your cameras DRY and BUSY...such an exquisite time of year to be taking pictures.  Until next visit....Sharon

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Texture Tuesdays: RED, RED, RED !!!

This week Kim has suggested using textures on 
Pleases me, as it is a favorite color popping up everywhere in my life: jewelry, clothing, home decor, paintings, photographs, sorry, I don't wear RED lipstick !!

Sharing a few photographs that have big splashes of RED
 then ending with one with textures applied. 

When we were at the beach a few weeks ago,
we discovered an amazing garden shop and found beautiful, Mexican-- folk art painted ceramic pumpkins. 
So many, we just couldn't decide which one to tuck into our car and take home.  (due to indecision we took TWO !!)

This little Funny Bunny popped up in front of my camera.

Not nearly as cute but still RED RED RED

And the last one, an amazing necklace of RED berries on a palm.

This was one gorgeous explosion of RED and the one I decided to texturize.


         Bent Edges and Sunrise Grunge compliments of Kim Klassen. 

This is one photo that I think is enhanced by using textures and heavy cropping.  

It would make a lovely card, feel free to print.

Have a lovely autumn day...until next time, smiles, sharon