My photo
... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas From Our Little Corner of the World...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Real Dandy....

I found this dandelion this morning while walking the dogs. After observing the pristine shape and really cool backlighting, I kept Gussie from peeing on it. He noticed it, too. Anyway, I went in, grabbed an old sheet for ground cover, the D90 and two lenses, the 50 and 70-300mm. Also got the close-up filters.

The first image was shot from slightly above and with the 70-300 set for Macro. You can see the color of fallen leaves in the background. Keep that key piece of info in mind. The next was shot with zoom and the #2 close-up lens. The angle of view was high enough to still have the really out of focus leaves in the background. That is where the reddish background comes from.

The third photo is down so I am at eye level with the dandelion, not colorful leaves in the background, only street, so it goes more neutral. The white of the dandelion really pops here.

The last photo is really tight, I stacked the #2 and #4 close-up lenses on the zoom. The color from mthe background shows up more again in this one. Love the wispy look of the little parachutes. There was a little breeze blowing, had to wait several times when it was moving the whole dandelion too much.

Anyway, be mindful of not only the objects in your backgrounds but also the colors. The lens you use and the amount of magnification can change the way background elements appear.  Things can seem much closer than they really are. They can have a effect on your final image.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cats-I'm So Cute, You Gotta Love Me...

We have a Manx  cat, or should I say  there is a Manx cat that lives in our house. Seems like we are hers. Dogs are great, wonderful pets. So great to be loved by your dog, but they love everybody. Anyone who will scratch their head gets slobbery kisses. Cats, not so. Some cats are really loving and love to cuddle.  Not Lola.

She is like your worst girlfriend. Shows you just enough attention to keep you hooked, but mostly stays just out of reach. And has an attitude. But, she is a beauty, and knows how to play up the cute.
Today Deborah found her in the bassinet in our front bedroom.  Anywhere that is soft and warm
is a great place to crash. She does know that's  some place she's not supposed to be, so she plays the cute card, trying to get her way. "Lets see, if I move over just a little bit and get under these little bears, bet I can have my way." 

Didn't work, the thoughts of cat hair in the bassinet overcame cuteness in Mama's mind, and Lola
was back on the floor.

Monday, November 17, 2014

As Amazing as Beautiful

The Ginkgo trees shown here are in our neighbor, The Colonel's yard.
The trees are quite beautiful, and I have photographed them often. I have been waiting for a week for them to ready this year. With today's stormy weather, I decided I should do my photos before the leaves were knocked off the trees. 

I did a bit of research this morning and learned some very interesting facts about this species. Did you know they are living fossils? The species is over 270 million years old, according to fossil records. They were 
originally all across North America, but were heavily impacted by the Ice Age and "space impact",
(the asteroid that took out the dinosaurs.)

They were pretty much limited to Eastern China. Buddhist monks cultivated the trees and grew them for their temples. Around 800 AD, the monks brought the trees to Japan. In the 1600's a German named Englebert Kaempfer saw the trees in Japan, and brought them to Europe.

We have a female Ginkgo in our garden. It is not my favorite tree. The females produce seeds that are inside soft pods. They are coated with butyric acid, and really stink.
Anyhow, a bit of tree history for you. Really quite special trees.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Just a Leaf and Some Raindrops....

I have been shooting with an old Nikkor 50mm lens the last few weeks.  This lens has been the most neglected glass I have ever owned.  Didn't buy it, but got it in a swap years ago.  It has lived in my equipment locker unused.  My 35-70 Nikkor is a real waste, and decided to dig out the 50 and play with it.

I had it on the D90 several weeks ago when I left home for Columbus. It was a rainy day, and THis leaf was stuck behind the windshield wipers.  It was the perfect lens for this shot. the 50 was always a wasted focal length to me with film cameras, but with the extra magnification with the DX format gives it a boost. The fact that its an f1.8 is not bad either.

The sharpness of the lens and the short depth of field brought out the textures and made the rain on the windshield really pop.  But do not drive down the street in the rain shooting pictures with the wipers off. Could cause major difficulties. I am a trained professional, you know.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Boosting the light

The plants have begun to come back inside at our house. The orchid that our friend Bruce Tamker gave Deborah sits in front of a window surrounded by greenery. This morning I noticed the light hitting it and its buddies, and had to shoot.

The light was really nice hitting the background plants and lighting the bloom from behind, but I was loosing detail in the center of the bloom. Wanted to lighten it just a bit, but not use flash. The top image was done using a small piece of white foamcore to the left side of the frame. When you are using a reflector like this, you can see the light and adjust the reflector as needed. The problem here was my fish eye was picking up the edge of the foamcore, but left it in so it was visible for the blog.  You can use anything that reflects light in a situation like this.  Just remember that whatever color your reflector is will show up on your subject.
White is great, no color problems. A gold reflector will add a warm tone to your image. Silver will cool the tones in your picture.

Just for the heck of it, I used a Mini Mag flashlight on the center of the bloom in the bottom image. As expected the flashlight caused a bit of color shift, but made an interesting image. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Just Caught My Eye

 As I pulled into the driveway this morning I saw the light coming through these leaves, and had to check them out. When I got closer, I saw the shadows of the outside leaves showing through the closer and thought it was really cool. Really eye-catching patterns.

I love light, the way it plays with every day things to make them a bit special.  For each one I see, have to wonder how many I miss.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Painterly Background

I was out on the patio yesterday afternoon cutting and sanding a wood project when I noticed this rose. The sun was low enough in the sky to pop in and back light the center flower.  Was too much to pass up, so I went inside and grabbed a camera. This was shot with the 70-300 using the Macro setting. At 300mm in the macro setting, there is no depth of field. The bokeh is really nice, working well to help separate and define the detail in the rose and stem.

Sometimes a subject like this works well with a solid dark background, but the effect of the out of focus objects in the background give a painted look to the image. The refracted highlights are really cool.

On the way back inside, I had to do something with the dogwood leaves. They were rockin' in the sunlight.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Zombie Encounter

I experienced a recent Zombie Encounter. I had the opportunity to photograph Tiffany Osborn and Stephanie Busbee made up for the Halloween season. The two did a great job with outfits and props. The doll was a really cool touch. Tiffany did their makeup. All I had to do was shoot.

I thought a woodsie setting would be kinda good for the environment, and Wellston Trail was a convenient
location.  We shot in the edge of the trees along the trail and on the bridge. The bridge worked out really nice. Love the way it is positioned in the top photo, and the unsuspecting walkers approaching the waiting peril is a nice touch.

I used two lights for the top shot, one on camera right, one behind them to give some separation from the background. The light in front was to help bring out detail and light their eyes.  The top image was shot with my fish eye lens to give the image a little eerie bump,  fro a little extra detail, and to grab some of the environment. Most of the heavy lifting was done post production.
  I toned and worked the photos in Photoshop Elements. Used Highlights/Shadows in the lighting adjustments to help bump up and emphasize the detail. Then went into Color Efex Pro 4 and used the detail extractor. Next added a bit of fog.

I went back to Photoshop and used levels, the eyedropper and airbrush to even out their makeup.

 The bottom shot was with the zoom at 135mm for a bit of compression. It was ambient light. It got pretty much the same post work.

Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I See The Moon, And The Moon Sees Me

I have no idea how many eclipses I have photographed, but I still get excited whenever one comes around.
I can only imagine the reaction of early man to such a sight. And each time I observe, I think about how cool God is to throw so many neat things into our world.

I waited til the moon was over half hidden to start shooting this morning. Last night I got out a body, my old Leitz tripod and the Nikkor 600mm. This was old school, using the old manual focus lens. The last exposures were pretty dim, and my old eyes were having a hard time with manual focus. This old f5.6 lens ain't the brightest, but it is still sharp. That lens is about 34 years old. The tripod is even older. If you are thinking about buying a tripod, buy quality, and sturdy. A wimpy tripod is a waste of money.

Anyway, I spent about 45 minutes shooting this series, then the moon dropped too low in the sky, down in the trees and utility lines. I picked three separate images and combined into this composite. Hope you got up to see this, such a cool and beautiful happening. Never get tired of the beauty in nature.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Photos from the Wedding

Our daughter Tracy married Brandon Hitch Sunday afternoon. Had a bunch of folks asking if I was doing the pictures or having fun. Well, the official photographer was Tracy's longtime friend Kathy did the real photo work while I played. One of my favorite pictures was a quick grab shot of the three flower girls. They are Anna, Brandon's niece, and our granddaughters Abby and Zoey.  It was a quick grab shot in the lobby, only window light. It was a bit under exposed, and lucky for me, a RAW image. I was able to adjust the exposure in Camera Raw, then get rid of the excess grain using DFINE 2, part of the NIK collection.

Really love this photo.  This was a found picture. The fan and the flower baskets were on a table. I did turn the fan over for the image of the bride and groom.  I had a fun day just shooting candid shots of the bride, groom, and guests.

Ren Deese always looks so stunning, and Sunday was no exception. This was the only photo I posed all day. Love the little hat and veil. Posed her in the lobby  and used window light. Made an awesome image. Added the vignette in NIK's Color Efex Pro.

This was my last image, quite the glamour shot using a collection of wedding bows. Another found shot too good to pass up.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Turning Over A New Leaf

Deborah and I just got home from a trip to Pipestem State Park in West Virginia. What a beautiful state. Always love visiting there, anywhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains ain't bad. I shot lots of pictures this weekend. We were doing a family reunion so I did a bunch of family photos, but also a lot of nature stuff...plant life, a ton of deer pictures.  The leaves are just beginning to turn, and I found this one. 

It was on the ground nestled up to a less pretty leaf, and kind of curved in on itself.  As I started shooting it, I decided it would be cool to try to get the lens inside the curve of the leaf. I was shooting with my little Olympus, so I put it on "Super Macro" so I could get really close.  Changed to Aperture priority to get maximum depth of field. Shooting inside really brought out the backlight coming through the top part of the leaf.  The veins and texture of the leaf really pop.

The little digital cameras make this kind of image so easy to shoot. Ad the small size, great meter, awesome macro capability and vibration reduction, and you just can't go wrong.

Will post some omre images later in the week. Got a killer spider to show off.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Old Glory

This is an entirely different view of the American Flag that hangs on our front porch.
I had gone out to photograph the tiny blooms on a tomato plant and while shooting the bloom, I noticed the way the light was playing on Deborah's orchid.  While chimping through the orchid photos, I saw the flag in the background and decided there was a photo to be had. 

I am not sure how I ended up on my back under the flag, but it had a WOW factor of about a 12, so I had at it. I was using my little Olympus XZ-1 and used the Dramatic Tone art filter to enhance the tones and darken the sky.  Of course, any time you photograph a flag, the wind drops away before you can pop the first frame. Had to wait for the wind to come back, but it was worth it.

And, by the way, here's the tomato bloom that started the whole thing.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Field of Sunflowers.....

I love sunflowers, which explains why pictures of sunflowers appear on this blog so often. These are from a field down near Elko that I visited back in July. Gary Harmon found them while riding his bike and told me about them.  I had to check them out.  The top image was done with the fisheye at 10mm. I popped a little flash in so I could keep the deep blue sky and some of the sun, which is in the upper left of the frame.  The flash was on a light stand to my left at a bit of an angle o the flower. My exposure was 1/1250th second at f 9, the ISO was low, around 200.  There were some honey bees on the flower, which added to my interest in this one.

I swapped from the fisheye to the 70-300mm with a closeup lens for the bee shot, still using the flash to add some depth to the shot.

This last shot is the crown that surrounds the flower. Up close the texture really jumps at ya. Alas, no more sunflowers for a year now.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Two Mae's, Real BFF's

My mom's 90th birthday is next Tuesday. Her quilting buddies had a birthday brunch for her in Columbus
yesterday, and I was fortunate enough to be invited. I was extremely blessed with the parents God saw fit to provide me with. I realized very early that I didn't have the complaints that most of my friends had about their parents. They taught my brother Tony and me right, raised us in a Christian home, and loved us unconditionally. They also loved each other with an incredible lifelong, no, make that an eternal love.

These photos were from the party yesterday. The photo above is my mom, on the left, and her best friend Mae Pettis. Mae and her husband Leroy were my parents best friends. The two Mae's are still best friends. Dad and Leroy have been gone for a while now, and these two are best buddies.

Our families were together a lot when I was a kid. Tony dated their daughter Sondra, and their son Mike was my best buddy until we moved away from Columbus. Mae and Leroy were like my other parents. I was so lucky to see these two couples, the way they were to each other, the way they lived their lives. 
Mae is still a big part of our family, and I know Mae's kids feel the same way about my mom. 
Mom still sends Mae's youngest son a birthday card every year with a dollar enclosed.

The two Mae's are what God had in mind when He created BFF's. If you ask either of them what a BFF is, they would not have a clue, but their love for each other sure tells it all.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ivy League

In downtown Fort Valley there is a gutted building, sandwiched between two other buildings. The roof is gone, as is the back wall. One wall is almost completely covered with ivy. Well, it may not be ivy, could be weeds. But it looks pretty cool.

I have wanted to do something with this awesome scene for some time, and finally decided the way to shoot it was up against the wall with a really wide lens. I tried the 15mm, but it needed more so I shot the top image with my fisheye. The dark area framing the top of the image is the other side wall, you can see the sun shining down. 

The bottom shot shows the coverage on the wall. So, I got my digital fix for the day. Hope you like 'em.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Another Step In this Journey

Yesterday morning I saw this leaf on the trunk of Deborah's car. Can't tell you what drew my eye to it.
Shape, light? Just know when I saw it, I had to photograph it. So many things we pass each day just beg to be photographed. Too often we are in to big a rush and just don't notice. Can't see the forest for the trees and all that.  This was what I saw as I walked by bringing the pooches back in from their morning outing.
Shot it first, dropped down to one knee to get this perspective.

As I moved around, the shape changed, as did the light and texture. Love leaves, the texture and veins. The way light plays through them.  I first shot this much tighter, then noticed the reflection and wanted to keep it in the image. Glad I did. The background has changed as well.

This was the last image, 180 degrees opposite from the first, still get the texture but with different shape. 
Why did I shoot it?  Always wondered what is is in my brain that sees the possibilities in some objects.
Early on in this photographic journey, it was so frustrating to see something like this, but not know how to capture what I was seeing. How to use the light, to set my exposure to capture the mood and textures, what lens to use to get the certain look. Shoot with a telephoto for shallow depth of field, or use a wide angle so all is in focus.

And happily, the journey continues.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Macon's Terminal Station

The Terminal Station is one of the most beautiful buildings in Macon.  It was built in 1916 to be the union station for the 15 railroads that served Macon at the time. It is now home to the Macon Transit Authority.
The sandstone structure covers around 13 acres. The last regular passenger train left the station in the 1970's.

Some of the unique benches still sit in the grand lobby, along with a shoe shine stand. I was fortunate enough
to have passed through the structure quite a few times, often on the Nancy Hanks for trips to Atlanta. Our family made the ride several times, and if you were a 3rd grader in Bibb County back in the day, you rode the train on the ultimate field trip. We went to Atlanta for the day, visiting the Grant's Park, the Cyclorama, and the State Capitol.

The left end of the building still has the colored waiting room sign, carved in the sandstone. A reminder of a past we are not proud of, but should not be ignored or forgotten.

During the heydays of rail travel during the 1920's, there were over 100 arrivals a day at the station. Today, you can catch a ride with the MTA, or you can rent the facility for a wedding or other event. 

If you are at the lower end of Cherry Street, walk inside and see the beauty. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Look a Little Closer

It is amazing the things that are happening around us all the time, and we never notice.
Next time you are outside, take a really close look at what is happening around your yard.
I had gone out to get some flower photos today and found this lunch scene inside a dogwood bloom.
Could barely see the spider's legs from the ground, so I grabbed a ladder to see what was happening.
These were with the 70-300mm and a +4 close-up lens.

                                                           BON APPÉTIT 

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