A few days ago I spent $1.50 at the Tenney Farm for a stalk of sunflowers.
The next morning I spent a bit of time in the yard photographing two of the flowers. By the time I finished the sun was getting high and harsh so I moved inside to my table top studio in the basement to photograph the two remaining blossoms.
At some point I stopped for lunch and to make a trip to the mail box. On my way back up the drive way, I picked up a couple of apples from under one of the trees. In the evening I got back to the studio to photograph the apples.
A buck-fifty well spent!
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July… the peak of the day lily season.
Day lilies are one of the treats of summertime. They seem ubiquitous* in the gardens and along roadsides of New England.
I have been taking my camera with me when ever I head out in hopes of finding the perfect combination of flowers, foreground and background.
Yesterday, while returning from the “dump”**, I finally made a few photographs with which I am happy. The barn photos were a bonus.
* In my first draft, I wrote “almost ubiquitous”, but that is like saying “almost pregnant”! 😉
** I was returning with a truck still loaded with trash. The dump closes at two on Fridays; I got there just after four somehow thinking that it closed at five (as it does on Saturdays). I am not sure which fact I was mixed up on… closing time or the day of the week!
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Yesterday (Tuesday, 21 July) dawned hot and sticky and stayed that way. Despite the weather I spent some time in the late afternoon haunting the yard in search of odes. The numbers of odes were small, but there was a nice variety. The most common insect was a butterfly; the great spangled fritillary.
At some point during my rounds, I turned my attention from odes to the flowers Joan has growing in the many beds and containers around the yard.
This year the squashes (zucchini and otherwise) have been pretty much under control. On the other hand, the tomatoes seem to be out of control!
For a number of days, I have been contemplating the counter of our kitchen island completely covered with tomatoes of all sizes, shapes and colors. I knew there had to be a photograph or two in this bounty.
Thus, yesterday afternoon, I set up a “studio” outside on our deck*.
I began by lining up some small tomatoes on the railing and made the photograph that had been rolling around in my brain for the past few days (see the first photo below). Since I was all set up to make photos, I looked around for other subjects in the tomato pile. When I finished there, I moved on to the flowers Joan grows around the perimeter of the vegetable garden.
All-in-all a good time was had by moi! I used up some creative energy and amused myself for a couple of hours
* Warning… photographer talk ahead! My “studio” consisted of a small translucent white scrim arranged to diffuse the sunlight hitting the subjects which were set upon the deck railing. I started by using the natural scenery as background, but I eventually used a reversible white/gold reflector as the background; it was roughly ten feet beyond the deck railing. I set my exposure to over expose the background giving relatively featureless backgrounds. I used a 70-300 mm zoom lens on my camera.
Since there were so few odes around on Friday, I took to making photographs of the flowers that Joan has growing around the vegetable garden.
At one point, I was aggressively investigated by a female ruby-throated hummingbird. I guess that she decided that I was not going to eat too much nectar because, after the initial close encounter, she proceeded to visit a few flowers while I fumbled to take the extension tube off my camera. I was too slow and she headed off before I could make a photo of her.
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Arrrgh… blasted computers!
I went to write this post (the first in two months… how time flies!) and found that WordPress was asking me to update a number of things; which I dutifully did. This broke gallery plug-in that I have been using to display sets of photos. I have spent part of two days trying, without success, to get things working again! I have given up (at least for the moment). Thus, you will note a much less elegant presentation of the photos included in this post. Please click on each thumb nail for a larger version and then click on the larger image to close it.
Here is the post I was contemplating before update hell intervened…
February and March are always the slow time in my photographic year and this year has been no exception. Stretches of cold gray weather followed by a day or two of cloudless bright sun… neither of which are very conducive to landscape or wildlife photography. Most years we see signs of spring by early April and the photographic opportunities reassert themselves… not this year, as yet!
There is still more than a foot of snow on the ground and “ice out” on the lake is no where in sight. There are a few meager signs that spring is coming… the snow has a nice wet slushy consistency, a few robins have appeared, the temperatures are falling to barely below freezing at night and the road is a quagmire! Yesterday, it was even warm enough to spend some time making saw dust fly in the garage Spring can’t be too far away… right!?
Although the making of new photographs has been slow, I have been “photo-active” in other ways. For instance, I put together and submitted a portfolio of fifteen 8″x 10″ prints (matted to 11″ x 14″) in support of my application to become an exhibiting member at the Vermont Center for Photography. I am glad to say that this portfolio was favorably received and I was accepted as an exhibiting member at the end of February.
The Vermont Center for Photography is a gallery and resource center located in Brattleboro, VT (about an hours drive from the house). For the moment, I plan to take part in their group exhibits. I also plan to use their darkroom facilities as I experiment with hand-made cameras (see this post, for example).
Here are the photographs I submitted:
Squam Lakefrom Eagle Cliffs (NH)
Hooper’s Island (MD)
Winter Lake Shore (NH)
Beaver Swamp in Early Winter (MH)
Skatutakee Lake (NH)
Water Fall (ME)
Autumn Foliage (NH)
Autum Foliage detail (NH)
Androscoggin River Near Errol, NH
Blue Flag Iris
Blue Dasher (male)
Cafe – Closing Time
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I recently acquired a bunch of lenses from old enlargers… both enlarging lenses and condenser lenses. One of the largest lens in the collection is a 5″ in diameter condensing lens that is mounted in a metal frame. It is probably from a 4″x5″ enlarger. Today, I decided to “play” with this lens in conjunction with a digital camera.
Here are the first results…
The last photo in this set shows the set up. I mounted the condensing lens on a tripod, added a cardboard lens hood (which you can’t see in this photo) and a dark cloth. Both the hood and the cloth are attached to the lens with masking tape. The first couple of images I tried were low in contrast and had lens flares. Thus, I added the lens hood.
To use this set up, I placed myself and the digital camera under the dark cloth and made photos of the lens.
Clearly the middle of the circular frame is the sharpest, but it will never be “tack sharp”, and that the images goes soft and distorted towards the edges. All of which is really the point in something like this. Isn’t it?
It was interesting to watch how the image made by the lens changed in large ways with small movements of me and the camera. I learned quickly to make an exposure when the composition was good and not try to worry about stuff at the edges of the frame that were going to get cropped out any way.
Post-processing consists basically of cropping to the square format (to eliminate the extraneous part of the frame ) and adjusting the exposure to make sure that the frame is pure black). A few images got small amounts of other processing (curves adjustments, etc.) but nothing major.
I forgot how hot it gets under a dark cloth in the bright sun… even on a day when the air temperature is in the low 70’s. However, I think that results were worth the “suffering”! What say you?
Last Sunday, I spent some time in Joan’s garden photographing the flowers. I explored many individual blossoms and many angles of view and pretty much filled a memory card.
On reviewing the images, I was disappointed; none of the images were compelling… too much color! Despite the “good light” (it was mostly cloudy), the flowers were too bright and gaudy for my tastes.
After awhile, I realized that the most interesting aspect of the flowers were the patterns and textures. So I chose three “head on” shots and turned to black and white. These images are highly processed (much more heavily than my usual work); mainly to bring out the textures.
What do you think?
Last Sunday, I took the camera and wandered Joan’s garden in search of flowers and odes. Yesterday, I finally got around to processing the photos I took… its a long story. Suffice to say that the delay involved a round-trip drive (about 2000 miles total) to Louisville, KY. The first five photos below are the result.
The last two photos were taken yesterday morning. Joan came in from a morning stroll in the garden and announce that there was a dragonfly caught in a web just outside the breezeway door. Of course, I went and got the camera!
When I arrived on the scene, I found this “fellow” hanging by a single thread and gyrating wildly. He/she spent intervals attempting to get loose interspersed with rests in which the wind took over and blew him about. In other words, conditions were not good for close up photographs; I tried anyway! Most of the frames were out of focus or poorly framed but I did get a couple that were adequate.
After a bit, I took pity on the critter and when I cut him loose he landed on the arbor just below. He was there long enough that I could switch to the macro lens and get a few really close shots before he flew away.
I spent a bit of time on Sunday morning roaming the yard with my macro lens (a 90 mm Tamron) attached to the camera. It was a nice mostly cloudy day so the light was perfectly soft.
My intent was to photograph details of the many flowers (both domestic and wild) in and around the yard. As you can see from the resulting photos, the insects seem to be following me around!!!
The meadowhawk landed on an over the hill black-eyed susan next to the more photogenic one I had the camera aimed towards. I tried to ignore it, but it kept coming back to the same spot so I had to photograph it.
It let me get to within the close-focus distance of the macro lens and the detail (especially in the eyes) is quite amazing. I’m not sure that the detail will show in the small web sized version though.