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Sunday, October 30, 2011

SHS

That's right!  Scavenger Hunt Sunday hostessed by the one, the only, the wonderful Ashley.  Head on over. 






Crabby-city this morning looking at 3 wet and yucky inches of snow.  I'm NOT going to shovel.  I am going to wait for the seasonally acceptable weather that will melt it off my driveway.  There.  Take that ol' Mother Nature!!

This week's Scavenger, as always, was lots of fun.  If you haven't tried this weekly event, I encourage you to.  It is always fun-and one of the high lights of my blogging week.  Could be one of your highlights too. 

The topics this go-around were:  Macro/Close-Up, Found Texture, Home, Cover, and The Tree.
Onward.

Jeans {sh 98}
Jeans
Macro/Close Up:  My favorite attire, and pretty much it.  Everything goes with a pair of jeans.

Coconut Frosting
Coconut Frosting
Found Texture:  Not a fan of coconut, but the rest of the cake was pretty good.  How can you tell the birthday girl "no" just due to the coconut?  You can't.

At Home
At Home
Home:  Princess P living the good life at the other end of the sofa.  My pets make me feel "at home".

Frosty
Frosty
Cover:  Do you know the saying, "Frost on the pumpkin"?  I was trying to explain to my friend from England that it doesn't necessarily mean it's ON the pumpkin, it's sort of code for it's a cold morning.  She said "but we don't have pumpkins in England"....lost in the translation a bit.
  The other day I found the literal frosty cover on the pumpkin after a sane and reasonable dusting of snow.  Today's snow is not sane or reasonable.  Trick or Treat is right-definitely a trick.

Autumn Silhouette
Autumn Silhouette
The Tree:  I suppose "the tree" had some special meaning that I forgot to write down.  This is two "the trees" that looked especially "the lovely" against dusk.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ready, Aim, Fire




Thinking through my shooting style as the next "challenge" in my journey of inspiration.  Thanks Kat.

If someone had asked me a year, maybe even 6 months ago, what my shooting style was my reply would likely have been "I don't know", or "I don't think I have a shooting style."  I'm so much smarter now, "tanks be to Gott" as they say with a heavy accent.


Beach Shadow
Beach Shadow

I normally shoot photos alone; my dog my only companion.  The rare times when I go to a destination with friends (who are not taking images) I rush shots and can't settle down to concentrate or make adjustments.  I like shooting photos alone-though I talk to myself, so it's likely if I had a similarly skilled photog with me,  I would really enjoy that.  I'm trying to connect with one of my FYE classmates who by chance lives two towns away.  How cool is that?

I think it's safe to say I didn't have a photography teacher. I've been my own teacher for the last year and a half.  Therefore I didn't pick up any habits-good or bad-from anyone.  I set out with my little point and shoot and started taking photos, and more photos, and more photos.  I should credit the digital photography class I took last fall for a little guidance-helping me with ISO, aperture, and shutter speed...but the info came all in a clump, without a sense of "concentrate on this" or "start here"....so I'm going to stay with it's mostly about me.  That comes with compliments and blame too.  99% of the time I shoot strictly manual.....if I would READ my MANUAL I could expand to aperture priority or one of the other cool functions. (Hello me, get off your butt and do this please).

Spoonrest
Spoon Rest

Over time I've realized I don't really like shooting at home.  I will on a rainy, snowy, or miserable day-or when light pours in through the windows and I can't help myself.  I  can't see me dedicating a room to "studio" with lights, black backdrops, and those big white umbrella things-I think they reflect light somewhere.  Maybe later...never say never. 

I travel light.  I don't tote along any equipment, mostly because I can't afford it and I won't spend money on fad things....I did borrow a long zoom for a couple months last spring, and one of those might be on the wish list, but for now I'm living and managing.  I have my kit lens (which I'm starting to find limiting) and my nifty-fifty 50mm/f 1.8.  I don't even have a camera bag so when I carry both lenses, I put one lens inside one of those "footie" socks.  If I want to switch out, I can do that by just rolling down the sock a smidge, changing covers, and I'm off and running.  What can I say?  New England practicality, and a touch of poverty.  I do have a borrowed tripod.  It's always in the car and rarely used.  I'm so accustomed to physically moving around, I find it entirely too cumbersome.  Using a tripod would be a good place to make some improvements and stretch, especially as the days grow shorter and darker.


Tiger {247/365}
Tiger

I love this photo. It has vibrant color, was taken in great light and then there's the lucky find of an old sloppy snow fence making those cool shadows. The fact that the side mirror looks like an ear and the headlight an eye-well that was just bonus stuff I saw much later at home.

This image typifies the rest of my style.  I wasn't looking for this shot, in fact I didn't even SEE this shot.  I parked in a lot near this car, walked right past it, across the street for some open views of the marsh (yawn).  As I was returning to my parked vehicle-I came upon this-like magic.  That's how I like to shoot.   Magically.  Something unexpected, in natural late or early day light, maybe with some lines or texture or color, and something that makes me say out loud to no one but me "oooh, look at that".  Sometimes someone replies-a nearby stranger perhaps laughing at me. Or smiling. Or considering me a candidate for insanity.

I would really, really, really, really (that's 4 reallys) like to travel for the sole purpose of taking photos.  I'm pretty tired of my home area, despite its beauty and charm.  I try to stay inspired, but I've done a lot of "work" around here.  I can't really travel (reference above about no dinero) but there is a chance I may get to go to Cuba next summer.  That would be awesome-and hot.  All depends on the pocketbook.  Got extra money and want to bankroll my trip?  Kidding....sort of...call me.

Thanks for reading about my shooting style and letting me ramble on.  It helps me "get it".  Apparently, my therapist has trained me well or is an amazingly patient woman.

On the Doorstep
On the Doorstep

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Creative by the Seat of the Pants

Linking with Lisa today for the "creative exchange" one of my most favorite link ups for I must think and feel in order to be satisfied with what I choose to share.  While it is about images, it's really not, in the same breath.  Thanks to my friend Lisa for hostessing such a lovely spot to sit and ponder while looking at all the amazing talent out there in the blog-o-sphere.








Sand
Sand

You know that line or phrase..."you had me at hello"?  Well, that's kind of how this scene was for me.  All those wavy lines with the earliest peeks of sun warming them in the quietness of an early morn.  It was one of those "I have to have this; it is not optional shots."  I'm glad it worked out.  If I look at this one I can get right back to that spot. 

I should do that more often.  I need to wear glasses that have this image taped to the inside of them between my eyes and the world.  Perhaps I'll become famous like Jonas Salk and his polio discoveries....for my way to lower blood pressure (or for looking totally ridiculous with images taped to the inside of glasses).

This is the "seat of the pants" part of today's post.  I have no clue where my mind might jump around to next.  Perhaps my chair here at the computer should come with a safety seat belt just in case the ride gets bumpy.  Crap, am I channeling my inner Mae West when I say that?  I didn't even know I had an inner Mae West.  I actually am still doubtful on that.  Are you still there?  I think I'm all over the place today and as a reader you might need to stop and take a breath and click "next blog" if I'm not more careful.  I do have many endearing qualities.  I'll move along and try to make them more apparent.


Mama's Best Girl
Mama's Best Girl

OK....how about someone who is "dear" to me, and maybe sees my endearing qualities, especially around 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. when the ol' chow dish gets filled?  I don't get great close ups of Tula too often; she's not a fan of cameras-she tolerates, and often looks in the other direction.  If she were a human she would likely be standing with arms crossed and tapping one foot thinking silently "hurry up, hurry up, hurry up, hurry up!!" 
You know, like a teenager.

Early Wake Up
Early Wake Up

All right, now this is more serious.  Same morning.  All three of these shots were from the same morning last week.  It was an inspiring beautiful start to the day.  I do participate in a couple Flickr groups for fun, sort of hit or miss.  People in one of my groups were taken by this image-and it made it to "Explore" and got something like 600+ views.  That was pretty exciting as well.  Sometimes I think what I'm doing is just sort of goofing around, and then I come upon a day like this when God is smiling on me and I think "wow".  Life is funny like that.

Thanks for bearing with my crazy mood swings du jour and for peeking at my morning images.  I'm off to sit in a 3 hour real estate course.....that may have something to do with getting my silliness out early.  Have a wonderful day!









Sunday, October 23, 2011

Speed Walking



I totally blew this "challenge" from Kat on my Journey of Inspiration.  But, it's my journey and well, if I'm going to blow it, I might as well own it.  This lesson was on being observant sans camera.  The idea was to take a nice gentle walk and observe things that you might miss with a big 'ol camera stuck on your face.  Yah.

My piano teacher used to tell me I was the master of excuses.  I'm sure she was right.  I am not making excuses now though.  I didn't take a walk, but I did the exercise from my car instead.  On Thursday morning I had to tour a bunch of houses in the community for my real estate job.  It was just a quick peek and then on to the next.  Sometime between house 2 and house 3 I remembered I had this "challenge" and it became forefront in my mind.  It was much nicer to think about observing the world than thinking about the houses, work, and being polite to the other brokers on tour.

Anywho....geez I get off track awfully quickly.....I decided to look around my world as I drove from location to location.  No camera, just noticing things I drive by often and don't give much thought to.  The hay bales by the red farm, the stone wall close to the golf course, the door of the local "mom and pop", the large bay doors at the fire station, the view from the bridge.  I noticed a lot.  It was much more fun than what I was supposed to be doing. (I did pay attention inside the houses though.)

I have a blogger friend, Anita.  I've mentioned her before.  Her blog is did you bring your camera?  I remember when I first found her blog, I fell in love with that title-and her amazing photos-and the advice behind it.  It was saying, bring your camera everywhere.  I listened to Anita.  Once in a great while when I don't have my camera.....or when I'm driving and can NOT use my camera, I catch myself saying "click".  I see an instance, setting, person, happening....and my brain is pushing the shutter-so much so I say click out loud.  I'm seeing "a moment" to capture.  And a moment is a moment, and then it has passed.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I believe Kat's premise was about slowing down and looking.  It is something I'm trying to do more and more when I'm out shooting photos.  Sometimes I get all excited and totally miss things.  I've been trying to be consciously aware of allowing myself that little "thrill" and then stopping and sometimes sitting down for maybe 10 minutes to see what it is I missed.  It does help.


Stones
Stones

Today was rather dreary and gray.  I took my sweet dog Tula for a walk and then stopped at a quiet rocky beach.  There's really nothing there except stones.  Perfect for detailed noticing....and not an easy place to find something to "shoot".

Big and Small
Big and Small

I do like these shots, but you could seriously take a million photos just like these and still only be a 1/3 of the way down the shore.  I am not a "rock star".  So, I walked slowly and cast my eyes around for something....that wasn't a rock or stone.


Blue Glove
Blue Glove

BAM!!  Ugly ass blue lobsterman's glove.  Likely lost overboard and washed ashore.  There was other lobster stuff too.  Little pieces of colorful lines, small bits of metal lobster traps, a couple of buoys that someone had propped upright in a pile of stones.  I guess any of those other things would have been a lovelier shot than the glove.  Oh well.  I sort of liked the way the twigs and vines had surrounded it.  But, it is ugly.


Heart in Hand
Heart in Hand
Where there is doubt; faith. Where there is sadness; joy.


Get past the ugly blue glove and there is a nearly perfect heart stone.  I'm always amazed when I find one of these, especially amongst such a large collection of rocks.

Mussel Shells
Mussel Shells


And these purple mussel shells caught my eye too.  Something else to notice on a gray day amongst all the gray stones.

Even though I didn't really do this exercise correctly, I think I did it well enough to "get it".  I truly did find my head on a swivel while driving all around town.  I couldn't stop-all I could do was notice and wish I had my camera.  I do think the exercise would be helpful for a time when inspiration is fleeting. I'll have to remember to give it a try then.


Fork
Fork

Maybe the lobsterman dropped his glove AND his plastic fork.  Who knows?
Thanks for stopping by and taking a trip around my brain full of foolishness.  Thanks Kat for great thought provoking lessons, on foot or on wheels.

Sunday, and you know what that means....

Time for Scavenger Hunt Sunday!  Yay!  Thanks to our wonderful hostess Ashley!







Been, as they say in Maine, "wicked" busy.  I hate it when I'm too busy to blog.  Just ain't "nat'rul".  I am in the midst of two classes, one with the fabulous and famous Kat-Find Your Eye, and one at the local community college on Art Appreciation.  Both are requiring time and effort-of the good kind.  Last week for my college class I was asked to do a critic of a painting.  That damn paper took me most the week. How can one criticize Winslow Homer?  Who am I to judge? 

Breezing Up 1873-1876
Winslow Homer

I mean, it took the guy 3 years to paint it!  I had to come up with minimum 3 pages to critic it.  Yikes.
I said nice things. So, if I've not been by to say hello, I will.  I've just been busy getting to know Mr. Homer.


I have had time for the Scavenger Hunt however.  I do have priorities.  This week's topics were:
Words, Under, Orange, Fly, and Always Look on the Bright Side.



Fresh Eggs {sh 11}
Fresh Eggs
Words:  Love the local hand painted signs I see around.  There is a charm, that I sometimes overlook, about living in a rural area.


Arches
Arches
Under:  On Friday, after having spend the WHOLE week writing that damn Winslow Homer paper, my art class went the the Portland Museum of Art where I found these arches.  You know what?  There were also about 10 Winslow Homer pieces too!  Very cool after, you know, a long week.


Touch of Fall
Touch of Fall
Orange:  Soon these puppies will be all over the ground and I'll be bitchin' about raking.  For now, they're kind of pretty.


One Gull
One Gull
Fly:  Is it okay to love your own photos?  This was a beautiful morning.  Just snap in any direction...no bad photos. But the lone bird was a nice bonus.


Rich Smile {sh 97}
Rich Smile
Looking on the Bright Side:  Pure stranger.  Waiting outside the art museum.  Sweet, energetic, fun.  Just her smile made me happier.

Thanks for taking a peek at my images today.  No paper for art class this week.  Midterm instead.  I am getting much smarter though.  Have a great day.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekend Reflections

Linking with James for this week's Weekend Reflections.  If you don't know this linky, please check it out.  Always great fun and great photos from around the globe.


Well after my faux pas of not having any reflections last week, I was on the extra hyper reflection alert this week as if I'm not obnoxious enough already.  On the rare occasion when my mother might be with me while I'm taking a photo....if I stop and say "look at that"-she has a little sing songy thing that goes "ree-flec-tions".  It's debatable who may be more obnoxious.


Red and Yellow
Red and Yellow
'Tis the season.  I don't think we've had a hard frost yet (usually happens late September) so the leaves are confused on what to do this year.  Here's a nice patch that must have high IQs.

Pizza Reflections
Pizza Reflections
This is an example of knowing you're a smidge over the top with the reflection thing.  I knew that neon "Pizza By Alex" would be reflecting somewhere.  While waiting for my mushroom pizza to bake, I took a look around outside.  I wonder if the owner of this truck was watching me through the window.  I like that I found the sign and the buildings along the street.  The pizza was very good too.

At Dawn
At Dawn
I woke up pretty early one morning....which I wasn't too happy about it.  The photos I captured totally made up for my displeasure.

Tranquil
Tranquil
Jus' Sayin'

Sunny Side of the Street
Sunny Side of the Street
On the other end of a different day, the last of sun reflected in a Kennebunkport shop window.

Thanks for visiting and checking out my reflection shots.  Happy weekend to you.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What's Your Problem?



Happy to be taking Kat's latest class "Journey of Inspiration".  I mean, who doesn't want to be inspired?  Hopefully I will become or will find or will learn or will something in the inspiration department.  This is the 3rd class of Kat's I've taken so I have little doubt that inspiration is right around the corner.  If you haven't checked out or joined in one of Kat's classes, I highly recommend them.


Our first challenge was thinking about "solving problems".  Hmmmm.  Photography is what I do to get away from dealing with problems.  My work as a realtor of late seems to be all about problems: angry sellers, stressed out buyers, moldy basements, foreclosures, negotiations, too many sellers not enough buyers, unsettled consumers worried about the economy, etc, etc, etc.  I thought I used photography to escape all that.  Hmmmmm.  Frankly; I'm sick of problems.

None the less, it's Kat.  And Kat knows best, so onward.

Sand castle
Sand Castle (SOOC)

This is a really, really early photo of mine.  I remember the day I took it.  It was the first time I'd built a drip castle in over 35 years.  It was taken with my point and shoot camera within the first month of my photo taking career. 

After the fun of creating the castle (to fulfill the prompt word "drizzle") I was ready to photograph.  The light was getting strong, but it was still mid morning.  I could sense that being on one side or the other (ha, ha, ha....it's a ROUND castle....doh) would offer better light, but I couldn't figure out which angle would be best.  I went around several times, shooting from one side then the other.  When I got home, one of the images "won" and the others went into the scrap pile.  Deleted.

Thousands...

Nearly Summer
Nearly Summer

...and thousands....

Steam {159/365}
Steam

...and thousands of....

Shadow Dance {207/365}
Shadow Dance

photos later, I think I may have a pretty good handle on light (not that I don't have plenty more to learn).  I think the immediate feed back of a digital camera has been the teacher; the problem solver.  If you visit my blog often enough you know of my love affair with light.  It is what I think of as my biggest inspiration.  I'm trying to accept new paramours into my line up.  If they were to stand in beautiful golden hour light, I'd be more likely to let them into my heart.  (Maybe there are more problems here than I originally thought.)

Perhaps I am too loyal or faithful.  Too drawn in.  A slave to light's charms. But I think I have learned to walk around it, find the color, shadow, angle, and result that I'm looking for.  To see it, and know that is what I want.  Practice, practice, practice.  That too is how you get to Carnegie Hall.

Ok, yippee for me.  I've worked it out.  Now on to more problems.  Geez....this is just like real estate.  Blech.

When I first read Kat's lesson, immediately what popped into my head was exactly what she'd sited for example; high-contrast light situations. It feels like cheating to say that too is my struggle du jour, but it is.  Sometimes I can hear myself saying "I want that shot....but I don't know how to get it."

 
Yuck (SOOC)

I mean, yuck, yuck, yuck and yuck.
After PS help I did end with something passable, but not as good a shot as I'd hoped for.

River Runs Through It
River Runs Through It

I lost the impact of the rushing water and the clarity is suspect.  Rats.  More practice, practice, practice.

Lately, some high contrast shots have been getting better.  Yay.

In the Air
In the Air

And some things are still experimentations gone awry.

Contrast Hell
Contrast Hell

Rooftops and Trees
Rooftops and Trees-aka Photoshop hell

This beautiful rotunda room at Quincy Market in Boston was so inspiring, but I couldn't seem to capture what I wanted.  In my defense, my best friend called while I was snapping pics, and talking on your cell and snapping shots at the same time-bad mix.  I did get some nice framed shots, which was primarily what was on my mind that day in that space.

Framed
Framed
I think when struggling with a problem, it's good to remember the many things you do do correctly while you kick yourself and piss and moan that you can't get the other shots you'd hoped for.  Truth is....I took over 400 shots that day in Boston and have lots of winners.  And....since I didn't capture the mixed lighting scenario in the rotunda, I guess I'll have to go back another time and try again.  Road trip!!


I think two things helped me learn to better capture light....practice, practice, practice and relying on my camera to give me feedback.  This can also help in high contrast situations.  My camera can be a teacher.  I am already getting better at assessing while I'm on site, checking the display, looking for places where the image is blown out.  I know that dark areas can be brought up, but blown out spots can't be recovered.  I also need to keep working with PS and become better at editing my photos.  Certainly these tools-and dedicated practice-will give me the results needed soon enough.  Then I can save problems for my yucky old day job.

Thanks for stopping by to share in my learning musings.  Hope your problems will stay at bay.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chair Exchange

Linking with Lisa for this week's Creative Exchange.  Many thanks Lisa.





Love Lisa's link!  This is 2...yes, ladies and G's....2-Mondays in a row I'm linking up in a timely fashion. Whew.  I'm usually linking late on Thursday or missing out altogether, despite best intentions.  Maybe it's the Monday thing.  I have creative ideas, but they're not "slap-dash" as my mother would say or "add water and stir" as I would say.  I know it's going to take a few minutes to put them together....and who has a few extra minutes on a Monday morning?  Nobody.  Unless your princess cat wakes you earlier than your alarm clock.  I'll move along.

I was thinking this morning, sometime between cat and alarm clock, about music....because I was thinking about this post.  I was remembering how often my parents used to listen to music when I was growing up.  The records (LP's) were stacked 5 deep on the automatic dropping turntable.  My mom used to sing and dance with me when I was a toddler.  By age 8 I knew ALL the words to the songs from Cabaret, and sang along with Barbara Streisand...."Funny, do you hear that?  Funny.  The guy said 'Honey....you're a funny girl".  No clue what I was singing, just singing.

See, this is not add water and stir.

I'm getting to my point.  My father had a Burt Bacharach album-undoubtedly "greatest hits".  My Dad is not so much the musician-OK, he's a horrible musician-but this album was one he enjoyed.  I sang along with Burt too.  Bacharach's songs usually beautifully composed and arranged, often had a melancholy nature to them.  The other day I was out shooting photos-near dusk-and came upon a beautiful chair.  Ever since I shot the photos, I can't get "House is not a Home" out of my head.  I wonder if you know that hauntingly sad song?




Chair 100
Chair 100

A chair is still a chair......

Chair 78
Chair 78

.....even when there's no one sitting there.

Chair 82
Chair 82

But a chair is not a house, and a house is not a home....

Chair 91
Chair 91

...When there's no one there, to hold you tight,
And no one there, you can kiss goodnight.

I told you it was kind of sad.  But I thought this chair was beautiful and the setting sun I could see from the chair's vantage point equally lovely.  Made for a lovely and emotional capture for me....and that's what it's all about.  Right Lisa?

Hope you have a wonderful day.  Thanks for stopping by.