Monday, January 31, 2011

Studio shoot

About a week ago, I took a number of shots of an artist's studio for an article that a Utah Arts e-Mag was running (15bytes at Here's the final article:

I had full approval from the artist to look at and photograph anything in his studio!  I felt like a kid in a candy store given permission to sample anything!! I used a variety of techniques and a couple of lenses and very much enjoyed the experience.  There is nothing like peeking into someone else's life in an intimate way.
Here's a few shots that I liked;

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Limited depth of field

As humans we are used to an almost unlimited depth of field - most of what we can see is in focus.  One result of that is we do not pay attention to details unless forced to; many of my photos show detail that most people never have seen before since they never really looked.
Using a limited depth of field (DOF) assists in seeing and isolating for others to see.  The photo below is an example of that.  The intricacies of the stamens as they unfold, the texture of the petals, their color, and so on, is primarily available because a) they are in focus and b) there is nothing to distract us from them.  The DOF is small enough that everything else is blurred.
The lens used is a 50mm, f/1.8.

Clematis floating in a sea of black.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Teasing with Teasels

Teasels (the Teasel Family, the Dipsacaceae) abound in the semi-wetlands by the Great Salt Lake!  I believe that they are weeds in other parts of the country, but in this environment, they add a beauty and structure that can be very interesting.  Especially when there has been hoarfrost - and the sun begins to peek through!  Ice crystals on teasels can be awe inspiring.
Here's a couple of views of these rather ordinary looking plants - without any digital assistance, they are a dull gray!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Prayer to the Sun

There are many ways to pray to the sun - perhaps in thankfulness for its life-giving rays and heat.  In my eyes, this plant is offering a prayer to the setting sun, perhaps thanking it for the energy to grow and bloom.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Where's Mom?

Maxwell looking for his mom - he is so intent!  If he had opposable thumbs he'd be really dangerous!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

3 in a row

Sometimes the universe just lines up and all you need to do is press the shutter. These three basses were one of those situations,; but I had to step back and look at what was there before I really got this view.
The lighting and the color of the instruments - a lushness and beauty that I find hard to describe, but easy to enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sometimes no choice

Sometimes you know that the photo you want is there, and you do everything - then you try B&W and Bingo!  So it went with these rusted metal beams: The textures and rust color pulled me in, but in the end it was the forms/structure that got me.  What do you think?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Another way to see

My vision has changed as I pursue photography.  I now see light and darks, shadows, colors, interplays among all of these differently than I did before.  Perhaps I am just waking up to what is there and the possibilities of life around us.
This Gold Dust gecko photo has two major areas of attraction for me - the gecko itself, and the edges of the palm frond - color, curling, slight yellow edging, etc.  It is a crop as I wanted to isolate those items in the photo that I found most interesting.  I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Drum Roll ......

Murph and I went out to the west desert today, in search of big sky shots and raptors.  We were successful on both counts!
The golden eagle was just where I had hoped he would be; the redtails were an added bonus as was the bald eagle and the ravens chasing it (no pic yet), and the storm blew in clouds and snow that were incredible.  Here's a few shots from the day..

Murphy met Daisy, a 3 year old lab that just loved to run and play - just like him!  Daisy's dad was fishing at Horseshoe springs - mostly as an excuse to let Daisy play.  Boy can labs can get wet and dirty quickly!

What can you do but take the picture when the sun and the skies and the land come together?!


Darn nice to have a sunny day despite the air pollution.  I caught a couple of shots - Lisa called and said "Look at the sunset" so went out on the back deck and got a little bit.  And of course, Mr. Sunshine himself - Fuzzy - was hanging out in his torn up chair that he loves so much!  Great fun!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Around the house

Murphy has a great relationship with the mail lady - he greets her with a wagging tail and lots of love and she gives him pets and treats!  He will go out in the morning and sit out front waiting - sometimes for a couple of hours!  Here's a view of this patient pup, with the prize just beyond the fence!

Fuzzy, on the other hand, sits and waits for birds to drop in his mouth!  He loves sitting on top of the fence next to the bird feeder and the bird bush.  Yes, he has grown quite a bit but is still as soft and loving as he was when little.
Finally, continuing on with my love affair with grasses, these sit in out backyard.  The sun backlights them in the evening and they always are a stopper - must stop and look.  The two photos are the same - one just has had some color/saturation changes to create a different mood.  I'm still sitting with it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mind's eye

Here on my blog, you get to see what my 'mind's eye' sees - or thinks it saw.  Over time, with lots of work and experimentation, I'm slowly learning to be able to present photos that represent much more closely the picture that I saw as I pressed the shutter button.
For me, the grasses in the wetlands are an endless symphony of color and movement, and I am fascinated with the possibility of capturing those moments.  Good thing that digital is cheap, because I throw away a lot of photos! One tool that I have experimented with is HDR - High Dynamic Range.  Basically, the eye can see a much broader dynamic range (range of light and dark) than a camera sensor can capture.  To better approximate what the eye sees, software has been developed to process photo's to blend the lights and darks in a manner that allows the photo to show a wider dynamic range - and the process usually uses multiple, exposure bracketed files to create one 'composite'.

The photos in yesterday's post were processed this way, using a Lightroom plug-in called LREnfuse.  It provides me with a place to begin that does not have that 'HDR' look to it.  Judging from the feedback on the 'big sky' photos, others have really enjoyed it also.
Here's another from the same day, processed with LREnfuse and then enhanced in Lightroom until it felt right.

For me, the wetlands are alive, vibrant with color and life.  Just stop for a few minutes and let the silence soak into your soul and you will see differently.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Unexpected and wonderful gift!

Next to the place we stayed in Hawaii lived a gentle and wise soul - Reno - and we felt our hearts connect.  He gave me this gift, carved by his hands.  It is the sun-moon, and came from his heart!
Thank you Reno!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Our godson, Zachary, has his birthday tomorrow - same day as Diana's.  Diana is much easier to buy presents for than Zach - he's 25 (I think) and I am not well tuned into that age group.  So, I created something for him.  It's a collage of pictures from over the last couple of years - he went to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ; I went down for his graduation, then we visited him any time we went to Sedona on vacation.  Here's what it looked like (two pages, 11x14 mounted on foamcore). Click on the images to see a larger view.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Harrier Day

The Harriers ruled today at the refuge - I've never seen so many! All sizes and colors, loping through the air with their unique wing thrust, circling overhead in a group, playing together (or was it fighting over a missed vole?)!  Murphy came along, as usual, and managed to spook a large (12+) covey of pheasant..they were in the teasel patch eating the seeds from the heads.
Here's some of what I brought home:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Water and Flowers

 Being on the Hilo side of Hawaii means that things are green - or purple, yellow, orange, etc., and that they are normally wet!  This turned out to be the case with the great abundance of flowers that were everywhere you looked - bushes, tops of trees, undergrowth, vines, etc.  Here's a few that I truly enjoyed.

If this post is about flowers, why is the water pic in it? Mostly to give you a sample of another post, that will have all waves and rocks in it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Aloha state of mind

First day back at the office and I am hard pressed to find anything worth worrying about or getting in a hurry about! An Aloha state of mind remains for a little while anyway!  Here's some more photos.

These kind of photos are fun because you can try almost anything on them to see what feels right to you.  In this case, this old side door to a burnt out movie theater in Honomu seemed right with a 'Serenget-Chocolate' preset that came from  That and a bit of vignetting gave me a look I like.

 This water lily grouping is just fantastic - shadows, reflections, water swirl, various shades of green and purple!  I like the color of the lily in it's reflection better than in the light!