Friday, November 9, 2012

A Special Kind of Beauty

And faded beauty lingers still,
Lost forever to the world
But not to we whose hearts will fill
With what our eyes no longer see,
 A memory our thoughts will cherish
Of the beauty that will never perish.

The inevitable has happened, and a hard frost has put a sudden end to the gardening season.  All my lovely dahlias, who stood so tall and proud just a day ago, have turned brown and limp, their stems and foliage black and lifeless.  I gathered a great handful of the fading blooms, and headed inside to photograph their special kind of beauty, so that it will fade no more.

I set up my shooting table very simply.  A large black Bristol board (large sheet of cardboard) makes an excellent base, and my light was a small LED ring light plus a little ambient light from overhead.  I was going for extreme closeups and macros, looking for details and abstracts.  I added a handful of autumn leaves to balance out the flowers, selected my Nikkor 28-80 mm lens to go on my Nikon D7000 and, with my extension tubes on standby, I was ready to shoot.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dogs and other people

Last week, I had an opportunity, through the PetValu pet food store in Thorold, to put my hard-earned photography skills to good use - doing a fund-raiser for the Niagara Falls Humane Society.  People were invited to bring in their pets, in a costume for Hallowe'en if they wanted to, and I would take their portrait.  For a donation to the Humane Society, they received a 5x7 print.

What great fun it was!  I had dogs and cats, a rat, and a lizard.  I had a set with a black backdrop, pumpkins, colourful leaves and corn stalks, arranged in a corner of the store, and a table ready for the smaller pets.  All the pets were very well behaved, and I was delighted with the results.

I delivered the photos on Friday evening (a day ahead of schedule) and many people have picked up already.  I have a few shots here to show you, of the ones who have signed their model releases, and I hope to have a few more in the next week.  I'm already looking forward to the Christmas shoot!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Autumn Flowers

Summer is definitely waning, and the yard is strewn with falling leaves.  The garden, on which I laboured so mightily this past summer, grew in much better than I expected, but now the rudbeckia and delphiniums are looking tired and tattered.  The dahlias are just coming in to their glory, and the garden that would otherwise look like a basket full of old clothes, looks spectacular, with beautiful blossoms bigger than my hand in white, purple, and deep, deep red all nodding in the breeze.  The sun is setting earlier, and with the frequent clouds, giving us an awesome show.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Soapbox moment

Hello, all,

I have been studying photography for a number of years now, through magazines, books and internet (I can't afford to go to college).  I love learning new things, and lately I have been learning about artificial lighting setups, and trying to come up with ways to accomplish these cool setups on a shoe-string budget.  A work in progress for sure!

But I would like to take the opportunity today to vent a little bit about Photoshop effects.  Make no mistake, I love PS, and use it on every image - this is an absolute requirement since I shoot RAW and must "develop" my photos. I usually add a tweak here and there, sometimes more.  I have no problem with tweakings, adjustments, modifications, or even advanced techniques like HDR (another thing on my "to learn" list).  I think that overall, PS has had a tremendous positive impact on photography as a whole.

However, there is a downside.  (Isn't there always?)  Nowadays, if a photographer, by luck or design, gets some fantastic image, the common response is "Must have been photoshopped".  What a pity!  PS has inadvertently devalued traditional photography!

Allow me to enter into evidence this shot.

Such colourful and unusually formed clouds are indeed rare.  I was very lucky to capture this shot, and yet, I hardly ever show it or use it, and for one simple reason.  Although it is virtually straight out of the camera, it is such an unlikely image that everybody instantly thinks of Photoshop!

I am not going to stop using PS, and I admire photographers who have really mastered this ultra-complex program.  I think it is a great boon, especially to beginners like me, and we have gained much because of it.  I'm just saying, photography has lost something because of it, too.

Okay, that's my rant.  Thanks for listening.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Winter Renewed

This week we had such beautiful weather, and yesterday was a little cool, but stiil pleasant.  But by the end of the day, snow was starting to draw its curtain over the world, and by morning, a thick white blanket had changed the landscape from brown and grey to pure white.  It reminded me of a haiku I wrote many years ago:

The sun warms the earth.
Flowers look up.  Is spring here?
But at night, snow falls.

American Tree Sparrow

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Mid-Winter Oasis

The cold hard door of winter 
Rattles and groans under the weight of ice and snow
Until with a gentle hand, nudging, little by little,
Spring comes.
She taps quietly, insistently,
then eases the door open.
A ray of sunshine peeps in,
A fresh breeze laden with promise.
So brief, like a dream,
Then the door closes softly.
A warm day in mid-winter.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

White Feathers

The sleeping earth is blanketed once again.  The soft white coverlet has built up one feather at a time, smoothed and shaped by wind, and now lies unbroken and waiting for the sun's blush.  What will the blank page reveal when morning comes?  Often it shows me what visitors have come in the night, and I laugh at the rabbit tracks and squirrel tracks, the faint scratches of sparrows.  It also conceals, and the shrubs and stones in my yard become indistinct piles and lumps of snow, waiting for warmer weather to be revealed once more.

But for now it's night, and I look out the window at the fresh white crystals encrusting the branches of the larch outside, and hope that the beauty will last until morning.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm back!

Though many a day I've been away,
It is not idle I've been,
In sun and shade, through wood and glade,
So many things I've seen.

The sounds and sights, now bits and bytes,
Within my hard drive wait
And so to you, my faithful few,
I send what I create.

Hello to all my followers!  Once again I am taking up my pen and paper, well, laptop, and allowing the poetry and prose that's in my heart to spill out into my blog for all the world to see.  I will again be illustrating said poetry and prose with some of my photos.  I have been working hard on my camera skills, so I hope that you enjoy this renewed offering!

Cheers, all!