Monday, March 24, 2014

Oil and water (part 2)

I hadn't intended on making a second post about this, and especially not so soon, but I have more pictures to show you! Later that afternoon I got inspired to try it again and I was pleased with the results. This might be a little addictive!

[If you didn't see my first post about this, you may want to check it out for more info on the process.]

I began with photographing the oil much the same way as before, although I was indoors this time. I also had everything set up a bit more closely together--the colored item was just a couple of inches from the bottom of the glass dish and I was able to bring the camera in closer.

I decided maybe it wasn't quite bright enough and I was going to use my macro ring flash. I'm so glad I did, because the results were awesome.

At first the change was subtle, as I probably didn't have the settings just right. You can see I used flash here by the little ring (two semi-circles) reflection. Mostly I'm posting this for the nice colors.

Then the photos started turning out like this. The oil circles started looking 3D.

And then like pearl balloons!

How cool is this?

Here's without flash.

And with. That purple dot is like a grape.

I also changed the angle to capture the surface a little better.

An ad for Pyrex.

I can't stop looking at these. Like a friend said, they don't even look like photos. It's just really fascinating the different effects you can get from oil, water and light. Try it sometime!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Oil and water

First, I just want to say that I've had a very good weekend full of the right ingredients: a clean place, time with friends, time alone, lots of sunshine, crafts, photography, good food, a good customer service experience, and now even a blog post! Happy spring to me. This is the time of year when I generally get the most motivated and optimistic. :D

☼ ☼ ☼

Today the temps on my deck were so nice that I thought I'd try a photo experiment that I had seen on YouTube back at Christmastime. At the time I just thought, "Eh," but as I considered it more, I figured I might as well see what I came up with since it's simple and doesn't require much prep or time.

[Note my very professional setup.]

Bascally, all you do is put some oil and water in a clear dish, hover it over something colorful, and take some macro photos of the circles and designs that show up. It's nothing magical when you consider the mechanics, but I really liked the end result.

The images resemble various objects like planets, marbles...

...or ocean sunsets (with lots of suns).

Mostly, I just like it for the colors and lines.

I tried different items to add color. Beach towels, blankets and pillowcases. This Care Bear pillowcase provided the most variety and color.

I focused on the hearts instead of the oil circles just for fun.


I moved the camera to try different lighting situations.

This kind of looks like a little footprint! Except six toes.

I may try this again sometime! You should give it a try--many point-and-shoot cameras have a decent macro setting, and you don't necessarily need a macro lens anyway. (Although it helps.)

This evening I'm going to take a walk and try to get back in the habit of evening walks with audiobooks, because I enjoyed it so much last spring. What have you been doing this weekend?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

San Francisco (Part 5)

Home stretch! This is the last post about my Christmas SF trip. If you want to see previous posts, here they are:
San Francisco (Part 1)

San Francisco (Part 2)

San Francisco (Part 3)

San Francisco (Part 4)

Our final stop before leaving town was Alamo Square Park. That's where you can see Postcard Row/the Painted Ladies, and it's in the opening credits of the show Full House.

We got an awesome parking spot right next to the park (we're the blue car), and had this view of City Hall from the closest intersection.

Like much of San Francisco, this park is on a steep hill. I'm not sure any of it is truly flat. It's a bit of a climb to get up (especially on a semi-empty stomach...Dania and I had only had breakfast), but the view gets better with every step.

[Click image for a larger version.]

I took several pictures of the cute houses surrounding the park, Painted Lady or not.

I took some of these pictures for my friend Dan who was recently commenting on how boring most house colors are. I love the dark teal.

Some of the house details were really pretty.

Love the butterfly gate that Dania brought to my attention.

This was a great stop. Even though we were tired and hungry, I enjoyed the simplicity of stopping at a park to admire the view. Free entertainment with plenty of photo ops. I would love to get more photos sometime. I think it was also nice to know that we were headed home after this. Driving around SF can be very tiresome, and it's not always easy to locate a decent bathroom (plus find parking) or know where to go for reasonably-priced food. I am a bit wimpy when it comes to big city tourism and adventure, and I think we both had our fill at that point.

Despite leaving town before rush hour, it was Friday and there was quite a bit of traffic getting onto the Bay Bridge.

Eventually we were able to stop in Vallejo to get gas and have some dinner, and I snapped this picture of Six Flags.

The sunset was really pretty and I loved this very California scene (this was on December 27th) near the gas station.

And that's it! I hope you enjoyed this little photo tour. I have a lot of thoughts about photography in touristy locations and my expectations vs. reality, but I'll save them for another day. Thanks for looking. :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

San Francisco (Part 4)

Okay, I'm back to continue posting my SF photos! Remember how I took a trip there a million years ago and then took months to show you pictures? If you missed it or would like a recap, here are the earlier picture posts:

San Francisco (Part 1)

San Francisco (Part 2)

San Francisco (Part 3)

I was realizing that one of the reasons I've taken forever to finish up these pictures is that I'm just not very excited about them. Even though I enjoyed my time at these final stops, I didn't get the best photos. I blame many things. But I edited them as best as I could and narrowed them down for you. Here goes:

After our time at the Palace of Fine Arts, we headed across the street to the Presidio.

If I remember correctly, this is an old base that now contains normal housing as well as some touristy spots like museums and learning centers (I think). It's kind of cute when you drive around. I didn't really know what was there or what we'd see, so mostly we just stopped at a few points and took a few pictures.

One neighborhood is full of cute little houses like this. It was very quiet there (it was Friday, so people were probably at work).

This walking path was in the neighborhood.

It was interesting to be more aware of the different types of trees and plants in SF compared to Oregon or even where I grew up in the north valley of CA. There's familiarity since my relatives live in the Bay Area and we went there quite a bit, but also some novelty since I pay more attention to nature as an adult than I did as a kid.

Then we headed over to the Sutro Baths, which is by Ocean Beach (shown here). Dania had come across it in her trip research and wanted to check it out.

These windmills have some significance that I don't remember. We drove up to one later, but I didn't get a picture.

This giant camera looked kind of creepy (or maybe it was just the employee?), so we just took pictures of it and didn't go in.

This is a view from the Cliff House, a restaurant we didn't eat at.

Okay, here we are at the baths. Basically these are the ruins from what used to be a bath house/bunch of swimming pools that some rich guy built.

Here's a drawing of what it looked like before it was destroyed (now I'm forgetting how). You can go read up on it if you want. :)

There's a trail and you can walk down to the ruins and up around it. We didn't, though.

More interesting trees with some people for scale.

We did watch the ocean, though.

I'm going to stop here and post the final set of photos later. Hopefully this week! Thanks for hanging in there while I snail my way through these.


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