Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Merry October!

I looooooove October. Welcome, my month!

"Every moment feels meant for me. In October, I’m the star of my own movie ... October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins." --Attachments* by Rainbow Rowell

*A really cute book, by the way. Read the whole excerpt about October here.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Reject Pile

My month at the gallery starts in just a couple of days. I have purposely avoided telling you which photos will be there so that any of you locals interested in visiting can be surprised (sort of--if you follow this blog, you've seen most at some point). But I will post more about it later in the month and eventually show you which pictures I chose. I don't know if I made the right decisions, but I feel pretty good about the selection.

The process of narrowing down the photos was an involved one. Since the last time I was in the gallery was spring of 2011, I decided to only go through photos taken after that point. That narrowed it down to about a zillion. I began going through my folders and saving a few that I especially liked. Sometimes there were several with the same subject where I couldn't decide, so I had some non-local friends vote on which one to consider. Finally I had settled on 42 options for the semi-finals, and through more voting by the non-locals, plus my own preferences, I chose 13 photos to print.

I valued people's opinions because I tend to prefer certain photos due to my experience taking them. I wanted outside perspectives so that my final pictures would be pleasant to look at, not just technically satisfying or challenging for me. Thanks to everyone who helped out!

Now I thought I would show you some of the 42 that didn't "win." You have seen most of these before, so hopefully it's not too boring to re-look. There are a few new-to-the-blog ones, too. Some of these already have me questioning why I thought they should be considered, but I know I had a thought process behind it at the time. I'm tired of analyzing it all.

At first I was convinced I wouldn't print any portraits, but I do enjoy portrait photography and wanted to show that. So I will have one portrait there, though I still like this one of Liane a lot. And here's something cool: I will be doing a fall portrait session with Liane once the color really comes in, and I'm really excited about it! Stay tuned.

Another portrait I really like, but I think I may be in the minority.

I'm second-guessing my decision not to include this one. I really like it, and it represents a subject and style I tend to gravitate toward. I may even print this one for myself sometime.

I had the idea to show a good variety of animals, but in the end I decided against some of these. They were fun and exciting to take, but I didn't think they really seemed all that pretty.

I really like the colors in this one.

This one got some votes, but I just didn't feel it was anything special.

These frog photos were not popular among my friends. I really liked the monochromatic look, plus the interesting (well, to me) subject matter, but I heeded their advice and left them out.

This one of Jennifer's kitchen was kind of thrown in for fun. Interior photos aren't necessarily my thing, but people seemed to like it back when I originally posted it, and I thought it would add variety. It got a few votes, but not enough to sway me.

I'm wishing I could go back to San Felipe and get more photos of the flowers and homes. I feel like I didn't take full advantage.

I do have a web droplet photo going up in the gallery, but not this one. I really liked this, but the other had more enthusiasm from friends, so I went with it.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, September 25, 2014


I gathered up a lot of my dragonfly photos when I was trying to decide what to use in the gallery. I'm not sure if I chose the right one, because I think I was getting a little hung up on some technicalities that others don't mind. For instance, I didn't like the perch (a sprinkler) in the above photo, which is why it wasn't chosen.

Anyway, dragonflies and damselflies are really cute, and I don't want these photos to go to waste. So here are several I've taken over the past couple of months, along with a few from who knows when. I did different crops that might not be the most artistic, but show more detail.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Last month I visited Frey's Dahlias, a nearby dahlia farm, after hearing about it through Twitter. It was a really nice evening, and there were sooooooooooooooooooooo many dahlias of all types and colors. I could've stayed longer, but it was already long after closing when I left.

My favorites are this type with all the little "rolled up napkins" as a friend described them. I tended to give them extra attention, though I need more practice taking their picture.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Splashing water

Awhile back I finally tried something I've seen a lot online, but thought it wouldn't work for me. I figured I needed better lighting, but after some success with catching drops in mid air (see this post), I felt more confident about catching the splashes.

It ended up being really fun and slightly addictive. I want to do it again sometime once I track down some new backdrops.

Here's basically what I did:
I filled up a clear glass bowl of water and stacked it on top of a smaller bowl placed upside down in the sink. This was just to give me the height I needed for a good camera angle--you can find other methods, of course.

Then I used my macro lens, tripod and external flash. I pointed the flash up at the ceiling for reflective light. Then I turned the faucet on a slow drip. Here's what my setup looked like:

I wanted to add some color to help the drops and splashes show. That's where I had fun experimenting with different scrapbook papers I had on hand.

I started with something fairly pale but the more vivid colors seemed to work better in showing detail (I had to pump up the color in the above photo).

The most effective paper was one with a very glittery/shiny texture. It helped bring out more dimension in the drops with my flash reflecting off the foily surface. I have it pictured here, though it's hard to make out the sparkles:

But this first method of having that same paper under and behind the bowl was a little too much craziness in the resulting images. The glittery appearance detracted from the droplets. I found having this glittery paper under the bowl gave a nice color from below, and then putting something else non-glittery as a backdrop meant the drops could have two colors intertwining.

I also tried using foil, but wasn't as interested in the effect, even though I think this picture is cute (if a little out of focus). Like a boiling pot of potion!

One of the funnest things, which was unexpected, was seeing the little sculptures that resulted from the splashing droplets! I shared a few on Instagram back when I first took the pictures. There were the more obvious things, like the planet/spacey image above.

And then I noticed I got a Mary-like droplet. (I joked that she's either holding twins or very well-endowed, though. :D [Am I allowed to say that here?])

I found lots of my images had what appeared to be a kneeling, robed man or woman. Holy water! These could either look like Mary or just a praying nun or something.

She's definitely in prayer. Do not disturb.

Here's a wise man. Merry Christmas.

A slightly more abstract wise man or kneeling figure of some sort.

This one looks like an artistic sculpture of a woman. Notice here the effect I was talking about where the pink from under the bowl is giving nice outlines against the paler blue behind it.

Maybe I'm crazy, but doesn't this look like a kitty playing with some yarn or something?

To me this looked like what I remember of that rat from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Shredder, is it? No, it's Splinter. Whatever! Anyway, doesn't it look like him? Or some other robed rat kind of hunched and looking pensive.

And a ghost!

It's okay if you see something different in these (if anything besides just water). Those were my first impressions and they have stuck with me each time I re-look at the pictures, but let me know if you disagree. :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Deepwood Estate (again)

I need to chip away at the pile of photos I took in August and post some for you. Might as well give them more purpose than just sitting on my hard drive! Here are some I took at Deepwood Estate during a couple of visits. That place always has something more to give me, even when I think it'll be the same old thing. I've been trying to stretch myself a bit and try new things instead of retaking the same angles over and over. Flowers are beautiful on their own, of course, but I want to improve and capture something different. Sometimes I semi-accomplish that, sometimes not, but just trying things helps me see other possibilities, shapes, colors and textures that are sometimes easy to miss.

Anyway, enough talk. Here are a bundle of my favs.

Grapes are fun! And I really like how this looks in the dark gray tones.

I've been experimenting more with Photoshop actions lately. I might explain that more someday, but most actions are like makeup for photos. And, in my opinion, they tend to look best when they are barely detectable--sort of like well-applied makeup!

Don't those grapes look plastic? Also, the tree looks like he has a face.

My friend Jennifer seems to know almost all the flower names, and she told me the ones on the right are Nasturtium. I like the round leaves.

I've been loving the snapdragons. I didn't even know these were them (until Jennifer told me), but their shape is fun. PS My mom is also good at flowers, but Jennifer is usually around when I first ask and beats her to the answers. :)

The flowers on the left are Monk's Hood, which I learned after asking several friends. That one actually stumped Jennifer. Did you know what they were before I told you?

Well, the formatting on this post is a bit sloppy, but I don't have the energy to keep messing with it. I hope you don't mind. Have a great week!


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