The Photographer and a Boring Spider

While walking around the yard looking for inspiration, I came upon a nice spider web covered with morning dew. However after a few shots of a boring spider on a web, I couldn’t get inspired to shoot more; the light wasn’t ideal to make the background interesting. Then a stream of sunlight broke through the cloudy sky and made the morning dew droplets sparkly and more inviting. I shot a few more frames, though I still find the images boring. But the sunlight helped stir up my creative brain and gave me the challenge of wanting to take the ordinary and make something unique with it.

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After a few close up shots with different aperture settings, I decided to shoot at the largest opening available for my lens (f/6.3) to get the most shallow depth of field and bokeh background. With this in mind, I shot all the images a little underexposed so the background would be dark, with very faint details while keeping the details of the water droplets as sharp as possible. In Adobe Lightroom, I converted the images into monochrome with yellowish undertone for the highlights. After adjusting the exposure, contrast, and clarity; I added more highlights by using the brush tool to dodge and burn. I used the tool more like a paint brush: adding highlights to create¬† a more illustrative, surreal image. It was a good experiment and helped me think outside of the box — which is always a good thing… ūüôā

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POV of A Cactus Plant

Last week during my daily morning hike with the furry kids, I decided to take the camera with me to photograph the abundant cactus plants in bloom. It was about 5:30 am and as we walked along the familiar trail, I was attracted to the soft glow of the morning light on everything. I’ve been looking forward to taking my first cactus blooms in the wild and when I came upon this plant with clusters of buds and blooms, I knew it would be the perfect subject to experiment with.

One of the challenges I enjoy in photography is to try to get as many POV (point of view) of the subject as I can. While the color version was pretty to look at… I converted them into B&W. Oftentimes, I find images become more interesting and unique when it is in B&W rather than color.

My Thanksgiving Birthday Wish

Every five to six and sometimes as many as eleven years, my birthday falls on Thanksgiving. The day most Americans get together with their family and friends to over indulge on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams etc.  And of course to rejoice and feel thankful for whatever is important.  For me, this year I get to celebrate both Thanksgiving and my life at the same time.

Even though I am another year older and wiser; there are still a lot of things in life that seem so uncertain and difficult to understand. But one thing is for sure… time flies quickly regardless if you are having fun or not. Though, I’m glad to say — on this cloudy thankful day, I had a lot of fun doing what I love. So here is my Thanksgiving Birthday wish…

“May the wind always be at my back and the sun upon my face.
And may the winds of destiny carry me aloft to dance with the stars.”

Rocks and Feathers On a Cloudy Day

During a recent trip to Crescent Lake, I was hoping to get some good landscape shots but with the weather being gray overcast, the lighting wasn’t ideal to capture the lush, vivid colors of the foliage around the beautiful lake. I was using aperture priority mode and didn’t like the results. The landscape images were dark, bluish cast and very flat looking. I decided to go manual and started to experiment with the camera settings. Such as: changing the white balance to sunny might give the image more warmth and color; increase exposure time and ISO while lowering my standard f/11 landscape aperture to f/6.3 to get better light.

As I was making the adjustments, a mallard duck waddled up a few feet from me. Quickly, I took a shot of the duck and was pleasantly surprised by the result. I really like the contrast of the duck’s soft feathers against the shallow depth field of the rocks on the beach. It created an attractive looking background. For me the background is just as important as the subject — especially when shooting shallow depth of field. I know from experience, a distracting background can ruin otherwise a perfect shot.¬† It is something to keep in mind when shooting — a boulder might become a big black blob that takes up half of the image.

For the next several shots, I focused on the feathers and rocks but also lighting and composition. I didn’t want it to be just a photo of a duck. And lucky me, seem like the duck knew what I wanted and posed nicely for me. It’s interesting how a situation like this helps me learn more about photography than just shooting a pretty landscape.

Spring Blossoms In Winter

Here is the first¬†flower blossom¬†for the season but season of what? Winter? Spring? It’s a freezing 32 degrees today.¬†Burr… that’s a difference of 16 degrees from last week. It’s no wonder this poor bush is so confused and decided to have spring blossoms in winter. ¬†

However, the¬†confused blossoms gave me the perfect opportunity — that is to have¬†a flower date with Macro. It has been a while since we’ve done anything together. Needless to say, the date rekindled our love affair… ūüėÄ

Blogging Commitment

After more than two weeks of constant rain, I was¬†desperate to go somewhere. I’ve¬†heard about the¬†annual eagle migration at Rockport, WA this weekend and thought it would be a great opportunity to get some photos of this magnificent bird for my blog. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Just as we were leaving town, the car¬†developed some engine problem. To make the long story short… I was stuck at home all weekend and found myself uninspired today. Guess the thought of what the repair cost for the car might be, weighted heavily on my mind. From experience, going to the mechanics is like going to the doctors — every little thing cost so much — and I was right. The problem turned out to be the air sensor valve. I was told this tiny valve was going to cost $395.00 just for the part. As if to make the price more justifiable, the mechanic went into a long explanation about the purpose of the valve and all the intricate wires inside. Basically, it’s important for regulating the airflow to the engine. Okay… I can see¬†its¬†importance,¬†though I still think¬†it’s way over priced —¬†¬†just like the over inflated medical costs.

After I got home from the garage, I didn’t feel like¬†posting anything and decided to skip today. However, I reminded myself the commitment I made¬†to post 5 times a week — I can skip only when I have good valid reasons — and being¬†upset about my car is not good enough reason. As¬†I looked through my archives of photos to¬†use with the story, for some unknown reason; these shots made me feel better.¬†Somehow, seeing¬†the photos made me let go of the frustrations I had about the car expense. These photos were taken last¬†July at the golf course pond near my home.