Sea Blue Lens


14 Comments

Still-life in Motion – Week 51

This week’s Be Still – 52 lesson was about creating a sense of movement in a still life — in other words, how to keep the viewer’s eye moving around within the photograph.

I’ve recently been inspired by Kim’s “Table and Chair” series to begin a similar series of my own featuring my antique maple writing desk and very old, mended Windsor chair. For this still life setup I added an armful of lilacs cut from the hedge at my daughter’s place and an assortment of treasures from that wonderful old house.

DSC_9362-2Workspace

 My starting point, illuminated by late afternoon sunlight from my southwest facing window.  It’s a good thing I wasn’t really trying to concentrate on reading or writing. The scent of those lilacs was more than a little distracting. It was all I could do to keep my mind on my camera.

DSC_9363-2Moodswing

This little book is titled, in full, The Ladies’ and Gentlemens’ Letter-Writer, and Guide to Polite Behavior, Containing Also, Moral and Instructive Aphorisms, for Daily Use. It was published in Boston and does not have a copyright date, but the sample letters printed within it all bear the date of 1859, leading me to think it must have been published in or near that year. It is smaller than you might think from the photos, only 3-1/2 by 5-3/8 inches by about 1/2 inch thick, but packed full of oh-so-useful advice.

DSC_9360-2Guide to Politeness

The section the book is open to reads “Rules for Polite Behavior for Ladies and Gentlemen, with Instructions for Dress. Also, Brief Rules for Daily Use.” There follows a long essay on “American Etiquette” which covers clothing, personal grooming, table manners, conversation, etc. The “Brief Rules” include such advice as “Avoid egotism” and “Avoid rude expressions.” It’s quaint and utterly fascinating. All I can conclude is that society in the mid-nineteenth century was much more polite than today’s is. But oh, so many rules! While I’d love to see more civility in civilization, I don’t think I’d want to be as regimented as the culture of that day was.

DSC_9373-2Shadows

 Kim’s Shadows preset really made magic happen with this one.

DSC_9372-2Resting My Eyes

It’s interesting how some presets just seem made for certain images. I’ve tried Kim’s kk_BeStill preset on quite a few photos before, but didn’t care for it. When I applied it to this one it just popped — it was exactly what I wanted before I even knew I wanted it!

DSC_9338-2Nocturne

Still one of my favorite presets — kk_Moody-ish. I liked this image but it felt a little flat straight from the camera. Now I love it!

My own eye finds movement in these images. I’ll be interested to see if yours does, too.


17 Comments

On Being Still

I’ve mentioned before that I’m taking a class from Kim Klassen called Be Still – Fifty-two. We’re just past the halfway point, and this is sort of a catch-up post. I’ve been doing the lesson each week, but for various reasons, haven’t gotten around to publishing my results.

I’m pretty sure I’ve also mentioned before that still life is not a genre with which I feel comfortable. Doing setups for these lessons and “styling” a photograph is hard for me, and when I see the beautiful work done by other students, I feel that mine isn’t quite “right.” So I hesitate to put it out there.

OK, so that’s silly. First, it’s not a competition. Second, Kim encourages us to find and follow our own style, so there is no “right” that I should be worried about. And third, no one has ever been anything but kind and supportive about my photography. Therefore, after giving myself a good talking-to, I’ve just finished posting my “homework” for the past month or so to the class’s Flickr group, and thought I’d share a few of those images here.

White Pitcher Red AppleWhite Pitcher

Assignment: Create a photo inspired by a still life painting. My inspiration was a painting called White Vase by Neil Carroll. This was the first time I’ve tried photographing against a dark background like this.

DSC_7498Pear on Plate

Assignment: A composition using only two objects, such as a pear and a bowl.

DSC_7528Pair

Another take on the Two Objects challenge. As you can see, I’m rather captivated by that dark background effect.

Butter & Eggs Cooking for One

Assignment: A still life with butter and eggs. This one was fun. I’ve had that book for a long time, hoping for an opportunity to use it as a photo prop. And my daughter and I had to go antiquing to find the perfect butter dish, especially for this assignment.

Strong teaStrong Tea

Assignment: Square format, looking down, with two sides of the frame left open. This was  taken with my iPhone and processed with Laminar Pro.

And that brings me up to date, just in time for the lesson that arrived today!

Now, if I can just keep it up going forward . . . .

 


18 Comments

Snowy Scavenging: 12.15.13

The promised winter storm arrived right on schedule, and we got over a foot of snow between last night and noon today. Nevertheless, I’m going on the Sunday Scavenger Hunt. I’m just not going to leave the house to do it! This week’s search items were: The Weather Today, R is for…, Green, Joy, and Drink. Here we go!

The Weather Today:

IMG_1791-2Yup. It’s Winter.

Today’s weather is…about 14 inches deep and 14 degrees Fahrenheit. This is not a black and white photo — it was just a black and white day. This was taken right after the snowplow guy did our driveway at 6:00 this morning. I’m not sure it helped much, and I’m truly grateful that I don’t have to go anyplace today!

(PS – He’s been back twice since and it looks much better now. I think we could get out if we had to!)

R is for…:

DSC_3652Raptor

I believe this is a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk. He was perched in a pine in the back yard. Anyone who’s followed my blog for a while knows how I love my birds! I was really thrilled to see this one.

Green:

DSC_3662Decking the Halls

Christmas with its lights and colorful decorations is the perfect holiday for wintertime, especially on a day like this when the whole outdoor world is rendered in shades of black, white, and grey.

Joy:

DSC_3669Spirits of Christmas Past

Sometimes, even for a grownup, a toy can bring joy. The other day I was browsing through a large display of stuffed animals in a store, picking up this one and that, thinking of various people who might like one. Suddenly I spotted this one, the only one of its kind on display. It looks so much like a dear little dog I used to have that it felt like a gift from her own sweet self. Now she sits on the shelf with my childhood books (we always got books for Christmas!), and I smile every time I see her.

Drink:

DSC_3671Keep Calm and ….

Tea is soothing, warming, comforting, even healing. I love tea and always keep the makings close at hand.

That’s a wrap for this week. Have you tried Scavenger Hunt Sunday yet? It’s fun! Here’s the linkup for this week.


10 Comments

Memories, Dreams, & Reflections: 2012

A friend inspired me to take on Ashley Sisk’s Memories, Dreams and Reflections 2012. It’s like a Super Scavenger Hunt Sunday, with 25 prompts to fulfill using photos from the whole year. You’d think it would be easy, having so much to choose from, but actually that’s the problem…there’s so much to choose from! But I thought it might be fun, and a good opportunity to review my year in photos, so here goes.

1. Me!

{In the Picture}

{In the Picture}

One thing I’m proud of accomplishing in 2012 is the {In the Picture} self-portrait challenge hosted by Christy at Urban Muser. I’ve taken a self-portrait (or several) and posted at least one on my blog every month all year. Here is one from each month . . . mostly outtakes that didn’t get published.

2. I Love You

My Favorite Couple

My Favorite Couple

This is my Dear Darling Daughter and El Boyfriendo (hers, not mine). I’m not sure who took the photo — a friend of theirs, I think — I “borrowed” it from her Facebook page because I love it (and them) so much. It’s a great shot of two of my favorite people at one of my favorite places.

3. Still Laughing…

Hangin' Out

Just Hangin’

Can you see our visitor, the little guy with the skinny neck and really long nose, there in the center of the frame? One afternoon my sister and I were looking out her kitchen window when we saw our resident roadrunner dashing along the driveway. To our surprise, he ran into the gazebo and flew up onto the railing. He sat there for several minutes, turning his head this way and that, surveying the property like the Lord of All. Finally he jumped down and disappeared into the brush . . . probably off to grab some grub. We still laugh about how odd he looked there. He is such a funny and fascinating creature and I absolutely love it that he graces us with his presence.

4. Winter Wonderland

Sea Smoke

Sea Smoke

I suppose it’s not called sea smoke if it’s on a river. But anyway . . . this was from last winter, taken behind my apartment building in Maine. It was a very cold morning, mist rising from the water and the trees white with frost. As the rising sun hit them, every twig glittered.

5. Birthday

Another Year Older and Who Cares?

Another Year Older — So What’s Next?

For my birthday, my sister and brother-in-law took me all the way to Little India in Cerritos so I could have Indian food, which I love, for my birthday dinner. We took the scenic route over the Angeles Forest and Angeles Crest highways. It was a beautiful drive, requiring several stops along the way to take photos. A fun and memorable day!

6. Friends

Painting Pals

Painting Pals

I became friends with these beautiful women over a decade ago, shortly after I moved to Maine. We met through our local adult ed program when Carol, Sue, and I took a series of watercolor painting classes taught by Judith (on the right). During the summer, when there was no class, some of us would get together once a week at Sue’s house to paint. Before I moved away in May, Carol and Sue invited me to lunch and surprised me by having Judith come too. I asked our server to snap this shot of the four of us with my iPhone. I miss these talented and very sweet friends.

7. I Was Inspired…

Me, Myself, and iPhone

Me, Myself, and iPhone

Meeting my friend Susan for a photoshoot after work one day, I discovered I’d brought my camera bag but not the camera! I was very disappointed, but then I was inspired to try my iPhone camera. I hadn’t used it before except for a few snapshots, and I didn’t have high expectations. Much to my surprise, I loved the resulting photos and it turned out to be one of my favorite shoots ever. (I blogged about it here.) Of course, the wonderful company didn’t hurt, either.

8. Spring Fever

Spring Faces

Spring Has Sprung

You know it’s spring when the daffodils are up in Laurel Hill Cemetery. They sweep down the hillside to the river and people come from all over the area to see the spectacle every year. This image is from another photoshoot with Susan. It was great to be able to share the experience and the photo op with a friend.

9. Travel or Vacation

Bye Bye, Ocean

Bye Bye, East Coast

My last glimpse of the Atlantic, as I flew to my new home in California. This is New York, where I changed planes. I saw nothing of Maine as I left — we were in clouds as soon as we left the ground. It’s probably just as well.

10. Summer Days

California Girl

California Girl

August at the beach in Ventura. Need I say more?

11. A Day In My Life

Where I "Work"

Where I “Work”

Even though I’m retired now, I still spend quite a bit of time at a desk. The difference is that it’s MY desk, and I can get up and walk away from it whenever I want! This is where I process photos, write this riveting blog, peruse Facebook, and watch birds through the window. In case you’re wondering, I think retirement is awesome!

12. All Smiles

Beaky Smiles

Bird Smiles

Do birds smile? No, but they and their antics make me “all smiles.” They are always entertaining and can make me forget any problem. These are only a few of the many species I’ve photographed right here in our yard.

13. Autumn Harvest

All You Can Eat

All You Can Eat

This is just a sampling of the bounty to be found at Sanchez’s roadside produce stand. Some of it is grown in fields and gardens right behind the stand, and most of the rest is locally sourced. Sanchez’s and our local farmers’ market is where we bought our fruits and veggies all summer and fall.

14. Family or Home

Moving In

Moving In

This is my home. I know, it doesn’t look like much here. (Trust me, it’s improved since this picture was taken.) I have moved many times over the course of my life, and some of the contents of these boxes have been with me every step of the way. I’m pretty good at packing and unpacking my life. Each new house or apartment is a new beginning, and I love turning it into a comfortable home.

15. Celebrate!

Aunt and Uncle Sam

Aunt and Uncle Sam?

2012 marked the 50th anniversary of Acton’s annual Fourth of July parade. The parade is a big deal. People start parking their RVs and setting up tent shade shelters along the parade route days in advance. There’s much hilarity as some parade watchers blast floats with water guns, and riders on the floats return fire . . . uh, water. Even the fire truck that opens and closes the parade gets into the act and by the time it’s over, anyone who wants to be is thoroughly drenched. Remarkably, those who don’t wish to be sprayed are respected and stay dry. It was a great time of celebration and good-hearted laughter.

16. Let’s Do It Again…

Friends Through a Lens

Friends Through a Lens

In the fall of 2011, I met in person a fellow photographer and blogger, Susan (Happy No Ears). We’d connected with through Kat Sloma’s Find Your Eye classes and discovered we lived only a few miles apart. Our growing friendship was one of the joys of 2012. We went on several photography outings together, always followed by something delicious to rejuvenate ourselves with. I really miss her and look forward to getting together again when I visit Maine. (She’ll probably want to kill me for posting some of these, but I think I’m safely out of reach!)

17. I Miss You

Dawn

Sunrise at My Beach

Maine! I miss everything about it, except maybe the long winters . . . and long winter nights. But I especially miss being only ten minutes from a beautiful beach, where I could go on the spur of the moment and walk in near-solitude even on summer evenings. I miss friends and loved ones left behind. But don’t worry: I’ll be back! I’m already planning my next visit.

18. Beautiful

Sharing a Cup

Sharing a Cup

These are my daughter’s beautiful hands. We still have tea together now and then — we just do it by phone.

19. Dress Up

No Place To Go

No Place To Go

This is about as dressed up as I get these days. Please note the lovely polish on my toenails. I think that’s a nice, dressy touch. It even matches my fancy, flowered tee-shirt!

20. Macro

After the Rain

After Rain

These are berries of Juniperus Californica, the beautiful native California juniper. There are several large specimens of this tree on our property. I woke one morning to find it had rained overnight, and water was dripping from everything. I took my camera out and took nearly 200 shots of  various weed-and-water effects. This was one of my favorites.

21. Holidays

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree

I really enjoyed dressing my new little cottage for the holidays. This is the first time in a dozen years that I’ve decorated a Christmas tree.

22. My Favorite

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

One of my favorite memories of 2012 is from New Year’s Day, when I went on a photoshoot with my son-un-law and a birding friend of his. The weather was surprisingly warm and beautiful for a winter’s day in Maine, and I’d gotten a new lens for Christmas. We went to Nubble Light in search of a snowy owl that had been reported in the area. As you can see, we found it, as did a small crowd of other folks on the same quest. The warmth of that day of sunshine, nature’s beauty, and casual fellowship have lingered in my memory all year long.

23. Don’t Ever Change

Picture of Contentment

Picture of Contentment

I’ve been a reader all my life. I’m grateful for the pleasure, companionship, consolation, inspiration, adventure, tears, laughter . . . you name it . . . that I’ve gotten from books. They are always there when wanted or needed, asking nothing in return. I can’t see my love for them ever changing, nor would I want it to.

24. Just Because…So There!

Summer's End

Tattered

I don’t know why, I just like it.

25. Hopes and Dreams

Charisma

Charisma

I hope to bloom like this beautiful rose as I continue to explore my new life and environment. I also dream of having this beautiful rose bloom again in my garden . . . and not be eaten by bunnies the very next day!

And that’s a wrap.  Now it’s time to put 2012 in the archives and look ahead to a new year full of possibility. I’m joining the linkup over at Ramblings and Photos and looking forward to seeing everyone’s reviews of 2012.

 


23 Comments

Photo-Heart Connection: February

Collection=Connection

Finding the photograph from February that spoke to my heart was not an easy assignment. Due to weather, work, and various other constraints, I didn’t take many photos in February. I didn’t want to use one I’d already posted before. What was left?

This is one I took for Scavenger Hunt Sunday a few weeks ago, but didn’t use. It’s a little vignette in a corner of a bookcase, a part of what I think of as my natural history shelf. These objects speak of my love of nature and wildlife. And each of them holds other memories, as well.

The two little birds and the frog are hand-carved from found wood by an artist in Eastport, Maine. My daughter and I visited “Downeast” for a week each summer for several years, and each piece commemorates something notable about the trip when it was purchased — the summer we saw flocks of goldfinches, the year the frogs in the pond serenaded us all night long, the time the woods were full of flitting chickadees.

The two small black books are from 1920, field guides to Western Birds and Western Flowers “of the Rockies and West to the Pacific.” They belonged to my grandparents-in-law, and there are penciled notes in the margins where they recorded dates and places of sightings. I’ve even added a few of my own over the years, and those bring back memories too, of other places lived, and long-ago camping trips when my children were young.

The white shadow box in the back contains treasures from closer to home: small shells and beach pebbles, tiny pine cones, a bit of driftwood, a moth’s wing. Just junk, I suppose, but precious to me.

Whenever I look at the objects on this shelf, I am reminded of my connections — and of my need to stay connected — to nature, to family, to my history, to the wider world around me and to my own inner self . . . to my heart. And that, dear friends, is exactly why I take photographs.

Linking to Kat Sloma’s Photo-Heart Connection at Kat Eye Studio. Come check it out – and even join in!

.


20 Comments

Word Has It

It’s time for the February linkup over at Urban Muser for the {in the picture} self-portrait challenge. This month’s theme, which we could either use or ignore, was “write on,” the idea of incorporating words into our self-portraits.

For some reason I’ve struggled more with my self-portraits this month than last. As several others have mentioned, I’ve felt almost discouraged enough to give it up. It was encouraging to know I’m not alone, and to read Christy’s comment that it took her nearly five months to really get into it her first time around.

I’ve also been inspired by the work of others in the group. Ideas are starting to come, and with spring and warmer weather will come opportunities for trying to shoot some selfies in outdoor settings, which I think will be more fun and interesting.

Here are some of my February shots:

Team Spirit

Showing my Patriot(s)ism on Super Bowl Sunday. It didn’t help the team, unfortunately.

What the Single Woman Wears for Valentine's Day

Actually, I saw this on a post-Valentine’s sales rack, told myself I didn’t need it, and left it there. I kept thinking about it and how it would be perfect for this month’s selfie theme, and went back for it the next day. The second trip to the store probably cost as much in gas as the shirt cost.

The message on the shirt has a double meaning for me. Not only the obvious –about having a healthy self-regard — but ME is the postal abbreviation for the state of Maine, where I live and which I love very much. And which I will be leaving soon. But that’s a subject for another post.

No Words Necessary

I looked at this image multiple times before I suddenly saw the connection between me and my affectionate friend, and the picture on the wall behind. I wish I could say I’d planned this, but it was a total accident. I was just snapping a few pics with my iPhone for fun, and had no idea what I’d captured. Not a flattering or technically great shot . . . but I love it anyway.

Best of Friends

This is my favorite selfie of the month, and probably the most typical “me” that you will ever see. As the saying goes, “So many books, so little time.”

And that’s it for this month. Go on over to Urban Muser to check out what everyone else is doing. And it’s not too late to join in! Yes, it’s challenging, but it really is fun.

.


21 Comments

Scavenging Again

All I can say is, this week sure went by fast! Here are my images for Ashley’s Scavenger Hunt Sunday. Thanks to all who commented on my last post that this is addicting. I think your warning may have come too late.

The topics this week were: Smile, Stand Alone, Rusty or Something Old, Artificial, and Repeating Pattern.

Sweetness and Light

Smile: I’m really not much for country kitsch, or tchotchkes in general, but when I saw this little angel in a shop this summer, I just had to have her. It was that sweet smile I fell in love with.

Facets

Stand Alone: I have a very small collection of old bottles. This is one of my favorites. It’s less than six inches tall, but made of thick glass and quite heavy. I’m not sure which is standing more alone, the bottle or that bare tree outside the window.

Getting to Know Grandfather

Rusty or Something Old: These three books were written by my paternal grandfather, whom I never knew. In fact, I only discovered his identity about three years ago, through Ancestry.com. I acquired the books through various online sources. The blue one was published in 1912, which I think qualifies it as “something old.” One of them actually has his signature on the title page. I don’t know if you can imagine what it felt like to touch that book and know that he had held it in his own hands and written his name there.

Note: I opened the book at random for this photograph. It wasn’t until I was cropping the image that I noticed the last line on the right-hand page. It seemed nicely appropriate. (If you click on the photo, you can see a larger, readable version.)

Let's Pretend

Artificial: I bought this little plant yesterday. I resisted. I really did. It’s plastic. I hate plastic. Plastic is evil. But I love this anyway.

Chorus Lines

Repeating Pattern: Please don’t judge me for my taste in music. Just notice all those nice rhythmic parallel lines!

So there it is. I took all of these photos this morning, without leaving my living room. I decided to see how many items I could find on or near my bookshelves. It was a fun challenge.

Click on the button in the sidebar to see what others have posted this week.

.