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Archive for March, 2010

Julia turned eight on Sunday so I thought I’d celebrate her birthday with a portrait I shot more than six years ago.

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All the elements came together for this photo. Julia’s expression, especially her eyes and the position of her hands are the real clinchers. It’s been so long that I can’t remember when I made the picture or which camera/lens I used, but that doesn’t really matter anyway.

Julia went from being the youngest of our four granddaughters to a big sister when the twins were born in 2008. Now we have six beauties. And they will all be over for Easter dinner. Think I might have my camera(s) ready for them? I will or my name isn’t pop-paparazzi.

A big thanks to MaryT for hosting Sepia Scenes. Stop by and visit — there’s more.

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I was walking up the trail in Ceres a few weeks ago and decided to move in for a closer look at one of the fallen trees.

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From the looks of it, this tree stump has been here for awhile. Look at all the “stuff” growing. Interesting view but…

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This view is a lot more fun. Here on this side, close to the ground, the tree has morphed into a stump eating beast.

Be sure to visit Lisa’s Chaos for more Macro Monday photos. Thank you Lisa. Thank you for giving us this opportunity to share.

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The interplay of light and shadow, the time of day, the mood of the season fascinate and inspire. The first three images are from my latest visit to Ceres, at mid-morning with bright sun and the special quality of morning light. The last three were taken a few weeks ago on a dull day in a light rain.

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I had just come down a steep section of secondary trail and turned back to look. The light was wonderful, coming from the side and giving form and texture to the trees. I moved about until I found this composition. I like the juxtaposition of the large old tree with its textured bark against the line of younger, smoother trees.

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Here I’m on one of my favorite sections of the main trail. Emerald lake is on the left out of sight. The light was working it’s magic and I wanted to capture the wonder and the airiness. I kept my shadows open, the way I did in the first shot, to pay homage to the light.

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This shot should look familiar. I took this picture from as close as I could come to the identical spot using the same lens I used for the lead image from last week. The feel of this photo is different. It was about 30 minutes later in the day (different day too) so the sun was in a different position and once again, I kept the shadows more open to get a truer sense of the lovely light that day.

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A few weeks ago we had a severe storm. I took this photo a few days after the storm on a chilly, cloudy day. This is a wide angle shot (24mm lens) of the Atlantic White Cedar that you see in the previous photo. It didn’t make it through the storm.

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Here’s another shot of that same tree. Look at the light. It’s flat. No shadows at all. The mood is somber and it was beginning to rain lightly.

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I was standing in the middle of the main trail changing my lens when a man and his dog came by. He stopped and we chatted for a few minutes then we went our separate ways. I suddenly realized that “Hey dummy, you have a camera in your hand and there’s probably a good image behind you.” I spun around and shot this picture.

Would this have been a better shot if I had a longer lens mounted? I didn’t have time to think about it, I simply framed and shot. The lens was my 24mm. No time to second guess and I have what I have.

The first three shots were taken with a new film (Fuji ACROS 100) that I wanted to try. It passed my tests and I like it. I’m down to half a dozen rolls of Ilford FP4+ and I need a medium speed replacement because the Ilford films are too expensive in the US. My high speed film of choice is (and has always been) Kodak Tri-X.

Drop on by The Monochrome Weekend, especially if you are a monochrome maniac. There’s lots links to some great monochrome photography. And some of the monochrome maniacs still use film like I do.

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Keepers are what you hope for when you go out to make images. You shoot your film, develop it and hope. Most of your output are maybes. You don’t throw them out right away. You let them percolate to see if they are worth keeping. Then there are the “Eeww, did I actually think this was a decent photo?” These go into the trash can. Then there are the keepers, the images that just seemed to work. You may not know why they are keepers, but you know.

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This one is a keeper. It’s from the second roll I shot last week in Ceres nature sanctuary. I developed it last Saturday and when I saw this image I knew I had my keeper. This image was taken from the ridge trail. Emerald lake is in the background. The image talks to me. Yeah, it’s the best one on this roll and one of the best shots I’ve taken inside the park.

So how do you know you have a keeper? Instinct. I operate almost entirely by instinct. Sure I set exposures (or let the camera do it when I get lazy), but that’s the technical stuff that can get in the way of your vision. Why do I/we frame a scene? Because it seems right, it resonates and we hope the image matches the vision of the moment.

This time it did.

This keeper comes from a roll of Ilford FP4+. It’s great film but costly and I only have seven rolls left. I went back to Ceres earlier this week and shot a roll of Acros, a high tech Fuji emulsion that I’m testing as a replacement for the Ilford emulsion.

I developed the film Thursday and spent all evening working with the scans. The verdict? So far so good.

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Here’s one for you James. I know you like the view from the bridge. I do too and I always save a frame or two for the walk home. This one was shot from bridge. What do you think? Acros? Looks pretty good to me.

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When you walk around with a camera you notice things. When you do, take your picture right then and there. Don’t ever say you’ll do it later — you won’t. And even if you did return to the same spot, it could never be quite the same. Almost doesn’t count.

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A few weeks ago, while hiking through Ceres Nature Sanctuary for the second time, I noticed the roots of this tree so I hunkered down and shot this image. I don’t remember if I noticed at the time, but I’m reminded of an octopus.

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I came across this huge tree a little further down (or up I should say because the way was getting pretty steep here) I couldn’t help but notice the mass of roots I was about to climb over. The next time I came by this spot I noticed differently and my image was much different.

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This tree is much smaller. The arrangement of the roots stopped me in my tracks and I really hunkered down to the level of the roots to get this shot. A grasping hand perhaps?

I was using a 28mm lens on my 35mm camera and moved in close. I found a pleasing composition and here it is. I was back to Ceres today and noticed this same tree but didn’t stop to make a portrait. Another time.

I was busy noticing other things today. The weather was great. Blue skies, morning shadows, quiet but for the sounds of a few birds. I noticed a pair of geese swimming in the lake. I couldn’t get a clear shot because of the undergrowth in the way. I was quiet so as not to disturb them as they climbed up on a small log in the water to groom themselves. I walked on looking for a better place. I found a few but the geese never came my way. Maybe on the way back I said.

While walking back (I’ll save some of the other things I noticed today until after I develop my film and post more images) I noticed a large turtle sunning on a log. Further on I noticed another turtle. I thought I heard voices and sure enough this old guy who I’ve seen many times riding his bicycle on the roads was sitting on his bike in the middle of the trail.

He was pointing to the lake. When I got up to where he was he pointed again to a family of turtles, one tiny one and two big ones all in a row sunning themselves on another log. I switched to the longest lens I had with me (85mm) and shot a couple of frames. Next time I’m bringing my 75-150 zoom.

Speaking of noticing things, I was carrying two cameras today, my usual camera loaded with B&W film and another loaded with color film. The latter just in case I noticed spring colors that begged for color. I shot about 12 color frames today.

Spring has sprung and the earth is awakening once again. It’s a beautiful thing, especially when we take the time to notice and to make new images.

So, when you notice something that intrigues you or makes you smile or pleases you in some way, stop and if you have your camera, make a portrait of the moment because that moment will never repeat.

A big thanks to MaryT for hosting Sepia Scenes. Stop by and visit — there’s more.

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A tap into my archives and a change of pace with some color. A bit of green is appropriate for the beginning of spring and a wee bit late for St. Patrick’s Day.

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I made this whimsical image a few years ago while looking for interesting subjects in my back yard. The image was scanned from a color transparency.

I like the colors, textures and the composition. Making the image was fun. I see things but I won’t give anything away. Enjoy.

Be sure to visit Lisa’s Chaos for more Macro Monday photos. Thank you Lisa. Thank you for giving us this opportunity to share.

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Thursday morning was glorious. The sky was clear, temperature in the 60s and the morning sun was perfection. My three earlier trips to Ceres Park were all on overcast days with flat lighting. I went early and was the only person in the place — outstanding.

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This shot was taken from almost the same spot as last week’s first image. I was back a bit and used a 35mm lens instead of a 28. What a difference dramatic side lighting can make in an image. All was not perfect however. Look closely along the line of trees on the right and you will see a majestic white cedar that fell victim to our big storm last weekend.

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After I emerged from the cedars, I struck out on a section of trail I hadn’t visited yet. I was attracted by the vertical lines of the trees contrasting with the shadows and how the shadows followed the contours of the ground.

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The shadows in this shot are even better.

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This is a view I took earlier when I stopped by Emerald Lake to explore a bit before moving on. The light here was special and I had to make this image.

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Again, I’m going back to another earlier shot taken looking down from the main trail.

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And this shot was the first one I took that day. I was standing on the ridge trail. The light was coming from behind me so it’s hard to pick out the mass of trees down below.

I had a wonderful time wandering, climbing around the muddy spots on the trails and shooting pictures. I shot the entire first roll with my new 35mm AF lens. I wasn’t sure I’d like the perspective of the 35mm focal length but I like it a lot so far.

I mounted my 50mm lens for a few shots after I loaded the second roll, then switched to my 85 because I wanted a shot of a few trees that caught my eye on the opposite side of the lake.  Took a few more then put the 35 back on. I finished that roll Friday while out riding my bicycle on another glorious day. I’ll develop and scan some time over the weekend.

Spring is finally here and I’m glad of it. Can you imagine what Ceres Park will be like when it’s green and lush? Many places I’ve been (off the trail) will be impossible to get to once mother nature gets her spring growth tuned up. Then again, there are so many opportunities to make images that I’ll never run out.

I did visit on Monday and used my 24, 50 and 85. The day was overcast and raining lightly. I’ll share some of those shots some other time.

Drop on by The Monochrome Weekend, especially if you are a monochrome maniac. There’s lots links to some great monochrome photography. And some of the monochrome maniacs still use film like I do.

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