Monday, December 30, 2013

Best of 2013: May

Inner Light

On the Fifth Day of Christmas, I am reminded why this is both a fun and occasionally frustrating way to produce a "best of" album. It's fun because going through a month's photos looking for a pick if a great way to reflect on the year. It's frustrating because some month's you have a wealth of choices and others, the pickin's are rather slim!

May of 2013 was a good month. The semester ends in early May, and I celebrated with a trip to South Louisiana. I went to Baton Rouge first, where I met Google+ friend Irene Kato for the first time, not to mention her delightful family. After a lovely photowalk of her back yard and the neighborhood encountering many wonderful flowers, I sat in her kitchen and enjoyed her children, good conversation and watching her husband skillfully make delicious pot stickers, which we all consumed with abandon.

From BR, I went to Lafayette, Opelousas and New Iberia, then home by way of Camp Hardtner and my beloved quarry, and I shot all along the way. But perhaps the most amazing place of all was Lake Martin, southwest of Lafayette on the eastern edge of the Atchafalaya Basin. There I shot dragonflies, a great blue heron, egrets, and an anhinga, plus cypress trees draped with Spanish moss and the most amazing dinner-plate size American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) flowers.

A group of dedicated photographers on Google+ established a community they call "High Quality Sharing Photographs" or HQSP for short. Every day they pick and promote winning photographs in a variety of categories. picked this one. This shot was honored to be selected an HQSP Winner. You can see the winner post here: HQSP Winner July 6, 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Best of 2013: April

Ruffled Steel

On this Fourth Day of Christmas, I chose an image I did not process and share back in April when 14 boxcars derailed about two miles from my house.

How do you make visual sense of piles of jumbled steel? How do you say something about the astonishing force involved when tons of coal and steel fly?

Of about 95 shots, I have processed four, three that I shared back in April. None of them are great photos, but today this one makes me shiver at the sight of steel folded into a ruffle.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Best of 2013: March

My Friend the Beast

On the Third Day of Christmas, I chose this photo for two reasons.

First, I took it at the Chicago Zoo on an outing with my Google+ friend, Tom Tran. It was a blast, even though quite cold, and resulted in many wonderful photos--not only from the zoo, but also from the conservatory and an icy beach. Indeed, I have many yet to process from that day!

Second, it is another photographic accomplishment for me. The sun was too bright and the shadows too deep that day, and this creature mostly stood with his butt toward me and his head in the shadow. I snapped a couple of shots anyway, with little hope of having anything worth working on.

Then he turned sideways for just a moment and our eyes met. I got one shot and then he walked into the shadow. The shot didn't look all that promising in the camera. But on my computer using Photoshop, I was able to bring out detail in both shadow and highlights, and the b&w conversion seemed a perfect treatment for this subject.

When I was an undergraduate at the University of Iowa, I had a reputation for being able to do this kind of thing in the wet darkroom. I am finally beginning to believe I'll be as good someday in the digital darkroom!!

Best of 2013: February

Open Water

On the Second Day of Christmas, I chose a photo of the cattail pond at ULM's  Charles Allen Biological Station near Columbia. I have taught at ULM 17 1/2 years, but it was not until fall 2012 that I learned we own almost 100 acres of wonderfully diverse habitat along the Ouachita River just about an hour from home. The first two times I visited, this pond was completely covered with a vigorous green and red algae bloom. On this, my third visit, I was thrilled to find open water--and a perfectly still mirror surface.

I love this image, first, because of the detail in the reflection--not only of the trees but of the late afternoon light, and, second, because even though the light was fading and this is handheld, I achieved sharp detail throughout an extended depth of field. And that was my goal, in contrast to the shallow depth of field I often use. Recently I printed this one 11 x 14 and want to get it framed for the next time I do River Market.

And now I am reminded that I am overdue for a visit to CABS. Must get there before this all-too-short break is over.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Best of 2013: January

Delta Dragon

On this First day of Christmas, I begin my photographic year in review. This image might, indeed, be the best of the year, but I'll reserve judgment on that until all 12 are picked!

I shot the photo early Sunday morning, January 27, driving south on Highway 65 to St. Joseph to lead worship at Christ Church. As usual, I had left home early so I could stop and shoot along the way. The Sunday road trips I take to lead worship in nearby small towns double as all-too-rare opportunities to take pictures.

Delta Dragon was first shared on Google+ among a community of photographers with whom I was engaged in a mentorship program. Their response to it was gratifying. Thus, a couple of months later when the invitation to submit to Art Melt 2013 arrived, I knew instantly this would be one of my submissions.

Art Melt is the largest juried art exhibit for Louisiana artists. It is sponsored by Forum 35: Young Leaders for a Better Baton Rouge, and the art works are exhibited in the Louisiana State Museum for six weeks in July and August.

I was and am very proud that Delta Dragon was selected!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

iPhone Diary

iPhone Diary: 17 November 2013