Monday, January 20, 2014

Photographer's Journal: Surprise!

Periwinkle Perfection

This photo has a spider in it, really a quite large spider. I did not see the spider until I had the photo on my computer and had zoomed in to re-touch a couple of dust spots in the sky. The bane of digital photographers, in case you don't know, is dust spots on your camera's sensor. They show WAAAAY more than dust spots on film or a lens ever did.

Anyway.... zoomed in to perfect this lovely periwinkle sky, I saw--unmistakably--a spider. And knowing where it is, I can now see it zoomed out. So... that's my challenge to all the sharp-eyed this morning: Can you find the spider? Hint: He is not a flying spider. :)

BTW, I shot this at one of my newer favorite sites. It's a small private lake just a couple miles south of Winnsboro. When I make a day trip to Baton Rouge, I try to allow time to stop on my way down and again on my way home.

On this occasion, I got back to the lake in the late afternoon and had about an hour of wonderful light. The grandson of the owner came by and told me he has always heard it called "King Lake."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Best of 2013: December

Letting Go

On this Twelfth Day of Christmas, the Eve of the Epiphany, this. Just this.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Best of 2013: November

Not Two

“The fact that life and death are ‘not two’ is extremely difficult to grasp, not because it is so complex, but because it is so simple.”
--Ken Wilber

On this Eleventh Day of Christmas, it is good to remember, even as we face forward. I shot this in Philadelphia on what was both a journey down memory lane and a step forward in the expanding role of photography in my life.
Learn more at

Friday, January 3, 2014

Best of 2013: October

Eye of the Whale

On the Tenth Day of Christmas, I chose one of the few selfies I took this year. I kind of got burned out on selfies, plus I had so little time and The Selfy Sunday Project on Google+ seemed to roll around when I had no time.

But October is when I make my fall trip to Chicago, and this selfy is special in two ways. One is because I have loved and studied and collected whales and information about whales most of my life. Had I the aptitude for science, I would have been a marine biologist instead instead of a communications professor because of whales!

(Figurines! I collect whale figurines, of course, not whales, and I need to photograph some of them.... Hmmm. Sounds like a fun project.)

The second reason this is such a special selfy is because I was photowalking with a G+ friend, Lauri Novak, and we happened on to this wonderful whale sculpture totally by accident. And Lauri took a companion shot. And we were wearing nearly matching jackets, except mine was bright red and hers was bright green! (And if G+ hadn't totally screwed up the albums view recently, I'd post a link to hers, but as is I have no idea how to find it!)

And Lauri and I had just left G+'er Rafael Canabal, who had to cut his photowalk with us short for another engagement, and we were soon to meet up with G+'er Tom Tran, with whom we spent the afternoon. All in all, a lovely set of memories for the month of October.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Best of 2013: September

Mer Blanche

On this Ninth Day of Christmas, my choice was easy. I took other good photos in September, but when I shared this one on Facebook, it was an immediate hit with my many local friends.

Great expanses of cotton ready for harvest is not such a common sight in Louisiana anymore. Many farmers are growing lots of corn instead. Or they are rotating corn and cotton, such that the landscape is more of a  patchwork of colors and textures.

But back in September on my way to Baton Rouge, I suddenly found myself in the midst of a white sea. Huge, fluffy cotton bolls extended as far as I could see on both sides of the highway.

I posted a color version of this on G+, but it is stronger in black & white, IMHO. This is another in the Louisiana Agriculture project.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Best of 2013: August

Building the Pod
On this Eighth Day of Christmas, a photo from my Louisiana Agriculture project. I grew up on a farm in Iowa. It's a cliché but true: You can take the girl off the farm but you can't take the farm out of the girl! And in 2013, in part because I made such a successful image out of an irrigation unit in the fog (see Best of 2013: January: Delta Dragon, I began working seriously on documenting Louisiana agriculture. Going for publication in some form this year!

Best of 2013: July

In Memorium

On the Seventh Day of Christmas, I offer a new b&w edit of an image shared last summer. The color of this monument is warm cream--or at least that is what I saw when I visited after dark and it was flooded with artificial light. So I found the color pleasing, but it is another of those images that kind of demanded to be converted to b&w.

Interestingly, this image got little response on G+ back then, but I choose it as one of my best anyway. I admire minimalism, but have trouble doing it. So much to see! Color and light and clouds and botanicals and machinery and critters and people, etc., etc. It all cries out to get into the camera frame! So I go out determined to shoot minimal and I come home with frames packed full of stuff!

But on this occasion, minimal spoke the loudest. This is the memorial to those who died in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Being there commands silence, reflection, prayer (however you define it).

And a resolution on this brink of a new year to live every day as if it is my last. To get rid of clutter and go for what matters.

Best of 2013: June

Enders River, Connecticut
On this Sixth Day of Christmas, I chose this memento of a totally wonderful and fun trip to Connecticut and Massachusetts. The official excuse was to attend a friend's wedding, which I did and it was great fun.

But for three days before the wedding, I roamed and took pictures, and spent one wonderful day climbing mountains along with Google+ friend Craig Szymanski and his family. What a blast! They were so nice they didn't even walk off and leave the oldster struggling along in the rear! Truly great folks!

This is Enders State Forest. Craig put me on to the site and I spent a half a day there. Inside the State Park, the Enders River is mostly a series of lovely waterfalls. I take pride in this shot because I really had to innovate to get it. No tripod, of course, and it was cloudy, plus the tree canopy filters out lots of light.

So... I'm perched on a rock over the falls. I put the camera on a bit of bubble-wrap on the sloping surface of the rock, ease it over the edge to point down but keep it from falling with a foot on the strap, and take the picture with the cable release. Miraculously, it took only three tries to get the framing I wanted.

A 1/4-second shutter produced just the right balance of motion blur and texture in the water--at least for my taste! And in celebration of my continuously improving editing skills, I just did a bit more post on the image and it is better than when I first shared it last summer.