Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Eve Snow

Who knew we would get enough snow over night to make the landscape picturesque. Rain was called for in the afternoon and I was not heading out until a photo pal gave me a call! Thanks for that. It was a beautiful snowy morning at Loch Raven. We went into the pine forest on the north side of the lake where I noticed the snow lay heavy in the pines. I made numerous multiple exposures there....too many...but I love that look and the conditions were perfect with the snow laden branches. After there we drove around to the open area by Feather Island, and made some images there. I love the snow!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Longwood Gardens Christmas

Today, Don, Steve and myself made a run up to Longwood Gardens. It was a bitter cold sunny and windy day, not the best for the gardens...and the dam road over the Susquehanna was closed due to icing. Then I realized I had left my macro lens in the big bag in my car.....; - ( Well that was OK, just a challenge to see things differently, I had plenty of gear with me. After a quick walk through the whole conservatory, which allowed our gear to adapt to the different temperatures and humidity inside I decided to make some environmental images. The crew at Longwood never ceases to amaze me with their taste, talent and gardening skills. They had set a beautiful table in the Mediterranean Room which attracted my eye for a possible HDR image. I then headed to the tropical room and started to make an image of a planted Holiday tree when this plant covered door caught my eye. I then headed back to the music room which had been set to resemble a sweetheart holiday dinner party a la the DuPont's. It was elegant, romantic and beautifully decorated! Having been a retailer I appreciated the presentation of dinner tables, set with china, silver and crystal, adorned with arrangements and gift packages. A dozen sweetheart tables are set for a romantic dinner dance. This enchanting party scene features fine, custom-made dinnerware created by decoupage artist Scott Potter. Finally I made a few Lensbaby images of holiday ornaments on the trees. Then it became so crowded it was impossible to shoot and every time I set my tripod up I drew a crowd of other photographers who wanted to see and shoot what ever I we headed out!
On the way home we scouted the canals along the Susquehanna for ice, and I think the ice will be good by Sunday morning! So we planned an ice shoot for Sunday!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Water Totems

Today I had a chance to get out a little in the afternoon and make some reflection images at Loch Raven. The light in the cove was perfect and the colors were magnificent. They reminded me of the colors of the south west, adobe orange, ivory, charcoal black like the cave dwelling figures and turquoise blue.

Each shot was very impressionistic as the ripples in the cove kept changing with the winds, and the reflections of the trees on the opposite bank took on very interesting shapes in the water. Reflections are best when the light is behind your back, striking the opposite side of the river or cove. The one shot which I included here that is a straight shot will give you an idea of the scene where I was shooting.

The square images here are mirror images, mirrored twice, once on the horizontal and then on the vertical creating the "Totem" pattern effect. I enjoy creating these patterns from reflections in water. It is always a bit of a surprise how the final image will appear.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Past

1952 My First Christmas, Mom and me.

Mom, me, sister and brother; Mom was such a creative present wrapper.

Dad, set the camera on a tripod and jumped into the picture at Grand Dads house, 1956.

Fork, Maryland My uncles house "Walnut Hill" loved those Flexible Flyers!

Dad chuckled when he took this, how neatly lined up all the snow boots were!

Christmas Past
A Christmas Poem by Carice Williams
Each Christmas I remember
The ones of long ago;
I see our mantelpiece adorned
With stockings in a row.
Each Christmas finds me dreaming
Of days that used to be,
When we hid presents here and there,
For all the family.
Each Christmas I remember
The fragrance in the air,
Of roasting turkey and mince pies
And cookies everywhere.
Each Christmas finds me longing
For Christmases now past,
And I am back in childhood
As long as memories last.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

Officially the shortest day of sunlight of the year! Finally I got out after the storm and delivered some more Christmas gifts. Put the little tree up inside and headed out just before sundown to see if I could make any images today. I headed to Loch Raven along the drive where the setting sun lights up the trunks of the tall pines. Feeling a little lazy I decided to try some swipes while the sun was on the trunks. After doing some swipes I turned my eye toward the sun as it was coloring the snow between the trunks of the pines orange against the blue snowy shadows. I made a few more abstract images there. When the sun went down I headed toward the dam area to see if I could make any more images before heading home. There were some nice reflections of the bare trees on the snowy hillside. I got my tripod out and made some images along the waters edge. These are my tributes the the Winter Solstice!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow Day Images

When I woke up this morning and looked out the window, I saw the snow plows had been through the neighborhood over night. I thought that was good, maybe I could get out and make some images! But after donning my snow clothes again, I realized when I saw how much shoveling I now had to do, that was going to be the total of my efforts for the day. When I finished the shoveling project, I started wrapping Christmas presents and before I knew it the time had slipped away and it was Ravens game time. So, I did not get out to make any snow images today.
Tonight I processed one more image, "Rose Hips in Snow", which I made yesterday from the kitchen window. I was unsure of its value, but loved the colors and delicacy of my subject, so I revisited it tonight. After adding a layer of texture and a slight layer of fill color tonight, I decided I liked it and now I had achieved the "look" I had begun to envision, as I was processing it last night...sometimes images do evolve! The other image "Snowy Holiday" I processed yesterday and liked just the way it was but did not include it in yesterdays blog.
Maybe I'll get out that I have all my Christmas presents wrapped!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Baltimore Blizzard

Well who knew!!! we would get such a snowfall this early...maybe Mike Kalcevic, who said early on it was going to be a bad winter after looking at the woolly bear caterpillars with their very black coats in fall. I went out around 10:00 am and cleaned the car and driveways, but didn't think it prudent to get in the car and drive anywhere to take some photos, so I came in after I finished shoveling. Then I did some office work, thought I was going to wrap some more presents, but instead after looking at some images Steve Harman made in his yard in the morning, decided to do some hand held window shooting.....OK, OK it was just a photo jones to see what I could do...out the window! I love stopping the snow flakes as they fall and they were coming down pretty fast, so I needed a fast shutter speed. Deciding to hand hold with my 200 mm 2.8 I cranked the ISO to 200, and set the aperture to 2.8. I like shallow depth of field and since I did not have too many vantage points wanted to minimize my backgrounds...some of the shots I liked but of course because I was hand holding were not sharp, so I put some through Topaz for a little bit of an artistic neighbors out with the kids made some nice subjects.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Governor's Cup Photography Contest 2009

Today, I wrapped and delivered my first Christmas presents. ; - ) Completed my sewing project Christmas present and finished the holiday lights outside. I have also readied my camera gear in hopes of making some images of the predicted snowfall on Saturday or Sunday.

Yesterday, I received this e-mail regarding my submissions to the Governors Cup Photography Contest.

Congratulations! You have won first place in the black and white category for “Stowing the Jib.” You also received second place in the color category for “Ready for the Start” and honorable mention for “Reflection.”

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

DC Day Trip

Today Diane and I visited The National Geographic Museum Terra Cotta Warriors Exhibit. It is an awesome collection. We also viewed the many wildlife photographs on display in Polar Obsession; Photos by Paul Nicklen also on display in the National Geographic building. We met Nadia McIlhany for lunch in the National Geographic cafe. After lunch Diane and I also visited the Newseum. While we found the admission a little steep, $21.00 a person, however I must say it is a fabulous museum filled with six floors of amazing displays and info. from Tim Russert's complete office as it was the day he had a heart attack to the Pulitzer Prize traveling exhibit of images. The gallery of Pulitzer Prize images I felt most moved by. It is a collection of amazing images captured over decades of reporting and they are all iconic. I recommend that any photographer, nature or otherwise, get to see this stunning, moving array of images. There are images on display from the only photographer who died shooting the destruction of 911 in New York and his three Canon cameras he had that day with him. The images he made were recovered and are on display. After making a quick tour, we could have spent days.......we headed out for the car as night fell. We made a few night time images, mostly by the escalators to the Metro, we were having fun with time exposures with people heading down into the subway. I also made a couple HDR images of the Archives Building. It was a long but fun filled day of looking at images and the history of the Qin Dynasty.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Little Mirroring Magic

Spent the day doing holiday mostly, and I did have dinner at P.F. Changs with some good friends. Last night I did not get a chance to post these fun images. I goofed around with some of the frozen images I made and applied some mirroring effects in Photoshop. I enjoy the results of this process, as one really never knows exactly how they will look. They are always perfectly symmetrical, and the merged intersections create some interesting shapes. This is a very simple process in PS and fun to play around with different images to see the effects.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Frozen Beauties...

I'll be keeping an eye on the weather and the temperature predictions for the coming weekend. There might be another opportunity to shoot some icy beauties like yesterday. I already had a call from Annette to notify her if I go.
; - )) One thing for sure there will be plenty of water in the canals for ice to form.

Just processed a few more from yesterday. Watching the Ravens, doing some office work and laundry!

About the images here: All of them were shot using a 200 mm macro. The frosted leaf shot is an in camera image overlay, for a textural effect created with a swipe from last weekends snow shots. Leaf Abstract is also an image overlay in camera with a swipe from last weekends snow images, and then I went a little artsy and did some other Photoshop work. Winter Vision is also an image overlay using last weeks snowy images. The rest are straight shots processed in PS and Topaz Adjust.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winters Hand

Last night when I heard the weather forecast for freezing temps over night, I decided to make a run up to the Susquehanna State Park early in the morning. I found exactly what I had hoped for, frozen edges along a pond. I marvel at the beauty of gently frozen water as it creates bubbles and shapes over the fallen leaves. It is truly nature's art. It was 28 when I pulled out of the garage, so I was pretty sure it had been cold enough over night to create this effect. I shot for several hours with Steve, and used my 200 mm macro all the time. Ice in the shade is very blue, so I also changed my white balance to shady. After shooting around the pond a quick trip north netted some icy "blobs" hanging from some leaves that had adhered to logs along side the river.

After shooting there for a half hour I was sufficiently frozen, that I needed to warm up with some coffee and waffles at the Waffle House.