Focus isn’t great, but I like the look of this lone nandina berry with the bokeh in the background.
Of course it’s hummers again. I had a few precious minutes to photograph the hummers this morning until I had to abandon my project and go to the dentist for a disintegrating porcelain crown. I took these shots as this little guy hovered trying to get used to me and my flash. I just used the on-camera flash again, not the best choice, and because there was still deep shadow shortly after 7 this morning, I upped the flash to plus 1. The gorget is a bit too bright as a result but I like these shots because the hummer is on the wing although I have to admit my hummingbird shots in recent weeks are becoming pretty redundant.
This morning I revisited a shot I took about a year ago, a clear glass bottle and a wine glass both on black backgrounds with light reflected from the sides. I loved the effect and we’re going to use the wine glass on the Famous Mo’s website. My assignment today was to take a similar shot of an empty beer glass so that we can use that on the website as well. I had a much easier time with it today and decided to take a shot of the beer glass and of a stemless wine glass. I had help, as you can see in the third shot. Bobo was so curious about what I was doing on “her” window seat that she couldn’t resist intruding into the shot. I’m glad she did because it was only after I looked at the shot with Bobo that I realized that I was reflected prominently in the glass so I set the camera to take shots by itself and walked away, distracting Bobo so she’d stay out of the shot, too.
Despite the clear glass on the black background with reflected light, I changed the shots to black and white because the reflections contained a significant amount of color, including a red flower pot outside the window. I wanted the shot to be monochrome.
This is not the first time I have blatantly ripped off my friend Melinda’s photo idea. It’s been a year since I have actually admitted it although I’m sure I’ve done it without consciously making the effort. You can see my last ripoff admission here and you can see Melinda’s intriguing idea for today’s photo here. Her idea for “book spine poetry” so caught my attention that after reading her blog early this morning, I rounded up the books I thought might make an interesting poem and stacked them in a pile. When I got home this evening, photo-less, I decided to go ahead with my copy cat effort. The books were already stacked in the correct order. I just needed to get some lighting. After reading the poem over a few times, it sounded very Haiku-like to me. Sadly, there are 18 syllables, not 17, hence the title of my blog post.
“Life, medium raw
Cook like a rockstar, fabulous
Feasts, gone with the wind.”
There’s an extra syllable in the middle line; I suppose one could slur the word “fabulous” and change it to “fab’lous” making it sort of 17 syllables total. Regardless, I like the poem and I like the photo. I didn’t have to look hard for my book spine poetry inspiration, rather surprising since most of my reading of late is in the form of audiobooks, listened to while treading away at the gym. Not surprising is how many cooking related books were close at hand. But Keith Richard’s non-cooking themed tome, unless you consider frying one’s brain as cooking related, took me months to slog through. The two oldest books in the shot are “Fabulous Feasts” and “Gone With the Wind.” “Fabulous Feasts” was given to me by a friend more than 30 years ago, who thought I might enjoy reading about medieval cookery and ceremony. He was right. It is a fascinating read. And, this copy of “Gone With the Wind” is my mother’s original copy from 1939 with her name and the date inscribed in her beautiful hand inside the front cover.
When I went outside in the backyard this morning to see if there was anything interesting to photograph, the yellow morning light got my attention. My 28-300 mm zoom was already on the camera so I took some shots of budding leaves on the neighbor’s pear tree, a squirrel perched eating something in the pear tree, and the fountain. The hummingbirds were not in evidence. None of the shots I took was in crisp focus so I was disappointed in the result. Never one to be discouraged, however, I attached the tripod and tried again. By now the sun was shining directly on the lavender and the empty seed pods looked to be the most promising subject since the squirrel had long since left the area.
Even with the tripod, I was not completely happy with the lavender shots so I changed lenses. With the 24-70mm attached, I took several more shots. And, for one of the shots, the auto focus went completely out of focus for some reason. I actually liked that shot so I switched to manual focus and took a few deliberately unfocused. Trying for unfocused shots is definitely outside of my comfort zone but I think the resulting abstract is interesting and kind of fun and of course, it has lots of bokeh.
Now you see it:
Focal Length 70mm
Now you don’t:
Focal Length 66mm
I was hoping for more inspiring news headlines this morning when I decided to photograph today’s paper. After scanning the pages and thinking about composition, I found the two pages that worked best covered the street uprisings in Egypt and disgruntled storm victims on the east coast, both rather depressing headlines. But, as Mick Jagger croons, “you can’t always get what you want” and I have discovered that is so very true. I do like the shot in general, however. And I used one of my Lightroom presets called “Newsprint” that gives the shot a moody and freshly pressed look.
In its tune “Clouds,” the Manhatten Transfer sings “See the white and fluffy clouds adore the sun….” You can actually see the sun, presumably adored by the clouds, in the upper left of this shot. Late this morning, as I was taking photos of the fluffy clouds in Newcastle, my lens pointed directly into the sun, I heard a voice ask how I could get a photo with the lens facing the sun. I found myself telling this stranger about the exposure triangle and demonstrating the differences that changing the aperture and shutter speed made in the shot. When he asked if I was a professional photographer, I told him “no, but I’m good enough to be one.” Is that chutzpah, or what? I was actually quite proud of my self for telling him that.
I took this shot with my 24-70mm lens at maximum zoom, set at ISO 100, f/22, 1/400. But, I enhanced this shot using new software that just arrived in my inbox from onOne Software, a photo editing program I received as a freebee for attending an Adobe Lightroom class in December. I haven’t taken the time to read anything about it. I just selected one of the preset adjustments I liked (I have already forgotten what it was), reduced the effect a bit, and saved. I like the dark, broodiness of this shot, although the actual sky was not as dark looking in reality.
I set up this shot today to use on Famous Mo’s website. The site is still under construction but is not hidden from view so if you want to check out our progress, click here. This shot doesn’t appear as of this posting, though. I also designed the logo that appears in the background on my laptop screen. Of course I had to use my Mac for this shot; all the other computers at Mo’s are PC’s, just not my cup of tea (of coffee). My business partner, Jesse, cooperated by being a hand model for the shot. After I posted this to the blog, though, I realized that what I really wanted to post to the website was a black and white shot with only the logo in color. After a few false starts, I came up with this second version, so I had to edit the post and add it.
I think I much prefer the black and white version and it’s more in keeping with the overall theme of the Famous Mo’s website.
I have always loved this caption from a cartoon by Carl Rose, published in 1928 in The New Yorker. And, I only recently discovered that although the drawing was by Carl Rose, the caption, which is what caught my interest in the first place, was penned by none other than E.B. White. I, too, say, “it’s spinach and I say the Hell with it!” My shot today is of a head of broccoli that will soon be steamed and served on my dinner table, but not tonight. And, I found a link to a copy of the original cartoon. I don’t know why it has always amused me so much but I used to have a copy of this pinned to the wall in my cubicle at work.
I heard the helicopter flying over my house about 7:30 this evening and decided to try to photograph it. I heard no sirens or other activity that might point to any nefarious activity but I’ll never know what brought it out tonight. When the copters fly at night, they use their powerful searchlight to seek out their subject and I tried to capture that. It was a challenge to anticipate when the copter would reappear over my rooftop and then to focus the lens in time to get a shot before it disappeared behind the trees. All I could see in the darkness was the searchlight and a few other lights on the copter. Only when I downloaded the shots did I find one shot that revealved both the searchlight and some of the body, and that, only after I increased the exposure. I had already increased the ISO to 3200, so there is lots of noise, but in this case, I think it adds a bit of interest to the shot. And, besides, it’s the only shot I have to post today.