2014—Blue Pine

On Thursday afternoon, I drove up to Foresthill on an errand. I’d never before driven on Foresthill Road in the foothills and I thought the area was beautiful. On the way home, I pulled over just to look. And this “blue pine” is what I saw. I wonder if it’s a new species of pine or if someone was trying out a new canvas for his graffiti?

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2014—Green Goblin

I took a short walk Tuesday afternoon around my neighborhood to make sure the new walking shoes I bought for my trip were comfortable and to see if I could finally get my FitBit to register 10,000 steps. I was successful on both counts; the shoes were perfectly comfortable AND, I ended up with 12,000 steps, slightly more than 6 miles, for Tuesday. I took my D800 with the fisheye lens with me just to see what neighborhood shots would look like through a fisheye.

This is the most interesting thing I encountered on my late afternoon walk. I think this is supposed be a “green goblin,” as he was hanging from a tree along with several other Halloween-themed paper lantern like globes. It’s not too scary or eerie but I thought the sun peeking over the edge made him a bit more interesting than the others and besides, I couldn’t get up close to the others without stepping on a stranger’s lawn so I kept my feet on the sidewalk.

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2014—Blended Lily

On Monday, I took some macro shots of a beautiful orange lily that my friend Carly gave to me. The lily is unusual because it has a second row of spiky petals surrounding the stamen. I’d never seen a lily like this, nor had Carly. I think the name of it might have been on the bouquet when she presented it to me on Sunday but the name is now “gone with the wine!” And no, that is not a typo.

When I took the shots, though, only small parts of the flower were in focus and I wanted to show more of the flower detail. One of the focus issues I have discovered with macro photography is that the depth of field is so extremely shallow that only a very small portion of the photograph is in focus, even when using a small aperture, so despite my efforts, only a minuscule part of each shot was in focus. So, I wondered if I could create a “focus stacked” image in Photoshop. A few months ago, I’d never heard the term “focus stacking.” Now, I hear it all the time. Focus Stacking is a technique used to combine a group of photographic images, especially macro images, to create a single image that is in focus throughout. And I discovered that “Yes!” I could do it in Photoshop and it is easy. I took ten photographs of the lily, focusing on different parts of the flower in each shot. Then, exported the shots to Photoshop and with a few clicks, I had a Focus Blended image that shows most of the flower in focus. Wow!

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2014—Zombie Zin

My friends Katie and Carly joined me for dinner Sunday in a Halloween themed evening during which we tried several different appropriately named wines. We had four from which to choose so we pulled numbers from a hat to pick the order of consumption. “Zombie Zin” was first up. And this is the only shot I took all evening so there is no photographic record of “Ménage à Trois Midnight,” “Apothic Dark,” or “3 Girls,” and, the Bogle Phantom didn’t get picked in the draw so that bottle awaits; Halloween, perhaps? So readers of this blog won’t get too alarmed at our wine consumption, we didn’t finish the “3 Girls” Cab and “Apothic Dark” was an already opened bottle I had on hand. We sipped the “Zombie Zin” while taking precautions against vampires with roasted garlic spread on crostini.

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2014—Through The Looking Glass

I couldn’t resist using my new fisheye lens to take a selfie. But since I used the mirror to get my reflection, I decided to flip the photo so it looks as if it were taken from inside the mirror looking out at me.

Hmmm. I wonder if the Mad Hatter or White Rabbit might be lurking in there too? Uh oh! I guess I am in Wonderland after all. I think I see Tweedledum and Tweedeldee with Mady trying to pretend she doesn’t know these people.

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Tweedledum and Tweedledee, or is it the other way around?

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2014—After The Eclipse

I missed the partial solar eclipse on Thursday but didn’t even know to look for it until my photo buddy, Melinda, texted me to make sure I knew about it and what I needed for my lens to make sure I didn’t ruin my sensor. I was out and about during the eclipse but because it was mostly overcast, the sky was just a bit darker. About 5:30, as I drove down my street headed home, I noticed a fire rainbow as the sun began to dip a little so after parking in my garage, I grabbed my camera, ran to the middle of the street (perhaps a bit more dangerous than pointing my camera directly at the sun…at least for me) and fired off a couple of shots.

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2014—Ominous Pumpkins

I brought home a bag of gourds and mini pumpkins and decided they’d make a good subject. I’ve never really thought of an uncarved pumpkin as being sinister but when I added a dark vignette to this closeup grouping, I thought they looked a bit ominous despite their minuscule size.

Focal Length 70mm, ISO 100, f/8, 1/15s

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2014—Six Points

I’m not talking football here. This salad counts as 6 points on the Weight Watchers PointsPLus System and it was my lunch on Wednesday. This is my take on a Salad Niçoise with mixed greens, Feta cheese, tuna, Kalamata olives and assorted veggies that I had on hand.

In an effort to return my body to its less flabby state, I have rejoined Weight Watchers. I originally joined in 1971 when no added fat of any kind was allowed, when liver had to be consumed once a week, and when all alcohol was verboten. The WW points system is a dream come true for this life long weight struggler. Since we closed Famous Mo’s Coffeehouse & Theater a little more than a year ago, I have managed to stack on 18 unwanted pounds. I realized that I needed some help to get rid of it despite my success at dumping 80 pounds on my own almost 30 years ago and keeping most of that weight off. At that time, to do it, I didn’t rejoin Weight Watchers because of what I felt were unreasonable restrictions. But WW was my jumping off point and I modified it to make it a reasonable life style change for me, one at which I was very successful…until now. The WW points system is exactly what I needed to nudge me in the right direction and I can eat and enjoy anything that I want, including a glass or two of wine. I just have to count the points. In my case, I get 26 a day, with an additional 49 per week to use as I wish, and with additional points added for my efforts at the gym. So far, it’s working for me and in the first two weeks, I’ve lost 6.2 pounds (yes, we watchers of every pound take credit for every ounce lost).

I took this shot with my 50mm 1.4 lens, hand holding it, in natural window light. I used my Expodisc to set the white balance which I think is perfect. I also set the D800 to Aperture Priority, because I’m trying to get used to using this mode as I have noticed an improvement in exposure when I use Aperture or Shutter priority over Manual despite having used Manual Mode almost exclusively as my primary mode for the past 4 years. I’ll see how I like it.

Focal Length 50mm, ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/100

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2014—All The Live Long Day

I’ve been working’ on the railroad … railroad museum photos that is. The museum is filled with dioramas depicting everyday rail activities. And although most of the figures in the museum are modeled after volunteer docents making them very lifelike, I was most struck by the silhouettes of the roundhouse workers that were just that, silhouettes cut from plywood. The backlighting was what caught my attention. And the last shot is a gear, or something, on a piece of rolling stock that would have been serviced by the roundhouse workers.

Dinah won’t you blow your horn?

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