2015—Tile Roof

I’ve always loved the look of tile roofs. My house has one but my roof has mass manufactured concrete tiles, not handmade clay or adobe tiles like many of the tile roofs of the California missions and other old buildings here and in Europe. When I was looking at my photographs from France the other day, I ran across this shot I took of tiled roofs somewhere in France. I don’t recall exactly where I took these shots but it was somewhere along the Rhône River. The homes look like they might have been there for hundreds of years and the tiles are wonderfully aged with a rainbow of colors on cracked ivy covered stone and stucco walls…with, of course, the requisite TV satellite dishes and antennas to add a more modern look. No sense in artificially aging this photo with textures and filters in an attempt to make the photo look old…the antennas and satellite dishes would be a dead giveaway!


2015—France Revisited

I’ve been reviewing my photographs so that I can choose the ones I want to print for my camera club’s annual print competition. I discovered that a couple of photographs I took in France of iconic images adapted well to monochrome with a little texture added. These two might be candidates for printing.

The first, a photograph of the ancient Roman aqueduct Pont du Gard, has already appeared (click here) in the blog but in full color. I think I like the monochrome version better, especially with a bit of texture added. The second is my new favorite shot of Le Tour Eiffel. I took it looking up with only cloudy sky as a background.



2015—A Tangle Of Monkeys

I’ve been thinking about Costa Rica the past couple of days because I’ve just made arrangements to return to the Osa Peninsula and Luna Lodge this coming January with some photography buddies. The trip will give me another opportunity to photograph this idyllic place. I was thrilled with the photographs I took there and have printed many of them. But, as I reviewed the photos again, I found quite a few that were much better than I’d remembered, especially those from the one day I was so discouraged and distraught over my shortcomings and my unresponsive equipment that I hardly reviewed those shots. I was surprised to discover that I’d photographed what I believe to be a Howler Monkey family tangled high up in a tree. I know I wasn’t the only one of the group to take these shots but I don’t remember anyone saying they were howler monkeys and although I awakened to the sound of the howler monekys every morning, I didn’t think I’d seen one. I know these aren’t white faced monkeys or spider monkeys or squirrel monkeys and I read someplace that Costa Rica has only four species of monkeys, so they must be howlers.

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Something magic happens when my friend Cindy parks next to me at the gym. She has a Lincoln Navigator with chrome wheels that, at certain times of the morning, reflect onto the asphalt parking lot, creating stunning reflected images. The first time I saw this phenomenon I took some shots and Asphalt Glow (click here) was the result. Tuesday morning, as I left the gym and walked past Cindy’s car to mine, there, again, was the eye catching reflection. I took quite a few shots, then edited two in Perfect Effects 9 using some of their preset effects. The first reminds me of a star studded sky with searchlights. The second, after applying one of the preset light leak effects (reminiscent of old film days), reminds me of a lighted Ferris Wheel at night. As I said, magic!



2015—Butterfly Bush

My butterfly bush is doing its job and attracting butterflies! This is a common buckeye butterfly (Junonia Coenia) and its tongue is quite visible snaking down into the florets to drink the nectar in the second shot. I took these with the D7100 and 70-200mm lens at f/4, ISO 200, 200mm focal length using Aperture Priority. Shutter speeds ranged from 1/640 to 1/1250. I didn’t pay attention to the aperture and realized too late that the lens was wide open rendering such a shallow depth of field that the back edges of the bottom wings are slightly out of focus in a couple of the shots.




2015—Spectacled Owls—There And Here

Owls are intriguing and elusive raptors. I had an incredible opportunity to photograph a Spectacled Owl in the wild in the middle of the rainforest in Costa Rica this past January. After we had cautiously negotiated our way through the pathless tangle of vines in the midst of the dense foliage and oppressive humidity of the rainforest, trudging along shouldering our tripods, cameras and long lenses, fording a small creek, and finally photographing our target, a poison dart frog, our guide Gary spotted a pair of spectacled owls high in the trees. They were wary and we tried to be as quiet and unobtrusive as possible while we jostled for position below. My viewfinder had fogged up but I still managed to capture one of the pair and when it moved, I was even able to pick up and move my gear and find my target again.

A couple of Sundays ago, at the California Foundation for Birds of Prey Open House, I had a much easier time photographing a captive bred Spectacled Owl, Owlsley, the newest owl addition to Kate Marden’s West Coast Falconry operation in Marysville. He is not yet mature so the markings are not quite the same as the bird in the wild and the difference in Owlsley’s feathers in just a few months is amazing to see. And, if you look closely, I’m reflected in Owlsley’s eyeballs in the next to the last shot.

There, Spectacled Owl, in the Costa Rican rainforest on the Osa Peninsula in January 2015:

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Here, Owlsley, captive bred, in California, in September 2014 and May 2015:
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2015—California Golden Poppies — Black and White

California golden poppies, the official state flower, are prolific now and appear in every field and along just about every roadside and sometimes planted on purpose in gardens. They are my favorite wildflower and I found these at Miner’s Ravine while walking Mady at high noon on Sunday, not the best time to photograph anything. When I looked at the photographs, I decided to edit them in Perfect B&W 9 Suite because I wanted something a little different.



2015—Boat Shuttles

We’re trying to find a home for Mom’s loom which she had made by a craftsman in Stockton in the late 1950’s. That company is still in business but we’ve discovered it’s not easy finding a home for a large floor loom and all of its associated parts and pieces. I went to Santa Rosa on Friday on other business and took some photographs of the loom. As I photographed the shuttles, they reminded me of canoes and, indeed, they are called boat shuttles.


2015—Street Photography

In the 1930’s and 1940’s, street photographers took images of passersby and, I presume, sold them to those same passersby. I don’t know how long it took for the photographer to deliver the finished photograph to the subject or what the process was. I only know that in the boxes of family photographs I’ve recently acquired, there are quite a number of photos of family members walking on a sidewalk in either downtown Oakland or San Francisco.

I found this photograph of my mother, Evelyn, on the left and her sister, Ethel, on the right and decided to take my own photograph of the photograph and feature it on my blog because I reconnected with my cousin Penny a couple of days ago after many years. Her mother is Ethel.

These gals are dressed to the nines (of course today we’d think of it as “dressed to the nines” but they were probably merely going shopping at a time when dressing up and wearing hats and gloves was commonplace and expected for women when they left the house. I believe this photograph was taken in the late 1930’s when these sisters were in their early 20’s. The photograph is undated but because the skirts are long, I know it’s pre World War II.

I processed it in Silver Efex Pro and added a border and enhanced the brown tones a bit. It’s a small, 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch photo, a common size for that time period. I love the expressions of these two sisters looking directly at the photographer and I also love that they’re walking arm in arm.