One new photograph, almost every day of the year

Author Archive

2019—Grand Tetons in Black & White

Yesterday’s post was a color version of a similar view of the Grand Tetons.  Converting to black and white gives this majestic range a totally different look.

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2018—Beyond the Barns

We visited the Mormon Barns in the Grand Tetons in October and after taking some photographs of the barns with the Grand Tetons in the background, I decided I wanted to feature the Grand Tetons in my photographs without the barns.  I must have looked perplexed as I tried to decide whether I should walk behind the barn.  Afterall, there were other photopgraphers to consider who didn’t want me in their photograph.  Moose came over to ask what I was photographing and when I told him I wanted the mountains, he marched me to the field behind the barn.  And, the rest of our group followed.  There was an interesting low cloud formation that was surrounding the Teton Range that I wanted to capture.

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2019—Coco

Bobo has a new friend, Coco—that’s right—her new friend’s name is Coco.  And, no, I didn’t get another parrot. Coco, a 9 month old Red Headed Amazon, lives next door and looks almost like Bobo.   I knew my next door neighbor Liliana, age 11, got a baby parrot for her birthday a few months ago but I’d never met Coco until Friday when Liliana appeared at my door with Coco who’d injured his leg.  Liliana asked if I could fix it.  Well, I couldn’t.  But, my friends at the Roseville Bird & Pet Clinic could and they put a “cast” on Coco’s broken leg.  Coco’s been over to visit a few times since the injury but Bobo isn’t too keen on having green competition.  Bobo is curious about Coco but I’m not sure what she’d do if she were to get close so I don’t take a chance.   Bobo’s influence is felt, though.  Coco seems interested in hot, dried peppers just like Bobo is.  I sent him home with a bag of the spicy “chew toys.”

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2019—More Adventures in Light Painting

The second part of my Light Painting challenge was to create an outdoor Light Painting. Another Dave Black video that I watched inspired me to feature the situation of a broken down car as my first ever outdoor light painting project.  Two of  my friends, Royetta and Tommy, graciously agreed to help me. Besides modeling, my dear friends helped me during our two hour shooting session on a dead end road in the dark, by offering suggestions about everything from vehicle placement to moving our single safety cone to a more visible location to calling out to me to remind me which areas I needed to make sure I hit with the light.

Light Painting is new to me.  I’m trying to figure things out as I go along.  It was not all smooth sailing and everything didn’t go as planned,  but it was a fun adventure. To create this photograph, we’d moved the truck after taking several shots a few feet away because someone in the distance turned on outdoor lights that ruined subsequent shots by creating a distracting blotch of light.  With the change, the END sign moved from our original position in front of the truck to the back of the truck but the overall composition was much improved. I loved the END sign and knew it had to be in the photograph.  I decided to light the trees to help give the scene a bit of depth.

Although I’d already tried the flashlight I used for the light painting, it didn’t respond as it did while I practiced with it.  And, the snoot I made out of gaffers tape to better focus the beam of light still let out too much light so I was constantly squashing the snoot between my fingers.  The exposure was long, one minute. at f/8, ISO 64.  I used my Nikon D850 and my Nikkor 24-70mm VR lens set to 48mm, and my Vello Shutterboss so I could trigger the long exposure, with 10 second delay, remotely.  As Dave instructed, I had the Long Exposure Noise Reduction set in camera, even though I was at ISO 64.  That setting requires the camera to take an equal amount of time (i.e., one minute) at the end of the original exposure before producing an image.  After each 1 minute exposure, we anxiously waited another minute before we could see the results.  As I viewed each attempt, I could see where I needed to change my lighting and then I had to try to remember which areas I was giving too much light and which I’d missed and make those changes in the  next image.

I took a total of 21 photographs between 7:50PM and 9:30PM.  Each shot was unique because of the lighting.  I had to remember to light the hood, the side panels, under the tires to help anchor the truck, to spotlight Royetta and Tommy and her feet and the tool box.  The brake lights lit the END sign.  Last I lit the trees.  I ran out of time in more than one photograph.  I over exposed the models’ faces a couple of times.  This is the last photograph I took and it was our favorite of the night.  We were getting tired and a little rummy by this time.  And, there was no guarantee that I would remember to light everything I needed to light if I  tried again.  Best to call it a night while we were ahead.

This photograph is far from perfect but I’m pleased with my first attempt at this kind of photography.  I can see that Light Painting can become addictive.  I’m already planning another scenario to shoot. Afterall,  this was just my first try.  Next time can only be better.

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2019—Stanley No. 46

My husband was a woodworker.  His father was a cabinet maker.  When Moose gave me an assignment to create a table-top light painting, I knew instantly my subject would be the Stanley No. 46 Combination Plane that Ron’s father used more than 85 years ago.  The plane might even have been Ron’s grandfather’s plane as he came from a family of cabinet makers.  The Stanley No. 46 plane was introduced in 1874 and the fancy floral design was discontinued during World War I so the plane dates back at least 100 years.   I completed the scene with Ron’s chisel and mallet, a cherrywood box Ron made for me, a sample dove tail joint he chiseled, and a few wood chips and curls I managed to scrape off a piece of soft pine using some of Ron’s other planes and spoke shaves.  The background is an oak tool chest.

Light painting is a photographic technique that uses a long exposure and an off camera light source such as a penlight to illuminate portions of a scene.   The light painting is done in a dark, unlighted place.  I chose the workbench in my garage.  This assignment was my first attempt at light painting and it is addictive.  In the beginning, it is mostly trial and error.  Learning where to focus the light, how bright the light should be, how close to shine the light, and how long to keep it lit takes practice.  Deciding what parts of the scene should be illuminated and from what angle is a challenge.  I learned how to do this by watching a KelbyOne video about Light Painting from Dave Black, who, like Moose, is a Nikon Ambassador.

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2019—Young Roseate Spoonbill

There’s just something about baby animals.  They’re always cute, even when they might grow into something very un-cute.  Take, for instance, the Roseate Spoonbill.  Roseate Spoonbills are spectacular from a distance.  Their feathers are pink and in flight, that pink is stunning.  On close inspection, however, the Roseate Spoonbill is one of the most homely creatures and in my view, the homeliest bird.  But,  even young Roseate Spoonbills exhibit that baby cuteness, even with that ungainly bill and face.

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2019—Gliding to a Landing

A Herring Gull glides over the surf to land as the tide comes in at Daytona Beach in Florida.

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2019—Strutting

The tide was coming in at Daytona Beach in Florida and I was kneeling in the wet sand to get this shot.  The thin veneer of water atop the sand created a reflection as the Willet strutted in front of me toward the late afternoon sun.

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2019—A Tasty Morsel

This Willet on Daytona Beach in Florida enjoys a tasty morsel as the setting sun gives a warm tint to its feathers.  Nikon D5, Nikkor 500mm f/5.6 PF

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2019—Fish–It’s What’s for Dinner

We were at the Helen and Allan Cruickshank Sanctuary east of Orlando on our last day in Florida to see the endangered Florida Scrub Jay.  Although we heard and saw a couple of jays in the distance, we did not get close enough to get good photographs.  The afternoon was quite warm and I had already finished all my water.  We were starting back down the trail when an Osprey with a fish landed in the tree next to where we were standing and tore into its prey.  We kept expecting the Osprey to take the fish to the nest where the female kept calling.  This Osprey was apparently not the mate and was not on nest duty.  We watched as it devoured the fish piece by piece for most of an hour ignoring the female’s cries.  When we began to wilt from the withering sun and lack of water, we left the bird to finish without us.   Fish–It’s What’s for Dinner

The event did give me an extended time to practice my manual focusing skills which were put to the test.  I had the Nikon 2x Teleconverter and the Nikkor 500mm PF lens on the Nikon D5.  With that combination, f/11 as the largest aperture and auto focus is not an option.   I managed to get good focus on more than 60% of my images which is better than I’ve done since I’ve had the 500mm lens, but I should be doing better.  On my return home from Florida, I discovered that my vision was adversely affected due to dry eyes that prevented me from focusing my eyes.  Treatment has rectified that problem but I discovered that my distance prescription has also changed further affecting my ability to focus manually.   In retrospect, I began to notice my compromised vision in October, at the same time I got my new 500mm PF lens, so I attributed my inability to get sharp images using manual focus to the new lens, not to my eyes.  I’m assuming that my cleared vision and new optical prescription will help me do better with manual focus when I use the 500mm PF with the 2x teleconverter.

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