The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Ladle

It is funny how you can look at an object and all of a sudden want to take way too many photos of it -- searching for that photo that makes you happy.

I have this old ladle -- it came from my grandmother's house.  I remember this ladle being used quite a bit.  To someone else it may be plain and uninteresting.  For me -- it is an image of memories.  I spent quite a while taking photos of it yesterday.  I was working with depth of field.  All along I planned to go black and white with this series of photos.  Months ago, I took a series of photos similar to this of a fork and scissors -- all converted to black and white.  I loved those and want to do more.  The ladle was one of the first subjects to pop into my mind.  There is a butter knife next in line -- but it needs a little cleaning first; oh and that little pickle fork too!

Now, this ladle is in need of a little cleaning -- but I found the bit of tarnish to give it a little character.  The photos are all interesting.  I am happy with the way most turned out.  I liked the light play off of the bowl of the ladle.  

The photo on the blog is my favorite of the bunch.  I really like this composition and the depth of field.  This is a conversion to black and white using Silver Efex -- it is slightly toned.  This photo was taken with my Tamron 18-250mm zoom.  I had the camera on the tripod and zoomed in to get the frame filled the way I wanted -- nothing is cropped.  The aperture was set at f/6.3 and the shutter speed was 1/8 second.

I am very pleased with this photo and I plan to print it larger -- on a sheet of the Ilford Art Photo Paper.  


Friday, February 27, 2009

The Canvas at Dogwood

The oddest thing is happening -- I am trying to get to an old post -- the post titled "The Canvas."  I cannot get it to load for me.  Oh well....

I wanted to let you all know that "The Canvas" will be hanging at Dogwood Gallery for the next few weeks.  The canvas is actually titled "Daisy 4" and it is featured in the 'Gifts by Hand' section of the new issue of Arts & Expressions Magazine.  Tonight is the party at Dogwood for the new issue.  Artists with pieces in the magazine will have them on display.  

The canvas gallery wrap of the black and white daisy print is very nice.  I think it is so nice that it has been in my living room since it arrived last month.  

In addition to the canvas up for sale tonight -- I will offer up an 8x10 print as a door prize.  The door prize print is the photo on the blog today.  I love the simplicity of this photo.  


Thursday, February 26, 2009

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Stormy Weather

I had the plan to do a post on the storms that went through here last week and I completely forgot.  Oh well -- things have been a little busy lately and will get busier next month -- which is in just a couple days!  I don't know what I was doing -- but I realized that March is Sunday!

As of this week, I am one third of the way through with my first photography class through the leisure classes at Clayton State University.  This is fun and a little different -- a larger group than I am used to -- but a great group of people.  Beginning on Sunday I have a small, intimate class starting at Dogwood Gallery in Tyrone.  I haven't had a class at Dogwood before either -- so again -- a new place.  Then on March 6, I have a Photoshop Elements for Beginners class at the Fayette Senior Center.   

Of course, I am also busy working on Nature Undisturbed.  Some big announcements will be coming soon about the events -- there will be something fun and informative each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Remember the dates for this show are April 24 through May 3.  Mark your calendars -- you won't want to miss an event if you are a photographer or just like to look at photos.

OK -- back to the storm -- February 18 some serious thunderstorms were rolling through Atlanta.  We were keeping a close eye on them by watching TV and checking the Internet.  We had to shut down all the electronic equipment in the house twice (I have had lightning hit a house once -- I unplug everything!).  It seems that the worst of the storm went a bit south of us and some other parts of the storm line were just north of us.  We had no serious winds or hail at our house -- not even that much lightning.  

The clouds were really swirling and moving fast.  Of course, I grabbed the camera.  My husband and I stepped out on the front porch and heard a sound.  He asked, "What is that?"  To which I replied, "gee, I think it is the tornado siren -- look at that cloud."  So, with camera in hand I stepped out into the yard and then moved to the back of the house and onto the deck.  It was standing on the deck that I took the photo on the blog today.  I thought the clouds looked so tall and fluffy -- kind of that wispy thing going on.  

Since the storms came through near sunset the lighting on the clouds was dramatic in some places and more subtle in others.  I like this photo with the bits of light picking up certain spots along the wall of clouds.  Another part of this photo that I really like is the bare tree sort of near the center looking as if it is reaching up to the clouds as they dip down.  I had the 50mm lens on the camera and my settings were aperture f/2.8 and shutter speed 1/125.  Of course with a landscape-type photo like this I would have preferred having a smaller aperture -- but I opened up the aperture to give me a faster shutter since I was handholding.  I chose to convert this photo to black and white to highlight the little bright spots of the cloud and the silhouette of the trees.

Time for the disclaimer -- I do not advocate going outdoors during storms and certainly not during tornado watches and warnings.  


Monday, February 23, 2009

In the Company of Daisies...

I have had some of my favorite subjects around the house the past couple days.  I love daisies.  Usually I bring home the white ones.  Call me a purist -- but I just like white daisies.  Well, this weekend I had a baby shower at the house.  The shower was for a boy -- and since it was a baby boy, I found a really pretty bunch of daisies that included blue.  There were white as well -- but the blue was a very pretty blue.

So again the Composer got a workout today.  I started with the +4 macro attachment.  Then I switched to the +10 attachment.  Then I stacked them.  The photo on the blog today was made with the +4 and +10 stacked.  

I really like the focus point.  The blue petals get the blur -- they appear almost fluid.  Again -- my eye sees blur in photos first as movement.  These petals are like water in a creek -- the curves, the flow.

When I am playing around with flowers at home, I have a nice place in the kitchen near a window.  I like to use the window light and the light in the kitchen -- no flash.  This photo was taken using auto white balance.  I used the f/4 aperture ring in the Lensbaby.  The shutter speed was 1/30 and the ISO 100.  Of course, I used a tripod.  In Photoshop I adjusted the contrast, shadows, and highlights a little and ever so slightly boosted the saturation.  Just a little on the saturation -- too much always looks funky to me.

So now I can add blue daisies to my list of favorite flowers.  


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Long Exposures

It is kind of interesting that when people first come to a photography class they are interested in getting super sharp photos.  They will ask, "what can I do to have the photo sharp all over?"  And yes -- that is a good thing for some photos.  But just as having your subject in the middle of every frame -- having a super sharp photo, throughout, can get pretty boring.  

I think this is why I love the Lensbaby -- I can get blur (usually where I want it) without having to use a long exposure and hunt down some movement.  Like in a recent blog -- the blur from that one tree, in the bare trees photo, makes me feel there is movement and the tree is moving away.  It isn't -- but to me, the first thing I think of when I see blur like that in a photo is movement.

My favorite photos are the ones with some blur in them.  It does show movement, an event, a happening.  I have an old family photo of my great grandparents standing in front of their home.  It was taken in the early 1900's.  In the photo, from the elbows down, my great grandfather's arms are quite the blur.  Photography at that time needed time to create the image.  The subjects needed to be still for a certain number of seconds in order to create the image.  Obviously in this image, my great grandfather moved his arms -- either swinging them down to his side or up from his side during the time the photo was being made.  I like this little bit of movement.  For me -- it shows life.

Again this year I took some photos of a play that my daughter's school group recently performed.  I was allowed to go up above the crowd to the location of the 'light guy.'  This is a great spot to photograph the action.  Since I had to have my daughter there early.  I did not have a lot to do -- but I went up to find my spot.  Here I could look down onto the audience and the stage.  What a great time to play around with some long exposures!

I selected shutter priority and played with a couple different shutter speeds; about two seconds was giving me the look I really wanted.  Here I had movement -- and some people were moving so quickly that they barely appeared!  The chairs -- of course, being completely still -- help set the movement off with their stillness -- sharpness.  

I believe in any good "movement" photo you need some nonmovement to really have a balance.  You see many photos with water as a blur -- showing the movement of the water.  What really sets it apart is that in the same photo you will have rocks or trees in sharp focus.  I have seen some very beautiful photos of a beach scene with the water/waves in complete blur and the shore/rocks are very sharp.  

Just think -- years and years and years ago (long time ago) it was considered a major accomplishment to have people show up in a street scene.  When the exposures had to be so long -- people walking on the streets would not show up.  It was a huge development when the exposure time was short enough to show someone actually walking in a street scene.   When you have the opportunity to play with the shutter speed and see how a long exposure will not capture all of the movement -- you can see how needing that length of time would effect what you could photograph.

When we are making photos we are playing with light and playing with time.  


Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Find

The other day I was poking around through some old photos from almost a year ago.  Let's just say right now my organizational skills for photos are not that great.  I think I have a good system to remember and find certain photos -- but really -- I don't.  When I do find something that is a little old and good -- it is a nice surprise.

The photo on the blog today is one of those nice surprises.  I like the simplicity of it.  It seems that lately I am liking more and more just a nice, simple image.  This image is from my "learning to use the Lensbaby" period of late winter 2008.   I was pretty sure it was a Lensbaby photo -- but then I checked my EXIF data.  Sure enough I saw an f/0.0 -- bingo -- Lensbaby!

When you want to play and practice with your camera, a lens, or any other piece of equipment it is always nice to have some subject matter you like.  I have always liked flowers.  When I am teaching a class I like to tell people -- "I love taking photos of flowers, they don't move or talk back."  (OK, that is stealing a little from Georgia O'Keeffe -- but hey -- it is true!)  This delicious yellow tulip was picked from the bin at Publix and rushed home for a photo session.  

What I like about this photo is the color -- the green and yellow -- it is very fresh.  The color and softness are very nice.  I like that the tulip is upside down.  This is the way the photo was taken.  Sometimes I flip things -- but not this time. 

So -- yeah -- I go on about winter not being such a bad time for photos -- and it is not.  But if you are not into bare trees or skeleton yarrow blooms (that should have been removed from the yard last October), stop in a local grocery for some great blooms.  Today being Valentine's Day -- they can do double duty -- a nice gift and a nice subject -- all week long!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Bare Trees

This week I have been looking at bare trees -- a lot.  This is a good time to get out and get those shots before spring arrives.  Just about an hour ago I noticed buds on the tips of some limbs as I drove by a favorite swampy spot.  Redbud trees are blooming -- as well as a couple other trees that I have no clue what they are -- but they are sporting some blooms.  

A couple days ago I was out in the back yard -- again -- playing with the Composer -- again.  I looked up at the trees at the edge of the woods.  The photo is interesting to me.  I like the bits of sharpness, blur, and almost the smudge of the tree on the right.  Since the tree on the right is so blurred -- it gives me the sense of movement -- like that tree is running away from the other one.  The sky was mostly overcast but bright.  I blew out the light enough to hide shapes of clouds.   The look I wanted was just the bare tree against the background of a blah sky.  The tree is the focus not the sky -- and I did not want even a cloud to detract from the tree.

When the end of a season is looming I feel all this pressure to get out and get my photos of the "look" before it is gone.  In fall I hustle for the color before the leaves drop.  Even after they start to drop -- I hustle for the bits of color left on a tree.  In summer you are hunting the least bit of full green foliage or flowers.  In the spring you are competing with the time and the life of a bloom.  Those cherry trees have a "shelf life."  Now I am feeling it (the hurry up thing) for the bare tree photos or photos of the woods without leaves getting in the way.  Just the other day I noticed the leaf buds on my clemantis vine.  

Spring is coming -- get in those winter photos now -- next thing you know leaves and blooms will be all around you.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Crocs and The Barefoot Photographer...

You may wonder what someone who loves to go barefoot is doing with a favorite place on her blog for a shoe company.  And OK, it is not even what is known as a cute shoe company.  (Remember now, cute is in the eye of the beholder.)  But have you seen those leopard Malindis?  Oh my gosh -- I have to have a pair.  I am a leopard shoe junkie.  Anyway -- enough about me and my love of leopard shoes.

Way back in the blog I wrote about loving to go to Line Creek Nature Area to take photos.  It is a great spot (even with all the horrendous construction going on -- who really needs another shopping center???  OK, another blog, another time).  It is really nice to wear my Crocs when I am out shooting.  When I go out to areas like Line Creek it can be a little dirty, dusty, wet or muddy depending on recent weather.  Let's be real, I am not out traipsing through the woods barefoot -- as much as I like it -- it can be a little dangerous.  There are times I am out and about in my yard and the woods behind the house barefoot.  That is not as dangerous or creepy since it is my yard.  The only time a big problem comes into play here is if I run through a fireant mound!

In the last couple years I have been out and about in my Crocs at the creek, on the side of the road (love those cows just down the road from me), in an auto junkyard, on trails, etc.  They are so comfortable.  I can be on my feet all day walking and shooting -- my feet never get tired or hurt.   There are other times I am on my feet for a long period of time in a gallery or at a photo show.  You are there to meet people and talk with many attendees about your photos or the show in general.  It can be distracting if shoes hurt your feet.  This is when the Malindis come into play.  I wear the black Malindis often at a photo show.  They look good with what I am wearing and they are super comfortable.

When I need to wear cute shoes for something -- and it is wet and rainy -- I reach for the black Malindis.  If I am out in the wet -- mud, grass, leaves, you name it -- cleaning my shoes at the end of the day is simple and easy.  This is true for the Malindis or the clogs I wear on field shoots. There have been times I have taken them into the shower with me to clean up after a day out on a dirty trail.  Many times I have wished that my other photography gear was as easy to clean and lightweight to carry as my Crocs.  

One day at the creek -- I spent quite a bit of time kneeling on rocks to get certain perspectives.  I loved the shots I got -- but my knees did not like the time spent on the rocks.  I thought about the kneeler sold by Crocs -- then I spotted another accessory -- the Crocs knee pads!  Aha!  How great is this?  These are easily packed in a camera bag (what better to help cushion a lens or camera?) or hung on the outside of the bag.  They are so lightweight; it is like packing a feather.  There is no downside to toting them along -- and there is an incredible benefit to have them with you, especially in rocky locations. 

So yeah -- I am The Barefoot Photographer.  I am barefoot as much as possible -- at this very moment in fact.  But, there are times when nothing is a good as a pair of Crocs.  Crocs shoes are one of my better pieces of non-photographic photography equipment.


Monday, February 9, 2009


Friends of ours have become parents!  Great news!  I love babies.  Last week I took photos of the little one sleeping and awake.  It has been a long time since I had a baby around the house. They sure do sleep through just about anything.  One whole photo session -- he was asleep! That's OK -- we got some cute sleeping shots.  But still -- we wanted those eyes open!

The second session -- he was awake.  He is not yet a month old.  He is almost to the point where he has a little bit of personality showing through.  The awake session did not last as long as the "sleeping" one. Funny thing about babies -- they are much more patient asleep than awake...

The first session I had my 50mm lens and used natural light from a southwest facing window.  It was mid afternoon and the light from the window was perfect.  Mom turned his face toward the window for me.  By the time we really got going with the photos, the sky was clouding up.  But there was plenty of light and the 50mm was great to get a nice, natural glow.  I did not have to do much of anything with Photoshop or the Nik plugins to get a nice look for the photo.  He has great skintone!  I did use the Silver Efex to create black and white versions of the color photos.

The second session, I decided to use the Tamron zoom (18-250mm) and I had my flash with me. Wouldn't you know it the batteries died in the flash before I could do much of anything with it. Oh well -- I usually hate a flash anyway.  Again to the window!  He was in a good mood -- which helps a lot with babies. He had just eaten -- so I knew he would be taking a nap -- soon.  So we worked quickly to get a few good shots with his eyes open.  One of them I really like a lot -- I love it in black and white -- it is the one on this post.

The next time I go -- I plan to take along the Composer and hope I have time to play a little with it for some portraits. 


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Finding a Photo Where You Least Expect It

Many believe that in winter you will be limited for photo opportunities outdoors.  A couple weeks ago someone mentioned to me about the photo show -- and the site specific category -- that they felt they were incredibly limited to get out and get a great shot at this time of year.  They said that there was no color -- no interest.  I pointed them to my photos taken January 15 and 16 at Sam's Lake.  I love those photos.  The early morning color on the water is great.  And remember -- it was pretty darn cold when I took those photos!  Even in February you can find interest outdoors.  I am thinking about heading down through the woods behind the house tomorrow.  

On Groundhog Day I stepped just outside my back door (I did not see my shadow -- yay early spring) -- into the 'courtyard' area of the yard.  OK -- I admit it right here and now that I am a neglectful gardener.  There are old stems of flowers in the beds -- they should have been removed months ago.  But they weren't -- and now I am glad.  I went out with the Composer to see what could be found.  I found a couple clumps of volunteer broomsedge -- it will be removed within the next couple weeks -- promise.  But in the mean time -- it makes for an interesting subject -- especially with the Lensbaby.

There were quite a few old dead butterfly bush blooms.  These are great for a macro.  Then I spotted a few yarrow stems with remnants of the bloom that was last year so brilliant red.  Now it is skeletal and an excellent subject.  This is the photo on the blog.  Another one of the yarrow I like fills the frame with the skeleton bloom.  The toughest part was the slight breeze that would jostle around my subject -- this is not a good thing -- especially for macro and double especially for the Lensbaby.

I am still playing with the Composer and in the next few days I will blog about it and the contrast to the 3G.  I can say that I like them both and that they are so different I don't feel that one would replace the other.  Yesterday I bought some beautiful tulips to use as subjects for some play.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Link Removed

I neglected to mention in the post yesterday that since the deadline for Nature Undisturbed has past -- I have removed the link to the call for entries on the blog page.

If you read an old post that refers to the link in the upper left -- and you look for it -- it is gone.

More news about the show will be posted as the date nears.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

7 Photography Questions Podcast

This blog entry will concentrate on one of my new favorite photography tools.  It is a podcast called '7 Photography Questions.'  This is one of the best ways to learn tips and techiniques to improve your photography.  The podcast is available on iTunes and through the website 7 Photography Questions.

The interviewer, Audri Lanford, is a self-described digital photography fanatic.  On the website she mentions her passion for digital photography.  You can tell she is very interested.  Audri has quite a series going of interviews with many notable photographers.  What I love is that she speaks with certain photographers about their forte -- not just about photography in a general sense.  

Since I have been concentrating on nature photography lately -- due to the upcoming Nature Undisturbed show -- I have been listening to her interviews with William Neill, Ed Cooper, Jennifer Wu, Brenda Tharp, and Jim Zuckerman.  I have been trying to perfect my landscape photography -- work out some kinks and get the photo I want.   One interesting points to hear is what tools these photographers use to get their photos.  I love to hear what lenses they use the most and what lens they rarely use.  Also -- filters -- do they use them to get certain looks or are they using the natural light and not heavy into filters.

Landscape photography really goes from good to great with your level of sharpness.  To hear the tips on getting the sharpness you want is priceless.  And guess what -- this podcast is free!  The great thing about 7 Photography Questions is that Audri covers a variety of photographic interests.  Perhaps you could not care less about landscape photography -- but you have other types of photography in mind.  She has interviews with photographers known for nature, landscape, children/portraits, dogs, aviation, fashion, fine art, HDR, travel, sports, food, and flower photography.  There are also interviews that build on techniques for composition and lighting.  I know I left something out.

I love is to hear the photographers talk about not being so wrapped up in the techinical aspect of photography.  I remember William Neill saying he never remembers what he takes anything at as far as settings go.  What a great thing to hear -- I hate when someone asks me what settings they should use for a certain situation.  How about hearing someone famous say they leave the camera on auto white balance?  It is very educational to hear what the don't use and the camera features that they do use to get such spectacular images.  

I wish the sound quality was a little better -- well -- I don't know if it can be better.  I feel like I am eavesdropping on a phone conversation when I am listening to this. Audri's voice reminds me of someone - sooner or later I will remember who it is.  

One thing about these podcasts -- the length!  When I first got my iPod I found all these cool podcasts -- but when would I have the time to listen???  Last December I made a road trip to Virginia -- it was great -- hours in the car with plenty of time to get through a backlog of podcasts.  Another way I make time for them is to actually get on the elliptical and not just look at it.  Time spent waiting in the car when I am picking up my daughter is a good bit of 'what-the-heck-else-do-I-have-to-do" time for podcasts listening.  No matter what your experience level is, this is definitely a podcast worth making the time for.


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