The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

10 Wildflowers Blooming by the Road

It is the time of year to keep one eye on the side of the road -- the see what wildflower is in bloom and where you can find it.  I have been looking and here is a quick list I put together of 10 that I am seeing now in Georgia just a little bit south of Atlanta.  Depending upon where you live and when you read this -- things will be different...
  1. Blackberries  Those beautiful arcs of bright white blooms are blackberries.  There seems to be an abundance of the blooms this year. Blackberry blossoms are good nectar producers.  The berries are well-known for their antioxidant properties.   hmm, last year I made Dandelion Wine -- this year maybe wine from blackberries.
  2. Purple Verbena  This flower is so pretty.  As you drive along you spot a nice low growing splash of purple right on the side of the road.
  3. Oxeye Daisy  This has to be my favorite flower of all time.  The simple Oxeye Daisy is so elegant on its tall slender stem.  I have read that Native Americans used a weak tea made from the oxeye daisy to sooth a fever.
  4. Horrible Thistle  So harsh and so easy to spot whether it is in a cow pasture or by the road.  The heavy duty looking plant with that bold magenta bloom stands out like the sore thumb you will get if you grab it in the wrong spot.
  5. False Dandelion  Not your Common Dandelion -- this one is on a tall slender stem, very much like the stem of the Oxeye Daisy.  The bloom does look like the other Dandy.
  6. Common Dandelion  This is the one with the brilliant yellow blooms and those seed heads filled with tiny parachuting seeds.  The Common Dandelion's stem grows about 10 inches high and the False Dandelion's stem can grow to about 3 feet high.  About this time last year I posted a blog about making Dandelion wine from my great granddaddy's recipe. 
  7. Hastate-Leaved Dock  This plant is seen just about everywhere.  It grows in groups, spreading patches.  The reddish haze in a field is this plant.  The stems are clustered and can grow as tall as 3 feet.  
  8. Bluets  Tiny perennials that grow to 6 inches or less.  Four pale blue petals form the bloom.  The middle of the bloom is a yellow eye.  These are very delicate, small, and pretty.
  9. Crimson Clover (OK I have that song stuck in my head now too -- the Joan Jett version) is pretty and a striking deep red to see along the side of the road.  This is an important plant.  The plant is used to control erosion in many places.  The clover produces a lot of seed that will spread or can be collected easily for other areas.  There have been studies to determine that the main pollenators of crimson clover are honeybees.  We have all heard about the disappearing honeybee -- so this is good news and will help keep them around.
  10. Blue Toadflax  Another one of those plants responsible for that haze of color you see along the roadside or in a field.  Taken one by one these are tiny, delicate blue blooms on tall, slender stems.  When they grow in large groups -- the effect is beautiful.  I am thinking of one field I saw recently.  The red barn sets back from the road and in the field in front of it are clouds of blue here and there.  Very pretty.
One man's weed is another man's wildflower.  The photo on the blog today is of a blackberry bloom from my backyard taken yesterday with my Lensbaby Composer using the macro attachment.  The aperture was f/4.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Peaches on Canvas from Twitter

Some know by now that I am slowly getting into Twitter.  In the beginning I had no interest -- I used to think who reads all that stuff???  Who cares if some guy in Seattle is drinking coffee and looking out of a window?  

Then I started really looking into the ease of it all.  I mean, I kind of like Facebook -- it has been fun to see people that I had not seen or heard from in 30 years or more (sigh, I am so old).  And again I was bothered by the mundaneness of it all.  More of the who is doing what boring little thing.  Or at least I thought that people would think that about me.  So I thought I could get some word out about the blog, my photos, things happening by using the network of Facebook and Twitter and hooking it up with the blog (which if you read, you know I did it without even asking my son for a speck of help!).

So I like it now -- and now I am finding others besides those who know how goofy I was in high school to tell about it.  There is a great network to be had on Twitter and Facebook.  Yesterday (I guess it was today for her) I found a blogger from Perth, Australia on a message board.  I checked her blog (Hi Rachel!) and liked it -- and she had a 'follow her on Twitter' link on the blog.  So I did.  Then she started following me back and I sent he a message thanking her for the follow (some people like this -- others don't -- I am learning the Twitter etiquette as I go along).  Then I notice she and I are on Facebook -- so now we are Facebook friends too -- how the heck cool is that?  It is a small world.

OK -- so long story to get to my blog post point -- I started following a Twitter person called "photocanvas."  Then I saw that photocanvas was offering a free 8x10 canvas print if you would post about it on your blog when you got the canvas.  Well, mine came a couple days ago.  The photo I sent to them was one from the peach orchard -- the vanishing point photo.  I am really liking that one these days.  I love it on the canvas.  I had some frames around the house -- and this one looks particularly good with a gold frame -- like a really cool landscape.  The colors in the canvas print are spot on -- very good work.

You know what I noticed more than anything -- 8x10 is so small to me now.  That is funny.  With film -- everything was snapshot size and I had the occasional "large" print.  Now my standard size to print something is to fit it to an 8.5x11 sheet -- either as an 8x10 or keeping the proportions it may be less.  And now a finished print to hang that is 8x10 seems small -- weird what digital has done to me.

The name of the online service that provided the canvas print to me is Zaza Gallery, check them out.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Opening NIght

Nature Undisturbed opened at the Dogwood Gallery in Tyrone last night.  

I was very pleased to see many photo club friends.  Also in attendance were the ladies from Slow Exposures -- that really made my night to see them there.  I love them -- they are so nice -- and I love their show!  The deadline to get your entry in for Slow Exposures is June 15.  The information for entry can be found on their website.

Two of the photographers in the show are from Louisiana and both made it to Georgia to attend the show.  I met them both yesterday.  One, Minday Fleming, told me that she had never entered a show before.  She was excited and you could tell.  Her photo of an egret standing at the water's edge is a very nice photo full of rich color and a great composition.  I am sure that Mindy will be in many more shows.  I am glad that Nature Undisturbed was her first.  The other Louisiana photographer is JP Morgan.  She submitted many wonderful photos -- I remembering seeing them.  The one that made it into the show is titled "Liquid Gold" and it sure is.  The photo shows a pelican in the water.  The light is pure gold on the water and on the pelican.  It is a stunning photo.

This afternoon I am presenting my talk on the Lensbaby lens and the nature photographer.  Tomorrow is family day with a birds of prey show and fun for all.  Next weekend -- Friday night, wine tasting and a meet the photographers evening; Saturday night, Susan Todd-Raque will talk about collecting photography; and Sunday afternoon, May 3, Tom Evens will take everyone on a photo safari.  Tom, a photo club member, picked up the Sponsor's Choice award and first place in the site specific category last night.  


Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Feel Kind of Dirty...

...but I like it.  

Yesterday I could not help myself.  I know other photographers do this and really get into it.  I have heard of some exhibits featuring it -- books about it -- some have a whole photographic career built around it.  A good friend of mine has a great photo on Facebook; similar -- a little more touching and it's a fawn, not an armadillo.  I never participated in the practice until yesterday.

I was in the middle of a "Photo Wednesday" with a friend.  We were driving around in a neighboring county thinking of places to go take photos.  We spent a little time with some cows.  They were cute -- but smelly -- and in love with a salt lick.  Then, remembering a spot nearby -- we left the cows and headed to a beaver lodge.  The lodge was still there -- but it appeared that somehow the water in the wetland area was very low.  This was odd to us with all of the rain we have had.  We have decided to look into this.

But there I saw it -- on the side of the road.  I spied a dead armadillo -- roadkill -- very near where I was standing.  Many people photograph roadkill -- again -- books, exhibits, etc.  I would never go so far as to search the internet for roadkill photos -- I am sure many are very disturbing.  But I kind of like mine.  I like the simpleness of the photo.  Of course, I had to do it in black and white.  The textures of the asphalt and the armadillo.  The fact that the armadillo was in 'good condition' made for a nice photo -- and had it not been -- I would not have taken the photo.

Now -- I think if I see any other animal on the road -- I am taking a photo (as long as it is not super gross).  Science has always interested me and I see this as kind of a scientific thing.  Also I see it as respecting the animal.  Even as it is just dead on the side of the road -- it is interesting and caused me to stop, look, and give it part of my day.  

So, hello little armadillo, welcome to my photo collection.  And yep, I feel weird telling someone I shot roadkill -- but I kind of like the photo.  Oh, and hello to the Richard Petty Driving Experience crew -- I took photos of you guys as you drove by too -- nice cars.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Clematis is Blooming

For a long time I thought the clematis vine was dead.  During the summer last year it looked kind of sad.  All winter I looked at it and thought about replacing it with morning glories or something like that this year.  

One day when it was warm I ventured down the deck steps to see if I could see signs of life any place in the backyard.

I did noticed something about the vine -- there were little green sprouts on it that looked like leaves.  It was not dead.    More time goes by -- and I start to see buds.  

Jump ahead a few more days; I went out to see how big the buds were now -- and guess what....three were blooming.  I found these on a nice day, nice late-day light -- so I went for the 50mm lens.  I sat on the deck steps until it was too dark taking many photos of the bloom.  The next day I went out with the lensbaby.  I took quite a few photos of the blooms with the macro filters, stacking them at times.  I also used the f/4 aperture ring and also took the ring out and shot wide open.

The photo on the blog today is using the f/4 aperture ring and the 10x macro attachment.  I really like this photo -- I like it in color and in black and white.  It looks more delicate in color and more architectural in black and white.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dodging and Burning

Almost every photo I take -- I take it in color and then process to create a black and white version.  The only time I don't take a photo in full color is when I am using my Canon S2 IS in the color accent mode.  This mode allows me to choose a color to show and the rest of the photo is in black and white.  I love this feature -- it is really fun to play around with.  I believe that just about every Canon point and shoot has this feature (maybe some don't, I haven't found on yet in classes).  If you haven't used it before -- get out your user's manual and look it up.

When I want to create a black and white -- I start with color.  Most of the time I will use Silver Efex Pro to create the image.  I love this plug in.  I love the control you have with the image and the tone.  Sometimes even after using Silver Efex I prefer to dodge and burn with Elements.

A few weeks ago, I visited a small town near me and took a boatload of photos.  I am still playing and processing with some favorites of that morning.  The photos on the blog today are from that day.  For fun, and to let you see the development of a photo, I have decided to post the crop in color, in black and white after processing with Silver Efex, and the final black and white after playing around with the dodge and burn tools.

And yes -- I said this is a crop.  Most of my photos are not cropped.  I prefer to get the composition in the framing of the shot and not with a crop of anything.  This photo worked best for me cropped.  I should have zoomed either with the lens or with my feet to frame it from the start.  I did not -- so I did crop to remove the building across the street, a roofline, and a fire hydrant.   Sometimes when I look at this I wish I could have gotten the RR sign out -- but then other times I look at it -- I like it there.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Love Those Leopard Crocs!

Rarely does a shoe come along that I am so in love with -- I think about buying multiple pairs to have when I wear one pair out.  (the last time this happened it was over a croco driving moc by Ralph Lauren -- two brown pair and one red pair later -- I am still glad I did it)

You all know I love my black Crocs Malindi shoes -- they are perfect -- comfy, easy to slip on and wear with those business casual type things.  

A couple weeks ago the most wonderous pair of Crocs came to live in my home.  Leopard Malindis!  Oh my!  Two of my favorite things in one -- leopard shoes and Malindis!  I wore them to a classical guitar concert last weekend.  I had two ladies ask me about them.  I have worn these during my photo classes -- and I have had students ask about them.  Everyone (well, almost) loves leopard shoes -- with jeans, black pants, white pants, anything -- they are so Kate Spade!  

I have a few other pair of leopard shoes -- they all get notice.  One pair I am thinking of are very nice and very expensive.  These are the only ones I am OK with wearing in the rain.  Did I say I love them?  As I walked across the parking lot to the grocery store last week, I looked down and thought, 'these shoes even make pavement look good.'

I love them so much I am going to buy at least a spare pair -- maybe two.  Next Friday night when I am on my feet at the photo show opening reception -- guess what will be on my feet?  You got it -- these delightful shoes!

Crocs -- thanks for making them!  You guys are the best!

The photo on the blog today is me wearing my most favorite shoes.  It was very bright when I took this photo.  Most people would have waited for less harsh light -- I kind of like the oomph of the bright sun.  I used the nifty 50mm, f2.5, 1/4000, ISO 100.  In processing I converted to B/W and then put back some color for the shoes.  I love the photo.  I love the shoes.  These can go to the gallery, the grocery store, and to the creek.  If I can't go barefoot -- I prefer my leopard Malindis!  If only those Lauren driving mocs came in leopard too...Ralph, are you listening?


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Flat Haley

A couple days ago Flat Haley showed up in my mailbox.  She is about 6 inches tall -- kind of flat -- and is wearing a wild polka dot dress.  My assignment is to show her around Fayetteville, take a few photos, and send her back to Virginia.

Flat Haley belongs to my cousin Haley, a student at Hartwood Elementary.  Flat Haley looks a lot like my cousin Haley.  One difference I noticed right away is that Flat Haley does not say much -- my cousin Haley -- well....let's just say she says a few things from time to time.

There are a couple photos I want to make with Flat Haley before sending her home.  Today was the first nice day we have had in a while -- but I could not get to the spot with her today.  I hope to do it tomorrow.  Tomorrow I need to head over to Dogwood Gallery for a little while and I plan to take Flat Hayley with me there as well.

For fun -- I thought I would ask Flat Haley to stand in front of the peach orchard photo I took a couple weeks ago.  She said she would love to and you can see -- it made for a nice photo for the blog today.  Here is hoping my cousin Haley sees the blog and how much fun Flat Haley is having in Georgia.  In a few days, Flat Haley will be heading home with a few photos of her adventures.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


It used to be that I did not care to visit an abandoned place for photography.  You see it so often -- it can be very cliche. I remember one of the podcasts by Brooks Jensen going on about the submissions to Lenswork magazine.  He mentioned that they get tons of submissions that fall into the abandoned theme.  He went on to say that they don't publish these due to the redundancy of the theme.  Funny thing -- the month after I listened to that podcast -- Lenswork ran a series of photos of an abandoned building -- they were great.

Let's just say -- and get a disclaimer out of the way -- I do not advocate trespassing to get to places for photography. One of the members of my photo club is a police officer.  I asked him his professional opinion on 'trespassing' and photography.  He gave me some pointers -- things to avoid if I wanted to remain as legal as possible.  First of all, if the place is posted no trespassing -- don't do it.  If there is a fence -- don't climb it.  If there is a gate, locked or not, stay out.  If the land is open and there is no one handy to ask about permission, it is OK.  I suggest if you have a tendency to step foot on private property to get a photo, check with your local police for your rights and responsibilities. Always be respectful of others property.  

Not far from my home -- right on a main highway -- is a great little town.  I spent a Sunday morning there recently taking a lot of photos.  It was overcast and the colors on the buildings were excellent.  All of the rain we have had lately made for nice green 'growth' on the walls.  I am usually a big black and white person (as you know if you read regularly) -- but these photos are better in color due to the green and the little bit of a color in a basically monochromatic scene.  

The ground close to a place I took many photo was covered with leaves.  When ever you are in a place that you are not familiar with -- be extra careful.  I took the camera off of the tripod and used the tripod legs to poke the leaves making sure I was not about to step into a large hole.  I have heard stories of photographers coming close to falling into shafts -- especially those around old commercial sites.  There were also a lot of vines in this place.  It was a good time of year to be there -- I can only imagine in a week or so the vines with sprout leaves and cover over a lot of what I saw.  That made me think of snakes.  The vines were very large in some spots -- like a small tree trunk size -- and very hairy.  This is a telltale sign of poison ivy.  I don't know of another vine that gets so covered with aerial roots.  I have never had a reaction to poison ivy -- ever (could be I just jinxed myself) -- and I have spent quite a bit of time in the woods as a child and adult.  But, just because I have never had a problem, I don't go looking for rashes even if I think it is not possible.  I stayed clear of the hairy/rooty vines.  I did take some photos of them.  One cinder block wall had quite a collection of the vines clinging to the side.  The hairs/roots had bled their reddish/brownish color onto the blocks to create an interesting almost watercolor effect.  

The photo on the blog today was taken near one of the buildings at the old Esco Feed Mill.  I loved the green on the wall and the blue paint on the window frame and window leaning against the wall.  I have also processed this photo in black and white -- it is very nice.  In B&W you see such pattern and line with everything: vines, plywood, windows, wood, wall, etc.  But in color, I like the green and blue.  Like many taken that day -- the color version is my favorite.  The texture created by the old dead leaves on the ground is another feature I like.  There is a lot to like in this photo.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Latest Moonshine!

The latest edition of Moonshine is available for viewing.  The following is lifted from an email from Robin:

Spring -- a time of change, the old giving way to the new, a time of hope. We could certainly use some hope in these times. Even in tough times, artists create art, writers write. It's our way. The way of the creative soul, celebrating the good, examining the bad, feeding the inspiration   --- Writings, music, paintings, photography... perhaps, by the light of the moon. Take a moment to find some inspiration in the work of Southern writers & artists. 

Savannah writer Hunter Dasten presents 3 poems: The Climb, An Immutable Act,   My Dream, and Those EyesPeople keep Calling me a Poet says Hunter. Hmm, wonder why? Artists and writers do so hate to be put in boxes.  Lots more poetry in this issue, too. Gilbert Head returns with Hell-Hound in the High Hall (dedicated to his brother) and shimmery springy In the Summer Hall / Karaginu Wings;  Sandy Vanderbleek's wonderful lyrical poems, breakpoint graph and i wrote a devotional and Russell Lee Hale II presents a gritty view of life on The Road.

Short stories abound with Jasmine Rizer's Little Miss Straight-Edge Goes on Vacation (pt.2)  -- or is it? You can be the judge of that one! James McCallister's award-winning, Howdy from Upstairs and DrĂ©k Davis gets something started with the edgy Push the Button (pt. 1); Frank Hamrick gives us a lovely photo and glimpse into history with Radio.  McCabe Coolidge continues his heartfelt series of life, celebrating little moments, and saying goodbye with pt.6 of the Seven Questions: What will it be like when I die?

Studio views features Sandra Babb's essay Snow White, which will make you want to pick up some tubes of paint and start painting (even if you are not a painter). A Peach Orchard Kind Of Day  is what Donna Rosser is having and you will too with her luscious photographs. Hannah Leatherbury shares a video interview with mixed media artist in Kaaren Engel Beyond 2 D; David Noah shares his thoughts and reactions to one painting in the Athens Georgia Lyndon House Arts Exhibit, Rotting Lemons : Jonathan Jaquet's painting. while Despina Yeargin finds that There is a Crack in Everything; an interview with Georgia poet, Alice Shapiro.

Need a little inspiration? JUMP! Dorothy Birch is Springing into Spring, and so should you! Benda Basham Dothage is pondering on the Developmental Changes in Toddlers and Teenagers. A little brain food for all of us. Jill Kettles discusses the age-old question: To Sell or Not to Sell That is Your Option and Allen Bell's podcast (with video trailer) of Michael Swanson, filmmaker is surely inspiring.

Robin Fay shares Documenting the art process :  the joys and challenges of doing a self-documentary of art in progress. It's not as hard as it sounds, and it is alot of fun! Document your next project and send it in to We'd love to see your work.

This issue features several guest reviewers in addition to the usual slate of contributors. In Book Reviews, Alice Berger reviews The Blankenschipf Curse by southern writer, Jim Murdock;
Robin Fay reviews MediaWiki (Wikipedia and beyond) by Daniel Barrett (for all of you technies out there); V.J. McClendon and David Carls do a one-two punch and review both the movie and book, The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd ;  while Paige Cummings reviews, Return of the Texas Ranger by Dac Crossley.

Musicians? Artists? Visionaries?  Music reviews include an unclassifable podcast with filmmakers Victor Zimet and Stephanie Silber, interview about their movie Random Lunacy by Allen Bell. You really need to hear the podcast and watch the trailer of the film -- very interesting. Gilbert Head explores old time country duets worth Waiting for Nancy.
Check in with a Short Girl comix, book reviews, work from the Southerncreativity gallery (@ Flickr), art announcements & calls for entries.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Last week during my visit to Sweetwater Creek I was overwhelmed by the number of beautiful dogwoods I saw blooming in the forest.  So many were above my head.  I could not get a good photo of the bloom in detail.  As I was leaving I found a tree that had blooms down where I could get something.  The photo on the blog today is one of them.  I decided to be different with it -- so many are in full color.  I changed the photo to black and white in Silver Efex and then toned it sepia.  I really like the look.

Happy Easter -- I will share an Easter memory.  When I was little -- maybe 5 -- we went to church on Easter Sunday.  Everyone was dressed in their finest.  The ladies also wore an orchid corsage.  I remember seeing them for sale everywhere in the days leading up to Easter.  I had on a cute Easter dress, the black patent shoes, a hat, and a black patent purse.  As I was sitting on the wooden pew with my parents -- all of a sudden I remembered I had gum in my mouth.  My grandmother would say things about people -- children in particular -- who chewed gum in church.  It was disrespectful.  So I immediately reached to my mouth to remove the gum and place it in a piece of paper in my purse. 

It was then that I remembered I was wearing new white Easter gloves.  Yep -- my gum was wrapped in my glove and stowed in my purse.  So now I never chew gum and wear gloves at the same time.

Have a great day -- and take some photos!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sweetwater Creek State Park

For a long time I had a desire to go to Sweetwater Creek State Park.  Many others, mostly photographers, have been telling me about the park.  Last Thursday I went to see for myself.

Sweetwater Creek opened in 1976 and is the most visited day-use park in the Georgia State Park system.  The day I was there -- the parking area was filling before noon.  There were many families and people walking dogs.  Also, lots of hikers and joggers using the park.  Sweetwater is located near the city of Lithia Springs, 15 miles west of Atlanta.  This area has so many native dogwoods blooming in the woods -- it looked like a snow flurry as I drove to the park entrance.  The park is open from 7am to dusk.  There are three color-coded trails.  The interpretive center is fairly new and rated as one of the most environmentally responsible buildings anywhere.  wow!  In the facility you will find an interesting display and many pamphlets about the park and the plants and animals found there.  There are trail-specific materials with descriptions and pictures of the plants for easy identification.  

If you take the red or the blue trail you will pass the ruins of the textile mill for the town of New Manchester.  The mill opened in 1849 as the Sweetwater Manufacturing Company.  It was sold in 1857 and renamed the New Manchester Manufacturing Company.  The mill produced yarn, thread, and fabric.  It stood five stories tall.  In 1864 it was burned by Sherman during the Civil War.  The ruins are popular with photographers.

The park is a nice place for a moderate hike.  If you take the white, blue, or red trail you will also end up at the falls -- not high falls -- but pretty none the less.  There are a lot of rocks and fast water from near the ruins toward the falls area.  This will give you the opportunity to try those blurry water photos -- you know -- milky water and sharp rocks.  I love those.  The day I was there was very bright.  I stacked my neutral density filter with my circular polarizer and played a little.  I did not haul the tripod down the trail -- I wish I had.  There are some railings on overlook decks that can help out as sort of a tripod.  This was OK until a small group of kids came along running down the steps and shaking the whole structure.

I really like Sweetwater Creek State Park -- and I can see how it is the most visited.  When I was there I had to get a new park pass for 2009 and I asked about setting up a hike with the ranger.  He is supposed to call me -- I hope he does so soon!

Also, check out the Friends of Sweetwater Creek website -- lots of great information there!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

You are invited to a special photography event

Nature, Undisturbed

Preserve the Moment, Preserve the Land

a juried photography exhibit to benefit  Southern Conservation Trust

Line Creek in Drought by Donna Rosser

April 24 through May 3 at Dogwood Gallery and Framer

1175 Senoia Rd., Tyrone


April 24, 6pm

Opening Reception, Juror’s Talk, Awards

April 25, 2pm

Lensbaby and the Nature Photographer

April 26, 2pm

Family Day, Birds of Prey Show

May 1, 6pm

Meet Local Photographers, Wine Tasting

May 2, 6pm

Susan Todd-Raque on Collecting Photography

May 3, 2pm

A Photographic Safari – slideshow and talk

Visit for a list of sponsors and more information

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Online Class is Here!

The following is taken from my website -- for anyone interested -- here you go.  If you have questions, feel free to email me.

For those of you who do not live close enough to attend one of my workshops -- you can sign up for a class that will come to you each week.  I will email the information and weekly assignment to you.  You will email to me the photos I request.  You will then receive critique and the next assignment.

You can email me for payment options or pay through the Paypal button on this page.  When paying for a class, be sure to add in the comment section which class (beginner or advanced).  Then, if you pay via Paypal, email me right away to let me know so we can get started.  If there is a problem with the link -- please email me to let me know.

Beginner Digital Photography

Six weeks of instruction on using your digital camera.  Take the camera off of the auto setting and get creative.  Learn my tips on macro, lighting, and more.  Learn about gear you need to get the photos you want.

week 1 -- aperture, shutter speed, white balance, ISO
week 2 -- kinds of lenses, choosing a lens, types of cameras, filters
week 3 -- lighting, capturing natural light
week 4 -- taking great macro shots
week 5 -- great people photos
week 6 -- composition and critique

Advanced Digital Photography
For those who know basically how to use their camera -- but are ready to get creative.  

week 1 -- black and white photography
week 2 -- depth of field, selective focus study
week 3 -- self portraits, still life
week 4 -- hone your skills with photography projects
week 5 -- high dynamic range imaging
week 6 -- turn your hobby into a business, building a portfolio

Choose your level of class.  I recommend anyone who needs work on settings and the basics; start with the beginner class.  For just $20 each week you receive a lesson and an assignment.  Complete the lesson, email me your photo assignment for critique. 


Friday, April 3, 2009

The Pond and Point & Shoot Fun

There are gizmos that you can buy to hook up your camera to your microscope or telescope.  They are great (I guess -- I don't have either).  But I have put my point and shoot pocket camera's lens up against the eye piece of the microscope and the telescope.  The results are pretty darn good.   If you try this -- hold the camera steady and let the auto focus do the work.  Be careful not to scrub the lens against the glass of the scope.  Also be sure you have plenty of light.  The microscope is great because it has the built in light from underneath. 

The photos today are of a goldfish egg and a newborn gold fish from my backyard pond.  These photos were taken in the spring a few years ago.  My "big momma" goldfish -- the one I believed laid the eggs was eaten by a heron about 18 months ago.  Just recently I noticed the two remaining koi are missing -- and my daughter told me the other day she saw a heron on our roof.  Pricey lunch, buddy!

The frogs eat the fish also.  When we first put the pond in -- one morning I stepped out onto the deck to peek over the edge and see what was going on early in the day.  I spied a big bullfrog with a pretty golden tail hanging from its mouth.  The war was on.  For weeks I would catch the bullfrogs and the kids would haul them across the road to the "cow pond" and let them go there.  I kept having a frog issue -- I finally gave up.  The day I saw the frog grab the bird and pull it under...well...ick.

Then I saw the snake.  There is some kind of snake in the pond.  Or it was -- I did not see it much after last year in the late spring.  Since it is so early now -- I don't know if I have one or not.  They eat fish too -- and those pesky frogs.  I call them pesky -- but I really like them.  Just in the past couple evenings I have heard the signing sounds of frogs and toads from the backyard.  Another 'when the pond was new' story -- all of us went out on the deck one night -- when we heard the frogs -- with flashlights to see what they were doing.  The night we shined the light on the bull frog with the toad's legs sticking out of its mouth...well, again...ick.  And my daughter summed it all up: "I wish I had not seen that!"

I think I have a pretty good number of goldfish -- comets and shubunkins.  No koi left.

But I have these cool photos.  Oh and in the egg photo -- it looks like there is some kind of pond water creature -- long and skinny -- you see the spine in the upper left.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Website Update

Please check out my website.  I have been working on it for the past couple days.  Most of the photos are the same and not much different on the copy -- but I love the look.

Something else big, new, and wonderful -- coming soon -- hopefully by June -- online classes!  Keep a check here and on the website about this.


RIP Portable Hard Drive

Last week I experienced a loss -- my wonderful little Simple Tech portable hard drive.  I don't know what happened -- but -- when I plugged the USB cord unto my laptop I got a message that I hope to never see again; "drive is unreadable or corrupt."  


So I took the device downstairs to the office -- to the desk top -- and hoped it was a flukey thing.

I got the same message.  Very nice.  So after trying it in yet another computer in the house and getting the third strike -- I figured it was cooked.  What did it -- who knows?  It had worked well just the day before and I had been using it for months with no problems at all. is toast.

Good news is that my iTunes library and any document on that drive is on my laptop and/or desk top.  Also any photo that I love is also in another place.  What I lost are all of the sort of daily photo files from last March through this past February.  If there were photos in the files that I had planned to revisit -- well -- I won't be visiting now.

Most of my computer lessons I learn the hard way -- this is no exception.  I always back up items of importance.  But what about everything else?  I used to save it some place once -- not twice.  The event of last Thursday made me purchase two new items.  Another small portable hard drive -- because I like to have things like that handy for a class if I need it.  But I want a second back up to insure if my first back up fails I have the data.  I do not like to leave countless photo files on the desk  top and lap top.  So I bought a larger external hard drive.  My husband, who also has his own business, and I will share the space on this hard drive.  Each of us have the small portable hard drives and now will have a second back up.

Since my incident I have seen news stories on backing up files on a couple of the 24-hour news channels.  It is funny to hear them talk about backing up all of your files to a second hard drive.  Nice if that works for you -- it did not for me.  (Although at this point I guess I need to acknowledge that is may not truly be a back up if I delete it from the main computer after saving it off to the hard drive.)  

My game plan now is to store my photos from both of my computers on the portable hard drive. The true, by definition of, back up is on the larger, not portable hard drive.  If the portable fails -- I have it on the big one.  If, by some odd thing, the big one fails; then it is on the portable.  


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