The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Friday, May 29, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

Since I have been featuring photos from my side of the family the past few weeks -- today I dip into the smaller stash of photos from my husband's family. This is one of my favorite photos. This is my mother in law's army nursing unit.  My mother in law was a nurse during World War II on board the ocean liner the Queen Mary (it was converted into a hospital during the war).   In this photo she is in the third row from the front and is the fourth person in from the left.  

One day when we were visiting her, she got out her photo album.  This is a photo from the photo; it is not a scan. The original photo was not true black and white, it had yellowed a little with age.  I used Silver Efex to convert the photo to true black and white and to slightly adjust the contrast.  We have another photo very similar to this -- but the nurses are in their fatigues.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Planting Photos

By now many of you have been busy planting in your yards for the spring and summer. Spending time at the local nursery or home/hardware store you can find many beautiful additions to your landscape.  As you are planning, keep in mind plants that attract birds, butterflies, insects, and such to your yard.  Many places that sell plants will have information about the best to choose to attract wildlife to your yard.  Also think about the plants themselves.  All of these things -- plants, birds, insects, etc. can be your subject matter for the next 5 months or so.  

I still have a little taming of my outdoor area to do -- but I am busy thinking of where I need to add a little color.  Also, I need to toss out some parsley seed. Parsley plants are the food for the black swallowtail butterfly caterpillar. Parsley is also a biennial -- blooming and going to seed in its second year.  I think the is the first year in quite a while that I do not have any parsley coming up in any of the beds in the backyard.  

Along the back of the house, inside the courtyard area, I have three old iron urns that I like to put coleus plants in for good color against the house.  The urns are old, black, and rusty.  The bright colors of the coleus are a nice contrast to the container.  I bought some red coleus and the pink and green variety to mix in the pots.  The coleus colors I bought were the Rustic Red and Watermelon.  Coleus plants grow fast.  Pinch the buds or tops of a tall, leggy plants and they will become fuller.

For the front porch I chose deep, dark, scarlet geraniums.  In the pot with the geraniums I added a white verbena plant and a couple of the Rustic Red coleus plants.  The leaves of the geranium plants are just as interesting to photograph as the blooms are.  Also for the front porch I bought some portulaca plants for hanging pots.  These are excellent in a spot with hot summer sun -- not like we have seen much sun lately!  

For the deck I bought yellow grape and Mr. Stripey tomato plants.  These sounded good to eat in salads this summer and good to take photos of as well.  I like to take photos of the tomato plants as they bloom and as the tomatoes grow and ripen.  I hope the tomato worms don't find them -- I hate the tomato worms -- they are very creepy and gross.  (But if they show up I will take photos before I "remove" them -- once I removed them into a plastic zip bag, forgot the bag on the porch until the next day -- went to get the bag and found a big hole and no worms!)

The backyard is already filled with butterfly bushes and many types of daylilies getting ready to bloom.  I like daylilies -- they are easy to care for and come back year after year.  Last year I also added some canna lilies, lizard's tail, and other plants around the pond.  Already this year I have seen two white water lilies and one pink bloom.  The white ones usually bloom a lot -- but the pink one is not as prolific.  The lamb's ear is almost ready to bloom too -- that means bumble bees are coming soon.  There are a few cosmos and zinnia plants that continue to return thanks the the previous year's seed.  Or should I say -- the seed that the goldfinches missed!  Those little yellow birds love to hang on the old stems to get seeds, and drop a few.  Look closely at the plants to spot the crab spiders whose color will match the plant so they are not easily seen.  Toads, tadpoles, skinks, dragonflies and more will be all around the pond.  

Plant!  Then charge up your batteries and get outside with your camera.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

This is the photo that started my interest in restoration. About 10 years ago I was in my grandmother's basement looking at things and thinking what is there that I would like to have at my house.  I opened an old trunk and found it basically empty except for a couple small shells, buttons and a tiny photo about the size of a postage stamp.

The little photo was of my grandmother, her older brother, mother and father.  Her younger brother had not been born yet.  The tiny photo was not in good condition.  There was a crack going from top to bottom and through my grandmother's face.  The corners were also cracked and damaged.

No one in the family had ever seen this photo before.  I took the trunk home with me, and the photo.  As soon as I got home, I took the photo to a local camera/print shop.  They told me that they could repair the photo for me (actually they had to send it to the lab in Atlanta).  The charge was $45 for the repair, the photo on a disk, and a couple 5x7 prints.  A very reasonable price for what needed to be done.  But I started thinking.  I had a digital camera and did very limited editing on the computer --I could purchase a program that did more for less than the price of having two photos repaired and I could do it myself.  So from that point on -- I did it myself.

This photo shows my grandmother's mother and father.  Aunt Anna (last week's VPF) was her sister -- remember sisters married to brothers.  Trying to date this photo -- I am looking at my grandmother for help.  She was born in 1916.  In this photo she appears 2 or maybe a little younger -- so the photo is from 1917 or 1918.  I wish it was clearer so you could see the clothing better.  I have other photos of these great grandparents wearing very fancy clothing.  The photos were most likely taken at a studio on Washington, D.C. around the turn of the century.  I do have a little dress that was my grandmother's that I believe is the same dress she is wearing in this photo.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Protecting Your Camera at the Beach

Again -- I am looking at the blog posts that get the most hits from Googling.  One that is getting a lot of action these days is the post about protecting your camera.  Here is the link to that post.  This post was mainly about colder weather and wet weather.  This time of year many people are heading to the beaches and really need to worry about heat, water, and the real problem; sand.

So what about the Hurricane Hood that I bought for the camera?  It is OK.  I used it once.  I find it clumsy and hard to deal with -- but it does protect your camera.  I suppose if you had to be out in the rain or other bad weather situation -- it would be worth dealing with the hassle of it.   What if you don't want to hassle with this but you do want to have your camera at the beach?  Here are some things to think about to keep your camera safe.
  1. Never expose the interior of the camera while on the beach.  Don't change lenses on the beach.  Choose the lens you wish to use for the time you will be there and keep that lens on while you are anywhere near the sand, wind, sea spray, etc. Don't change memory cards while at the beach.  I don't care what anyone says -- a breezy day at the beach -- your camera does not need to be opened for anything.  If you need to do something like this -- head to your hotel room, inside a restaurant, or car.
  2. Keep your camera safe from the heat and direct sun for prolonged periods of time.  Use a small personal sized cooler to help with this.  Keep the camera and anything the camera is in shaded as much as possible.
  3. Keep a filter on your lens.  I will let you know that I have one circular polarizer that went to the beach with me on a windy day -- it still makes a nice grinding sound when I turn it from small grains of sand that got into it.  
  4. Be careful of sand sticking to the camera body.  This may happen if you have sunscreen on your hands, if the sand is damp, or just from your body oil.  
  5. When you return to an indoor location, brush the outside of the camera thoroughly with a small brush and use a bulb blower before you open the camera or take off the lens.  If you have a zoom lens, be sure you have cleaned it completely -- especially if you had been zooming with it.
  6. Keep micro fiber cloths on hand to help clean the outside of the camera and lens.  These are excellent since they are so good for cleaning things without any cleaning liquid.  When you wash them remember to leave out the fabric softener.
  7. Never throw away the silca gel packs that come in products you buy.  I got a new camera bag the other day and one was already in it!  I put these into my camera bag and would also put one in a ziploc bag with my camera.
  8. Speaking of ziploc bags -- keep them handy.  When we go to amusement parks and have to ride the water rides -- I pop my camera into the bag and put it in my tote to keep it safe while getting soaked on the ride. When you step outside into the heat and humidity from an airconditioned hotel, home, or car -- your camera will collect condensation.  To combat this, wrap the camera tightly in a ziploc bag.  Squeeze out as much of the air as possible. When you go out of the a/c, keep the camera in the bag until it comes up to the temperature outside.
  9. If you live near the water or spend a lot of time near it -- you should consider purchasing a plastic housing for your camera that is watertight.  Maybe you still would not want this for your big DSLR -- how about a smaller digital and the housing for it for those times when your are at, near, or on the water?
Be aware that many of those camera warranties can be voided if the repair service finds any evidence of sand in the camera.

Don't be afraid to get the camera a little dirty -- use it and enjoy it -- but also take care of it.  I brush and wipe down my camera on a regular basis.  I use an artist's brush to get into the tight spots all over the camera.  A lot of the above advice is also appropriate when you are dealing with those days when the pollen count is high.  Pollen can be worse than dust since it is sticky and will adhere to the camera (and your sensor).


Saturday, May 16, 2009


OK -- at this point we have figured out the coonhound is a pointer (maybe?).  The ears were bothering me -- they did not look like the ears of a coonhound.  The coloring was perfect for the coonhound -- but not the ears (or really the face).

Some how, and I can't remember how, we found a photo, or two, or a hundred of pointers on the internet.  (The internet is such an excellent resource!)  Some of these pointers -- up for sale for hundreds and more ($6500 for a bird dog!) -- look just like Sadie.  And I realize that the cost of the dog is more for the training the dog has already been through.  But still...

Sadie is so good -- she appears to be housebroken.  We are thinking she is about 8 months old.  Her disposition is unbelievable for a dog who has spent the past month at the pound.  She is friendly to everyone.

Now a brief public service announcement -- there are many wonderful dogs out there at local pounds and shelters waiting for someone to give them a nice home.  Sadie and her brother were found as strays on April 16.  She came home to live with us on May 13.  She may be a little on the large side when full grown but she is a great dog.  The cost to adopt a dog from the Henry County Animal Shelter is $85.  This fee includes a spay and rabies shot certificate.  The people at the shelter are very nice.  A vet hospital in the county where we adopted her has already taken care of Sadie's spaying and shots.  

It is very soon after Rosebud.  I really missed having a dog in the house.  It seemed too quiet and I like a dog to greet me when I come home.  Rosebud's passing was not a surprise.  We found out about her illness last September.  Thinking back on it now, I think we kept her around a little bit longer than we should have.  The last couple months, she was not really happy and we had to practically do everything for her.   Once I looked on the Petfinder website for dogs/puppies at local shelters and saw Sadie -- I had to go get her.  She had such a cute face.  Note to anyone -- don't start looking unless you are ready to go pick one up.  You will see one you have to have.

I took this photo of Sadie with my wonderful 50mm lens.  The stats are 1/250, f/1.8, ISO 400.  The ISO is a little higher than I usually like to set it -- but that was due to a little lower light and I was hand holding.  I really love the way the color of the flooring matched the dog!  (of course I planned it that way)  Right now Sadie is snoozing on a fluffy bed and dreaming of what is for dinner.  


Friday, May 15, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday Aunt Anna

This week we adopted a dog from a local pound.  The dog is a coonhound mix.  When I was looking through my old photos, I came across this one with my great aunt and her dog.  I believe by what I have learned recently about coonhounds -- this is one.  So in honor of the new dog (photos and blog post to come very soon) this is the photo for Vintage Photo Friday!

This is my Aunt Anna.  I remember her well.  She was a character!  She was born in 1888.  Her sister was my grandmother's mother.  Her husband was my grandmother's father's brother.  Follow that?  She and her sister married brothers.  This is such the way it was in older times and in the rural areas.  You did not know many people and it seems that sibling often did fix up other siblings.

When I was very little I remember her coming to my grandmother's house to visit and spend some time.  She would sit outside with me while I played under a tree.  I remember one day that she and I sat in my Uncle John's yard under a tree eating sugar cookies that I had made that morning with my grandmother.  

I always liked going to her house.  Her yard was filled with Lilly of the Valley and other flowers. There was an old stone walk up to her front porch.  She had so many cats -- they lived under her house.  She would fix pans of milk and bread for them and they would come running from all directions.    On the wall in her living room was a portrait of John Kennedy.  There was an upholstered stool in the room that I always chose for my seat when we visited.  I have that stool at my house now.  Also in the middle of the living room was a wood stove.

Many Saturdays my mother would take me to the beauty shop in town to meet up with my grandmother and Aunt Anna.  I had plans to go home with them to spend the night at my grandmother's.  Aunt Anna would have her hair done for church on Sunday.  Her hair was stark white and very striking.  

I like these older photos of her.  I never knew her without that bright white hair.  And I certainly never knew her to have a dog -- only cats.  This photo was taken at her house by the side porch.  Her washing machine used to sit out on that porch.  Her dryer was a clothesline.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Macro with the Nifty Fifty

I love that little 50mm 1.4 lens so much.  It is so fast and fun to use.  I was playing around in the front yard the other night with it and thought how I wished I had a close-up diopter for it so I could use it for some killer macros.  Then I thought about something -- the ProOptic extension tubes sitting in the house collecting dust.

I bought these way back at the beginning of the year and really have not used them much.  Recently I did play with them a little when I was working on some materials for a class focusing on macro.  They are fun -- they are inexpensive and they give you some awesome results.

So I grabbed the 13mm and the 31mm -- stacked them -- and then popped on the 50mm.  I took a test photo of a grass seed head without the extension tubes for a control.  You need to see what you are getting without them.  And then -- wow -- see what you get with those two stacked!  With these simple little gadgets you can turn any favorite lens into a macro.

When I started taking the photos -- it was hard to make myself get that close.  I was used to the regular minimum focus distance used with that lens.  The method I ended up choosing to get the very close shots was to put the camera on manual focus and move myself and the camera closer of farther away by tiny amounts at a time to get just that sliver of focus I wanted.  I could have done this same thing with a tripod -- moving the camera and tripod closer or farther to get the look.  I do this in the house some times when I am working on a certain look.

It is kind of fun to turn a weed into something fun.  

This topic was another revisit for something previously on the blog that seems to get a lot of hits. I like to go back to some that interest readers.  

Vintage Photo Friday will be posted tomorrow.  This post is Thursday.  If you are getting the blog delivered via email you may get two posts at once occasionally depending on the time of day I finish the post.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Protecting Intellectual Property

Lately I have been reviewing which blog posts are getting the most action.  There are a few subjects that get regular hits long after the post is fresh.  In the next couple weeks I will revisit these topics to get a little deeper into them.

Last summer I wrote a blog about intellectual property and protecting my trademark.  That is one of the most popular blog posts.  It still gets regular hits.  I have had photographers email me about it and one leave a comment.  Many are grateful to have the info -- both those already with a business and those just starting out.  The blog was also highlighted on a legal website to highlight the importance of protecting your trademark or copyrighted material.  I have always felt if you go to the expense and trouble to trademark your business name, website name, and work hard to build a brand -- you have to protect it.  

Intellectual Property can be material copyrighted, a trademark, or a patent.  Since I am not an inventer -- I am skipping the patent info.  You can look it up here if you are interested.  As photographers we have to be careful and protect our copyrighted material.  If you enter contests, read the fine print.  Some entry forms have you sign away the rights to a photo you may submit to them.  Recently there was a flap about a photo gallery on Oprah's website.  There is a great blog about this here; check for the post on April 21, 2009.   This blog is filled with excellent information about the legal side of photography; spend some time with it -- bookmark it by all means.

So what is the difference in trademark and copyright?  A trademark is a brand, a specific mark, name, or symbol identifying a person or product.  Copyright is the legal protection given to published works, forbidding anyone but the author from publishing or selling them.  As photographers, we have our work, our photos, that are protected by copyright.  No one should use the photo without the permission of the photographer.   Some of us have taken steps to register our work for copyright protection.  Others place a watermark on their photos with the symbol for copyright, © to show it is protected.  Even if you do neither -- you are still the owner of the rights to the work.  For way more info than you ever wanted on copyright protection check out the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

When I was browsing around some art/creativity type blogs yesterday I found one by a California potter (she has a beautiful blog and pottery) that was about how someone was using her marketing and design ideas to sell the same thing on Etsy.  I like Etsy.  It seems copying is becoming a big issue with Etsy shops, and the whole online craft community.  How sad is that? You have crafters and artists copying others and selling on the same place. Etsy and other sites needs to see about nipping this in the bud.  They would not like the reputation as a place where intellectual property is not respected.  There are always going to be those who copy rather than be creative.  Taking someone else's idea, design, photo, etc. is stealing.

Back to trademarks -- establishing a name; your brand.  You can use the "TM" on your name to show it is your trademark.  TM does not indicate a registered trademark.  To show that your mark is registered with the U.S. Government you need to use the ® symbol.  When I applied for my trademark I did it for two classes.  One class is for prints -- actual photographic prints.  The other class is a service and it includes all photography services.  My focus at this point in time is workshops, lectures, restoration, and writing about improving your photography.  That is not saying in the future I would not take a commission to photograph a wedding or other event.  I have been asked to do this and I would have taken the last wedding had I been free that Saturday evening.  Many people hear about me and want me to do portrait work for them.  I am really considering getting into portrait work.  I like working with people -- it is a natural step.

When I find someone is using my trademark, or a name very similar to it, I will contact them via email.  I will let them know that I own the rights to the name and it is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  I will gladly supply them with a link to the registration or send them, via snail mail, a hard copy.   Anyone starting a photography business (or any business for that matter) can easily Google to see if their name choice is a registered (or nonregistered, but in use) trademark.  It is very easy to do a search with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to see if something is registered or in process.  Before you spend your marketing budget on a name that may belong to someone else, do your homework.  Just because your business name may be available in your state, that does not mean it is not being used nationally as a trademark.

Many of us in art, craft, and photography are small businesses.  Even though we are small businesses -- we need to stick up for ourselves.   You would not see someone starting a new photography business called "My Lifetouch 2."  And if they did -- Lifetouch would be all over it.  So many people seem to think you can slightly alter a trademarked name by adding  "my, our, 2" or by putting an "s" on the end of the name and it is different enough.  It is not.  There is a name out there now -- very similar to mine -- confusingly similar.  I met a photographer from that area two weeks ago and she mentioned to me that she had heard the name in her area and thought it was me.  That is troubling.

If money is an issue -- and we know that protecting intellectual property can be costly -- go after the offender/infringer to reimburse you for your legal expenses incurred while protecting your mark or copyrighted material.  If someone has been contacted and yet they continue to ignore the request or claim that they are in the right using the property, move ahead with your legal rights and have your attorney notify the party that they will be held responsible for reimbursement.

One last thing; I think about photography businesses using the same or similar names -- do you really want your work linked with that of someone else?  There are some who have used my name or similar name and frankly -- I don't want anyone to see the work and think it is mine.  

Oh and an update on that post from last summer...the infringer I was writing about changed the name in question after I contacted her web host.  The web host was very helpful and very respectful of trademark rights.  And I must say -- she has a great looking site and does some awesome photography.  Most webhosts are helpful in this situation.  They don't want the exposure of hosting a site that infringes on  someone's intellectual property.  You can find steps to take with the hosts if you check out their Terms of Service sections on their websites.  


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

So far the only really 'pop arty' thing I have done are my photos for the blog, Twitter, and my website.  Last week I thought about trying it on some other photos I like.  First I went through a few favorite florals and a landscape.  I like these -- a lot.  I printed the one on the blog today on watercolor paper the other day (12x16) and it looks great (if I say so myself).  There are some plans in the works for this one about double that size.  

I achieved this look through some work in the Nik Color Efex plug in and then working a little in regular Photoshop Elements with the hue slider.  I love the color blue in this photo.  The color is very close to the original Blue Daisy photo found on the blog last Feb. (In the Company of Daisies).  I like this look on the matte paper or watercolor paper best.

Happy Mother's Day!


Friday, May 8, 2009

Granddaddy King

Last week I began "Vintage Photo Friday" with a photo of one of my grandfathers.  I began with him since his birthday was that week.  Well, as it turned out, my other grandfather's birthday was exactly a week from his.  They were even born in the same year.  The photo today features George King sitting on the back steps at their house.  The house is no longer there -- development has replaced it.

This photo of him shows a bit of hair.  I remember him as bald.  He did have some hair that would grow on the sides of his head -- but he shaved it.  He once told me that if he could not have hair all over his head, he did not want it at all.  George was the youngest child of George and Doritha King.  At the time my grandfather was born; his father was 69 years old.  At his birth, my granddaddy had adult brothers.

Granddaddy tended a garden -- heading out early in the mornings before it got too hot.  He drove an old black Comet -- slowly.  He would sit in the car while grandma would go into the store to get groceries.  When I was along, I would sit in the car with him.  I think this is when my love of snarkiness was born -- he used to make the best comments.

When I was in elementary school, I would catch the bus at his house.  My mother would drop me off on her way to work.  Granddaddy would stand at the stop with me; it was on the side road (dirt road) along the side of his property.  I was the only one at that stop.  Every morning we would stand there and wait for Mervin to arrive with the school bus.  While we waited, he would give me a weather report based on the clouds and wind patterns.  

Granddaddy always called me "Peter."  I will never know why.  He would let me follow him around while he did things in the old dirt floor garage.  He would tell me to always look out for Number 1 (good advice).  He had a little room in the garage with a recliner and magazines -- I guess that was his 'office.'  In that room he had some jars on a shelf labeled "cotter pins" that actually held money.  When I was very little, I would spend the night on Saturdays.  On Sunday mornings, I would sit on his lap in his recliner while he would read the Sunday comics to me.  He liked Dennis the Menace, Henry, Gasoline Alley, Nancy, Lil' Abner, and Peanuts.  I remember seeing the scythe he used hanging in his garage.  He would tell me about using it, working all day, eating lunch from a bucket, and earning a dollar for that hard work.  I have the scythe at my house now.

When I was little I remember spending time with him sitting on the front porch in rocking chairs watching the cars go by.  It was shaded in the afternoon and a good way to spend some time on a hot summer day.   


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Some Favorite Non-Photo Photo Gear

Photography equipment is fun to look at, buy, and use.  Many times though, our most precious piece of photo equipment is something that is completely nonphotographic.  Here is a list of my favorite things to have handy that are really not considered "photography" items.
  1. Micro Fiber Cloths  I buy these by the large-economy packs at Sam's Club.  All of my lenses are rolled in one of these before I put them in my backpack.  They are handy to have when you unroll the lens to wipe the ends and to clean your glasses, filters, or sunglasses.  I use them dry -- no cleaning spray needed.
  2. Flash Drive  OK, so this is kind of an electronic/computer/photo tool.  But -- I found one that is super cool (although a little pricey) that doubles as a necklace.  A portable flash drive is great to have if you have a multi-computer household and move photos from one computer to another.  Also, if you are like me and have a laptop and a desktop and you only print from the desktop; it helps.  I do 99.9% of my editing on the laptop, copy the file to the flash drive, and then print from the desktop in my office.
  3. A Mirror  Having a mirror handy will give you something fun to work with when you are experimenting with still life photos.   Or if you have one handy -- take it outside for fun macro experiments.
  4. Plastic Bag  A lot of photographers like to go out on overcast or very dreary days.  What do you do if you have your camera out and it starts to rain -- a lot.  Take your plastic bag from your photo bag and quickly cover your camera to protect it as you make your way (soggily) back to your car or shelter.
  5. Leatherman Wave  I used to carry a Swiss Army Knife -- until I saw a Leatherman Wave.   This tool has pliers, wire cutter, serrated and regular blades, flat and Phillips screwdriver, a tiny flat screwdriver (for glasses), a saw, a file, ruler, and scissors.  Oh and a bottle/can opener (gotta have one of those!)  I probably left something out it has so much packed into this wonderful little tool.
  6. Field Guides  How many times have you taken a photo of something and you don't know what it is?  I have a collection of field guides.  One favorite is the National Audubon Field Guide to the Southeastern States.  This handy guide has sky maps, bugs, birds, fish, trees, plants, snakes, spiders, marine mammals, mollusks, wildlfowers, parks and preserves and MUCH more pack into it.  I have used this one a lot and given them as gifts -- everyone likes it.
  7. Clif Bars  How easy is it to stick a Clif Bar in your camera bag or vest and head out (with a bottle of water) and not have to think about getting back for lunch?   My personal favorite is Crunchy Peanut Butter followed by Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Cranberry Apple Cherry, Maple Nut, and Apricot.
  8. Spray Bottle  I admit I have only done this once.  But it is something I think about -- do I want a little "dew" on the rose or not?  If you do want "dew" -- get out the mister.  The plants like it anyway.  
  9. Flashlight  Night painting with a flashlight is something everyone has to try at least once. There is a wealth of information about using flashlights in photography if you just Google.  Many use them to paint patterns of light into a photo.  Other photographers use a flashlight or penlight to highlight a photo.  I remember seeing one photo of a field with a hole of some type in it -- the hole was illuminated by the photographer's flashlight.  
  10. GPS  I like to drive on backroads and poke around for interesting subjects.  I don't like to remember how I got there and how I get out again on the main road.  My GPS helps me not get lost, well...I guess I do get lost...worst-case scenario -- I press "home" and it brings me back to where I started.
There are many more non-photographic items that help me take better photos -- I am sure this is a topic that will be visited again.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Oct. 4, 1996 - May 5, 2009

I have lost one of my most photogenic and most reluctant models.  Rosebud lost her battle with cancer yesterday morning.  She never chewed or destroyed anything in the house -- even as a puppy.  She was the best and most well-behaved dog I have ever known.  


Saturday, May 2, 2009


This photo represents about a square-foot section of the pond.   It appears there will be a lot of frogs and toads this year!

Taken on April 28 a little past 7pm.  The tadpoles get more active in the early evening; when the sun is off the pond.  Shutter speed 1/20, f/5, ISO 200.  The photo was edited in Silver Efex Pro -- basically to remove color and work on the contrast.  


Friday, May 1, 2009


Yesterday I had a cool idea -- I will begin featuring old photos on the blog from my collection.  I have many old family photos.  They are wonderful treasures to have and every Christmas I decorate my Christmas tree with over 100 photos from great-great-great grandparents through the years and through the families down to my children.  

Today I am beginning this with a photo of my grandfather, Guy H. Ferguson.  I am beginning with him because earlier this week was his birthday.  He would be over 100 now and he is no longer with us.  We do have many wonderful photos and memories of him.  This photo is Granddaddy holding my mother.  I did not have to do a lot of restoration on this photo.  There was a bit of contrast adjustment and a few specs to clean up -- but overall the photo was in good condition.

On the blog when I say "forty years since Donna tracked the woods of Virginia with her grandfather..." this is the one I am talking about.  I remember many times following him through the woods and listening to him tell me about the trees and plants we passed.  We spent many hours fishing together -- he always baited my hook and took the fish from the hook when I would catch one.  He taught me to shoot a gun and a bow and arrow.  I used to help him plant the garden and pick the vegetables when they were ripe.  I also remember helping him clean fish, pull feathers from turkeys, and skin a deer -- at least he let me think I was helping.

Granddaddy and I would go bottle hunting.  We would dig at old homesites to find buried treasures from times gone by.  I would go with him to "The Base" (Quantico) to see about his hunting license or just to see someone about something.  He took me with him to the water plant a few times -- where he worked when he retired from the Marines.  It was loud -- but very interesting.  The first time I drove a car -- I was probably 13 or 14 -- was on a lone road on the base (Camp Barrett to be exact) and I think all of my cousins -- or at least three of them -- were in the old Pontiac LeMans as I worked hard to keep it on the road and not travel over the double yellow line.  The same LeMans he would say "whoa" to when he pulled up to the house and parked.  I remember following him through the garden when I was very little.  He would find arrowheads, rub off the dirt, and hand them to me to look at.  One of my most vivid memories is of a time when I was small -- he held the pistol and let me pull the trigger to shoot a copperhead in the garden.

My granddad taught me about respect -- respect for the land and wildlife through his gardening and hunting, respect for firearms, respect for the past, and to respect family.  I can't ever remember hearing him say a foul word or smoke a cigarette.  I think I can only remember ever seeing him drink any alcohol twice.   I had a great childhood hanging around with my grandparents and I wish my children could have had the same experiences.  It was hard to beat catching crawdads with your granddaddy and frying fish you caught for dinner.  


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