The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Barefoot Photographer & The 365 Project

Beginning Friday, January 1, I will start posting daily photos to my new blog. I hope to post one a day -- sometimes it might be a few days posted at once. But -- I will be taking at least one photo a day.

To make the task a little more fun -- I have decided to give each day of the week a theme. Here are my themes:
  • Sunday 'afternoon'
  • Monday 'morning'
  • 'true colors' Tuesday
  • 'what are you drinking?' Wednesday
  • Thursday 'threads'
  • 'selective focus' Friday
  • Saturday 'night'
The photos will be posted on the blog and on my Flickr site. There won't be a lot of explanation -- well maybe sometimes -- just basically the photos!

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Top Ten Blog Posts of 2009

Earlier this year I did a post on the top blog posts and found it interesting to see what people read most often. I thought it would be fitting to end 2009 with another collection of the top posts that people read either by clicking on the titles somewhere (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) or by Googling for information and ending up on my blog.
  1. Intellectual Property -- Trademark Issue -- seems like this one always pops to the top when there has been an issue. Since it has been coming up more and more lately -- look for more posts coming in 2010 on how to avoid problems and how to deal with it when there is an issue.
  2. Biscotti & The Cookbook -- there has been a lot of interest in the cookbook -- Thanks!
  3. Feet Photos -- and oldie but a goodie I guess.
  4. Making Belt Buckles -- this has been a very popular blog since it was new. I would like to make another buckle -- I guess lots of people are into this.
  5. Minimum Focus Distance -- this seems to be a popular topic. This is one of the most important bits of info to have about a camera or a lens. Getting close can sometimes really make a shot -- just don't get too close!
  6. What Does Summer Look Like -- I find it interesting that this is in the top ten. It was a fun little post to write.
  7. Seeing Is Believing -- I also find it interesting that this one is on the list. Many people still believe if they see a photo -- it is the truth.
  8. Call for Entries Nature Undisturbed -- Glad to see the call for entries post is on the list too. I will have more info on the photo show coming in the next week. There will be a big announcement on the judge for the show.
  9. Sometimes You Gotta Zoom -- This was another fun post to write -- I am glad to see it getting a lot of hits.
  10. I Like Good Bokeh -- and this one -- like I have said -- who doesn't like bokeh? I love it -- I am all about depth of field -- and especially shallow depth of field and getting that really cool bokeh background. Bokeh has fan clubs on Flickr -- look for more posts about this topic.
In fact -- look for more posts about all of these top topics. If people are clicking on certain topics over and over for months, and even years in some cases, I will write more about those points of interest and go into them deeper. I really love having this blog and writing about my photography experiences and inspirations. If you, as a reader, wish to see certain topics covered -- please email me by clicking the link on the blog and let me know. I would love your feedback. If you stumble on the blog and like what you see -- subscribe in a reader, via email, or follow me on Twitter to get the latest info and blog postings.

For 2010, as I have said -- I will revisit popular topics. Also, since I loved the 25 Days of Christmas Challenge so much -- I have committed to the 365 Project on Flickr. I signed on to the Shutter Sisters' group yesterday. Here is hoping I can make it a photo a day for the year! If anyone else is up for the challenge -- sign up! There is still time to get in before Friday.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

From the Barefoot Files...

Merry Christmas from 1965 (I am guessing the year -- not 100% sure). Here I am with a doll, almost my size, that would "walk" with me when I held her hand -- or something -- I can't remember. I do remember those footie pajamas.

This is another slide like the photo on the blog last week. Last week I got the digital version of the slide by placing the slide onto a lightbox and shooting a photo of it. This week I projected the slides on the wall and took pictures of the images to get the digital file. It was a very fast way to get through a bunch of them. Editing them is not a big job -- cropping, a little color correction and they are fine.

So Merry Christmas to all of my readers! I hope you have a great day.


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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sunrise December 23

I have always gotten up early. When the kids were very small I had to -- and now I have to feed the cat, walk the dog, and photograph the sunrise.

This morning as Sadie and I walked through the neighborhood, the sky was slowly brightening. The colors were so pretty -- pinks, blues, purples, oranges. It was one of those days when I hoped we would get home before the color was past.

I made it to the front porch before most of the color was gone. Last March I posted a photo to the blog from my front porch. This is the same bunch of trees -- just up a little higher. This tree has a lot of mistletoe in it -- the clumps of branches you see are actually the mistletoe growing on the branches.

The photo today is my December 23 photo in my quest to take a photo a day until Christmas. So far I have made it and I am pleased with most of my photos. It is very interesting to look back now at the set I have on Flickr and see that "collage" of days represented that way. Two more days to go!


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Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Christmas Card

Since I am a photographer -- I like to send photo Christmas cards to friends and family. We have had some interesting ones. Last year I loved the photo on the card. I love Lensbaby and black and white -- it fit very well. It was after I printed all of the photos that I had a better idea for the photo. I post about it last December.

This year I had my photo way back in March. The snow we had on March 1 gave me plenty of photos to choose from. The photo above is the one I settled on. The color version of this photo was almost monochromatic -- there was a bit of dark green showing on the pine needles. I like the movement it suggests. The heaviness of the snow on the branches and flakes still falling made me choose this one. You don't see snow like this often where I live. My friends in Virginia are seeing it now -- and I was there last weekend! Oh what a difference a week can make!

Of course I have used photos of the kids for cards. My kids are kind of grown for the regular kid photo shot. I have one from last year that almost made it to the card. I think it is funny and kind of spoofs on our usual 'in front of the tree' photo. Maybe it will be used next year....


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Friday, December 18, 2009

From the Barefoot Files...

A box of slides came home with me this week. Last weekend I was in Virginia visiting my mother and other family. It was an occasion to say the least that I got together with all of my cousins! Being an only child -- my cousins were my siblings. There are five of them. I saw them, one spouse, and some of their kids last Sunday. It was very nice.

In the box of slides was a smaller box. Written on the outside of the box was "week before Christmas 1957." This is a photo of one of the slides. My grandmother is in the middle, my aunt to the left, and my mother on the right. I remember that Santa on the side table. I remember that fabric on the couch.

I have a slide scanner and I have used it a little. I am not fond of it -- but I will have to learn to like it since I have quite a few slides, and some old negatives, that I would like to digitize. The way I got this photo was by placing the slide on a light box and taking a photo of the illuminated slide.

So, since this was the week before Christmas 1957 -- I thought it would be good to have it up the week before Christmas 2009.


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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sunken Road

I have been out of town for a few days. My hometown (so to speak) is Fredericksburg, Virginia. Actually I am from Stafford County -- but very close to the city. When anyone asks where I am from, I always answer Fredericksburg. Most people are familiar with Fredericksburg -- thanks a lot to Ken Burns and his excellent Civil War series on PBS. Fredericksburg and the surrounding area was the scene of some of the most intense fighting during the Civil War.

This house that still stands as it did during all of the fighting is known as Innis House. The house was terribly damaged by all of the fire around it. The exterior was repaired -- but one of the interior walls was left to show the intensity of the battle.
The Battle of Fredericksburg was a big one and took the lives of many Union soldiers. Sunken Road was the scene of the massacre. These photos on the blog today are from Sunken Road. They were taken on December 14 -- 147 years and one day after the bloody Battle of Fredericksburg. The day of the battle began as a foggy day -- just like the day I was there.
The park ranger I spoke with told me that they call this cat Kirkland. The cat is looking in the direction of a statue erected to commemorate the actions of Richard Rowland Kirkland. It is on the left behind the row of boxwoods, barely visible against the treeline. Kirkland, a South Carolina soldier, risked his life to take water and comfort the suffering, wounded Union soldiers as they lay dying. Kirkland was killed in battle in 1863. Kirkland the cat is sitting on the only original part of the rock wall left -- the other sections along Sunken Road have been reconstructed.
I have driven down Sunken Road often -- and I always would think about what had happened there. The park service has turned this part of town into a walking tour now -- no driving through. I have an old photo I took the last time I drove there (when it was still a city street). I need to find it.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Seeing is Believing?

A few days ago I tweeted a quote by Ansel Adams: "Not everybody trusts paintings, but people believe photographs." As soon as I tweeted -- a fellow photographer on Twitter responded with "interesting, since photos are not truth." And that is it exactly. A photograph proves nothing -- things can be manipulated, cloned, changed.

A day or so after my Twitter experience, I picked up a popular magazine and while waiting for my daughter to get out of a class. On page 147 of the December issue of Better Homes and Gardens was more proof of photos being altered to try to fool you. It is an Elizabeth Arden ad featuring a very youthful Catherine Zeta-Jones. So youthful -- I would not have known it was her unless her name was there in the ad. I laughed out loud to realize that they put her name there to make sure you knew it was her -- the photo is so altered! Funnier yet -- and again causing me to chuckle -- the tagline in the ad is "Seeing is Believing." I am seeing your ad -- but I am not believing a bit of it. The photo is so manipulated it looks like a mannequin's face -- more like digital art than a photograph.

There have been times in fashion magazines that I could find a model in two different ads in the issue. Once instance that comes to mind is Andie MacDowell in a couple ads for L'Oreal. Let's just say -- I think she is very pretty (as is Ms. Zeta-Jones) and really does not need any Photoshopping to look pretty. The ads I am remembering appeared in an issue of Vogue. One ad, for hair color, featured her beautiful hair (and a few crow's feet). The other ad for skin cream still had the hair looking so beautiful -- but the crow's feet were gone -- her whole face looked much more youthful -- and all in just a few turns of the pages!

Photoshopping and photo manipulation is nothing new. What people do with photoshop now has been done in darkrooms before to tweak photos. Beyond tweaking the photo to change the look and what you see -- photos have been set up since the beginning. Photographs by Matthew Brady, famed photographer of the Civil War, have been thought to be set up. Bodies moved to create better composition or to convey what the photographer wanted rather than just capture the scene as it was found. Brady was also not thought to be the photographer of many of the battlefield scenes since he had issues with dead bodies. His assistants took many photos for him -- but all photos were tagged as taken by Brady. I am not knocking Matthew Brady at all -- his work is an important part of history. But it should be looked at for what it is -- the view of someone else. Without actually being there -- you take get their vision -- so remember it is someone else's view. Setting up what is in the frame is one thing -- but also what you leave out of the frame is sometimes as important as what you choose to include.

Ralph Lauren recently was in a mess about Photoshopping a model to unreal thinness. Actually I think there are two photos out on the internet showing freakishly thin models in Ralph's duds. OK, I like Ralph Lauren clothing and shoes. And I am only pointing out about Ralph (and Elizabeth Arden) since these are two readily available examples to me. This Photoshopping goes on ALL the time in ads and especially with fashion. Does anyone believe that model is that thin? I guess we could get into the whole body image thing -- and it is wrong to promote waifishness -- and who really thinks those two photos are attractive? To see the gray ensemble and the plaid shirt with jeans ad -- simply Google "ralph lauren photoshop model."

Whether manipulating the scene to set up the photo, frame your viewpoint, or manipulating the photo after -- can you trust a photo as truth? I don't. I know what little bit I can do well with photo editing software and I know there are those out there better at it than I am. My focus is the photo -- I choose to create the best image I can with the camera. As I have said before, I would rather spend time with my camera than my computer.

Oh -- and the name of the product in the Arden ad -- "Visible Difference."

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Friday, December 11, 2009

From the Barefoot Files...

Another family birthday -- my mother. Here is a photo of my mother with (I believe this dog's name is right) Teddie. Teddie looks a lot like a dog that was around my grandmother's house when I was little -- that one was Queenie and she bit me once -- but that is another story...

My mother's birthday is tomorrow. My daughter and I have been traveling to see her on her birthday for the past few years. It is a nice time to travel and visit -- in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There is snow in this picture and I am wondering if we will see any snow while we are there?

We will be taking cookbooks to Virginia. Some of my mother's friends want a copy. My mother has a lot of recipes in the book -- and there are a lot of photos of her in there as well.

Before she retired -- my mother was a curator at the Marine Corps Museum. When my kids were little -- especially my son -- it was a fun visit for him to get to go to the museum and let Nana show him all of the displays.


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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Painting

I like to paint. I have not painted anything for a while -- been busy and not really had a good idea. Well, that is not really true -- I have had ideas that come and go -- but no real time to work them out.

This is the last thing I finished. I have had a love/hate relationship with this canvas. It has been about 4 different paintings before I settled on this, reluctantly. I did not really like it -- but I sort of liked it.

The painting has been leaning against the wall in the powder room for a few months while I decided if I was going to exercise the demons of the cursed canvas and take a knife to it -- or if it would grow on me. This morning it grew. I walked into the room to grab a tissue and looked at the thing one more time and saw it.

The Man in the Moon.

Immediately I loved the painting and was glad I had not knifed the man in the moon before I saw him.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

25 Days of Christmas

Social networking is interesting. Since I became active on Twitter I have met some very nice photographers that I probably would not have known otherwise. One of them is Rhonda Holcomb. Rhonda takes awesome photos -- many of birds. I love seeing her photos. Getting to know Rhonda brought me to the group (she invited me) on Flickr; "25 Days of Christmas Photo Challenge."
I don't participate in a lot of Flickr groups. Frankly I just don't have time. And really, at the holidays -- I don't have time for this. But you know it is all about finding or making the time. From that old blog I "found" time to walk a dog every day and it has really paid off for me in getting a little more in shape. I am working on finding the time to take a Christmas photo every day to add to this group -- and it is paying off in getting me to really think about the images.
The Christmas challenge has given me a great idea for one in 2010 that the photo club can do to really get us thinking -- and at a time that is kind full of the winter blahs. In the meantime I used a different method getting the photo to the blog. I don't know if I will do this again -- but I sent it from Flickr. This is my entry in the challenge for today -- a heavily manipulated angel image. This looks like a card for next year to me. Follow this link to keep up with my challenge photos. If I don't post one for a couple days -- don't worry -- I will catch them up!


































Dec 6
Originally uploaded by TheBarefootPhotographer

Friday, December 4, 2009

From the Barefoot Files...

We have been having a little cold weather, rain, damp, possible frozen stuff -- so I thought why not take a trip to the tropics?

Going through my granddaddy's photos I found this picture of Diamond Head.

In 1991, I took this photo (below) of Diamond Head from a hotel balcony.

In 2007, I painted this from my photo. The canvas is 30x40 and this painting sits on my mantel. You can see it in the blog From Where I Sit...My Home Office.


It is nice to think about Hawaii on a day when I hear a snow prediction on the radio!

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Biscotti & The Cookbook


This morning my house smells wonderful. I toasted almonds while preheating the oven for biscotti. The smell of the toasted almonds was very nice -- especially on this very wet and chilly day. Earlier this morning I sat out the stick of butter. Mixing it with the sugar and eggs was easy after it had time to soften. Adding in the orange juice, espresso powder, and cinnamon smelled great too.

While the biscotti was baking I made a cup of coffee with my Tassimo. The scent of the coffee mixed with the biscotti baking and the lingering smell of the toasted almonds. Well -- add in the iPod playing 'Christmas with the Rat Pack' -- the kitchen was warm and cozy on this dreary December morning.

I am baking the biscotti to have on hand this weekend. Finally after many edits, redits, checks, rechecks -- the cookbook is printed and ready. This is just in time for the arts & crafts fair at St. Andrews in the Pines this Saturday. The books, as well as prints and notecards, will be available for purchase this Saturday. In addition to having the delicious cappuccino biscotti for sampling, I am planning on baking some chocolate crinkles Friday morning. Both of these recipes are in the book.

I am very pleased with how it came out. There are 388 time-tested, family recipes in this book. The recipes range from soups & salads to pickles & nuts, appetizers to pies, cakes, and more. The main dishes are some that have been prepared over and over on request. The famous pound cake recipe from my husband's grandmother joins my grandmother's baked beans. The cookbook is printed on premium paper, 8.5x11 size. The binding is plastic coil. Scattered throughout the book are vintage family photos and stories -- stories about many of the people who have recipes in this book. Also in this book is the award winning photo, Fork #1.


The book is available in print softcover copy for $20, add $5 for shipping and handling. It is also available in electronic format (pdf) for $7.95. The book along with notecards and prints can be purchased at my new Etsy shop or you can email me.


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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Christmas Tree & The Kodak


Our Christmas Tree is decorated with family photos. Photos of my great great grandparents and my husband's all the way up through to my children with their cousins. There are photos of old homeplaces that no longer exist. There are photos of family reunions. I have an extensive collection of old family photos. And I bought tons of small photo frames at local stores. I printed the photos to fit the framed I had and then hot glued a ribbon hanger. A couple years ago I created a listing of the photos -- a number on the back corresponds with a number on the list. The list tells everything I know about the photo -- who, where, what, when, etc. Some of them all I know is who. Every year I add a couple photos to the tree. So far this year I haven't printed any to add -- but I have a couple in mind.

I am writing this post for two reasons -- to share the idea of the tree and to talk about my new toy, the Kodak Zi8. Beginning today there is a new rule about blogs and products. Let me just say right now -- Kodak did not give this camcorder to me (how nice if they had!). Since I bought it -- I have sold two for them. When people see it -- see the quality of video, ease of use, etc. -- they want it. The video looks a little jerky (that's me) and a little pixely (I think that is the upload). The picture quality is really great. It takes video in 1080p and 720p.



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