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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Photo Project ~ 75-300 zoom lens

July has come and gone!  Hard to believe isn't it?  I'm still working on my July project of exploring with my lens. I have one more lens to go and two more to post about. The lens I chose to shoot with this week was my 75-300 zoom. Once again I made myself use my tripod. It does get a little easier, but it's still akward!!  I have not conquered this lens, so I'm not totally pleased with these images. They are not as clear and sharp as I want. I'll throw in a little disclaimer here, it is too shady under the tree where my bird feeder hangs and the bird feeder and birds were in constant motion. I know there are camera settings that will help in these circumstances. (more about that below) I could have chosen a stable subject, but, I really wanted to capture images of birds. I want to spend another week with this lens and a more stationary subject!!

Here's the results. I did them x-large in size so you could see that they're just not real clear.

I also had to crop some. The birds wouldn't let me get any closer.  The next two pictures are the same, I wanted to show you how much I cropped out.  I guess if you want close-up of birds you must have a longer zoom and that I don't think is in my future for a long time!





That pesky Cardinal didn't want to share the food and was in almost everyone of my pictures sitting on the same post with a seed in his mouth! He kept running everyone off!

Mr. Chickadee (I think this is a chickadee) did get a chance every once in a while!


These two doves stay in my yard all the time!  I think they have the smoothest looking feathers!

Hurry, hurry, the Cardinal is coming back!!

My settings are off; the one below is bleached out. It was late afternoon, but was still in the sun.  You can also tell I've cropped the image, the background is pixeled!

So there you have it. Not great, but they're better than I've captured before!!

I know many of you take excellent images of birds, butterflies, and even those amazingly fast hummingbirds, so I have three questions to ask you.
  • Would you share with me what zoom lens you use and the mode and settings you use to capture moving targets?
  • What causes the purple outline around objects when the zoom is all the way out and how do I avoid that?
  • Do you normally use a lens hood?

I so need some advice!!
Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Senses Collaboration

I was invited by Deborah from Learning As I Go to join her in a photo collaboration using our fives senses.  Deborah suggested that we take time during our mornings to concentrate on our senses and capture images to represent each one. We were also looking for a sixth image to represent KNOW.

Deborah and I met through an online photography class and we began following each other's blogs. Deborah lives in northwest Ohio and I live in central Arkansas. We live a long way apart, but from the beginning I felt a special connection with her. She is such an inspiration and encouragement to me in life and in my photography. I encourage you to visit her blog, she has such an wonderful way of looking at the world.  We're both posting today about our collaboration.

I've posted my images on the left with Deborah's on the right. I'm also adding our thoughts on each photo.
Me:  Photography has enabled me to see the world through different eyes; to find the beauty in ordinary things. My camera helps me to see details that my eyes can miss.

Deb:  When I do my daily practice of yoga I always want to face East and see the new light of day. The summer sun just looks like gold on the oak trees that I see outside that window. I love that warm light.



Me: The sprinkler is on and I hear the pitter patter of the water drops on my Camellia bush.

Deb: It was cool enough to have my kitchen window open, and I could hear the most wonderful wind chimes (something I don't normally like). I listened carefully and found the source - these cute little metal ones on a house nearby.


Me: I water my flowers, plants and lawn; take a deep breath and smell the wet, damp earth.
Deb: The aroma of fresh coffee in the morning is soothing and brings up a lot of good memories.


Me: I taste the honey nut flavor of my cereal for breakfast.

Deb: Most mornings I'm a toast with peanut butter and honey gal, but sometimes it's cereal. If I take the time to savor each bite, I enjoy that taste more.


Me:  I touch the keyboard of my computer as I read my emails and the blogs that I follow.

Deb:  The morning sun touches these old boards, just as my feet touch that same old porch floor.

Me:  As I see the morning sky, I know I have a brand new day; a day that I get to choose how to live.

Deb: What I know is that when morning comes, it's a new day, a beginning, a place to start fresh, breathe deep, and have faith.


Thank you Deb for inviting me share our morning together!!  I often take my senses for granted. This experience has reminded me to be grateful that I have these wonderful gifts.

Psalm 139:14
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
(NIV Bible)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday ~ July 28

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I waited till the last of the week to go looking for images for Scavenger Hunt Sunday!  Do I dare say it again???  It's just been too hot!  It was 100 degrees by 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning and it will be in the triple digits all this week!  Add to that tons of humidty...nuff said!!!  Thankfully, we had a little cool spell on Friday that enticed  me outside with my camera.

Our prompts were:
  • paint
  • green
  • eyelashes
  • shapes
  • clouds

Paint
The paint is peeling on this tool box and the rust has begun!


Green
Green muscadine berries that will never ripen because the birds eat them!


Eyelashes
Sweet eyelashes that belong to my grandson, Josh. This photo is from last week. My husband and I neither one wanted a picture of our eyelashes!!


Shapes
I'm stretching this a little!!  Unusual shapes...curved butterfly's tongue, circle eye, and curls on the flowers.


Clouds
We've had a not summer, but the skies have been gorgeous; filled with clouds almost every day that make for some beautiful sunsets but bring no rain!

Have a fun week!!!
Stay cool!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

{in the picture} ~ July 2012

In The Picture

These self portraits seem to be rolling around faster and faster!!  Our optional theme this month from Christy at Urban Muser was reflections.  Here I am in reflection!!

classic window reflection
I was leaving the library loaded down with my purse and books when I happened to see myself as I passed this window. I managed to dig out my camera and capture my reflection, plus a beautiful sky and a cool lamppost!

classic rear view mirror reflection


computer screen reflection
Do you see me among the flowers of my desktop picture and the trees behind me?


 
one last computer reflection
I closed the lid of my computer and saw my reflection in the words on the top. Not much of a reflection, but I thought it made a cool photo!
my eyes are in the top letter
camera in the middle letter
and my shoulder is in the bottom letter



abstract reflection
I'll just have to explain this shot!  I have an old rusty wagon in my flower bed. In the corner a puddle of water collected after I watered. You can barely make out my shape and camera, but I'm there!


my favorite reflection
I was combing my grandson's hair when he wanted to try on my glasses. I took his picture because he was just so cute and realized that I'd capture my reflection in the mirror!!

This was fun!  I did want to find more unique reflections, but, that just didn't happen.  I wonder what Ashly will suggest for a theme next month!! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

July Photo Project ~ 50mm lens

I know I've complained here before that it's hot and humid!  We're breaking daily temperature records and we're now under an extreme drought warning. In June I spent a good deal of time outside with my photo project of Look Up, Look Down. (If you're interested in reading about that project, scroll down and look on the left side of my blog under Labels. Click on Look Up, Look Down. There are five different posts.)  This month it's just too hot to spend time outside, so I decided my project would be learning and exploring with my lens inside in the air conditioner! To get the best results with my different lens, I need to practice with them to learn their good qualities and their limitations.

I have:
  • kit lens (this is the one that came with the camera)
  • 50mm macro lens
  • 100mm macro lens
  • 75-300mm zoom lens

I started with my 50 mm lens. It has disappointed me the most and I know the biggest problem is my hands shaking!! Therefore, the only other rule I had was that I must use my tripod. I feel so clumsy and slow using the tripod, but I hope  if I use it and become familiar with it, I'll become faster at setting it up and be more comfortable using it.

I went to my craft/scrapbooking/quilting room looking for objects to shoot. And, here's the results:

 Pastel Thread


 Color My World


 A Lady's Thimble


 My Little Teapot


Ball Jar

 Single Crochet, Double Crochet


Button, Button, Who's Got The Button

Being inside this month will also help me practice shooting inanimate objects and small vignettes. I'm not very creative when it comes to this type of photos; my muse is nature.

My next exploration will be with the zoom lens.

PS: I have a confession to make, we're having a cool wave today and only today! It's 84 degrees and the wind is blowing!  I'm outside and refuse to go in until it's in the nineties!! I'm so grateful for this little relief!  The temps will be back up in the triple digits tomorrow and all next week!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Signs, Signs, and More Signs!!

I often wish that I lived in an area where signs were prohibited. I could just enjoy the beauty of our world  without the view being obstructed by signs. They're like power lines that are so annoying when they get in our photographs!! I'm resigned to the fact that we would be "lost" without signs to guide the way and give us information.


One of the definitions of a sign is "a display (as a lettered board or a configuration of neon tubing) used to identify or advertise a place of business or a product"

This sign advertises the Royal Theater in downtown Benton, Arkansas which has been in constant operation since the 1920’s. In the 1950’s, the owners acquired this neon sign.



Signs can tell you where you are and give your interesting information. I especially love to read the history of old buildings.



I found this collection of signs on the side of an old building in Leslie, Arkansas. You can tell by the signs that there's only a few blocks in the business district of Leslie. The bottom sign has the whole town directory of businesses in one place!



Some of my favorite advertising signs are those painted on buildings like this Coca Cola sign that was also in Leslie. I love the texture that the bricks give to the words. The first wall sign appeared in the U.S. in 1894 - a Coca Cola advertisement painted on the Young & Mays drugstore in Cartersville, Georgia: the hometown of Coca Cola inventor Asa Chandler.
 
 
 
You can find signs that are inspirational or informative.
 
I liked this sign that I discovered on a walking trail along the Arkansas River. The message on each side is in a different language. I couldn't tell you if they were all the same message. I only read English!
 
 
 
I'm always glad when I find informational signs as I visit gardens since I'm not real knowledgeable about flowers.
 
 
Another definition of signs is  "a posted command, warning, or direction"


It amazes me that we have to be told to stay off the grass and on the path! 



This sign with it's command thrilled my four grandsons. We were at a train museum in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Trust me, this old train bell rang many, many times.



The signs in this very large cemetery were low to the ground, directing you to the area you want, but not cluttering the otherwise beautiful cemetery.



First, before I show this sign, please understand that I have the deepest respect for cemeteries. They are places of beauty and reverence.  This sign is near the small community of Needmore, Arkansas. I really think maybe they could have named their cemetery a little something different. I just can't help it, every time I see this sign I want to laugh. My husband says I have a weird since of humor!  Do you see the humor here?



I promise this is the last sign! This sign has a story behind it. When our daughter was born in 1976, my best friend brought us dinner a few days after we came home from the hospital. She brought us roast beef sandwiches from the newly opened Arby's in Benton, Arkansas. When I drive by this sign, I think of that day and how good those sandwiches tasted to us!!


I would rather not have signs all around especially the advertising billboards along the highway! Since we can't live without them though, why not enjoy them through photography!!

kat eye view
I'm linking this to Kat Eye Studio's Exploring With A Camera. Visit Kat's site and see her great sign photos and then visit others who've linked to her site.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Anniversary #40!!


Today is our 40th Anniversary!
Very hard to believe that I've know this man for 44 years!
Honestly, I remember very little of my life without him in it!
We met when he was sixteen, I was fifteen.
You may have heard this story.
But, please let me repeat it!
I kind of like it!!

We met at my best friend's sixteenth birthday party, October 31, 1967.  Jerry came with some of his buddies that went to church with us. I can't say it was love at first sight, but there was definitely an attraction. The party was held in a community center near one of our friends homes. After the party we walked back to her house and he held my hand. (sigh!) He started coming to our church and wanted to date me!  My mom and dad said "no."  I had to be sixteen to date. We had to wait until June; a very long eight months! He was pretty good with that. My parents did let him drive me home from church though. Of course, they were either in front of us or behind us. He was able to stay for lunch on Sunday and spend the afternoon until we returned to church that night.  He could also drive me to church youth functions if we had another friend with us.  But, finally I was 16! Our first date was to Minute Man after church on Sunday night for burgers and fries. Four years of dating and we were finally married. I'm not going to say that we had a perfect "happy ever after" marriage, I'm pretty sure that only happens in fairy tales. We had our problems and our arguments. But, with hard work and love we survived those years. We made a vow to each other, besides the wedding vows, that we would never mention divorce to each other;  that through the good times and the bad times we would stay together. We married because we loved each other and we would work to keep that love intact. If I had it all to do over again...I would do the very same thing!  Marry this wonderful man and share my life with him!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Playing With My Grandsons

The best part of summer is spending time with my grandsons.  I always look forward to their visits especially when they come and stay for the week!  It's been very hot here in Arkansas, so our week was spent close to water.

Little Aaron got a water slide for his birthday which he gladly shared with the other boys.  It was wild and crazy with four active guys climbing up and sliding down!  Their mommies and I sat in lawn chairs in the shade with our feet in a small wading pool!


On the day we got a little rain we went to Aaron's house to play.  Thank you Lord for the much needed rain!  What a fun time they had playing on Aaron's Thomas tracks.  These guys all love trains!! I thought it was funny, there's lots of track, but they're all huddled over there together.

After a little morning rain the clouds rolled on, the thunder stopped, and we were able to go outside and play. We ate well at Aaron's, we had ice cream snacks and spaghetti for dinner.


One day we went to a new park that opened a few week's ago.  It has a rock mountain with  tunnels, slides, climbing walls, and rope ladders.  Perfect for the boys!  It also has a water pad with fountains.  It was a great way to keep cool.

I'm tired, but it's the good tired from having fun!
I love these guys so much!!
I love the time we had to spend together
and the wonderful memories we made!

I'm going to be away from the computer again for another week.  I'll be keeping the twins.  Their Mom, Dad and older brother have an opportunity to visit Washington D.C.  I'll try to catch up on visiting you when I can!