Cats

My New Camera Assistant

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Whiskey Loopy

Move over, Filter Boy – I have a new camera assistant!  He’s black and white and pink all over.  I think he’s the most adorable little boy in the whole world. :) Regular readers of my blog may remember when Whiskey fit into my Beast’s lens hood.  Whiskey is two years old now, and he’s a curious little thing.  He loves to help me with my camera equipment.  I was glad that I had my iPhone handy a few weeks ago when he posed with my gear after a photo shoot.  The sun shone in all around him to create the high-key effect. As I got ready for my Maine trip, I packed my camera backpack.  I read plenty of reviews before getting it, and all the reviews went along the lines of, “you can fit this body and this lens and this gear” into the bag.  Well, I bet nobody’s ever done a review where they say they can fit a Beast and a kitty cat into the Think Tank Streetwalker HardDrive!  (A very good backpack, by the way.  It fits my Beast and body, an intermediate telephoto and body, and has a huge laptop compartment that often serves […]

Backyard photography

My New Toy :)

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Goldilocks

The little brown truck brought me a new toy this summer! It’s a Canon 5D Mark III camera body. I’m so excited about it, as it has much improved autofocus, even better than my 1D Mark IV. It also does in-camera HDR and in-camera multiple exposures. It’s a full-frame camera, which will be fun for some of my more “artistic” photography. There’s a rule at our house that the first photograph taken with any new piece of camera gear must be of our cat Goldilocks. It’s a tradition we’ve had since before my first DSLR. Goldy is pretty cooperative and she makes an adorable subject. Since the 5D Mark III does multiple exposures, I figured I’d try a technique that my friend Kathy did with her cats. It’s a combined exposure of the cat’s fur and the cat’s face. I love the LCD on the 5D Mark III! I had such fun experimenting with the multiple exposures. You can set it to do any number of exposures, with several combination options. You can also save the original captures, which is cool, because I found that I wanted to tweak these a little in Photoshop. I liked the in-camera captures very […]

Backyard photography

Freeze Me!

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A while back I read a fun blog entry by Denise Ippolito where she froze flowers to photograph.  It sounds weird, but she got some amazing results.  Then my friend Kathy Urbach started experimenting with the same technique.  I liked their images and decided to try the technique myself.  It’s not as easy as it sounds!  First you have to pick a flower or composition that will look good frozen.  Then you have to get enough water in the plastic container to cover the flower, but not so much that all you see is frozen water.  Then comes the really hard part – you have to convince your husband to make some space in the freezer.  For your freezing flowers.  Rich thought I’d lost my mind.  (Again!) The image above was my first attempt. I took some rose petals and scattered them in the water.  After a few hours in the freezer, they were ready.  I found that my first challenge was finding a good background for the photograph.  If you put the ice block on a table, you can see the table through the ice.  Also I didn’t like the light inside the house.  So I ended up taking […]

Backyard photography

An Hour and a Daylily

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The other day we got home from work and Squirt really, really wanted to go out on the porch.  So did Whiskey.  How to say no to two adorable cats?  So I grabbed my macro lens and extension tubes and we all went outside.  While the boys sniffed the breeze and chased lizards, I photographed flowers.  One of my favorite daylilies, a pale pink variety with a yellow center, was in bloom.  I took it into the shade and photographed it from all sorts of angles.  When Rich called us in to dinner, the cats and I were both surprised.  We’d been out there for an hour, and I spent the whole time with one flower! I found a cool tutorial online for doing filmstrip effects with digital images.  I thought it would be fun to use this format to showcase some of the different images that I made of the daylily.  The main image is just a color blur of one of the petals.  The top right is the traditional shot of the center of the flower with a large depth of focus.  The middle shot focuses on just the stamens (boy it is hard to get them all […]

Backyard photography

Flower Power!

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My daylilies in the backyard are starting to bloom, and they are so colorful.  I’ve been having fun with my macro lens, Photoshop, the Nik filters, and some Fractalius.  (Rich loves to tease me that I have Windows running on my Mac for almost the sole purpose of the Fractalius Photoshop filter!)  It’s fun to sit and play with angles in-camera, and then colors and effects on the computer.     I know I’m onto something interesting when I get an “oooh!” from Rich (instead of a “that’s nice.”).  We both really liked the colors and overall effect of this “daylily heart” image. It was tricky photographing the daylily because of the tall stamens.  They kind of got in the way if I was trying to focus on the colors at the center of the flower.  I tried large apertures to blur them, then switched to tiny apertures to capture them in focus.  It was a breezy day, though, and I had to time it when the flower wasn’t waltzing in the wind.  I like how the colors radiate from the center of this flower, with a touch of Fractalius to add some interest to the stamens. Daylilies really do […]

Backyard photography

Fun with Gerber Daisies, Photoshop, and Filters

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You know you’ve been bitten by the photography bug when you’re in a garden center, and you see a display of flowering Gerber Daisies, and you purchase it thinking, “oooh, that one would look good with the Fractalius filter applied!”  You can have lots of fun with a pot of Gerber Daisies, Photoshop, and filters… I love Gerber Daisies. They are colorful, they have such interesting centers, and they are easy to grow in pots. They will continue to flower and provide me with further macro opportunities in the months to come. They also provide much-needed color to the backyard in January! I actually purchased the daisies to continue experimenting with the RainEx technique of photographing flowers reflected in water bubbles. I experimented with focus stacking to try to bring more of the reflected flowers into focus. However, I did my little experiment on a gray nasty day, and I think I needed more light. My pictures from last time were better. So after viewing some of my images in my camera LCD, I switched tactics, and tried to photograph the Gerber Daisies differently than I had ever photographed them before.  I thought about the shapes of the petals, the […]

Beyond the Backyard

Incoming!

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This is one of my favorite Great Blue Heron nesting shots from last year. I had fun on the computer with it today, applying Fractalius and some texture to the image. I’m looking forward to getting out to the Viera Wetlands to enjoy this year’s nesting birds.

Backyard photography

Squirt’s Delight

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It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Work is done for the year, the cats are enjoying the cold front breezes out on the porch, and I got to photograph Squirt’s favorite holiday treat. Well, one of Squirt’s favorite holiday treats. :)

Beyond the Backyard

Blue Skies Ahead!

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I’m tired of all this cloudy, foggy weather we’ve been having lately! I hope the skies clear up for my upcoming time off from work. This was taken back in November at the Orlando Wetlands Park. I liked the cloud formations of the original image, and then I really liked the effect of the golden colors framing the clouds in the polar coordinates version.

Digital Art

Astro-Snoopy!

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Astro Snoopy

Foggy mornings inspire me to play with the computer…and be a little silly! I took this picture of a Snoopy astronaut statue at Kennedy Space Center on Friday. Except he looked like he needed a better background than the bars surrounding his exhibit. I played with some of the astronomy filters from Flaming Pear to create a moon and a cosmos. Then I edited Snoopy into the scene.

Beyond the Backyard

Fun with Filters

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I recently photographed some tiny flowers.  I don’t know what kind they were.  Rich stood patiently as I crawled on the ground to get really close.  I liked the images, but they seemed a little boring.  So I played a little bit with the Color Efex Pro and Fractalius filters…

Beyond the Backyard

Going in Circles

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Circles of Color

Sometimes it’s fun to mix up your photography using filters and effects.  I took a nice picture of a lake scene with fall colors earlier this week at Callaway Gardens.  But it was a little boring…straight lines, nicely executed, but nothing special.  I noticed the layers in the trees and the waves of the lake and decided to play with Photoshop’s Polar Coordinates filter.  It wrapped the waves of the lake around my layers of fall colors quite nicely.  Fun! In case you’re wondering, here’s the original image. Some images work very nicely with this sort of effect.  Others do not!  It’s fun to experiment.  I think I would have liked the effect even better without the little buildings.  Oh well, maybe next time!

Backyard photography

Drops of Purple

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I keep playing with water droplet experiments, and I think I’m getting better.  I still haven’t quite captured the image that’s in my mind’s eye, but this one comes the closest.  This is one of Squirt’s first-of-fall pansies, photographed through water droplets scattered on my porch glass-top table.  I dragged a lamp out on the porch on a very overcast morning to improve the lighting conditions.  I also tried a piece of aluminum foil behind the flower.  It was far enough away from the flower to through it out of focus, but it added light with its reflection.  I like how it gives a silvery cast to the image tones, which contrast nicely with the purples of the flower. See my other experiments here and here.

Digital Art

Ribbons of Green

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This was taken the same day as the flower in my Reflection post.  I loved these little pink flowers and how they contrasted so nicely with the green leaf background.  For this one, I used Nik’s Midnight Filter to emphasize only the brightest tones of green, which created the effect of “ribbons of green.”

Backyard photography

Orange Reflections

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With this week’s cold snap, my summer flowers are dying off, including my clumps of Mexican Sunflowers.  I photographed these a while ago playing again with water droplets.  I liked this attempt better than my last one, when I had very little light.  This latest attempt was at sunset with lots of light – and the reflections were so much better!

Backyard photography

Purple and Gold

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Before I let the cats devour their first-of-fall pansies, I claimed the six-packs for myself and had some fun with my macro lens.  I love the colors of pansies – purples and reds with great yellow centers.  They are my favorite wintertime flower and I’ll have to take advantage of this week’s cold snap to go plant some in the backyard!

Digital Art

Reflection

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It’s not often that my non-photographer husband walks into the room, looks at my screen, and says “oh wow!” So I decided I should share the recent image that got his attention. These pink flowers caught my eye as the pale pink contrasted so nicely with the dark green tones. I put on my extension tubes and photographed the little flowers from all angles. Then I had fun with filters in my “digital darkroom.” What do you think?

Backyard photography

Rainy Day Fun

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It was a gray, icky day yesterday, so I had fun playing with my camera and flowers in my own backyard. I had read about a technique for water droplet images on Denise Ippolito’s blog, and I decided to experiment and see what I could do. This is a zinnia flower taken through a sheet of glass sprayed with water droplets. I had a great time experimenting, and this was my favorite one.

Backyard photography

A New Day

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I’ve been having fun playing with some post-processing effects and filters. This is my latest experiment, using an image of a half-open Mexican Sunflower. I blurred the background a little bit to make the flower pop, then I played with the colors a little to darken the background. I learned something, too – these effects programs are addictive! :)

Digital Art

Another Take On The Skimmer Flock

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I’ve seen friends experimenting with Topaz Simplify, so I tried downloading it to see what it was all about. I like how it makes pictures more art-sy, although I’m not sure that these are effects that I want to use very often. The cartoon and paint effects are a little over-the-top. But I did like the effect that turned this bird flock into what looks like a pencil drawing. It felt appropriate for this time of the year, with all the birds on wing as they migrate south. Hurry up and get here already!! :)