Thoughts – Staying Focused

My 52 Week Photography Challenge took a detour…….well it pretty much stalled.  I have no clue why except that I just grew busy with life and other activities.  It’s really ok because it served it’s purpose for jump starting my photography in 2019.  And, it definitely gave my father something to do this winter when it was just a little too cold for him to venture outside and tinker in the yard (read my post here  52 Week Challenge: Week 2 – “My Everyday”). The remainder of the challenge list has some fun/interesting topics coming up so perhaps I’ll get inspired and hit the reset button…..we’ll see ;-)!

Photography Challenge or not, I am still (err) focused on my photography and continue to find other outlets and opportunities to broaden my skills.  I finally pulled together my website (Donna Robinson Photography) and I have shot a corporate event and a newborn photo session, too!  Plus, I have a part-time job helping a friend of ours (a personal trainer) with his social media, shooting his instructional videos and shooting other content for marketing purposes.  So, yes, I’m still actively following my passion!


And then there is always our backyard.  Between the garden, the birds and the critters there is always something to photograph.  The camera and “the big lens” as my husband refers to it, comes out every evening as we sit on our patio and catch-up about the day.

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This beautiful blue tipped hawk was out shopping in our yard one evening.

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The squirrels are always entertaining at how nimble they are.  But, we had to scale back on the bird feeders because they were devouring our supply too quickly!


My husband moved the bird bath to the front of the flower bed and the activity has definitely picked up!  This little guy spent 2 – 3 minutes cleaning up!

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Let’s Ride!

But our favorite critters are the chipmunks!  They are fast and efficient in how they gather their food.  We’ve actually given three (3) of them names because of their consistent patterns for gathering food:  “Lefty” because he comes out from the rocks on the left side of the house; “Malcom” because he comes in from the top middle of the wall; and the “Righty” because…….well you get the point.

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This little guy found water in the base of this lantern.

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Seriously?!?!  When have you ever seen a chipmunk in a tree?  Needless to say, he didn’t reach the bird feeder………but, he found the stash we left on the ground for him.

Michael’s convinced that he can get them trained to eat out of his hands by the end of summer.  He may be right……one little guy is getting brave and comes closer to us every night!

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Now I know why some of my petunias didn’t make it!?!?

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The “Little Begger!”


How do you “stay focused” on your passion?

Until next time, Happy Summer!




Week 3 Photo Challenge – Out of Focus

I have to admit this wasn’t my favorite theme and it’s probably because I’m always trying to get really crisp photos.  Yes, I have seen some incredible images where the subject matter is distorted.  And yes, there are various techniques you can use both in camera and in photoshop to make an image dramatic and really stand out.

For the assignment, I started with a favorite photo I took several years ago on a very cold, rainy, winter day.  This was actually taken from inside our car on a trip in the North Georgia Mountains.  My husband spotted the building as we were driving past it, did a quick U-turn and pulled into the parking lot so I could get the shot.

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I have been wanting to try the technique of shooting through a plastic bag, so I started with the basic approach of auto focus, a few extra lights (no flash) and a zip lock bag over the lens (I also used a tripod).  As you can see, it was “just ok.”  If I were to take this one again, I would definitely add a bounce flash.

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Auto Focus


I then moved to manual focus (still using the zip lock bag), but kept the image blurry.

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Close Up, Out of Focus


From there, I decided to adjust my white balance settings inside the camera.  I left it on AWB, but applied a bracketing technique for white balance compensation.

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0 Bracketing; White Balance Compensation A4, M2

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-3 Stops Bracketing; White Balance Compensation A4, M2

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+3 Stops Bracketing; White Balance Compensation A4, M2


Then, I opened the images into Photoshop and merged them into one (1).  I also used the perspective crop tool to take about the mat.  Funny thing the photo now looks like an old photograph that has faded with time.  I use white balance compensation frequently, especially when shooting sunrises and sunsets. So it was fun to try the “photomerge” technique with these images.

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I’m still not convinced that “out of focus” is a technique I will use in the future.  But, you never know what photo lies ahead where this would be good to apply.

I’m looking forward to next week’s theme, “Shadows.”   Fingers crossed the weather holds up and I’ll be able to get outside for some really fun shots.





52 Week Challenge: Week 2 – “My Everyday”

So, the theme for this past week was all about “My Everyday.”  It was a pretty good theme, challenging me more to think about “the story” of my everyday, versus really practicing photography skills.

Here’s a glimpse into “My Everyday:”

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“The Workout” – I try to make it a priority to squeeze in 5 days a week, either through cardio or resistance training.  These are my “indoor shoes” and my “outdoor shoes.”    

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“The Master Tinkerer” – I had some help with the theme this week from my Dad.  He will be 91 next month and is still extremely active.  I’m blessed that “My Everyday” includes spending time with him.  He ALWAYS has a project to work on and I’m slowing catching on.


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“The Workshop” –  The three (3) pictures above are of Dad’s workshop.  He has a tool for EVERYTHING and every tool has an assigned space.  Trust me, if he sends you out to his workshop to find a tool it will be EXACTLY where he said it would be!

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The “End of the Day” – This is a pretty good representation of how most of my days come to an end.  A refreshing beverage, a cozy fire, good music and long conversations with my husband.

Obviously, there is more to my “Everyday” but the above seem to sum it up the best.  I’m humbled and blessed I have the health and the time to enjoy each.

The theme for Week 3 is “Out of Focus.”  Wish me luck!