Lens-Artist #210 – Picking Favorites

Sarah from “Travel with Me” guest hosts the challenge this week.

I have to admit when I quickly read the title, I thought I was picking my favorite photos I had ever taken. But, “no” Sarah writes “I want to ask you all to join me in sharing three of what you consider to be among your very best shots.”

Timing for this challenge is ironic because just the other day one of my sisters-in-law asked me what my favorite photo was. As I thought about it, I explained, “Trying to pick my favorite photo is like trying to pick my favorite child. I can’t choose one over the other. They’re all so special.”

Goodness! This was a little difficult. But here it goes!

“Photography, is a way of feeling, of touching of loving. What you have captured on film is captured forever. It remembers little things long after you have forgotten everything.”

~Aaron Siskind

7 Mile Bridge – Key West, FL

Why this is my favorite? I love the black and white and how it captures the age of the bridge, it’s textures and the depth of field.

Why is this one of my best? It was shot in 35mm (color) film; limiting me to the number of shots I could take with the roll of film. If I’m really honest with myself on this one, I think I may have set the camera on “Depth of Field” setting. It was really early in my photography journey, and I had no clue about manual settings. Ironically, this is one of my best-selling digital pieces.

“The whole point about taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.”

~Elliott Erwitt

Red Tail Hawk

Why is this my favorite? If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I love the wildlife in my backyard. I love the challenge of trying to photograph each and every detail. I must have snapped about a dozen photos of him before he took off.

Why is this one of my best? Quite honestly, a little bit of everything; the details of the hawk (his feet, his eyes, his coloring); the Bokeh and lighting; the overall composition of the photo. The end result was a little bit of “in the camera” and a little bit of “photoshop.”

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.”

~Ansel Adams

A Fall Walk in the Park

Why is this my favorite? It’s just a peaceful image and it could have been taken anywhere. I feel like I nailed the essence of early Fall in Atlanta.

Why is this one of my best? There’s a lot going on in this photo, but the elements draw you to water and its path from the front of the image backwards through the middle. The added bonus (to me) is that it almost looks like an oil painting.

It’s probably a good thing that Sarah gave us a limit with the number of photos and requiring us to also choose a different genre for each. I can think of about (at a minimum) 20 – 30 other images to include.

Many thanks to Sarah for this fun challenge! Up next week is my long-time photographer/blogger friend, Anne. Her theme is “What’s Your Groove?” Knowing Anne, this will be quite the challenge!

Until next time,

~donna

P.S. If you would like to participate in our weekly Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us on Saturdays at noon EST: Lens-Artist Challenge

P.S.S. If you are interested in purchasing unique notecards, photography or digital artwork please visit my Etsy shop by clicking on the link below.

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Lens Artist Challenge #209 – Surrealism

This week our guest host, Tracy over at “Reflections of an Untidy Mind” challenges us with the theme of “surrealism.” Be sure to read her post, it’s quite interesting and chock full of fun examples: Lens-Artists Challenge #209 – Surreal – Reflections of An Untidy Mind

Photoshop and other editing software are great tools to help a photographer distort or recreate their images. But I found a unique setting in my camera several years ago which lends itself to creating surreal images. I shoot with a Canon DSLR 6D and within the camera is a multi-exposure setting and it lets me choose up to 9 exposures in creating one image. You can read my original post here to learn more about multi-exposure in camera art.

Below are the images from my original post:

First up, yellow daisy in the birdbath. My base/background image was the birdbath with some leaves floating in the water. I then took the second image, the yellow daisy. As you can see the final image looks like the daisy is floating along with the leaves in the birdbath.

Next up, fire in a glass vase. The base image was the glass vase, and the fireplace was the overlay. I suppose with photoshop I could really get creative with this image and make some smoke out of it or change the background.

My last image is the same glass vase but with a glass of chilled wine as the overlay. Again, I suppose I could get a little more creative with the image in photoshop.

If your DSLR has this capability you should give it a try. I know after revisiting my original post I’m ready to start playing around with this setting again to see where my creativity takes me!

Until next time,

~donna

P.S. If you would like to participate in our weekly Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us on Saturdays at noon EST: Lens-Artist Challenge

P.S.S. If you are interested in purchasing unique notecards, photography or digital artwork please visit my Etsy shop by clicking on the button below.

Lens-Artist 204 – Doors

“When life shuts a door…. open it again. It’s a door, that’s how they work!”

This week Sylvia (My Colorful Expression) encourages us to explore doors/doorways that have drawn your photographic eye. Another fun challenge for me because it gave me a chance to go through my archives and revisit some favorite places.

Like these images of an old house rapidly deteriorating on the side of HWY 341 in South Georgia. Michael and I traveled it most every time we visited St. Simons Island. It was a beautiful stretch of highway lined with farmsteads old and new, pecan groves and cotton fields. We must have passed this particular site about a dozen times before we finally stopped to take these photos.

What really stood out to me on the house was this faded blue door. Can’t you just visualize a cute, white or gray house with a bright blue door?

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Luke 11:9 NIV

I love old churches because of the stories they tell about the communities where they were built. Early into my transition to digital photography I became obsessed with taking photos of churches. So much so I had envisioned creating a coffee table book and naming it “Steeples I have Chased.” With the idea in my head, it wasn’t unusual for me to have Michael randomly stop so I could photograph the church. Like this one “Log Cabin Community Church.” It’s very near to where we live and has been around since 1912. Don’t you just love the bright, red doors?

What I did learn about my photography of churches (after searching through three external hard drives and my Shutterfly account) is that I haven’t done a really good job of taking photos of just the doors. Windows and alters, “yes.” But doors not so much.

I did manage to find this one from our trip to London (2010) of the main entrance to Westminster Abby. It’s definitely not my best, but that’s why we work at photography every…. single….day! Right?!?!

“The happiest of people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”

Sometimes a door really isn’t a door. It could be the front porch or simply the doorway to the home. This photo was taken at the Atlanta History Center gardens the summer I began my “re-wirement” journey. I don’t recall where the cabin originated from but what drew me in was the opposite doorway with the colorful, tattered fabric hanging on the railing. I began to imagine what the activity in the cabin was like. I’m sure to us it was a simpler way of life, but to the early settlers it was just life.

In the photo below do you see what I mean about the porch being the doorway to the home in this photo? It’s so welcoming and inviting and draws you further into the cabin.

So that’s my photo journey of doors. Lesson learned; I need to pay more attention to doors. Afterall, you never know which one will be yours to open!

Until next time,

~donna

P. S. Next week, Tina will be our host. She is a wonderful photographer so be sure to visit her site.

P.S.S. If you would like to participate in our weekly Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us on Saturdays at noon EST: Lens-Artist Challenge

P.S.S.S. If you are interested in purchasing unique notecards, photography or digital artwork please visit my Etsy shop by clicking on the button below.

Lens Artists Challenge #201- Three of a Kind

Ann-Christine gives us an interesting (and fun) challenge this week with “Three of a Kind.” A great theme for any photographer (at least in my case) because we all see more than one image when we take a photograph. Some may call it perspective and while that may be true, there’s more. It’s a different way of telling a story through your images using “triptych – the art of threes.”

What do I mean? Well, let’s take a look at the photo below. It’s an abandoned passenger car and caboose sitting out in a field in Hartwell, Georgia. A pretty cool image in and of itself. It tells a story of a train no longer in use and that’s pretty much it.

But as I walked up closer to the train other images came into play telling their own story. For instance, there’s the front of the passenger car below. How many cities had it been through? How many miles of railroad tracks had it covered? How old was it?

Then as I moved down along the side of train another image came to mind. As I peered through the window, I saw a tattered passenger seat and wondered who were the people that had traveled in seat? Where did they travel? Did they travel by themselves or with someone else? What did they see as they gazed out the window?

The last photo that came to mind was the “Watch Your Step” sign on the stairs leading into the passenger car. How many feet had carefully climbed the steps? What were the styles of the shoes the passengers were wearing? I tried to image the time period this train was in operation.

Other times when I photograph something, I don’t see the final image until I bring it into photoshop. I know there is more to the photo, and I have a general idea of what could be done with the image, but it isn’t until I sit down at the computer that the possibilities come into play.

Take for instance this image of the “Worth Avenue Clock Tower” located in Palm Beach, Florida. My sister-in-law had invited us to Florida for a weekend, winter getaway and asked me to take the photo for her (a small price to pay for free room and board for the weekend😉).

As you can see, I wasn’t the only one trying to get a photo of the clock tower that day. I knew I had my work cut-out for me! Not to mention it was cloudy, windy and I had to stand in the middle of two busy streets to get a full shot of the tower (the things we’ll do to get the shot, right?!?).

Thanks to the magic of photoshop I was able to make some adjustments and landed on the image below. Was it like the one she had seen in an art gallery? Nope, because I didn’t have the city permits to close off the road. Nor did I have the lighting crew or expensive lights to recreate their image. But I was able to give her something she could proudly display in her home.

In the shot below I focused on the arches inside the tower. It was a last-minute shot (yep, there were people to photoshop out, too). I’m so glad I took it because I love how it draws your eye out to the ocean.

My final “Three of a Kind” is this wild sunflower from a couple of summers ago. I love how the different shapes and textures lend themselves to becoming different images all related to the first.

Thank you, Ann-Christine, for this wonderful exploration into “triptych – the art of threes.” I love learning new techniques in art and how they can be applied to my photography.

Until next time.

-donna

P. S. Next week, Sofia will be our host. Be sure to visit her site.

P.S.S. If you would like to participate in our weekly Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us on Saturdays at noon EST: Lens-Artist Challenge

P.S.S.S. If you are interested in purchasing unique notecards, photography or digital artwork please visit my Etsy shop by clicking on the button below.

Lens Artist Challenge #198: Light and Shadow

This week Patti invites us to explore light and shadow in our photography (Lens Artist Challenge #198).

When you research the history of photography (Wikipedia: History of photography) it’s quite clear you can’t have an image absent of both light and shadow. Light highlights the objects and their elements. Whereas shadows bring contrast and definition.

Mother Nature reigns when it comes to creating light and shadows. I’ll even take it another step forward and add color to the mix as well. Take for instance these shots I took from a blood moon eclipse event a few years ago. Science tells us the moon shines as a result the sun reflecting off the side of the moon visible to us. In the photos below you see how the light shows us the details of the craters and as the moon rotated around the earth shadows formed until the moon was covered in darkness. As the eclipse progressed through the night sky, the shadows disappeared reveling the moon again, but it had turned red.

It was pretty spectacular to watch this event occur, although it was pretty cold that night!

Or, what about clouds! In the photo below the light fills the clouds, their formation gives way to shadows producing depth and definition in both the clouds and on the city skyline. Don’t you want to just jump on one of these clouds and float away?

How about a storm rolling in at sunset? This image faces South, so the sun was setting to the right of the frame, reflecting in the glass building. But notice what happens to the rain cloud as your eye moves right to left away from the building. Because of the setting sun the clouds/sky change from a pinkish/blueish rain shower to a somewhat clear, blue sky over the city. This was a pretty fascinating storm to watch.

Who can resist watching a thunderstorm? We were sitting on our balcony one night and I must have taken over a hundred photos to get this shot. I love how the electricity in the air is so full of light that it transforms the dark sky into a pinkish/purple hue while giving way to the outline of the storm cloud. Doesn’t the lightning strike look like a giant spider next to the city skyline?

Then there’s a rainbow just after the rain when the sun along with the atmosphere creates a prism of color. Not only does the sun create the rainbow, but it colorizes the remaining clouds and skyline below.

Thank you, Patti for this wonderful challenge. I’ve enjoyed seeing everyone’s collection of amazing photography and interpretation while revisiting my own experiences with light and shadows through nature. I’m looking forward to seeing what Ann-Christine has in store for us next week.

Until next time!

~donna

P.S. If you would like to participate in our weekly Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us on Saturdays at noon EST: Lens-Artist Challenge

P.S.S. If you are interested in purchasing unique notecards, photography or digital artwork please visit my Etsy shop by clicking on the button below.

Lens Artist Challenge 197 – Rule of Thirds

Ok, so this is my third week joining the “Lens Artist Challenge” and it’s official. I’m hooked! Not only with the challenges but seeing and reading all of the other wonderful posts! It’s truly one of the highlights of my week to participate in the challenges.

This week Tina brings us back to the basics and challenges us with the “Rule of Thirds.” You can read her post here. I must say, I have taken a photography course (or two) many moons ago but had completely forgotten what the 10 Rules of Photography Composition were so this was a fun challenge to revisit rule #1.

The “Rule of Thirds” says your image is divided into 9 equal segments by 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines and you should position the most important elements in your scene along these lines, or at the points where they intersect.

Landscape photography lends itself well to this rule because you’re trying to capture and recreate in your camera what you see in real life. The rule of thirds can help you determine the focal point and how to incorporate everything else you see.

Take for instance this photo from The Pacific Coast Highway. The anchor (where your eye is drawn) is the carved out wooden stool on the lower left corner. As soon as your eye catches the seat you follow it outward to the road in the background with the coastline running parallel. Funny story behind this photo. My husband and I had passed this spot and he pulled off the road for me to take the photo. I had to turn around in the passenger seat (fortunately we had rented a convertible) to take the shot!

The next photo (also taken on the Pacific Coast Highway) may not quite follow the rule. If you were to put a grid over the photo the lighthouse is pretty much in the center, not on one of the vertical axis (like Tina says, rules are made to be broken). However, your eye is pulled from the lower right-hand corner (the rocky cliff) to the lighthouse. In my perspective the photo would not have told the story about the lighthouse being out on a point, had the rocky ledge in the lower right-hand corner pointed you to it.

When it comes to nature shots, that’s a completely different story. I’m always focused on capturing the subject first and come back to the “Rule of Thirds” when I’m cropping and editing the photos.

For instance, my bird shots. I like to use them for my weekly quotes so it’s important to me to get the shot of the bird and then worry about composition later. This week’s quote about bluebirds is a great example of the process I go through.

When you look at the original photo on the left it needs a lot of cropping to get to the main subject, the bluebird and the feeder (the second photo). I would rather the bird face the other direction, but I had to go with where it landed (trust me I took several shots to get this one). But what I like with the end result is the quote actually anchors/balances the photo. What do you think?

Similar to landscapes, gardening photography lends itself well to the rule of thirds, too.

Like these daylilies and black lantern. The daylilies may first catch your eye first, but because they face in the direction of the lantern, it becomes the anchor.

Or this pink hydrangea cluster. It starts at the lower left quadrant and your eye follows the clusters from left to upper middle to the right side of the image.

As Tina reminded us, rules are made to be broken. Nothing really lines up on any particular axis with this knock-out rose, but it’s obvious the bud is the focal point, accented by the Boka image of the open bloom in the background.

As a closing thought, the “Rule of Thirds” is a good tool if you find it difficult to get balance in your images.

Thank you, Tina for the refresher on the rule of thirds. I’m confident I’ll keep an eye out more when taking photos.

~Donna

P.S. –Interested in joining Lens-Artists? Click here for more information

Lens-Artist Challenge #196: Humor

This week’s host, John of John’s Space challenges us to explore HUMOR in our photography. I had to scratch my head a little bit for this one. Did I have any photos that fell into this category? And then, suddenly a flood of memories of photos I’ve taken over the years started coming back to me.

First up: Backyard critters!

Our backyard critters, like these squirrels, are always quite humorous and entertaining! Seriously, the way they twist and turn their bodies to get to the food is quite fascinating to say the least!

Dogs:

Dogs have such wonderful personalities. They’re like kids and come up with the most unexpected!

And then, life just happens!

Well, the U.S. Post Office may not think this photo is as funny as I did. So much for getting through sleet and snow!

Everyday Humans:

I don’t know if this guy was supposed to be Shakespeare or Christopher Columbus, but he definitely turned a few heads as he came strolling through the bar in Beaufort, SC.

“Feed the birds… Tuppence a bag….” This man was a regular at the Pier on St. Simons Island, Georgia. He definitely had them eating out of his hands and off his head!

Things that make you go “hmmmmm.”

And then there are things you stumble on and wonder about the person who came up with an idea like this?

Signs. Signs. Everywhere a sign.

And of course, you can’t forget about the “signs that are everywhere!

Thank you, John for this fun and humorous trip down memory lane and the reminder that humor is all around us, even when it seems like the world is in utter chaos!

Keep your camera handy, folks! You never know when that once in a lifetime photo-op will happen!

Until next time!

~donna

P.S. –Interested in joining Lens-Artists? Click here for more information

Lens-Artists Challenge #195 – Colorful Expressions

Today I’m joining a VERY talented group of photographers and their weekly “Lens-Artists Challenge.” I’ve wanted to jump in a quite a few times but when fellow photographer, Anne Sandler popped up as the lead for this week’s challenge I knew it was time to join in.

In this week’s challenge Anne invites us to explore color and the way it influences our images. To me, color brings so many emotions and feelings to a photograph. Like the blend of orange, yellow and gold in a sunset over the ocean which bring about the feeling of peace and relaxation at the end of long day.

Or how about the colors of a garden? We try to keep a variety of colors in our garden because they attract so many birds and critters. All of the different colors and the critters they attract bring on the feelings or joy and happiness and are the perfect pick-me-up to brighten anyone’s day!

Even in the wintertime when the ground is covered with snow a subtle pop of color can bring life to any dull or gray image.

Sometimes, though, when I take photos, I do see them only in black and white. Like this photo of an old antique barn my husband and I stumbled upon years ago in the North Georgia Mountains. It was a cold, snowy, December day and the only way I could visualize this photo coming to life was in two colors – black and white. For me, there are times when it’s necessary to strip away the other colors to see and feel the soul of the photograph.

So, how did I do for my first lens challenge? Many thanks to Anne for this fun and thought-provoking topic. I’m looking forward to seeing what next week’s challenge has to offer.

Until next time!

~donna

P.S.

Interested in joining Lens-Artists? Click here for more information