Monday, June 27, 2011

The Week in Photos

Granny Boot Camp ended with Jacob's mom and little brother Nathan (2) spending the week-end. It's great fun to teach the little ones about hens and horses.

The child shows no fear.

The blogs that I follow have inspired me to learn more about photography. I've always had a passion for taking pictures, starting as a young kid using mother's square box kind of a camera. Once I had my teaching job, one of the first splurges was a used Pentax Spotmatic 35 mm SLR. I still have it and it was faithful, full proof, and my best friend. One pal I hung around with spent a summer shooting cowboys at rodeos--in the arena, while they rode their bucking horses and bulls. I was never brave enough or fast enough to get in the arena. MJ's aim was to sell the photos to the cowboys. So she'd shoot the photos then we'd go home to her basement darkroom and develop the photos. I dragged that heavy Pentax to England and Ireland along with a little point and shoot, taking over 400 hundred Kodachromes. On our last trip to England, I went digital and the Pentax has been retired.

Today I use 3 cameras: two Olympus point and shoots and my Canon EOS Rebel that I absolutely love. But sometimes I long for the days of the old Pentax. At one time I understood f. stops, focal point, and aperture settings. Today I seem to rely more on the automatic features. Some of my best macros shots are taken with the little Olympus, though. I want to buy a macro for the Cannon and maybe even a larger telephoto. Currently I use the 75-300mm that I bought with the camera to take pictures of birds, but I could use a bigger lens. With the digital age came the ability to edit our photos. I use Picasa for my collages, but rely on iPhotos to do other editing. I have Photoshop on my work laptop, but it is far too advanced for me. When we get our basement finished (We are finishing 1900 sq. ft. of basement--one large room with a craft, sewing, library area. I haven't blogged about the project, for who wants to read about drywall and paint, anyway), I hope to set up some sort of little photo studio. Enough of the narrative. Here is my week in photos:
 I want to photograph flowers with a black background. So I did a bit of an Internet search. Simple. Use black velvet as the background and the camera's own flash. I set a box on my dining table and laid the black fabric over the box. Only instead of black velvet, I bought black fleece because it was cheaper at $8 a yard instead of the $15 a yard for velvet. The two, however, are not the same. The fleece does not have the sheen, richness, or texture as velvet, so when fabric is half off, I'll buy the velvet. But the results weren't too bad.  I need more practice. My lovely Gertrude Jekyll, my only David Austin, looks near perfect. Any one have any suggestions on how to improve my shots?

I call her The Sleeping Mermaid. I bought her years ago at the Renaissance Fair. She is just a plaque that I had hanging on our fence at the old house. 

I found this Lenox teapot at a junk store for $35. Had to have the rest of the tea set. The other pieces I found on No flash, so the gold edges are a bit out of focus, giving an interesting effect.

Hot Papaya. Shooting the garden after dark will give a black background, too.

This alum is amazing. I'll add more photos of it later.

Try shooting your garden at night. The sprinkler had just shut off, so the garden was shinny and wet.

I nearly stepped on Peter Rabbit. I went back into the house to get the camera, expecting little bunny to have left the area. But he was still there, frozen in place. We have quite a few cotton tails. When they are threatened, they freeze in place until they feel it is safe to flee and then they make a mad dash for their home in the neighbors' wind break, running as fast as their little legs can take them across the pasture.

Rabbit on the Run

And that was last week. We'll see what this week brings. What are your photo tricks and challenges? For you all inspire me.


  1. Wonderful photos! I'm not sure if I have any tricks, other than photographing food on white plates which I never do...I'll have to think about this. I like the black background trick.

  2. Ann,

    The grandchild photos are very good, well done! AS to macro lens once I got my 180mm canon macro lens I NEVER EVER used my 100 mm macro lens again. It is big and heavy but the images are so much better with cleaner backgrounds. Black backgrounds are easy, if you use flash under low light at day light settings the flash lights the foreground and leaves the background under exposed (black). Play around with the camera you will see.

    Meg's son might be moving to Fort Collins he is graduating in the Special Forces this week! Fort Collins is one of two places they might send him.

  3. What gorgeous photos, Ann. I really like the expression of the little boy.

    Peter Rabbit is looking handsome too.

    I'm having my reunion now. Will be busy for 2 weeks.

  4. Lovely photos with the black background, very striking! I would love to get more competent in photography, suppose practice makes better. Can't believe your Lenox tea pot was $35, what a bargain. I thought it was Irish Belleek pottery at first. Kelli

  5. Hi Ann,
    Your photos are amazing! I haven't ever tried taking photos are night but now I will give it a go. My little sister is a wonder with her camera. She even made a business out of taking photos of people for wedding, senior photos etc. I try to glean information off her when we get together.

  6. Hi Ann! Wow! Your photography is beautiful! Your grandson is adorable! Pretty horse, too!

  7. Ann, I had to pop back in and tell you that I LOVE it that you made a Holly Hobbie doll and you knew what pattern I was talking about! Amazing!

  8. Mom-I showed Nathan your blog post and he saw his picture with Sundance and he started to make horse noises. Made him very happy to have made it on your blog! Your pictures as always are truly amazing. Your bunny photos made me giggle because my large HOA down south that I have now designed three gardens for-I will send pics to you soon-when I get back to work to take some- has a huge rabbit problem. It is a bumper crop year for bunnies and they eat almost everything. Many of my clients down here would love to have an easy solution to be rid of these cute but damaging little critters. Love you.

  9. Hi, Ann!

    I come to your blog from Pom Pom's. I, too, have a Canon SLR digital like yours and love it. If I were to take photos of flowers on black, I'd turn off the flash and put a table right next to a bright window for the natural light. If you're wanted crisp photos, use a tripod. I almost never use a flash as I like misty, dreamlike photos. I've photographed places at night using ISO 1600 and just fiddling with my shutter speed and aperture until I get it right. I was amazed that I could get photos that looked like 7:00 pm instead of the 9:30 pm it really was. I almost always handhold my camera, but I've tried tripod shooting at midnight with the moon shining on our barn. They turned out VERY impressionist, but I loved them. Isn't photography fun?