All Hallows Eve Eve

Since I probably won’t be able to post tomorrow night, I thought I’d submit this for your consideration. This is Sandee, her mother, aunt, sisters, niece, and family friend. They were fooling around with some half masks and allowed me to gather them for this “family portrait.”

I purposely bumped up the clarity and contrast to make the photo almost hyper-real. I think it works for this goofy subject matter. :)

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Avon Calling!

Who remembers these bottles from Avon? My poor daddy probably got three or four of the mallard-bottle colognes over the years. I thought they were so cool and clever. They really are kinda high on the kitschy scale, but also show a certain craftsmanship and creativity.

These are just a few of the nifty items you can see at MaCile’s Museum, opening again for Veteran’s Day weekend in Gordo.

Sunset (180 Degrees)

This photo was taken recently when I was in Tallassee. I’d planned to try to capture sunset at the river bridge, but sunsets generally are not striking unless there are clouds for the colors to reflect off, and this was an evening without a cloud in the sky. So I just rode around for a while, looking for something else that struck my fancy.

About a mile from my parents’ home, I turned onto Indian Trails Road and saw a field of hay “bales.” (They aren’t bales anymore, but I don’t know what to call the large circles of hay.) Next to the field, across a dirt road, was a herd of cows (Gurnseys, I think), and down at the end of the road was a huge oak tree. The sun was setting behind me, but it was creating beautiful colors 180 degrees away and behind this wonderful bucolic scene.

It was actually darker than you see in this photo, and I was shooting handheld shots, so the ISO noise is pretty evident, but it still came out as serenely quiet as I felt it… crickets chirping, leaves rustling in the trees, nothing but the sounds of nature.

I took several shots showing hay only, cows only, hay primary and cows secondary, but ultimately settled on this one with cows primary, hay secondary. I also chose to give the sky more prominence than the pasture, just because it was so clear and bright.

One thing another photographer taught me years ago is no matter how focused you are on your subject matter, don’t forget to turn around and look at what’s behind you. I find that to often be excellent advice when planning to shoot sunsets. Sometimes, the view 180 degrees from the sunset is just as pretty as the sunset itself.

Looks best when you can see the details.

The View from the Office

Of course, this is not the view from MY desk… I have a lovely view of the parking lot on the other side of the building. I guess I shouldn’t complain, however, since at least I have a view. Some of my colleagues sit in the middle of an open space in cubicles. I spent 13 years in an office in the center of the building with no natural light whatsoever. I.did.not.like.that.

I shot this today as I was taking a break and walking around the perimeter of our complex. The lake used to be full, but as you can see here, several feet of lake bottom is showing. I started to get a closer-up picture of the boat and the geese, but decided to pull back and get a photo of the whole scene, complete with gorgeous fall colors.

This was taken with my backup camera. It works great when there is plenty of light, and I love the color I can get with it. It’s nice to have one I can carry so easily, as my more “serious” camera is quite heavy. I think I’m getting lazy. :)

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“Where Have Ewe Been All My Life?”

I can count on one hand the number of times in my life when I felt I was photographically in the right place at the right time with the right camera, right lens, right light, and right settings. This was one of those times.

Recently at the zoo, I took this photo of this precious little boy, the son of some friends of mine. Most of the time, it was hard to get him to look at me, as he was far more interested in the animals that were behind the fence (and I’m sure I would be too if I were his age). However, when we walked into the petting zoo, he made a beeline for this sheep, went over and hugged it and put his head on its side like it was a pillow. I was coming up from behind him, so was disappointed that I didn’t get that shot. But then, he moved around to the sheep’s head, pulled it up by its chin, leaned his face against its head like it was his very own pet, and looked straight at the camera. (Snap!) The photo gods smiled on me at that moment.

I have some other great shots of him, but I’m not finished processing them. I’m so humbled that people allow me to capture moments of their lives like this.

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Bolled Over

October in Tallassee brings out the beautiful white fields of cotton. A friend of mine from Cinncinati is enamored with the cotton plant and amazed at all of its applications (as am I). Several years ago, I took her a small stalk of cotton for her very own, and she kept it on her desk at work for a long time.

Having grown up around cotton and even playing in trailers full of picked cotton, it doesn’t fill me with the wonder that it does her. Of course, I was amazed at fields upon fields of corn in Indiana & Illinois this summer, so I guess it’s all about that with which one is familiar.

I thought of my friend this weekend as I passed the cotton fields, so I stopped and took a picture to share with her. However, while I like it okay, her instagram iphone photo looks just as good. Just goes to show that a good photo is as much about the subject and the photographer as much as the camera. :)

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