The photographic explorations of a former film student.

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Birds of Prey

These photos are from a club shoot for the photo club I belong to. Apparently, one of the long-time members knows someone in raptor rescue and they arrange for the club to photograph a few non-releasable birds every year. The rescue uses these birds for educational purposes, so they were glad to tell us about all of them.

The peregrine falcon was the most vocal and energetic of all the birds. We were told she was used for hunting and retired due to a foot problem. Now she’s a favorite of school children at educational programs.

peregrine falcon

She also likes water.

WaterTheBird

This is Phoenix, so named because he barely survived a nasty high-speed collision with a truck. He’s a very impressive bird, although unfortunately mentally challenged these days.

Phonenix

This is Ulysses. I could swear he looked directly at one of the other club members who said his name.

OwlEars

I don’t know how to spell this lovely girl’s name. It means “Beautiful One” in Navajo. Very appropriate. She is a Barn Owl raised by another group for educational purposes. We were told Barn Owls are declining in number because of habitat loss. As the name implies, they tend to live in rural areas and eat mice.

BarnOwl

 

Next Time: Japanese Garden

The best place in town for calm and relaxation. Also pretty cool.

Fireworks!

A bit late for a 4th of July post, and a bit early for my schedule, but I wanted to share them. I didn’t get to a fireworks show the last two years, so I was eager to head off with my new camera and shoot them. Problem: new camera. I choose the long exposure noise reduction option when I was going through the menus. Bad idea for fireworks. I couldn’t figure out why the camera wasn’t ready to shoot again or if my exposures were even over. I had no idea what I was shooting for the first few minutes of the show. It ended up looking something like this at best:

20140704Fireworks04 - Copy

Fortunately, I figured it all out in time to get some good shots of the show:

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It’s a good thing I’d started to read the manual! So the moral is test the camera with as long of a shutter speed as you’ll actually be using. And don’t use long exposure NR unless you have time to wait for it.

 

 

Memorial Day Park Exploration

I’m working on a video project right now, so I’m sharing a few photos from my scouting trip to a nearby state park. This park is known for a major river and some large rock formation. Unfortunately, the trees and the way the steps on the trail were arranged made getting a good shot of the rock formations difficult. Light wasn’t the best either. We were warned to watch for snakes, but the only biting animals we found were mosquitos. Lot and lots of mosquitos. I had bug spray on, and I could still feel them crawling all over me when I ran my fingers through my hair.  I could hardly stop moving long enough to take a photo before they became unbearable. Walking fast didn’t completely shake them by any means, but it helped a little. There were some nice sections of the park, but Dad and I decided we would wait until after a killing frost to return. Less vegetation, fall color, and fewer mosquitos would be better.

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Nail Polish Necklaces

Last year, I became addicted to making what they call nail polish gems. Basically, this is painting glass with nail polish. I made many necklaces, and a quite a few magnets.  Fortunately, I was able to sell many of the necklaces at a craft fair last Fall. However, some remain, and I’ve decided another craft fair is not worth the expense or the time. So I’m going to sell them – eventually. I haven’t listed them yet, but I will post a link here when I do. Right now, I just have the photos done. Since I am selling, the only retouch I did on the necklaces was a few localized brightness adjustments. I did a little more retouch on the backgrounds (sweater fuzz, cat hair, evening things out, and so on). That’s my full disclosure for the sake of honest advertising. The idea was to photograph the necklaces against clothing like they might actually be worn.

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Cats and Books: Summer Reading

My sister works for a small library that just kicked off a pet-themed summer reading program. In honor of that, here are some photos of the cats with books.

JennyWantsRead

Unfortunately, my smallest prop book is an aged geometry text. The next photo isn’t so great for summer reading, but it shows one thing I used to get the cats to the books. (Coaxing, toys, and patience helped as well.)

PandNip

Yep, fresh catnip (and patience). The catnip was retouched out of the other photos.

JennyReading

PreciousReading

The cats moved, so I moved a book. Now they can read by the window. As you can tell, lighting and contrast were difficult in the last two photos. Local adjustments in Lightroom helped some.

Next Time: Park Explorations or Jewelry

Religious Architecture

 

The photo club I belong to had an architectural photography contest about a week ago. Since I don’t photograph much architecture, I grabbed my camera and headed out to find the Buddhist temple everyone was talking about. It wasn’t so easy to find. I kept looping around the section of road I thought it was on. Finally, I stopped and pulled into a side street where two churches and a mosque were located. The lawn of one church was getting mowed, and the mosque was a little busy, so I concentrated on the other church. After a little hunting around, I saw something. It took three exposures and ten curves layers to make it work, but yes, this is what I saw.

ChruchRoofandWindow

After that, I decided to give finding the Buddhist temple one more try. This time, I found out that the road it is on goes farther south than I thought it did. It appears to end, but coming at it from a different direction, I saw a sign showing that the road does indeed continue south slightly east of its previous position. Success: a genuine Buddhist temple. What an impressively decorated structure!

BuddhistTemple

TempleRoof

Ironically, I didn’t end up entering these photos in the club contest. I was sick with stomach flu for three days after taking them. I retouched two and had them printed later in the week only to be reminded that the contest had past. Fortunately, my sense of time has returned, and the club did accomplish some of its purpose in my work: I photographed something I normally wouldn’t have photographed, and I edited my images for competition. Thanks also to my Dad for giving me some black and white editing pointers.

Next Time: Nature or Cat on Books

I’ve shot some nature, and a plan to shoot more. However, there’s an animal themed Summer reading program at the local library.

Spring Beginnings

Spring is coming ever so slowly. Kind of like this post. Fortunately, there are some signs of spring about, especially in the local forest. I even found a little snake, but of course I prefer the wildflowers.

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