Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Shadow Is What We Think Of It; The Tree Is The Real Thing....Buddha

Look round and round upon this bare bleak plain, and see even here, upon a winter's day, how beautiful the shadows are! Alas! it is the nature of their kind to be so. The loveliest things in life, Tom, are but shadows; and they come and go, and change and fade away, as rapidly as these! Charles Dickens

Friday, February 27, 2009

Touched By An Angel

The Angel is back! I used candlelight once again to add drama and interesting shadows to the subject. I like these results.

Do angels exist? Maybe we just want them to. If angels do exist, do they take the form of people we have lost? Could my grandmother be one? If they don't exist, does it matter if we think that they do? If it brings one comfort to believe, perhaps the truth doesn't have any weight. Maybe we spend too much time analyzing different beliefs and judging the beliefs of others simply because they don't match our own. It seems rather arrogant to me sometimes. After all, it's all faith, isn't it? Why is one person's faith less worthy than another person that believes, in his heart, that he is correct? I just finished a documentary which brought these feelings to the surface. Regardless of what faith and belief you, the reader of this blog, holds dear, I wish you a peaceful night.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Red Scare??

For me, the macro-lens was a good choice to purchase. For the viewer of this blog?? Well, there are going to be a lot of macro pictures from now on as I learn what makes a good subject, and what does not.

I could make all sorts of deep and poetic statements about my subject choice here. I could link the dominoes to life and make many, many corny comments as I compare the two. I'll spare everyone here and not do that today. I'm better than making obvious and trivial comparisons between serious topics such as life and a traditional game.

Let me try some intellectual comparisons instead. Actually, I use dominoes as a visual teaching tool when I discuss the Cold War and the spread of Communism throughout Eastern Europe. I also use the same visual above to discuss the dangers that existed with McCarthyism. Linking important historical information with a common visual helps students understand the material and apply it to real world happenings. Are you able to make the comparisons I speak of using the domino?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Quick Stop Nets So-So Pics

A quick stop at my local hang out didn't produce results that I love, but day 1 million, 300 thousand, 8 hundred and fifty five in this competition is complete. Don't tell me I haven't even reached 200 yet!! Can I continue?? In the words of Obama, "YES I CAN"

I used my new lens on the tree above. You can begin to see that it was at least 16 years old at the time of its cutting. Sad really. I'll try to do better tomorrow!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Lost My Head Today!

Blame Jayme, she is the one who let me borrow this from her classroom!

Below, I like the lighting I was able to achieve. Not bad for the teacher's room huh? Didn't you always wonder what happens in the teachers' lounge?

Today I didn't do much instruction as my student-teacher was 'solo'. I had extra time to plan for a future lesson... and, going with the Holocaust theme, I had an idea of using a skull-photo. I know it sounds morbid, but it really wasn't; however, it didn't work out the way that I wanted it to. Nonetheless, I was able to use the images as my daily post.
The image above is one that incorporated three separate photos. Enjoy!

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Just Like The White Winged Dove"

One can't understand how excited I was when I learned that Stevie Nicks, the Queen of RocknRoll, is releasing a dvd/cd compilation of her best hits, all reworked. Maybe you can tell how excited I am when you see that I photographed her album covers! I'm a weirdo, but remember, I have such little else :)

Songs like Landslide, Gypsy, Stop Dragging My Heart Around, Dreams, Stand Back, Gold Dust Woman, Whenever You Need A Friend, Sara and Silver Springs helped Stevie sell tens of millions of cds. So why do I love this beautiful and talented individual so much?? I don't know to be honest. I remember as a teenager finding her album among my sister's collection. I think she was between Meatloaf and The Doors! I love her song writing and her mysterious stage performance. You know the movie Misery? Where the woman is the main character and she is the biggest fan of the writer..and she hobbles him so that he can't get away?? Ha...Tell Stevie never to come to my house!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"From Ashes To Life"

I recently purchased the soundtrack to Schindler's List and have been finding the music hauntingly peaceful. It almost seems wrong to remark that I like the cd; a disrespectful pleasure in light of the Jews' struggles, along with the millions of others who were ruthlessly swept up in Hitler's death machine. I'm currently teaching the Holocaust to my eighth graders. Together we have journeyed through a survivor's life named Cecilia Einchengreen. Her story is one the most riveting and raw books I've ever read on the subject. "From Ashes To Life" is a story of tragedy, horror, rebirth, disgust, hope and most importantly living. I highly urge anyone interested in the subject to get the book. You will NOT be sorry. My image today seemed fitting to my immersion in the subject. A vault door, ornate and of fine craftsmanship. Beyond the door an amazing life was led. All of our lives are amazing. The people we touch. The stories we tell by living each day. The gifts we pass to others. It is what history is- the gift of stories from those who lived. Maybe that is why I became a history teacher, a story teller. I photographed this vault door when I first started my hobby of photography and have been drawn to this cemetery ever since. I wish I could find that first image.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Using Candle Light

I photographed this plate a few weeks ago, shining light through it using an overhead projector. Today, I placed a candle in the background to capture the image above. Below, I continued to practice with my filters to achieve the surreal image. The image below was lit using a flashlight, with the beam of light shining on the front of the plate. It created the slightly brighter 'green tree'.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Warm Heart

At one time candles were used to illuminate homes in America. Now they are largely used for decorative purposes. This candle was given to me in the packaging above. I thought the lace covering added interested to the image. Below, the candle glows from within, allowing me to capture a romantic feel. I used my new lens on these images. So far I'm utilizing it as a portrait lens, choosing not to use the macro capabilities...I don't know why.

What's with all the love in my posts lately? The angel, the hand-heart, the candle-heart...As my niece would say "yuck".

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Silhouette Thursday

Bridget suggested to the photo club that we photograph silhouettes...and so I did, partial and complete. Above, the inside of my cupped hand brought an unexpected surprise- the reddish glow. Below, I photograph the only self-portrait that I can tolerate looking at!
Separate Photos

Put the two together to make the whole. It was tricky to get my image to line up! Thanks for the suggestion Bridget. I used my news lens for all the images and so it was fun to practice today. Is there symbolism to my first image and the ones that follow? Does love make one whole? or does a complete individual make one whole? Can one be truly whole without love? Love for another or oneself?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Interpretation Of NYC

I absolutely love the city. I love the sounds, the smells and the sights. I feel at home in NYC. I embrace the diversity and the culture. I feel comfortable as odd as that may sound. There are people having intellectual conversations. There are coffee houses and delis where couples sit in the window and appear to be chatting away. There are well dressed people. I know there is more to the city than this description; however, I crave a setting like New York every now and then. Anyway, the city was miserable today as far as weather, but I still loved every second. I bought....drum roll please....a macro lens that is also a great portrait lens! Thank you for your opinions on the matter. I think I will get more use out of the macro/portrait than I will with a wide this time. That will be my next lens! Well it is 11:4o here and I made another post by just a slim margin! Up at 4:30am..been a great, but long day!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

She's Back!

I want to thank Jayme for this idea. I was so blown away by Jayme's photo of hands a few weeks back that I had to steal the idea of the 'flare'. Stealing is the best form of flattery, right?
Tomorrow I head to NYC to buy either a super wide angle lens or a macro lens. Tell me your opinion...I'd love to consider others' thoughts.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Play With A NASCAR Controversy

The above picture is my first attempt at using new technology and knowledge. I saw on TV that there was a controversy with Goodyear tires and NASCAR so I used that as my inspiration. Using my niece's Leggos I created a scene of a three-wheeler with tire problems. I shot this scene, eliminated the background of my photo, adding the background you see above. For fun, I added the conversation bubbles and presto! a fun picture. As I said, this was my first attempt. With time and practice I hope to use more serious subject matter. I hope you smile when you view it because it made me smile to accomplish the look.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Found An Angel At Walgreens!

There is more than toilet paper and toothpaste at your drug store. This radically reduced-priced angel (2.99 total) came home with me. I used several techniques to capture the images above and I really like the results. If you look carefully, image one is a multiple exposure, while image two is one where I used a slight zooming technique (during a slow shutter speed). Image three is a setting on my Nikon 300 adding a "cyan" color. As far as the tone/color of the statue, I was able to change the appearance with different lighting in addition to changing the aperture and shutter speed. I was so enthused about these images that you will need to bare with me, as I photograph this angel again soon. I have some different ideas and tools that I want to utilize so she will be back!

Go Rats!

Arriving early, I was happy to take a picture of the arena before it filled with fans. I wish I had brought my fish-eye lens; however, I was happy with the lighting above.

I used this River Rat game as an opportunity to practice my camera's settings. The lighting is always tricky in places like the Times Union Center and so I was able to use different aperture and shutter speed settings. My inspiration below was to blur the image to show action as the two teams faced off.

Below is my niece Jenna's favorite player, number 11. He scored shortly after her expressing that number 11 was the player to follow! Sadly, the Rats lost the game but it was a thriller. Both teams scored within seconds of one another. At one point the Rats scored twice in 19 seconds!

What is a hockey game without Sponge Bob! Jamie has watched the show, drawn pictures and colored Sponge Bob for years, so she was happy to have her picture taken with him. Was he what she thought he would be in person? "No", she replied, but her smile said it was fun regardless. Thanks to my sister Sharon, and my nieces Jamie and Jenna, for joining me on Valentine's Day for a fun evening!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Beautiful Day On The Lake

As I did a few weeks ago, I took off in my Jeep with a cup of coffee. I didn't have much luck today. I felt more like driving than I did taking pictures. The blue sky and bright sun was a welcome change to dreary and cold weather. I'm off to a hockey game! Have a great night!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Many Forms Of Love

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and though I may have reason to wish the day to pass quickly, I will not. I love my friends and my family. I love my job and nature too. There are many ways to love and many reasons to be grateful on Valentine's Day. I wish all those who read this to find love tomorrow. I bet you won't have to look far!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Simple Shoot Using A Unique 'Tool'

I purchased a very inexpensive toy from the store the other day and I think I just may get some 'mileage' out of it in terms of photographic usage! You probably can't tell but the black and white image and the "blue" image were created utilizing that toy. In essence it is a bug-collector bucket with a magnifying-glass top. I placed the keys in the bucket and shut the lid. Then I photographed through the magnifying glass. You might not know from the image; however, the keys were indeed larger, and I was able to get closer than I would have. In the last image it also gave a natural blur-effect. To achieve the placement of the keys I simply shook up the bucket and let the keys fall in place.

Below, I hung the keys from my lamp's, on/off knob. The bright light from the bulb, only inches away, gave the keys good mood lighting. I closed my tan curtain behind the lamp so I would create the brown backdrop. This photo took me about 10 seconds to set up; I hope it doesn't look it though!

I chose to make the keys below blue because my Jeep is blue. Simple reason, simple shoot.

Finally, my niece Lindsey helped me with the photo below. That is actually her wearing the "Lucy" t-shirt. I added lens flare to make Lucy a star tonight! Thanks Lucy....Lindsey's nickname.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"A Spectacle(s)"

Brushing my teeth this morning, I noticed a shadow that my glasses were making as they sat on the toilet-tank. Not the most beautiful setting; however, the shiny white tank did a nice job of reflecting the lenses. The light is from the kitchen and so it was diffused nicely and came into the bathroom at an angle (high to low and right to left). Next, I played with the contrast and added "noise" from my filter selections to give the same object a slightly different look.

Glowing edges added even more drama to the image below, completing my series. I like finding the image of the day early...makes the rest of the day so much more relaxing! This series again reinforces for me the idea that a picture can be found when you least expect it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Three Views Of One Station

I always drive past the train station and think how nice the building looks with the lights on. As I drive home, in day light, I always think how small and plain the train station looks. Today, I decided to take comparison photos. At 6:10 I took the photo above. At 6:20, the photo below.

Finally, the image below was taken at 3:20pm. I was fortunate to have a train pass at the same time as I snapped the photo; however, I still believe the train station is at its most interesting in the early morning.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Sun And The Moon

Above, the sun captured from my mother's birthday flowers and below the early morning moon.
I didn't have a long lens, nor a tripod, so I did the best that I could. Not until I took the flower photo this afternoon did I realize that I took both extremes today. The bright colors and vivacious feeling of the image above contrasted with the moody, dark photos below. Life is much like this, isn't it? The highs and lows, the bright and low-key, the inspirational and the peacefulness of life all seen through light and colors.

The moon was strikingly bright this morning. So bright that without any manipulation or correction the moon gave off the 'halo' seen in the images. A day that began with me wondering what to photograph ended with a stress free feeling that I had done well today to capture something interesting.
Moral of today's story? For me, to learn that whether the day is bright and full of life, or sleepy and quiet, I should find peace and happiness. Living is about finding the joy in each type of day, knowing that tomorrow will bring new experiences and new opportunities and more than likely another "type".