Friday, September 28, 2007

Left Behind

As part of my interest in abstracts, I enjoy images that make you think a bit and ask questions. Here is one of my early images on this subject. Yes on the surface it is a bench, fence and Starbucks coffee cup. But "why is it here?" "Was the person who bought it really finished with it or did they just forget in their hurry?" "What did they order?" But then like I said, it is trash on a bench.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fort Union Flower

Caught this flower struggling to life out at Fort Union, NM. It was one of the only flowers out there at the time, which is not surprising give how hot and dry it was.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Speeding Monument

I have been recently shooting more images while I drive (no not looking through the viewfinder). Mainly just pointing and shooting as I pass something interesting. Often the image is crooked or just plain unusable. But sometimes I get lucky. I am posting this because A Jesse has recently blogged about her doing the same thing, so I wanted to share some of my results.
This is taken in the spring. The daffodils (the yellow streaks) are in bloom, but the trees are still bar. Clearly the Washington Monument and Old Post Office are in the background. I like the effect of movement in the foreground with the trees and daffodils streaking by, while the background remains still.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Renaissance Archer

Took the family to the Maryland Renaissance Festival this weekend (it was our 13th year in attendance). Hard to get many shots with having to keep one eye on the kids at all times. But I was able to slip away during an archery demonstration and get a few shots of the re-enactors with their long and recurve bows. I think my favorite is this one because of his expression. He really just seems to be enjoying himself.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Adobe Sunset

This is of the Museum of Fine Art in Santa Fe, NM. We happened to walk by just as the sun was setting, and I was able to catch the light in the window. You never know when you might come across something like this so having a camera with you is always key. I now keep a point and shoot in my car just in case.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Girl and Her Horse

Now you can see where the orange leg came from in yesterday's image. She had complete control over the large horse, even though it towered over her.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Quarter Horses

Nothing to say about this one. I'll let it stand on it's own.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I happened upon an interesting idea (at least interesting to me) that I am going to explore a bit more. I was out playing with the kids this weekend, and we were kicking around the soccer ball (they are taking a Lil Kickers class). I started throwing the ball up in the air and as it had a highly reflective surface and the sun was setting, it was catching the light and looked very neat. So I ran inside and grabbed my camera (of course). Then I began to experiment with throwing the ball up in the air and taking pictures of it. Lots of weird angles, bad shots, bad backgrounds, near hits to the lens, etc. But the idea was interesting. With the lens on wide angle, the ball did not have to go very high to make it look very small (but the more hang time you have the more shots you can take per throw). The few things I figured out that I want to work a bit more on were: 1) find an even more reflective ball so that I can potentially see more of the surroundings and 2) work on getting a nice background.

Sometimes you just have to play and experiment to see things a bit differently. Hanging out with the kids really opens my eyes at times to things my adult brain might not have thought about.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mountain Dew

This is another abstract that I just stumbled upon while getting the car loaded to go shooting one spring morning. This is the black diamond plate on the toolbox in my neighbor's pick up truck. I like the shallow depth of field with the streaks of light from the dawn.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Secure Spring

One morning early this spring we had a snow shower. This is just after the daffodils had gone into bloom. Along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, there are lots of areas where they have planted fields of daffodils, so I was interested in getting shots of the snow covered daffodils. While I was down by the Potomac, I started taking shots of the Washington Monument, the river and the daffodils. Joggers and rowers came by regularly which helped to give the shots the extra something they needed. But when the police boat came by, I felt that really added what I was looking for.
To me, the security forces on a beautiful spring day clearly represents Washington DC in the current age. Something about our inability to let down our guard even for a moment, even when you stop to smell the flowers. That is really just too bad.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Flight of Winter

This shot is from my favorite location along Rt 29 north of Madison, VA. This bit of opening along the road gives you some great views of what I consider to be "classic Piedmont Virginia." I love this part of the state, having grown up south of here in Charlottesville.

I used Lightroom (my software of choice) to process this image and give it a bit of zip. Nothing major, just some contrast and cropping. I like the panoramic look without it actually being a panorama. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sunset Geese Redux

Here is a cropped version of yesterday's post. Here I was looking for images with an image and think this works well. I am not sure which I like more, but it is interesting to find other images within an image that you were not expecting.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sunset Geese

Today's and tomorrow's images are going to be a study in looking closely at your images. Often you will find images within images that with judicious cropping can offer different takes on the subject. Today is an image of geese caught in the setting sun. When going through this image, I felt that there was a second, potentially more powerful, image within this one. I will post that tomorrow and am interested in seeing what you think is the stronger image.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Angel Eyes

Ok, time to do something else and get away from shadows for a bit. I love this portrait because of the soft light and big catch lights. I find portraits very interesting and hard. How to you capture this person at this time? It can be a challenge for sure, especially if you have just met them, which of course is not the case with this little girl.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Shadow Rings

More shadows... I guess I just love the abstract and ephemeral nature of shadows. They look like their object and yet not. They are always present and yet never the same.

(Where was this taken?)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Teeter Tooter Shadow

I took the kids back to Clemyjontri Park this weekend and ended up taking a lot of shadow shots. The sun was in a good position and with the colors and all, I was really happy with a number of them. Today's image is of my son sitting on a teeter tooter. I think it is interesting how the shadow area is has a heavy yellow tint since the surface was so yellow. I also like how the image seems to be upside down since there is not frame of reference of what is casting the shadow. I tried looking at it "upside right" but it looked even more odd since the umbra dropoff was in the wrong direction, and his head became very alien.

(Where was this taken?)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Barbed Shadow

Since yesterday's image had a shadow as a large element in it, I thought I would extend that theme a bit today. Of course this image is of barbed wire. The wire is wrapped around the crane at the National Japanese American Memorial, which I had an image of previously. I like the image for its abstract nature, even though you know it is barbed wire, there is a sense of mystery. "Why is it there?" "Why does the background look all scratched and worn?"

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Purple Playground

Today's entry is from a recent trip to a fancy new playground in Fairfax Country, Clemyjontri Park, which has stuff for kids of all abilities. I took this while the kids were playing on the other jungle gyms. What drew me were the various shades of purple matting (the playground is completely covered by colorful track matting - no dirty kids!), the tire swing and its shadow. I debated trying to eliminate the swing's post in the background but decided to leave it in because I think it adds further depth and another purple/dark shadow element. It is a time like this that reminds me to keep my camera with me wherever I go, you just never know when something will come together.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Time to move away from the abstracts for a bit. This image was taken at the Explora Science Center and Children's Museum in Albuquerque, NM. My son is at one end of a tube that was open at both ends. Inside there are 4 mirrors placed in a diamond shape. When someone looks down the end of the tube at someone else, the effect is that of a kaleidoscope. Anyway, I thought it was great fun. I have planned on building something like this for myself as I think you could get some neat images with it. But where would I put it?

Yesterday's image is from the Reston Town Center (taken before the confrontation with the security guard). It is of a drain covered in snow and surrounded by a layer of ice. To me the drain cover looks Oriental, hence the name.

(Where was this taken?)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Oriental Ice

Ok, ok. Another abstract. I hope I am not boring you with these. But they can be such fun to do. This image has a very long backstory, bu the short version is: don't shoot in Reston Town Center without written permission from management, it is all private property (bet you did not know that). You too might be banned for a year of taking pictures and have to appeal management in order to get the ban lifted. Ugh. I will give what this is a shot of tomorrow.

As for yesterday's abstract image, this is the end post of a front porch railing at the house in Green Spring Garden Park in Alexandria, VA. The post had a large globe (knob) on top with lots of coats of peeling paint. Fun with the ol' macro lens.

(Where was this taken?)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Blue World

I am going to stay with abstracts for another day. To me this shot is a lesson in getting beyond the literal in my images. When I took this shot, I was focused on the details of the cracks and layers of paint. In other words, I knew what this was an image of and that is what I saw it as. However, when I presented it for critique in a class I was taking, the first thing the instructor said was "looks like a world." Of course it does. Separated from my own literal expectations when I took it, the image stands as something else or even many "something-elses" to others. This episode taught me that I need to look beyond the literal and let go of my own expectations. Even in abstracts I was getting caught up in "what is it."

So as for yesterday's abstract image. If you are interested, it is the wing of a bronze crane statue at the National Japanese American Memorial in Washington D.C. I love how the feathers flow like golden waves.

(Where was this taken?)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Golden Waves

Staying with the abstract theme from yesterday, here is one from the DC area. It has taken me some time to get my head around abstract images. But I have come to enjoy them and have started to find them all over the place. For an abstract image, you don't really need to know "what it is." Abstracts are more about the response, the questioning, form, color or texture.
To that end, I will not reveal anything about what this image is but will provide details in tomorrow's blog entry. In the mean time, you can get some information from the link below.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Asis Abstract

This is an abstract from the same church as yesterday's post. I am drawn to the fact that there are really only 3 colors in the image (with some tonal changes in the browns) and the fact that there seem to be these odd shapes.

(Where was this taken?)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

San Francisco de Asis

The Church of San Francisco de Asis in Ranchos de Taos is one of the most photographed adobe churches in New Mexico. I have seen pictures of it done by the heavyweights of photography, such as Ansel Adams. So when we went to visit my mother in law, who live only a few miles from the church, I was determined to try to find something that was different.
I got up very early in the morning and was there just as the light was hitting the church. Beautiful. I have a lot of pictures that I was pleased with that morning. Here is the first. I really like it because it presents a view I had seen done only one other time. I felt that this was unique and different in that the statute and bell towers were lit but the main front of the church was left in shadow. I think this helps to separate the statue and to give a nice outline to the church itself.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Give Me a Shove

I am going to stay with the Alexandria waterfront today. I was out again one morning and happened to see these two tug boats just on the edge of Oronoco Bay off the Potomac River. I have been down there many times but have only seen boats at this spot once. In the background, you can see the construction on the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac. Finally, I really like the two ducks in the image. I know we should strive for odd numbers in order to make an image less static, but in this case it was the 2s that mattered. Besides, you can only shoot what is in front of your lens.

(Where was this taken?)