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Day 104: Critique of a photo!

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Day 104: Today I am going to critique my own photo! This is a photo shot from a bridge a few days ago with my 85mm f1.8 Nikon lens. We are still in the throws of winter here, unfortunately! I am so ready for spring! At the University of Alaska Anchorage I took film and digital photography courses. In both courses we showed our work and the class was to critique our work, both positive and negative. I am going to critique this photo as I would have in class, except it will be of my own work.

  1. Composition is good as it is layered, interesting and the different layers are divided into thirds, which lends itself to the Rule of Thirds.
  2. I could have cropped the dark colored area on the upper right side of the image, one’s eye is drawn to that and thus slightly distracting.
  3. The different textures in this photo make this image more interesting.
  4. The fact that this image is monochromatic showcases the texture better than if it were in color.
  5. The white vertical strip of ice is eye catching and is slightly off center and helps to draw the eye into the image.
  6. There is good contrast in this image.
  7. There is good sharpness in this image, which causes the eye to look closer at it.

I would really like to hear your comments about this abstract monochromatic image! Good or bad.

LIKE or COMMENT. Thanks!

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Day 103 of 365: 5 of my biggest pet peeves!

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Day 103: 5 of my biggest pet peeves! Now I know everyone has pet peeves! Here is my list of pet peeves:

  1. My spouse not replacing the toilet paper roll or not putting the seat down.
  2. People who do not close their mouths when they chew.
  3. People who can’t put their cell phones down when they are out to dinner with someone else.
  4. People who pollute.
  5. People who turn into your lane and nearly clip your bumper when there are miles of road ahead of them.

Thank goodness I don’t have a bunch of them or else I would be “crazy” all the time! What are some of your pet peeves?

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Day 102 of 365: Art and Love

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Day 102: Art and Love! My subjects for today! I have mentioned before that I find inspiring quotes on a website called BrainyQuote.com. I found the Art Quote of the Day to be interesting as well as inspiring. Here it is, “Every picture shows a spot with which the artist has fallen in love,” by Alfred Sisley.

Take the photo above for instance. I just love this beautiful grass! It is oftentimes hard to find beautiful images in the winter, but this grass has ALWAYS called to me. It calls to me saying “please make a picture of me.” This grass is so textural and its beauty is intensified when the Montana wind blows through these stands of grass and when the suns starts to showcase them as it sets!

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Above is a different photograph of the same grass that I love so much! We have had a what feels like unusually LONG winter and I will welcome spring “with bells on” when it decides to come. In the meantime I will actively search for more winter time beauty!

What do you find beauty in? Whether you are an artist or not, we are all capable of falling in love with art whether it is in nature, on canvas or on the side of a train car!

 

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Day 101 of 365: Gratitude

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Day 101: I am talking about gratitude today! For those of you that have been following my blog, and I love you for that, you know that I have just taken on a new business venture. That venture is an art printing service. Since I made that commitment and announcement 3 days ago, I have made connections with 3 different artists that want to utilize my business. It is AWESOME! I had one artist tell me that I am going to be very busy and I take that comment to heart and HOPE that I am busy!!! I told him that I want to be the “artist friendly” art printer person!

I am grateful that this COULD be my niche! Everyone needs to have a purpose and to feel useful. I feel that this is that avenue for me. As a photographer who has been struggling to make a sustainable living at it, I was in search of a way to support my LOVE of photography. I really want to buy a nice macro lens and cannot afford it right now, unfortunately! After my recent purchase of a large format printer, affectionately called “the Beast,” I saw an opportunity to not just use it for my own purposes, but to turn it into a money making venture, so I did! I could not be more grateful for this opportunity!

There is a website that I go to often for inspiring quotes, BrainyQuote.com. I found a great quote about art and gratitude written by Friedrich Nietzsche that says, “The essence of all beautiful art, is gratitude.” I believe that as an artist and a photographer, I actively look for beautiful light in our landscape in order to capture and preserve an image for posterity. This has become my passion, it feeds my soul and for this I am grateful! I am also grateful that I have been given this art printing opportunity in an effort to help other artists make their art.

What are you grateful for? Let me know!

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Day 99 of 365: Drinking from a fire hose!

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Day 99: Drinking from a fire hose! Have you ever felt that way? Well I am feeling that way right now! I am launching a new art printing business! I have been a photographer and have been selling my landscape art and my portrait services, but NOW I am starting an art printing service on art paper and on canvas. See my Art Printing and Contact Page

What I am feeling right now is that I MIGHT be biting off more than I can chew or drinking water from a fire hose and nearly drowning, but hey I have a great printer and I have paper and I have canvas. What is the BIG deal? It is venturing in to the UNKNOWN that is the BIG DEAL. I ask myself questions like how many people will want my service?- and can I keep up with the orders when I get them?

This reminds me of an episode of the “Big Bang Theory” when Penny is selling “flowers to adorn one’s hair” and she starts to sell them online and is shocked and surprised when she gets lots and lots of orders! She begs Sheldon, Howard, Leonard and Raj to help her fulfill all her orders. It was funny!

Now I know that my husband works full time and won’t be able to help me so it is all up to me! He doesn’t know how to print on paper or canvas for one thing, plus he doesn’t know what looks good and what doesn’t!

All I know is that I have God on my side and He will guide me along the way, so I should not be so apprehensive, right? Right!

Let me know if you have ever “felt like you were drinking out of a fire hose!”

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Day 97: How to stay focused!

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Wildflower up close

Day 97: How to stay focused! Now my message is two fold! I am going to talk about how to stay focused on your day to day mission as well as on how to stay focused when you are using your camera.

On how to stay focused with your day:

  • Keep a journal and list what will be on your agenda, the night before.
  • Check off those things that you get done.
  • Keep any deviations from your agenda on your calendar so you can get back to them on another day.
  • Add any things you did that were not on your agenda, keep in journal or on your calendar (day planner).
  • At the end of your day, evaluate what you got done and give yourself a pat on the back for what you did get done!

How to keep your images focused: (Using a typical DSLR, I use NIKON)

  • Choose a focus mode, manual(M) or auto-focus(AF).
  • Auto focus is more dependable than manual, especially for people like me whose vision is NOT WHAT IT USED TO BE:(
  • Choose an auto focus area, ie., face priority for portraits; wide area- for landscapes; normal area (center area will be focused)- use a tripod; subject tracking- for moving subjects.
  • Choose your focus points, those little squares or dots that light up in the view finder. You can choose from 1 to 51 focus points.
  • When the auto focus lock in activated, every time you place the focus point on the subject you want in focus and depress the shutter half way, the subject will stay in focus until the picture is taken. (Hope you follow me!)
  • Get to know your manual!!! It helps greatly!!!

Focus is crucial in landscapes as well as portraits (especially the eyes)! I would say that staying focused in your day is also crucial in getting things done, right? Hope this helps!

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Day 94 of 365: The 5 Things You Need for Spring!

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Day 94: The 5 Things you need for Spring! Many of you may be TIRED of the unending winter like I am?! Snow and cold weather and wind since September, YIKES! I have had enough:( Here is my list of 5 things you need to welcome Spring:

  1. A new fun pair of sunglasses, important for style and eye health.
  2. A new pair of foot-friendly walking shoes, again important for foot health.
  3. Your camera or phone, to welcome all the green grass and delicate spring flowers that will be popping up and they will!
  4. A good friend who will go on nature walks and enjoy the sun and awesome sights with you. Tell your friend to bring a camera too! Walks are great exercise and important for physical and mental health!
  5. Bring your SUNNY attitude with you and drink in the colorful, living beauty of Spring!

If you have any ideas for what else you might need to usher in Spring, I am all ears! I realize we have more winter to come, BUT it never hurts to get ready.

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Day 93 of 365: The 3 Components of a Photograph

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Day 93: The 3 components of a photograph are aperture, shutter and ISO. It is important to understand how each of these components affect a photograph.

  • Aperture: The size of the opening of the lens. The larger the aperture the smaller the number. The smaller the number the larger the aperture. Counter intuitive right? Yes. Example: F1.8= Large aperture   F22=Small aperture. The smaller the aperture, the more focused or sharp your image will be and vice versa.
  • Shutter speed: Again the smaller the number, stated as a fraction of a second, the faster the shutter speed. Example:  1/1000 FAST      1/2 SLOW. The faster the shutter speed the more focused or sharp your image will be and vice versa.
  • ISO: The ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor. The lower the ISO number the less sensitive your camera is to light and the finer the grain, ie., ISO 100. Higher ISO settings like 2000 are used in dark settings and give you are more “noisy”  or “grainy” photograph.

If you shoot pictures in the automatic mode, the camera will choose what aperture, shutter speed and ISO for the photo. If you shoot in A or Av mode, you set the specific aperture and the camera will choose the right shutter speed. If you shoot in S mode, you set the shutter speed and the camera will choose the right aperture. If you shoot in manual mode, like I do, you are the one that chooses the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Shooting in manual mode puts you in total control of all the components of the shot.

If shooting landscapes, generally you want to select a smaller aperture like F14 in order to get a sharper, more focused landscape image. If shooting a portrait, generally you want to select a larger aperture like F3.2 to make your subject “pop” from the background.

If shooting at a sporting event, you want to use a FAST shutter speed like 1/1000 in order to freeze the action, unless you want to show motion. In this case, you want to use a slower shutter speed like 1/15.

If you are shooting outside in the dark, you will want to set your ISO high, like 1600 or 6000 in order to make the camera more sensitive to the light, but your photo will be very grainy or noisy! If you are shooting a portrait you set your ISO at 100 in order to have a fine grain photo and usually your light is adequate.

Hope that helps. Try to shoot in manual mode and see how your pictures turn out. Experiment! With a digital camera you can do that, just delete them if you don’t like the way they turn out!

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Day 89 of 365: TIPS on how to photograph flowers!

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Day 89: Tips on how to shoot flowers! One of my all time favorite subjects are flowers. They are so colorful and put a smile on my face, especially in the winter when I am starved for color! Here are some easy tips on how to best photograph flowers!

  • Get down on their level to shoot them.
  • Get as close to them as you can.
  • Shoot a part of a flower, may have to use manual focus.
  • Strive for good composition, place the center of the flower using the Rule of Thirds.
  • Use the Rule of Odds, in a group shoot an odd number of them, not even.
  • Use selective focus.
  • Use a wide open aperture in natural light, set vase in window, and make that great bokeh happen!
  • When outside, lay on the ground and shoot them at their level.

Hope this helps! Get out and shoot some colorful flowers today!

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Day 87: The BEST light to shoot in!

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Day 87: The BEST light to shoot in! Many of you know I am a photographer. I am constantly searching for the perfect light when capturing landscape images. Without the best light in your photo your images can be dull and lackluster. When shooting landscape images, like I do, it is critical to find the right time of day.

Many of us talk about the “golden hour” as the best time to shoot. The golden or magic hour is the first hour of light after sunrise and the last hour of light before sunset. The light at these 2 times of day are most flattering when the sun is low in the sky as opposed to the light of the noon day sun. The golden hour of light is also the best light for shooting portraits outdoors. This light tends to be more diffuse and warmer in hue giving your subjects a more attractive glow.

I believe that the BEST light to shoot in is natural light, that is the light from the sun. If you are shooting a portrait and your subject’s face is not lit well, you can use a special reflector (or the sun reflector from your car) to bounce the light from the sun back into your subject’s face. You may need to ask someone to hold the reflector at the right angle for you.

It is all about the LIGHT in photography. There is a quote by George Eastman that I would like to share with you, “Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”