Category Archives: Photo

Playing with Abstracts

TheoryAllFatesI’ve been experimenting with abstracts recently and had forgotten how much I like glass and reflections.

2014-02-21 18.16.14



Traveler’s repose



Taken with my iPhone, using VSCO Cam, edited with VSCO Cam & Portray.

Window/Flowers; Door/Bike

Ravenna, Italy



Back to the Future?

Saw this shop while waiting at a bus stop in Ravenna, Italy. They didn’t seem to have many customers.



Untranslatable: Tree Project IX

Recently, I found an article, 11 Untranslatable Words from Other Cultures, published in The Huffington Post.  The original article is from the Maptia Blog.  While these words might not have an exact translation into one word in English, many of them were occurrences or emotions that I have experienced. Two of them represent a feeling that I experience frequently and fit well, I thought, with my September installment of my monthly tree project.

Komorebi is the Japanese word to describe sunlight filtering through trees.  While trees have a beauty all their own, I love when that beauty mingles with gorgeous light, filtering through green leaves, heavy branches, spilling on to the forest floor.

Komorebi:  Beautiful in any language

Komorebi: Beautiful in any language

Waldeinsamkeit is a German word that is used for the feeling one has when one is alone in the woods yet feels a connectedness to nature.   Alone, but not lonely:  to me this peaceful feeling is one of the many joys of a venture into the woods.



Both of the images above were captured around 5pm on September 1.  The oak tree is still in its full summer glory.  Although many of the other trees — mostly elms and serviceberries — have begun to have a few leaves turn color on leaf edges, the oaks probably won’t begin turning for about four more weeks.  These photographs may suggest that I was close to the tree; however, I was probably about 100 feet from it (slightly north and about 100 feet east for the first image, almost directly north  for the second).  You can see other images of the tree — the one we dubbed “Old Oak” many years ago — taken throughout this year by clicking here.

Maptia, according to its website,  is currently under development.  Its goal is to make a map of memorable, beautiful places and to inspire and share this map with a community of travelers.   I am looking forward to seeing what Maptia has to offer when it is available.   The original Maptia article on the 11 Untranslatable words also has a link to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem Waldeinsamkeit.  It’s a lovely poem that I had never read before.  I wasn’t even aware that Emerson wrote poems.  Enjoyable as it is, based on this one poem, there is no danger of me throwing over Emerson’s essays for his poems.  Still, if you like the idea of “waldeinsamkeit”, I recommend that you take a minute to read it.

Just Playing

I’ll admit it:  I’m easily distracted by bright shiny objects.  Sometimes they aren’t even bright.  Or shiny.

While looking for something else on my laptop this afternoon, I accidentally clicked on the Photo Booth application and immediately triggered a photo.   How I managed to both open and take a shot with one fat-fingered fumble, I couldn’t say.  I’ve rarely used the Photo Booth and this laptop is the first one I’ve had in a long time where I didn’t have tape over the built-in camera, a habit I acquired from too many video conference calls where it was all too obvious, sans tape, what sorts of multi-tasking one was doing.  I didn’t want to look at my colleagues across the land eating lunch, rolling their eyes, playing videos, and blowing their noses either.

Soon, instead of continuing on my lost-file quest, I was heads-down, trying to take a decent selfie.  Since there is no such thing — is there for anybody? — I began playing with different effects and angles.   My temporary distraction quickly turned into narcissistic amusement. But it was fun!  It was playful.  Play is the theme of this week’s Travel Theme.  

The only one with a bright shiny object (the fridge on the left).  Taken some time ago, apparently, from the glasses I was wearing.

The only one with a bright shiny object (the fridge on the left). 

I blurred the background using the Distort -> Glass filter in PS Elements.   You really didn’t want to see the dirty mop in the background.   The Glass filter, however, did render my hair rather Medusa-like.  

I like this one because my tripod is in the background.  Nearby, but out of the shot, is a table and shelf with my various lenses, filters, and other photo gear. If I had planned it, I would have had the camera on the tripod.  


Tripod Present, Camera Missing

This is probably my favorite of the bunch.  I swear I wasn’t trying to channel Wicked.  Photo Booth calls this effect “Thermal Camera”.  Not sure what that says about my complexion.  

Better complexion than Margaret Hamilton.

Better complexion than Margaret Hamilton.

This is the same shot, in B&W.  

B & W

B & W

I like this one — except for the splotches that look like impetigo.  My current eyeglasses are close to the color in this pic, but nothing else comes close.  I think my hair really was that color once.   I have no explanation for the flowery vines on my nose.

True colors?  Odd colors.

True colors? Odd colors.

Since I avoided my ski-slope nose and eliminating or disguised my multiple chins in most of these pics, I thought I should try one that showed all of my face.   Got it.  But the hair weirdly blended into the background.  I like how I transformed this image, but I don’t like how dopey I look —  like a picture on the cover of a 1950’s era Health book.  I guess that is better than  looking like the green Orion slave girl in Star Trek.

Dreamy.  Dopey.

Dreamy. Dopey.

“A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who does not play has lost forever the child who lived in him.” – Pablo Neruda 

While the aim of Ailsa’s challenge this week may have anticipated photos of people playing, I’m choosing to display the results of my play.   

What did you do today for fun?  Did you make your work into play?

Be sure to check out other participants’ photos of “Play“:

Gerbera Daisy

A few weeks ago, macro photographer extraordinaire, Mike Moats, started a new Facebook group titled “Let’s See Your Best Shot“.  This forum works like many other weekly challenges throughout the internet:  each week there is a subject listed and members of the group post a shot that fits the category.  Unlike many other forums and challenges where the subject is a generic idea like “fun” or “big“, so far the topics in this group have been very specific.   Last week’s topic was “Dragonfly“.   Who knew that there were so many species?   Next week’s topic is “Car Headlights“.

And this week’s topic?   Gerbera Daisy.  These are such wonderful flowers to shoot.  Each bloom seems infused with its own personality.  They bend and arc gracefully.   Some petals twist and turn.  There isn’t an angle that doesn’t provide an interesting opportunities for photographs.

Gerbera Daisy, Wasp:  August Afternoon

Gerbera Daisy, Wasp: August Afternoon

I figured I would find something in my archives, but as I was making a mad dash through Lowes this afternoon, intent on only picking up the one small item I needed, I saw Gerberas on sale.   The plants practically jumped out into the aisle and into my shopping cart.   As soon as I finished my errands for the day, I grabbed my camera and lost myself in shooting this interesting bloom.  As I started to shoot, this nectar-thirsty stinging creature found a perfect resting place.  I think he was enjoying the flower as much as I.

What about you?  What’s your best shot of a Gerbera Daisy?  If you’re on Facebook, consider joining the group.

2 Architectural Views — and a bonus

It isn’t often that I find a synergy between two different weekly photo challenges. I like to grab my camera and go on a hunt for the perfect photo, but when that isn’t possible — on days like today — I always find it fun to search through my archives for a photo that I might look at in a different way. Today, I found something that fit not one weekly challenge, but two.

When I saw that Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week was Architecture, I had no idea what I would find in my poorly organized archives, but knew that I shouldn’t have too much difficulty as I like taking photos of buildings, bridges, and sculptural monuments.  When I started to browse, I was thinking of some shots I took a few months ago of Bethesda Terrace in Central Park and an older building with a broken window that I took near The Cloisters.  But, before I even found photos from that trip to NYC, I stumbled across some shots I took a while ago at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida.

While this might not be many people’s idea of “architecture“, it is an architectural structure.  When in a wildlife refuge, one would like to not see such signs of modern life, but Sanibel — even though half of the land is devoted to wildlife preserve — is a populated island.   There was long line of these utility poles that stretched out into San Carlos Bay towards the mainland.  On one hand, they are a scar on the face of the natural beauty of the islands.  On the other hand, I find them fascinating to look at, especially up close.

It was fun — though not physically very comfortable — to sit in the gravel at the base of this pole and lean backwards to take this photo.  I have no idea what all of the gadgetry on the pole is for, but I think it makes for some interesting, artistic lines.

Utilty Pole, Looking Up, Architectural

Out of Reach

Of course, those artistic lines begged for a close-up.  Since I had wandered out on this deserted service road looking for birds, I had a zoom lens with me.  While the birds weren’t very cooperative, at least the pole wasn’t about to fly away.

Mystery Lines, Abstract, Utility Pole

Mystery Lines

While I was choosing these images this afternoon, I saw that the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge was to take two views of the same subject.  The two shots I had selected for Ailsa’s challenge fit well with the WordPress Challenge.  I love shooting things from different perspectives.   If you don’t do this routinely, I encourage you to  do this with everything you shoot for the next several days.  It’s a great exercise that will make a big impact on the way you compose your shots.

And the bonus?  The rusted patina of the bolts on the utility tower were intriguing.   Though functional,  I wouldn’t call them architectural.   As for two views, this photo is too detailed to give a hint of the entire subject, so I thought it didn’t really fit into the Two Views theme.  These could have been anywhere; they just happened to be at the base of the tower.

Bolts/Patina, Bolt, Patina


Both of these fun challenges are open to anyone.   Be sure to check out the contributions others have made to these week’s challenge.   Here are just a few:

One Shot, Two Views:

weekly photo challenge: one shot, two ways (
Weekly Photo Challenge: One shot, two ways (
Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways (
Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways (
Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways Part II Philadelphia City Hall (


Travel Theme: Architecture (
Travel Theme : Architecture (
Architecture Two Ways (
Travel Theme: Architecture (
8-9-13 Travel Theme: Architecture (

Photographers Wanted 5+5 x 5

5 photographers.
Plus 5 images.
Answering 5 questions.

I’m looking for 5 photographers to participate in a new series that I will be featuring here called 5+5 x 5.

It’s simple:  I will feature 5 photographers.  I will share 5 of their images and ask them to respond to 5 photography related questions.  Each photographer will select the images they want to share, and each will respond to the same 5 questions.  Included will be some brief info on each photographer and links to blogs/website/social media where their work can be found.

It doesn’t matter what type of equipment you use.  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been photographing.   It doesn’t matter whether you prefer street photography, portraits, or landscapes.  It doesn’t matter whether your blog has 5 followers or 500 or 5000.  (5000! That would be something!)  It doesn’t matter if you shoot film or digital, or believe that post-processing software is the best thing in the world — or the worst.  All that matters is that you have a passion for photography and that you’d like to share it with others.

Interested?   Please let me know in the comments below and I will contact you. I’m hoping to get the questions out to my 5 participants by August 15th, and plan to begin the series around the beginning of September.  If I have more than 5 volunteers, I’ll select 5 for this initial round.   I could draw names out of a hat, but I don’t have too many hats…. I’ll think of something;  I plan to run this regularly, so I’ll keep you in mind for future rounds of 5+5 x 5.

Here are 5 of my images, selected using this criteria: “Oh yeah! I like that one!” as I scrolled through my archives.

UPDATE:  I clearly have more than 5 volunteers, so I will randomly select 5 names.  Also, to give anyone who wishes to participate a chance, I will select from all who comment before 1pm (EDT) Saturday, 8/10/13.  Thanks for your interest in this project.

Sunday Quote, 2013, Week 19

Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.

– George Cooper

Spring Blooms

Spring Blooms

My mother, when she was less than 1/2 the age I am now:



Happy Mother’s Day!