Tag Archives: Photography

Tree Project XI & XII

While I’ve been better about taking the photos on time for my 2013 monthly project, I haven’t been prompt about posting the results here.   As I have done throughout 2013, I’ve taken a photograph at least once a month, usually at the beginning of the month, of the oak tree that towers over the hillside behind my house.   (You can see other posts featuring the monthly photos here.)

In early November, the tree was just beginning to turn:


Early November


Early November, Another view

By December 1, all but a few leaves were gone:


Bare Tree, December 1

A few days into December, we had our first real snow:


Early December Snow

The tree, quietly slumbering, is still magnificent against the winter skies:


At Sunset, A few nights ago


Winter Sunset, Silhouetted Trees

Winter Trees

Cold Winter Sky

Two Views: Tree Project X

I wasn’t home at the beginning of October and it was nearly mid-month before I got around to doing this installment in my monthly photo project.   Several of the shots  (now deleted) of the big oak behind my house look pretty much like the shots in August and September, although the other trees around the oak tree are beginning to display their fall foliage.  While this was initially disappointing, it made my think about how different the tree can look from day-to-day and hour-to-hour.   Like every photographic subject, it all depends on the light.

Crown and Light

Crown and Light

I love the sunflares in this image and how it shows off part of the magnificent crown of this tree.

Here is another perspective of the crown, arching above the other trees on the side of the hill.  (For a sense of scale, note the stop sign in the lower right corner.)  The sky today isn’t nearly as blue, but the colder weather the last few days have painted the trees in fiery reds and oranges.   The oak tree, which occasionally becomes a rusty red before turning to its normal russet shade, isn’t likely to change for another four weeks or so.  In the meantime, most of the trees on the hillside will have lost their leaves long before Old Oak begins to shed.

Across the Road

Across the Road

You can find other posts in this project here.



Water, Abstract, Orb,

What Once Was Water

5 +5 x 5 (update)

A big thank you to all of you who said that you would like to participate in my 5 questions + 5 images for 5 photographers series.   I was overwhelmed that more than 30 of you responded!

I have selected 5 from those who responded and have emailed them.   Unfortunately, if your comment did not include a link to either an email or a website/blog, I could not consider you as I selected.  Be sure that your Gravatar provides links to your site or to contact you.

Because of the response that I had, I anticipate that I will run this again.   But, first, let’s see how the first round goes.    You can look forward to seeing the 5 +5 x 5 series on Wednesdays beginning September 4th.

Shake it like a Polaroid!

Polaroid Means Fun!

Sunday Quote, 2013, Week 32

How cunningly nature hides every wrinkle of her inconceivable antiquity under roses and violets and morning dew! 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

roses, emerson, art

A lovely rose from a lovely friend’s garden

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.

18 Strings of Awesome

Last weekend we went to the exhibit Guitars: Roundups to Rockers at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. There isn’t much point to reviewing an exhibit when you see it on the final weekend, but I will say that it was very interesting. It hadn’t been high on my to-do list, but we decided to go at the last-minute. I wish that we had gone earlier so that I could have persuaded more people to attend.

I was fascinated by the beauty and craftsmanship in the earlier guitars. I had no idea that they were so beautiful or that the shape was so varied. This particular guitar, an 18 string “harp guitar”, was made around the turn of the 20th century. I wish that I had heard someone play this. I imagine that it can produce beautiful music.

18 Strings of Awesome

18 Strings of Awesome

Photo taken with iPhone5 and Camera+. Image edited in Photoshop, with two textures by Kim Klassen: Music Lovin’ and Paperstained Music. Linking to Texture Tuesday at Kim Klassen Cafe.

Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to stop by on Thursday when I will have an announcement regarding a new feature at Four Deer Oak.

The Forest Primeval (Travel Theme: Wild and Tree Project VIII)

I’ve joked that I live in the Forest Primeval.   That isn’t true:  it’s just a little spot of forested land, a ravine overlooking a mostly flat landscape of typical suburban homes.  We’re lucky that we have this little oasis in the middle of a city, close to downtown, close to shopping areas, close to most anything we could want, except the airport, but that is only an issue when running late to catch a flight.

When we were house-hunting, we thought the lack of a yard to mow was a wonderful bonus.  I still do not miss owning a lawn mower.   Our “yard” can be rather wild, though; a wooded lot is anything but maintenance-free. This year the pignut hickories have been bombarding the driveway, creating a crunchy blanket that needs to be swept regularly.  Those that bounce off the drive frequently end up in the pond.   I fish about 3-4 dozen out of the pond every day.   Pignuts are one of the few hickories that grow in Indiana that aren’t pleasant to eat.  Too bad!  I could have collected enough to make pies and nut breads for weeks.

As I’ve written previously, there is a big old oak — the eponymous oak of this blog — that sits on a rise behind the house.  A red oak, it may be the tallest tree in the neighborhood and in the fall, its rufous crown can be seen nearly a mile away.  It isn’t easy to get to the top of the rise where this tree sits.  The hillside is steep and no paths have been maintained.  There has been a rampant growth of  honeysuckle in the past few years which seems to have been aided by last year’s drought.  Smaller trees struggle to grow, but, likely crowded out by the Big Oak, many grow spindly and frequently fall during storms.

I’ve been photographing this tree since we moved here many years ago, but this year I’m making an effort to shoot it at the beginning of each month.   Since it is the beginning of the month, I decided that I would cut a swath through the debris (or at least step over and through the wild honeysuckle) and take some shots up near the base of the tree.  Since Ailsa’s theme this week is WILD, these images are doing double-duty:  Ailsa’s weekly challenge, and my monthly tree project.

From the bottom of the hill, about 50 feet away.

From the bottom of the hill, about 50 feet away.

Looking up from the base of the tree.

Looking up from the base of the tree.

Perspective:  Size 6 shoe at the base of the tree.

Scale: Size 6 shoe at the base of the tree.

One of these days, I should measure the circumference of the tree.

You can see other images in my Tree Project series here.

Here are a few randomly selected posts of how others have interpreted this week’s Travel Theme.   Be sure to check out these and others listed on Ailsa’s site.

Stairway to the 4th Floor

Stairway to the 4th Floor

Stairway to the 4th Floor

I can’t hear, say or write the phrase “stairway to” anywhere without an earworm:

“There are two paths you can go by, but in the long run/There’s still time to change the road you’re on.”


“As we wind on down the road/our shadows taller than our souls”

If you are not of a certain age, you may need to listen very hard before the tune comes to you.

It isn’t a song I ever liked very much, but I can’t help but sing along when I hear it.   Regardless, I like the image anyway.  And it is a stairway.

Taken at the Indianapolis Museum of Art with an iPhone5, edited in Lightroom4.

When Life Hands You Lemons…

We’ve all heard it.   It’s pretty simplistic advice for traumatic, real-life problems, problems that matter that can’t be cured by simple clichés.   But….for those non-issue “problems” we run into regularly, it sure helps if you can pick up what you have and go with it.

So, for instance, when you’re standing at a mucky pond edge trying to get just the right shot without falling, camera in hand, into the water, you have to expect that you might need to deal with a little blur.  Don’t hit delete immediately though!  Get a little creative – there still might be something in the shot that will save it from the bit bucket, like a great composition and some amazing color despite the over-exposure.   🙂

Early Morning Bloom

Early Morning Bloom

This may not have been the picture I envisioned when I lined up the shot.  It may be that I don’t have the ability to draw freehand and have the results look like anything recognizable.  But, with lots of trial and error, I figured a way to make this image into something that I think is worthy.   And I had a lot of fun creating it as well.

Original shot:  Lensbaby Composer Pro with Wide Angle Lens, ISO 100, 1/2500, aperture = 0 I forgot to bring my Lensbaby aperture disks with me, so had to make do with the wide open lens.  Once I was wet and having little fishes brush against my legs, I wasn’t willing to go back into the house to find those disks.  So, I stayed with a fast shutter speed and tried to shoot in the shadows — except for this one shot, my first today with the Lensbaby, taken a few seconds before the realization that I didn’t have an aperture disk in the ComposerPro.

First I did some minor adjustments in Lightroom with exposure (it didn’t help much) and with saturation levels.  Then, using PS Elements, I copied and inverted a layer, set blend mode to Color Burn, then used the filter for “Minimum” to bring out the lines in the flower.  This is a variation of the “Sketch” effect that I’ve used previously.   (You can find the entire process in a tutorial by Bill Barber here).

In a separate layer, I applied the artistic filter Smudge Stick and then applied a Gaussian blur to soften up the background which was already pretty blurry.  Thanks camera shake and Lensbaby:  without that blur this image wouldn’t be what it was — or became! Erased this layer over the surface of the flower.  Set the blend mode to Overlay and merged the layers.  Then, I added a solid color screen in a light pink hue to add some complimentary color to the background and erasing it over the area of the bloom.

Et voilá!  I like the way this turned out.   I would love to be able to create something like this with paper and pencil or pastel or something, but instead of calling it “Early Morning Bloom”, I’m afraid I’d have to title it “Early Morning Blob”.

I took several other photos.  Hey – some of them were even in focus! I predict that a few of them will show up here over the next few weeks.   The water in the pond was warm but it probably was a stupid idea to climb into the water with my camera.   Everything turned out okay though.

And then I went inside and had some lemonade.   Not because it is what life has thrown at me; (lemons have to be imported in my neighborhood)  but because it is really hot here right now and lemonade was a perfect refresher.